Butterbeer and ballgowns

The swing and ballroom dance club partnered with Westminster Round hosts first Yule ball

by Elle Croce|Staff Writer

Though lacking in floating candles, part-goblin professors surfing the crowd and sensational wizarding bands, Whitworth’s first Yule Ball did have upbeat tunes, easily accessible holiday-themed refreshments and twirling dancers.

The Yule Ball was held Friday, Dec. 2 at 8:30 p.m. in the HUB’s multi-purpose room under the collaboration of the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club, the English department’s Westminster Round and Jazz 2.

Guests were greeted at the doors by two hostesses clad in ball gowns who encouraged students to take pride in their respective Harry Potter house—Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin—by placing colored pebbles of red, yellow, blue and green in jars.

Once past the attendance table and into the dimly lit room, guests were free to help themselves to the refreshments and dancing taking place in front of a live jazz band.

Initially getting off to a humble start, with about 40 people in attendance at the beginning of the dance attendance increased to 130 at the dance’s peak.

Freshmen Bailey Andrews and Olivia Glover commented on their first impression of the event.

“It’s slightly awkward, since it hasn’t really started yet,” Andrews said with a smile.

Photo by: Domenica Michelle

Her companion Glover carried on the sentence, explaining that the timing of the event overlapped with other events around campus.

“It’s still really fun,” Glover said. “I really like the refreshments.”

Homemade butterbeer, a butterscotch drink from the world of Harry Potter, with marshmallow topping was the centerpiece at the refreshment table. Surrounding the bowl holding the butterscotch-flavored drink were a variety of frosted Christmas cookies in the shapes of trees and wreaths.

The dancing itself took place on the wooden floor near the center of the MPR in front of the jazz band and carried on through the night until the party ended at 11 p.m.

Attendees in bright, flowing gowns of various colors, suits of gray and black and more casual wear twirled along to upbeat holiday tunes and jives. People taking a break from the dancing or enjoying the scene leaned back against the walls with cups in hand and chat with one another.

A Facebook comment made on the Whitworth Incoming Class Admissions page asking if Whitworth had a Yule Ball or Christmas party sparked the idea to hold a Yule Ball, said senior Eugene Bell, president of the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club.

The ball was intended to be inclusive for those who do not celebrate Christmas but who know of or enjoy Harry Potter, Bell said.

“I knew that if it was Christmas and Harry Potter themed it would get both parties here,” Bell said. “It’s a good time to just relax for a bit, to dance the stress away.”

Junior Kimberly Cook, an officer for the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club said that the club’s partnership with Westminster Round heavily inspired the theme.

Westminster Round’s official club website on the ASWU database states that it is a club orientated around hosting fun events for both the English department and fans of literature.

“We’re all just a whole bunch of geeks hanging out and we love the idea of doing a Harry Potter themed dance,” Cook said. “Especially because it’s around Christmas time and a Yule Ball is just perfectly tied in with that.”

Photo by: Domenica Michelle
Photo by: Domenica Michelle

With the ball’s attendance increasing as time wore on, Bell discussed the possibility of the event impacting future turnout rates for his club’s membership.

“I kinda begged and pleaded with the budget committee to give me enough money to do two big dances per year, one in the fall semester and one in the spring,” Bell said.

Bell said the dances are meant to not only serve the Whitworth student body’s need to let loose once in awhile but to also bring the Swing and Ballroom Dance club out of Graves Gymnasium, where they hold dances every Saturday at 8:30 p.m.