RED HOOK — For her high school prom, Dana Athens wore a shimmery gold dress and went with her gay best friend. But this weekend will be her “real prom,” she said.
Athens, along with five other nominees, could be crowned prom king or queen at the Red Hook Prom, an annual gala hosted by Cora Dance, a neighborhood dance studio and school.
Unlike proms of the past, the Red Hook Prom can crown two kings or two queens depending on who raises the most money through raffle and ticket sales, which will benefit programs, classes and scholarships at the studio.
With her hair swept up and a neon-colored tulle dress, Athens said she hopes the prom will be a success for the studio.
“Who doesn’t want to get dressed up and reminisce and have a blast?” she said.
The "prom for grown-ups" will be held at the gym of South Brooklyn Community High School on May 11 at 7 p.m., with performances by Cora dancers and students, as well as alcoholic punch and 80s music spinning all night long.
While the suggested admission is $100, the Red Hook Prom is pay-what-you-can with a suggested minimum donation of $20.
The local “celebrities” are touchstones to different parts of the community, said Shannon Hummel, artistic director of Cora Dance.
The nominees include P.S. 15 mother Kari Rudjord who works at Mark’s Pizza, hip-hop dance instructor Solomon Goodwin, owner and drag queen of Hope and Anchor Stella Dora and Reg Flowers, director of Falconworks Artist Group.
While they are all connected to the dance studio, the nominees are well known for their individual work, making them recognizable throughout the neighborhood.
“They’re all charismatic, wonderful people,” said Hummel.
The prom is also a celebration of Red Hook after Hurricane Sandy pummeled the waterfront neighborhood last year. Many locals had property damaged during the storm, including prom nominee Elizabeth Ehrhardt, whose basement was flooded.
“The community needs to have fun after everything that has occurred down here,” she said.