by Dennis Dalman
A “Peter Pan” theme underlined the Sauk Rapids-Rice High School Prom’s Grand March May 9, with 150 couples delighting the audience with runway pantomimes.
The gymnasium was jam-packed with spectators – standing room only. A stage backdrop was festooned with gossamer, dreamy images inspired by Peter Pan – a waterfall, a large wispy moon and silhouettes of a pirate ship and a few floating people flying across the cloud-dappled night sky. The runway leading from that backdrop was illuminated by old-fashioned box lanterns.
An emcee, dressed like a pirate, welcomed the audience in a thick pirate’s drawl and then introduced the prom couples.
The program opened with the coronation of the prom queen and king. The candidates walked down the runway to a series of small wooden boxes waiting for them. Upon opening the boxes, they discovered who were the lucky ones.
When Tiara Brown opened her box, she gasped and smiled when she realized she was to be prom queen. Later, Spencer Petrek let out a whoop as prom king.
The audience burst into loud applause as the prom’s royal couple took a promenade on the runway.
After the royal festivity, the main show began. One couple after another, all 150 of them, walked down the runway, arm in arm. Just at the end of the runway, each couple did a kind of pantomime, using body language to express attitudes or emotions between them. The mini skits ranged from cute-and-sweet to mock-romantic, from cheeky put-downs to cool-dude antics and flirty flourishes. The audience roared its approval as the couples acted out their very brief but clever-and-charming skits. In one case, a guy tried to put a sparkly Cinderella shoe on his date. It didn’t fit. In several other pantomimes, the couples snapped selfies, poking fun at themselves with mock egotism. Other couples performed quick dance steps with a swirl, ending with a freeze-frame of body attitudes and visual expressions that ran the gamut from cute, stunned, defiant, goofy, confused, romantic, dominant, passive and everywhere in between.
The crowd loved every minute of it. They laughed, they cheered, they applauded. The prom show, in a word, was a hit.