The Dance is a celebration of the South African youth who finish high school against all odds.

Matric dances are held to celebrate those who graduate (matriculate). For months beforehand, families who live in poverty-stricken areas save to buy extravagant ball gowns and tuxedos and to hire limousines for the big night. If a family is lucky enough to have a student graduate from high school, no effort is spared to give them the night of their dreams. For many, this is the first family member to graduate.

 

On the night of the dance, communities on the outskirts of Cape Town are buzzing with activity. Red carpets are rolled out while aunts decorate houses with organza fabric, and tables are heavily laden with food for family and friends. The streets outside are full and excited children run around. The sound of a sports car echoes down the street as it approaches the crowded house. A young woman wearing a ball gown steps onto the red carpet, and the community cheers with pride.