Oct 112006
Authors: Marissa HuttonGavel

Though most people probably don’t think polka when they think Saturday night, the 23rd annual Wild Goose Masquerade Ball this Saturday promises to be an experience to remember.

“Dancers in elegant evening clothes will once again swirl around the hall levitated by the timeless beauty of Strauss waltzes,” Randy Lumb, co-founder of the one of the ball’s sponsors, said of the ball.

Lumb and his friend Lex Krausz, a CSU alumnus, threw the first Wild Goose Masquerade Ball in October 1984.

The duo also founded Friends of Traditional Dance, a non-profit organization which is co-sponsoring the ball with the CSU Swing Society. According to their Web site, www.fotd.org, FOTD is “dedicated to the preservation and promotion of old-time and traditional dance forms through community dances.”

Since it’s beginning in 1983, FOTD has hosted 44 traditional balls with a variety of music provided by the Denver-based “Mostly Strauss Orchestra,” also known as the Denver Pops.

“The 50-piece orchestra plays three sets of music which last from 8 to 11:30 in the evening. Each song of the first and the third sets are written down on dance cards that each person receives before the dance,” explained Moriah Eberhard, spokeswoman for the Swing Society and junior biological sciences major. “These are to write down your dance partners for each dance.”

This is a long-standing tradition that came out of old European balls centuries ago to help people meet prospective socialites whom they might like to date.”

Along with the annual spring ball, “The Wild Asparagus,” the club also holds weekly events with live music, lessons and dances including; African, Latin American, Cajun, Big Band Swing, Vintage Western Swing, Ragtime and Ballroom.

The Wild Goose Ball, was given its name because “It sounds un-serious,” Lumb said.

Lumb expects approximately 300 people to attend the ball, most of whom he says will be from CSU.

“About a quarter of the 300-350 attendees are students,” Lumb said. “There are usually people there from out-of-state or other countries, but most come from the Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins areas.”

The event features classical music for waltzes and polkas, the as well as 20th century ballroom dance musical along with a costume parade, with prizes for the best get-ups.

“I have been one time and my experience with it was fabulous,” sophomore biological sciences major and secretary for the Swing Society, Ashley Tolbert said. “Getting to watch members of several aspects of the Fort Collins community get together for a fun night of music and dancing is always a good time.”

According to the FOTD Web site, “You are always encouraged to wear a costume of any shape or form to the Wild Goose Ball. You decide your own theme – whether it be vintage dance wear or a character from Star Trek-just keep in mind that you’re going to be dancing, too.”

Lumb, who admits he “loves dancing,” sees the annual ball as a special event as there is always live music and “DJs are fun- bands are real.”

“One reason the ball has been so popular is that the waltz and polka are easy folk dances – they just seem exquisite when you’re dancing to Strauss.”

Tolbert agreed.

“From what I saw at last year’s event, it seems to turn out to be a wonderful night for everybody.”

Assistant news editor Marissa Hutton-Gavel can be reached at verve@collegian.com


Students ticket prices: $20, $25 for non-students

  • To purchase tickets for the ball call the Campus Box Office at 970 491-4849 or visit csutix.com

  • A FREE waltz and polka lesson for CSU students is tonight at the Rec. Center from 8:30-10:30p.m.

  • For schedules and more information about where FOTD hold their weekly dances and other special events visit their Web site, www.fotd.org.

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