In my third form year (1962) instruction was given by two middle aged women who were dancing instructors and implored us to learn the rudimentary step of the Gay Gordons and the Maxina. The waltz, quickstep and foxtrot were easier to master and also allowed us to hold on (often literally) to the same dancing partner for a longer spell. Music was provided an aged pianist.
For pimply adolescents the opportunity to mingle with the fairer sex was a rare occurrence and we were determined to make the most of it although at that tender age few of us knew what "making the most it" actually was! Come the fifth form we were a lot more worldly wise and it has to be said, more determined.
Fortunately there was a great alternative, the Mark Fives, a NPBHS (Shadows type) band whose wizardry on cover versions of Hank Marvin's classics was awe inspiring.
Rodney Charters who was a day boy and whose father was a well know New Plymouth photographer, played base guitar and the drummer was Doug Thomas (mentioned in an earlier post) , an old school friend of mine from Waitara days and who at that time was still a pupil at Waitara High.
The real virtuoso of the group was the lead guitarist Darcy Lange who was supported by his older brother Newton playing rhythm guitar. The Lange boy's parents had two large farms in Urenui & Ureti. I cannot recall whether Darcy was a dayboy or boarder but for some reason I associated him with Moyes House?
When he left school Darcy went Auckland then London to study art, which he did with considerable success as a video artist. Then he changed his lifestyle and focus becoming a master of the Spanish classical guitar. I spotted him once of twice performing on New Zealand television when he eventually returned to New Zealand in 1974. He died in 2005.
The dance itself was a riot with housemistresses desperately searching for girls and their partners who had 'gone missing'. Finding the main fuse box was a great help in this deception.
Sixth Form Balls were an annual event and quite classy affairs. These too were held at the NP Girls High and we each invited a partner.
The senior girls were dressed in their finery and I recall some apres ball activity at the home of the Tucker Boys who lived nearby. Rob Tucker went on to become a leading NZ journalist.
From the 4th form on I played in the dance band for dancing classes rather than careening around the dance floor. We used to set up and practice on the Saturday afternoon much to the annoyance of the Head Mistress, Miss Alum, who fancied a tipple of gin and a lie down at that time of day.
It was not unknown for us to received instructions via a Girls High prefect to turn down the volume. Jumping Jack Flash never sounded good unless it was at full blast with the amp speakers vibrating