A dance party is a great theme for preteens and that first boy-girl party, but you do need some back up games to keep things moving and under your control (as opposed to under their control). And I found some help with dance party game ideas on the website dance.net. Thanks!!
Dance Game #1: Divide the kids into pairs: boy-girl or not, let the kids organize themselves into the pairs as they choose. With some pretty fast paced music for them to work with, have each pair ‘shadow dance’, where one of the pair shadows the others every move. It’s not so easy- especially when they’re moving quickly.
Dance Game #2: This allows every party guest their moment in the spotlight. Play some silly game to determine who goes first- such as choose a number between 1 and 20 in your head, and have each kid take a guess- the closest guess starts the game. Then get the kids in a big circle and put on the music. Starting with #1, each kid gets 1 minute in the center of the circle to show off their best dance moves – silly, crazy, whatever they want to do.
Dance Game #3 (my favorite): Get the kids again in a circle, all holding hands such that no one has any hands they can use. Have them again choose the game starter- perhaps the best dancer from game #2 above. The kids have to pass a hula hoop all the way around the circle without ever letting go of each others hands. This is a challenge, and very silly.
If you own or can get your hands on a Wii, there are numerous videos/games that you can have for the kids to get them dancing and competing as they play the games.
The key to a successful and in-control preteen party is keeping things structured while keeping the kids busy. Having a few structured games to bring the kids’ focus onto a group wide activity is a good way to retain control of the group.