Daddy Daughter Dance sweeps girls off their feet
February 20, 2013
ESCHENBACH, Germany (Feb. 20, 2013) -- In many ways, the Netzaberg Youth Center resembled a high school gym on prom night, Feb. 13.
Couples wore matching corsages and boutonnieres; a professional photographer set up in a corner, snapping posed pictures of guys and their dolls; and a nice, sit down dinner preceded an evening of dancing.
But, some things were different at this dance. When the girls finished dinner, they left their seats to pelt each other with inflatable balls, play tag and slip around the glossy floor in their dress shoes. The evening's first fast song was the "Hokey Pokey."
This was the sixth year for the Daddy Daughter Dance, hosted by Child, Youth and School Services Outreach Services. The dance, according to Lana Muzzy, director of Outreach Services, gives fathers and daughters a special, memorable time to bond.
"It's definitely quality time," she said. "It's a make up for time being gone during deployment and working long hours. They get to learn and be with each other and have fun together."
The festive but formal atmosphere was set as soon as the dads and daughters arrived and checked their coats. Many of the girls, in tiered princess or frilly party dresses, also had their hair and nails done for the occasion.
Entering the Youth Center's gym, decorated in pink, red and white for Valentine's Day, they sat at tables strewn with heart stickers, construction paper and pink plastic beads for crafts.
"Every year the event gets better and better," said retired Army 1st Sgt. Rodney Morgan. Morgan and his daughter, Sabrina, have only missed one Daddy Daughter Dance in the past six years.
The dance reached a record number of guests this year with 134 fathers and daughters in attendance. The girls' ages ranged from 11 months to 14 years old and even the younger ones oozed excitement.
Staff Sgt. Jed Villavicenio, with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 172nd Infantry Brigade, said that his daughter Isabella, 4, spent the whole day giddy about the dance.
"She couldn't stop talking about it," he said, as Isabella clambered over him smashing heart-shaped stickers to his face and shirt.
After dinner and ice cream sundaes, fathers and daughters crowded the dance floor for the night's first official dance. It was a slow song, "Dance with my Father," by Luther Vandross.
Dads with smaller girls held them in their arms as they cut a rug; those with multiple daughters wrapped them up in giant bear hugs as they tried to shuffle along as a group.
The tempo picked up with the "Cupid Shuffle," a line dance in the spirit of Valentine's Day.
The night got interesting when the limbo stick came out and dads and daughters alike tried to see how long they could go.
For Sgt. Nikolaus Saenz, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, Brigade Reconnaissance Team, 172nd Infantry Brigade, the night gave him a unique opportunity to have a special night out with his daughters. Saenz, who has four daughters, brought the older three to the dance.
"It's not often you get to dance with your kids," he said. "We love the music, the good food and the good people."