By Patricia Brennan
Winter Cotillion has been a time-honored tradition at the University of Dallas since 1994. This year, the event has come under new leadership and will have some changes from previous years.
Typically hosted by the Residence Hall Association (RHA), Winter Cotillion has always catered more toward freshmen and sophomores. Since RHA will now be focusing solely on events in residence halls, leadership of the dance has been passed to Student Programming at UD (SPUD). This year, the dance will be coordinated by senior Maria Jose Herrera, SPUD socials coordinator.
This year’s Winter Cotillion is attempting to draw in more upperclassmen. Reduced prices for juniors and seniors have been under consideration. Regular ticket prices are $5 for singles and $7 for couples. There will also be a cash bar for those of age.
In past years, attendees filled out dance cards and the music consisted of formal dances such as waltzes and tangos. This year, the first two and half hours will be the same as the past, with traditional dances. The last hour and a half, however, will be set aside for modern dancing to a DJ.
Many changes were initially proposed for Winter Cotillion. SPUD’s original intent was to change the event completely from a formal occasion to a much more modern dance. However, several students expressed how much they enjoyed Winter Cotillion and loved the event the way it was.
“It’s one of my favorite events at the University of Dallas,” said Dominic Dougherty, student government senior class representative. “I just think it’s something that really makes the university unique.”
Changes were necessary, however, since this year’s Winter Cotillion does not have the same budget as it has in previous years. In the past, RHA has had a budget of approximately $2,000. When leadership for the Winter Cotillion passed over to SPUD, the budget decreased. Though SPUD has a large budget, only a certain amount is allocated for social events, and it must be split between Winter Cotillion and Spring Formal. In order to make up for the budget decrease, Cotillion will not have some of its usual staples, such as an ice sculpture and chocolate fondue.
Initially, the plan was to also save money by entirely replacing Cotillion’s traditional live band with a DJ. But senior Laura Aumen took charge and was able to find a band within the allotted budget. She led efforts to arrange for the jazz band to perform at Cotillion.
“Laura just felt that the live band really makes Winter Cotillion,” Dougherty said. “She didn’t have to, but it was really important to her, so she really stepped up and made it happen.”
Dave Washburn’s Three Quarters Fast Jazz Band, a six-person traditional jazz ensemble, will be playing a mixture of jazz music, waltzes and Latin pieces.
Last year, the band was unable to perform due to a large ice storm, but the event continued as scheduled with a student DJ. SPUD members were originally wary about hiring a band again not only because of the budget, but also because the school was forced to pay last year’s performers even though they did not show up.
Aumen heard this year’s band play before signing them to perform at Cotillion.
“They’re absolutely amazing,” she said.
Later in the evening, a DJ will take over from the band. The mix will allow both those who want a formal affair and those who prefer a modern dance with a party-style atmosphere a chance to enjoy Winter Cotillion.
Despite the changes, many aspects of the dance will remain the same.
“This year as usual we will be offering hors d’oeuvres, cigars, flowers, dance cards and a live band,” Herrera said. “In addition we will be adding a DJ late in the dance and a color palette for ladies on Pinterest.”
This year will feature a dark, icy theme, with dark colors such as grays and blues, as the proposed palette. Students are encouraged to match their dresses or ties with the palette.
Dougherty says some of the changes “may not fill a need,” but he does not imagine attendance will be affected. He says that the event is always well attended, and he expects that this year will be no different.
“I am looking forward to having yet another successful and fun Winter Cotillion,” Herrera said.