City hopes new location will revive All City Dance

For the first time, Olympia’s biannual All City Dance will take place at a local high school rather than The Olympia Center. On Friday night, middle school-age students from around Olympia — public, private and home-schooled alike — are invited to Olympia High School for an evening of dancing, raffles, contests and karaoke.

“We wanted to use a more recognizable facility,” said Luke Burns, the city’s recreation program specialist. “We used to have a teen lobby here at The Olympia Center, and kids could come down here after school and hang out for free. But more and more of those programs have gotten cut in the last 10 years, so this facility isn’t as known to the larger community as the high schools are.”

The new venue gives parents and students a sneak peak of a high school some will soon attend.

“For the Washington and Reeves students, along with Nova, St. Michael’s and (Olympia Regional Learning Academy) students, they might be going to Olympia High School next year,” Burns said. “This is a good way of getting students and their parents in the door, and seeing what the school itself looks like.”

The All City Dance began in 1994 and quickly grew in popularity. Before 2000, attendance typically topped out around 800 people. In the years since, attendance has dwindled, and the activity night now draws roughly 200 kids. This downward trend is something the city is hoping to break this year.

“There are less and less events these days for kids to have face-to-face socialization,” said Burns. “They can play video games at home against their friend across town, they can talk about what happened at school online, they can live tweet about whatever show they’re watching. Those are all things that used to happen face-to-face and just don’t anymore.”

While the centerpiece of the evening remains the dance itself, the evening includes a three-on-three basketball tournament, a jousting event and a number of different contests with prizes courtesy of Vics Pizzeria.

If you go

What: The All City Dance

Where: Olympia High School

When: 7-9:30 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $5

For more information: 360-753-8380