Dancing with Dads

Photo provided by Katharine

Seniors and fathers attend their last Father-Daughter Dance

Throughout Lower and Middle School, the Father-Daughter Dance was an annual occurrence for the Hockaday Class of 2012. After a three-year hiatus, senior Sarah’s family recommenced the tradition for one last time, hosting a Father-Daughter Dance at the Nasher Sculpture Center on Friday, April 27.

The event kicked off with guessing games, including guessing flavors of jellybeans, the number of items (paper clips, popcorn kernels, M&M’s, etc.) in jars and—interestingly—the vegetable that composed a large spiky work of art (answer: artichoke). Dads and daughters posed for caricatures, enjoyed a lovely dinner and danced to the dads’ favorite rock and disco tunes.

This tradition, as Sarah’s father Mr. Haemisegger explained, began back in the girls’ Lower School days. “Most of the girls participated in the YMCA’s Indian Princess program.  The Y used to host an annual father-daughter event, but the Indian Princess program ends in second grade.”

In fact, the girls seemed to enjoy the dances so much that Mr. Haemisegger offered to continue the tradition when the girls were in third grade.

“I really enjoy them, and…it’s one of the things that my dad looks forward to every year,” Sarah remarked.

Sarah and her father are not the only ones. The Father-Daughter Dance was an event that the whole grade eagerly anticipated throughout Lower and Middle School.

Photo provided by Mackenzie

“It was nice to spend time with my dad and just hang out with friends,” senior Holly said.

In years past, the Father-Daughter Dance took place at various locations, including Maggiano’s Restaurant and the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Occasionally it had a theme—“1950s” seems to be the most fondly remembered.

“I don’t know what year it was—I think it was like first grade…but everyone wore poodle skirts and the dads dressed up in leather jackets, and it was just—it was a lot of fun,” Sarah said. “[And] every year [senior Natalie] used to win the limbo because she’s so flexible!”

Those contests on the dance floors, as well as the guessing games that open the party, are at every Father-Daughter Dance. They are what long-time Hockadaisies remember most.

“The hula-hoop contest was always very…heated,” recalled senior Marisa. “In fifth or seventh grade [when] they had it at Maggiano’s,” senior Mary Frances said, “me and my dad won this dancing contest, which was miraculous because my dad is a horrible dancer. We were convinced it was because we were in the front right by the DJ, who was judging. We won Northpark Gold and chocolate. It was fabulous.”

As the tradition continued, the Father-Daughter Dances took on a deeper meaning for many Hockaday girls. While an opportunity to dance and have fun with friends is always welcome, the dances were special because they were a chance for girls to bond with their dads, as Marisa explained.

“My dad’s kind of a workaholic…[he’s] one of those people that, to have fun and to relax, he has to be forced out of the house. [The dance] was just an opportunity for me to bond with him, and for him to relax and have fun too.” On a less serious note, she added, “It was me getting to make fun of his dance moves while my dad really worked his dance moves.”

Perhaps this is why much of the senior class really looked forward to this last Father-Daughter Dance—it’s one of the last chances the girls have to bond with their dads before they go off to college and become adults.

“It is a rare opportunity for the entire class to come together,” said Mr. Haemisegger. “Such opportunities seem to become rarer as the girls matriculate upward from Lower School to Middle and Upper School.”

And, as Sarah noted, “since we’re seniors, it’s the last chance for our grade to kind of have this type of event just with the girls in our grade and our fathers before graduation…I sort of think that it ties our grade together.”

The Class of 2012 will soon leave this Hocka-tradition behind. Holly remarked thoughtfully, “Having one after so many years… it’s a nice ending.”

-Caroline