Organizing a U.S.O.-themed dance can liven up a social mixer. With attention to detail, you can recreate a 1940s dance hall and create a unique and special dance for your guests. Costumes, decorations, music and refreshments will make your event fit your theatrical scene for several broader U.S.O. dance themes. The only limitation on any kind of themed event is your own imagination.
Dance-a-thons were popular in the 1940s as ways to raise funds for the troops abroad. Couples paid a fee to enter the contest, and the last couple left standing at the end of a pre-set period of time would be awarded a loving cup trophy. Planning an old-fashioned dance-a-thon can put some pep into your prom or dance event. Decorations should be in the U.S.O. colors of red, white and blue, and participants should come in their swing-dance fashion finest. For refreshments, serve Coca-Cola in glass bottles and canapes and hors d'oeuvres using foods that are authentic to the era. Have your DJ research big band music to create a swing dance playlist. Consider hiring a dance teacher to teach your guests an easy 1940's dance, such as the Lindy Hop, that they can do throughout the competition. Enlist your planning committee or teachers at your school to be the judges. You can give the winners of your dance competition their loving cup right before you award your king and queen of the dance.
U.S.O. Speakeasy in London
Recreate an aura of romance with a London speakeasy theme for your dance. Decorations should be dark and mysterious; use deep red velvets, candles in jars on tables, checkered tablecloths and vintage glassware to recreate the scene of an underground club in London during the Blitz. Set up cafe tables around your dance area, and hire a small jazz combo with a sultry femme fatale lead singer to croon the night away. All dances should be slow dances. Have your committee or teachers dress in black and white tuxes with tails to serve guests non-alcoholic beverages. Have the pictures for the event taken in black and white against a war-torn brick wall backdrop. Ladies should arrive in their finest long gowns, gloves and faux-fur stoles, men in tuxes with tails. Remember there's a war on and you want to forget your troubles for the night.
U.S.O. Variety Show
Hit up the local talent in your town or school to put together a variety show that would do Bob Hope proud. In between acts, have a house band play standards from the era for dancing. Decorations can be whatever you envision a troop camp abroad to be: You can choose an encampment on the beaches of Normandy in France or a base located in the tropics of the South Pacific. Male guests should arrive dressed as G.I.s, and ladies should wear the finery a gal would wear to a U.S.O. sock hop of the day. For refreshments: Simple cakes and punch will set the mood for your show.
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