Own your spring dance scene

From lookin’ like a million to cuttin’ up the floor, make The Big Night one to remember.

Invite? Check. Awesome date or group of gals? Obvi! Everything you need to have a blast? Without a doubt, after reading our do’s and don’ts from the pros. We’re gonna have you feeling like the belle of the ball.

The tix are bought. Now what? This is your big night, so you’ll need to find an awesome party-worthy ensemble.

Don’t… Buy a dress cut for disaster. You run the risk of an embarrassing sitch, like what happened to Zoe, 15: “I loved my dress, but it was too long. I was on the dance floor, and someone stepped on it, ripping a huge hole in the back!” And do we really need to point out that a too short or tight look is tacky. In addition to making sitting and dancing a prob, it could lead to panty-flashing. Ugh.

Do… Choose a comfy frock. “Pick something you love, you can dance in and that fits properly. This way, you’ll look great and be free to enjoy your night,” says GL fashion editor Heather Williams-B. “Don’t set yourself up for fighting with your outfit.” And give yourself time to shop around, she continues. “Allot as much time as you can, and enjoy. Shopping for your dress can and should be enjoyable.” Make it a bonding sesh with Mom, or rally up your closest buds to hit the stores. And who says you have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks? “With a creative eye, all things fabulous don’t have anything to do with a price tag. Look in vintage and thrift shops for some of the world’s best treasures.”

The dance is tonight, and you can’t wait for the festivities to begin! Want to fast-forward all the pre-bash prep work? No need to rush, party girl.

Don’t… Cake on the makeup. We’re talking about the spring formal here, not a Halloween hoedown. “Heavy foundation and concealers tend to separate on the dance floor when you’re working up a little dewiness doing your latest moves,” Benefit makeup artist Arianne Damboise says. The hottest makeup trends for dances this year are peach or pink glosses with soft, shimmery eyes. The trick to looking gorgeous is keeping it natural and letting the real you shine through. Take it from Arianne: “It’s always the absolute best to look really great and glowing. Natural, but just enough. A soft highlighter or shimmer really wakes up your whole face.”

Do… Make your bedroom temporarily off-limits. While primping, get in the zone by playing dance tunes as background music. And make sure you’re stocked up on essentials, like nail polish, bobby pins…the works. The last thing you want is a mini-tragedy, like tearing your stockings while putting them on and not having any backups.

You’re dressed and made up to the max, gorgeous girl. Time to step out for din-din. Whether you’re eating out or dining at the event, keep it simple.

Don’t… Overload on grub you might later regret. You’re all decked out, so you don’t want your new gown to get all covered in sloppy sauce. “Stay away from foods that are hard to eat, such as spaghetti,” warns Cindy Post Senning, co-director of the Emily Post Institute. Opt instead for easy-to-eat fare, like roasted chicken. While nerves may have you so not in the mood to eat a ton, some girls love to indulge at a great restaurant. But a hefty meat ’n’ potatoes meal can lull you into a food coma…or worse. “My friend ate a big dinner,” says Emily, 13, “and dancing right after the meal made her want to yak!”

Do… Act like a princess since you look like one. “Table manners are for two things,” Cindy dishes. “They’re so you don’t embarrass yourself, and so you don’t gross out other people who are eating.” Study up on your place-setting rules (hint: drinks go on your right, the bread plate to your left) and be sure your napkin is stationed on your lap. When you excuse yourself, place the napkin on the table, folding the clean side over the grunge so your fellow diners aren’t left with a nasty view. Embody the elegance of a proper lady and you’ll look the part.

Yay, you’re at the dance! ’Tis the night to have an awesome time with your classmates. Embrace the get-together with a positive attitude, as this one-night-only gig will go by in a flash.

Don’t… Be a wallflower. If you’re going to bum around all night you could’ve just stayed home on your couch. “Don’t sit on the benches or stand at the punch table the whole time,” Nicole, 13, says. “You’ll miss out on some total fun and regret it the next day.” Even though people-watching is entertaining, get out there and have a blast!

Do… Be a social butterfly. Mingle with anyone and everyone. As Codi, 15, puts it, “I love the spring dance because you can let loose with your school friends and crushes outside of class.” Use this rare opportunity of having everyone in one place, under a different circumstance, to split away from your crew for a bit. Catch up with kids you haven’t talked to in awhile—or ever. From the blaring music to contagious smiles, the high energy puts everyone in a good mood. Pretend like you’re vying for the title of Prom Queen!

You’re looking and acting like a party-goer, but will you dance like one? “Dances are for dancing, not running around gossiping!” one dance floor regular notes. Can't shake it like Beyoncé? Doesn’t matter. Let loose and make the most of the awesome DJ because, whether you like it or not, this is the ultimate dance party!

Don’t… Be intimidated by guys. You’re there to have fun and shouldn’t let anyone get in your way. So when your fave tune starts bangin’ through the room, muster up the courage to ask that cutie you’ve been eyeing all night to dance. Taking the lead will make him feel golden.

Too shy to break the ice? Pro dancer and two-time Dancing With the Stars champion Cheryl Burke says, “It can be a group thing. Girls can also dance with girls and make it not look weird.” Quit tripping over the boys. Grab your group, and pump it up.

Do… Get your groove on with confidence. Stacy, 15, like most contemplating hitting the dance floor, fears total embarrassment: “I’ve tried dancing—when I was alone—and it wasn’t pretty. I’m terrified that I’ll be boring until my friends force me to dance, which will cause me to make a fool out of myself.”

Stacy is on the right track. Practice does make perfect. Before your big dance-floor debut, blast some of the music you think the DJ might spin to get familiar with the beats—even if you feel silly. The truth is, others will be shaking it out there with you, so the chance that all eyes will zone in on your moves are slim to none.

“It’s always scary at first,” adds Cheryl, “but keep your head up, and just pretend you know what you’re doing even if you don’t. The simplest step to do is just side together, side together, but make sure you do it in time to the music. See what everyone else is doing, then just follow their lead.”

It takes days, weeks even, to prepare. Then it’s over faster than you can say, “The party don't start 'til I walk in.” What to do when the clock’s ticking away?

Don’t… Skip out of the dance early. Sorry, Cinderella, but unless there’s some sort of emergency, you’ve already committed yourself to the entire event and should keep it that way. “Be considerate of those who have worked hard to pull this all together,” says Cindy. Plus, you might miss some major final moments everyone will be talking about at school on Monday, such as the last dance or a shocking goodnight smooch!

Once the lights come up and the DJ is packing up, make sure you thank everyone who made this night happen, such as the chaperones, students on the dance committee, even those who came along as your dates. “The biggest faux pas in etiquette,” Cindy says, “is people not showing appreciation.”

Do… Continue the party elsewhere. Just because the music has stopped doesn’t mean your fun has to end. Rally the gang, and head to the local diner for some late-night shakes. Have all your girls go back to a friend’s house for an awesome sleepover so you can chat about everything from best- and worst-dressed to who brought which date, eventually drifting off into a peaceful slumber—a marvelous ending to an amazing night.

A special night calls for extra-special hair. Dustin David of the Dustin David Salon near San Francisco shares key secrets to getting a look you’ll love.

Lock it down, To assure you’ll have enough time at the salon, secure an appointment at least two weeks in advance, if not the minute you learn the exact date of the bash.

Pack inspiration. “Always bring photos [of hairdos] showing your likes and dislikes,” Dustin suggests. “This will help to smooth out the communication between you and your stylist so he can get a better feel for what you want.”

Style to what you’re sportin’. For gorgeous gowns with sleeves or straps, consider putting all your hair up. As for strapless dresses, go halfsies up and down, or flaunt a sleek side or high pony.

Get a new look for cheap. Couldn’t spring for a new dress? Let your hair make it fresh! “Headbands, ribbons and clips are great for dressing up the hair and pulling together your fabulous look,” adds Dustin.

 Don’t touch. Once it’s all done, leave it alone. Stash a mini-spray and bobby pins in your clutch as backup to avoid any possible tress-tastrophe.
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by Patricia McNamara | 2/1/2016