Winter Cotillion 2012: ‘Yule Ball’

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Akiko Bremar, Contributing Writer

What better way to spend the first night of December than at a winter cotillion decorated to look just like a scene taken out of Harry Potter?

Saturday, Dec. 1, from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m., University of Dallas students gathered in Haggar Café for the Winter Cotillion held by the Residence Hall Association. An event that many students look forward to every year, the cotillion was made even more exciting this year because its theme was the “Yule Ball,” which was taken from the fourth book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

“I was looking forward to the dance this year because I heard what the theme was and thought it sounded really cool,” said junior attendee Tiffany Tran. “I knew that they were planning on getting extra-special decorations, so I wanted to see what it was going to look like. In addition, the food is always really good at Winter Cotillion, and the mini chocolate cakes always seal the deal for me.”

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Yule Ball is a formal dance held on Christmas Eve, from 8 p.m. until midnight. The dance held in Haggar Café was very similar, since the decorations were inspired by Harry Potter.

Clockwise, from top left: the Yule Ball ice sculpture, pride and joy of the RHA Yule Ball decorating wizards; seniors Teresa Shumay and Matt Romero observe all decorum on the dance floor; seniors Tara McCrorey, Regina Streett, Liz McClernon, Claire Holman and “Party” Marty Welsh pose during a brief pause in the dancing; juniors Charmi Vance, Justin Blan and Stephen Lopke and senior Matthew Blan capture the evening’s elegance with their fine apparel; senior Michael Tann turns sophomore Kathryn Gibbs with characteristic style in one of many exhibitions of his dancing skills that night; and seniors Claire Eastaway and Matthew deGrood, hands locked in long-awaited embrace, are all smiles for the (delighted) camera.

“We chose the Yule Ball as a theme because we wanted to attract a lot of attention,” said sophomore Kayla Nguyen, vice president of RHA. “UD is very knowledgeable about Harry Potter and we figured that they would love the theme. Winter Cotillion is obviously our Christmas dance at UD, so we decided to tie themes from Harry Potter’s Christmas dance and make everything extra fun.”

RHA carefully picked out special decorations including a Gryffindor shield, handmade chandeliers outside the entrance of the dance, an imitation Goblet of Fire, golden Snitches on each table, and a very special ice sculpture which read “Yule Ball.”

“If people didn’t already like the ice sculpture, which is what we thought was the coolest decoration, we also added love potions to the punch,” said junior RHA member Mark Toffler. “We hope everyone had a great time and liked what we did for them; we spent seven hours preparing for the dance!”

In addition to the Harry Potter decorations, RHA made sure to get many Christmas decorations as well. There were several Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths, lights and snowflakes throughout the dance room.

Students had the opportunity to dance seven different styles of dance including the merengue, fox-trot, tango, waltz, swing and more. What makes this event different is that it truly is a formal event, where women receive roses upon entry and men receive cigars. Each attendee is also given a dance card with empty slots so that he or she can find a dance partner for each dance. The music, played by a live band, is always kept appropriate for a winter cotillion theme.

“I thought the dance was a lot of fun and very festive,” said junior Mary McCarthy. “I loved dancing, even when I did not know how to dance the merengue. Everyone was dressed up really nicely and the atmosphere was great. The decorations were especially cool and I really liked the ice sculpture!”

“Everyone was smiling and had happy faces; I think that they had an enjoyable time,” said sophomore Chris Goldkamp, RHA president. “There was a much larger turnout than we had expected, and we were surprised by how fast people started dancing. Overall, I would say the event was a great success!”

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