By Abby Wooster | Staff Writer
In glittering gowns, sharp suits and magnificent masks, students swung, snowballed, skipped, waltzed and wobbled at the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club’s Masquerade on the evening of Friday, Nov. 18.
The inside perimeter of the chapel glowed with decorative lights, making for a glamorous yet inviting dance floor. After whirling and twirling to swing music, students gathered in a circle to take part in the “Snowball” dance, which is especially popular in large group settings.
In the middle of the circle stood a few “starting” couples, who linked arms, spun around and disbanded so that they could pull students from the outside circle onto the dance floor and repeat. As the dancers in the middle grew and grew, the circle faded into nothing, and the dance floor was teeming with skipping people.
Senior August Albers, president of the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club, counted almost 90 students at the Masquerade, marking a big milestone for the club.
“In past years, we have had good turn-out, but nothing like this,” said Albers.
In the summer after his freshman year, Albers received an email from the previous club officers asking him to be the president, so that the club would “stay alive.” At the time, there were only seven members in the club. So, to Albers, hosting 90 students felt like the culmination of the hard work of Swing and Ballroom’s leadership.
“We have worked really hard at advertising posters,” explained Albers. “We have more officers [and are] connected to different social groups now [and] because of that, we are able to reach more people.”
After the “Snowball” dance and some more swing dancing, students gathered for another group dance to the song “Marie’s Wedding.” As the music played, each pair skipped together forward four counts, turned around, skipped backward four counts and then repeated the same skips in the opposite direction. After this, the two circles moved in opposite directions, acquainting each student with a new dance partner for the next round.
The time came for the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club to announce the winner of the ‘best mask’ contest. It came as no surprise that Freshman Gwen Brantner won. She handmade her pink and white sparkly mask into the shape of a butterfly and decorated it with flowers, lace embroidery and appliques.
Brantner was inspired by the Cinderella story movie “Ever After.” “[In the movie], she goes to the Masquerade and [looks] like a white butterfly,” explained Brantner. Brantner’s intricate work won her a Venetian mask from Italy, paid for by the club.
After crowning Brantner, students gracefully curtsied, bowed and glided along to the Spanish Waltz.
Not only did the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club plan traditional songs and dances for the Masquerade, but they also planned V.I.C.’s “Wobble,” to which almost everybody piled onto the dance floor.
As Albers transitions into his last semester at Whitworth, he and other officers are preparing the club’s future leadership team to continue their legacy.
“Every November, [for the last three years], we have started doing a Masquerade. I think it’s going to continue with our next leadership and kind of the structure we’ve set up,” explained Albers. “We have taught all of our [upcoming] officers so now they’re all equipped to keep it going. So, I’m super excited for this to be an annual [event].”