Costumed CSU students and community members will waltz around the Lory Student Center’s main ballroom at the 50th annual Wild Goose Masquerade Ball tonight.
The event, which is sponsored by the CSU Swing Society and the Fort Collins Friends of Traditional Dance, will take place from 8 to 11:30 p.m. and feature the musical stylings of the Mostly Strauss Orchestra from Denver.
This is the first of two yearly swing balls (a fall and spring ball) that are designed to take its attendees back to a simpler time of dancing, ball coordinator Shelly Kerr said.
“We try to bring back tradition through dance. Lots of these dances — swing, waltzes and polkas — have great traditional history. The other cool part of this is the spectacle that this event usually creates,” Kerr, a CSU alumnus, said. “It’s not often that you can hear or see a 50-piece orchestra, let alone be able to have a full fledged ball to its live music.”
The Mostly Strauss Orchestra does swing ball events as part of their annual concert tour and conductor Zenia Richardson said the group is always excited about doing these events and for the opportunity to reach a younger audience.
“It’s a great exposure opportunity for us. We get our names out there, and we get to play our brand of dance style orchestra that is really the only type in Denver,” Richardson said.
Another big aspect of the ball is the costumes and attire of audience members. The semi-casual event allows people to show up in anything from full-blown ball gowns and tuxedos to ethnic costumes due to its seasonal nature and closeness to Halloween.
Judges will give out awards for the most original and danceable male, female and couples attire worn to the dance.
Kerr said the ball is expected to draw anywhere from 350-400 people and will charge $20 for students and $25 for adults.
“Everything in the ball is volunteer, so all the money we raise goes straight to the expenses of putting the ball on,” she said.
One of the most interesting aspects of the ball, Kerr said, is the large demographic of people it draws in. Over the last few years, the ball has seen an increase in the number of college students who attend.
“I’d say at least a third of the people who come are CSU students. The rest are in a group of as young as 17 to people who are in their 70’s and still dance. It’s a lot of fun,” Kerr said.
Tonya Tooley, a sophomore business administration major, said she is excited for the event, and, as someone who enjoys dancing often, she said it is a unique opportunity for people to learn new dances.
“I think it’s great anytime some sort of dance event is held, especially one as unique as this. It should be a lot of fun just from the stand point that you can meet a different group of people then you might normally deal with,” Tooley said.
Staff writer Vince Crespin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.