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The Snowball Dance: Flashback to the 80s

Le, over at Third on the Right has initiated a little blog community project, Flashback Friday Link Up Lovey. Check it out, and come up with your own Flashdance, I mean flashback. Haha!

Snowball Dance at Caney Valley High, Southeast Kansas

I have so many great memories from growing up in the 1980s, and the annual Snowball Dance at Caney Valley High (Kansas) is among my finest. There was so much excitement and anticipation in planning my wardrobe and hair. This winter dance was such a blast, and even though my father was a Nazarene minister, he was so good to let me go despite the church’s position on dancing.

I don’t have a picture of me from my freshman year, but I wore an amazing red dress with handkerchief hem and light tan leather 9 West shoes that tied around the ankles like ballet slippers.

My mom bought me this dress in downtown Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 20 miles from my high school. I bought matching metallic shoes up the street at Milo’s. They were a strappy little job with copper, silver, and gold all at play. Every year, my high school girlfriends and I had a group picture taken at the Snowball and Prom.

The Early 80s: Taffeta, Gunne Sax, Corduroy and Prairie Skirts

I remember what every one of these girls wore that cold, Kansas winter night. Jill and Anissa both wore corduroy suits. Tricia wore a plum-colored prairie skirt and matching top. Cheryl obviously wore a cute sailor dress and hat! Shawnda’s dress with gray corduroy with pink piping. (Amazing the things I remember!) Angela’s dress was a pink Gunne Sax. Dana, who was crowned Homecoming Queen our senior year, wore a burgundy dress. Jennifer is on the back row in THE MOST AMAZING DRESS EVER. It was a dark turquoise taffeta with lots of bows and tiny pleats. It was probably purchased with her wonderful mother on one of their many shopping trips to Kansas City. I loved her dress so much. Our senior year, she was crowned Snowball Queen! Melanie was my best friend back then. She wore a delightful little black taffeta skirt and a frilly white blouse. She looked so super adorable.

That’s me in the black on the right. My mother made this black taffeta dress. It had black sequins sewn on the puffed sleeves and the belt around the dropped waist. Thanks, again, ma!

My mom made this red taffeta dress from some amazing fabric my aunt gave her. It had black embroidered flowers. For added effect, my mom attached a black velvet bow with a rhinestone pin in the center to the bottom of the dress. That dress was so amazing. I took it to college with me and wore it many more times. I wish I still had it.

I miss getting dressed up and going to parties.

(That’s my friend, Jennifer C., wearing the tiara. She had been crowned Snowball Queen earlier that evening. She always had the best snowball dresses!)

Thanks, Le, for the chance to flashback.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Daddy Forever

    Nice flashback. Being a geek, I did not to very many parties in the 80’s.

  2. M

    Metallic shoes, taffeta dresses, hats for evening – you did the 80s proud!

    I wish I had a photo of my green velvet knickerbocker/gold sparkle stockings/gold court shoe outfit from about 1982.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. miruspeg

    I think we all should post some photos from the 1980’s.

    Our wardrobe and hairstyles were so different from today.

    I thoroughly enjoyed looking at these photos and reading the descriptions about the dresses.

    Thanks for sharing Jen.

  4. Le @ third on the right and cold peas

    hello Jen – thanks for this one lovey – great to see your pics ….

    you know we really could be sisters …. I am with P and love the copper outfit – too cool for school. And the virtual party sounds cool – maybe NYE as us with kids won’t be going anywhere !!

    Jen I am also someone who loves to know the ins and outs of the faiths that surround us.

    The whole lord of the dance – I love that song – is really how I feel dance should be viewed as part of faith – joy to the world thru the connections made via the common language of dance.

    BTW the boys have their dance concert tomorrow – wil blog about it later.

    And while we are faith I can tell you some of my best Sundays were spent at the Uniting Church teaching sunday school to the wee ones – I loved it.

    Hugs to you babe le xoxoxo

  5. JenX67

    @sulustu one of the most moving services I’ve ever attended at a Nazarene church was last spring at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene – I believe the largest Nazarene church in the nation, and my home church. A group of ballet dancers performed in the morning service. The routine was choreographed to Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone. It was very moving, and definitely an act of worship and praise. I’ve seen one other ballet type dancer on the podium since then. They are careful to dress very modestly – ballet dresses, but nothing that shows too much form. I really appreciate that as that would/could detract from the whole point.

    I definitely think what the Nazarene church continues to oppose is a given culture around dancing – primarily a pop culture that might encourage immorality – premarital sex, drinking to excess, etc.

    There was a time when Nazarene colleges were select about the musicals they’d perform. (No dancing.) But, those days are over. Fiddler on the Roof was performed about 10 years ago, and this year there was a musical that had a lot of dancing in it. So, things have changed, but never the view of God as Love.

    Noone’s ever asked much about my faith, so I appreciate this dialogue.

  6. Poetikat

    Jen – check out my latest Blasts From the Past post – I think you’re going to like it.


    p.s. There’s a hairless cat, or you could try a real short-haired one. It’s the pet-dander that gets to your allergies (steer clear of black ones, they say). I am allergic too, but since I’ve had cats all my life, I think I’ve got antibodies now.)

  7. JenX67

    @Poetikat and Farmgirl – Thank you, for the comments and blessings. I am definitely UP for the party!!! I’m wearing a strapless gown in kelly green, and since it’s virtual it won’t matter that it doesn’t fit or that the shoes are so high they’re killing my feet! hahahaha

  8. JenX67

    @Melinda – I love what you said: “I still have me!”

  9. JenX67

    @sulustu – The Church of the Nazarene has changed over the last 20 years and since I was in high school has relaxed their stance on dancing. Generally, as I understand the church’s manual, they discourage all forms of dancing that detract from spiritual growth and break down proper moral inhibitions and reserve. The hallmark of the church – aside from Jesus, of course, – is the doctrine of Holiness. Social dancing, like ballroom dancing, is now acceptable, and sometimes, even in my church, ballerinas will perform to “Christian” music.

    School dances are still not part of the social scene at Nazarene colleges and they are not allowed at Bethany High School, in Bethany, Oklahoma. That community is predominantly Nazarene.

    It seems the church’s original approach was very legalistic. I remember people growing up who even frowned upon ballet. Still, their were others who were more liberal and clung to those verses about David dancing for the Lord.

    I hope that makes sense. Thanks for asking.

  10. Poetikat

    What great photos! I loved the metallic dress – so glitzy and pretty. I didn’t recognize you though – I was looking for blonde hair!

    I remember buying a dress at a second-hand shop in the 80s. It had a black velvet bodice and puffy sleeves and skirt in a turqoise and black taffeta with gold threads running through. I loved that dress!

    I miss dressing up for parties too. Why don’t we have an online Christmas party and everyone can pick something fancy to wear and post it on our blogs?


  11. sulustu

    Thank you Jen for sharing. I’m always fascinated to learn more about the , cultural, religious, and spiritual experiences of others.

    Actually, I think I may understand the hesitation to dance. While I do not suscribe to that belief now, when I lived in Guatemala, I was quite nearly pursuaded that dancing was evil, or at least it led to evil. Much of the Christian culture in that country frowned on dancing. “Why would we want to imitate the world?” the would say, “We should maintain ourselves apart from the world.” As liberal as I tend to be, it’s interesting how much living in that extremely conservative environment changed me, but that’s another story.

    Just out of curiosity, did/do the Nazarenes have a concept of holy dancing, or dancing “unto the Lord?” In that religious or spiritual system, could dancing ever become a form of worship, and if so, what form would it take?

    Again, thanks for sharing.

  12. Melinda

    Jen–that’s is so great that you are still in touch with those ladies! I have lost touch with almost everyone I knew from high school (except one person). I was a real loner in those days (full of secrets) and didn’t have all that many friends anyway.

    I also wish I had more pictures from my earlier life. I lost almots everything along the way (but at least I still have me!).

    Take care,


  13. Oklahoma Farmgirl

    Too CUTE!!! Thanks for sharing. Gosh, in the 80’s I was on marriage #2 (big mistake) & my son was in grade school–WHOA!! Well, I just dated myself LOL!

    Have a wonderfully fabulous blessed weekend.

    Blessed be…

  14. sulustu

    I didn’t know the Nazarenes had a “position” on dancing. Can you tell me more about that?

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