On February 11, Concord Academy hosted Semi-Formal in the SHAC gym under neon lights and confetti. Ribbons adorned the walls, pink and red streamers hung across the venue, and a balloon-framed corner with a ring light was set up for photos. This year, the theme was Valentine’s Day and students wore shades of red, pink, and white. The Junior class had been tirelessly planning the event in the months leading up to it, and had added the finishing touches earlier than evening; they stocked the hallway with various snacks and a soda bar, hired a new DJ who took student requests and mixed trendy and classic party songs, and generally did everything in their power to bring the best dance event they could to the student body.

Students had various opinions about Semi-Formal, but most generally liked the event. Maisy Bull ’25 asserted that it was a generally fun experience and she especially appreciated the cute decorations. She said, “Although it took a while to get started up, dancing was fun and the DJ was much better than [at] Whiteout.” Ryan Zhao ’26 similarly noted that people trickled in slowly in the first half hour, creating a lackluster environment at first. However, he also continued, “But, once the music turned up, something flipped and the cold dance floor became hot and sweaty with moshing.”

Though the experience had certain ups and downs, students really seemed to enjoy the best moments and many relished the opportunity to take cute photos and dress up. While some hung around the hallway, chatting with chips and soda in hand, others moshed to songs like “No Hands” and “Deli.” The dance floor was packed at certain points and provided a space to not only jam out with friends but to become acquainted with other students, or friends’ friends, under bright lights and with a strong sense of community. Plus, some students brought friends from outside of CA, too, furthering the opportunity to form new bonds at the event.

Unfortunately, ever since CA’s school dances were moved from the SHAC atrium to the gym due to structural integrity concerns, many students feel that the atmosphere at events has changed. One main complaint students have is the overtly spacious nature of the gym, especially compared to the sectioned style of the atrium. Of course, this architectural issue is something that currently does not seem to have a convenient solution. However, its impact on the quality of dances seems to be a consistently voiced complaint. The other unfortunate mishap of this year’s Semi-Formal was the date —it was set up on the exact same day as Lunar New Year. This conflict discouraged some students who celebrated the holiday from attending Semi-Formal, too.

Due to some unlucky aspects, Semi-Formal was not perfect this year. However, the event seemed to be a strong step in the right direction for CA dances, especially regarding the appreciable amount of detailed setup that the Junior class committed to. Attendees made everlasting memories—what more is there to ask for but partying with friends and taking unforgettable photos, anyway?