The second annual Yule Ball, sponsored by the Union Board, took place Friday night in the Indiana Memorial Union’s Alumni Hall. The dance is open to all students and is inspired by the dance of the same name from the “Harry Potter” books and movies.
“Part of our mission as the Union Board is to try to cater to lots of different groups of people,” said Travis Stevens, student director of the Union Board Late Night program. “This event has had a great turnout this year and last year, and it seems to be really engaging for a lot of students.”
Alumni Hall, which can seat up to 400 people, was filled to capacity at last year’s ball, prompting the event’s organizers to open up the Solarium this year as well, Stevens said. If attendance is encouraging again this year, they might consider looking for a larger venue in the future, Stevens said.
Freshmen Madeline Wolf and Trevor Woodall were among the first students to arrive. Dressed in black-tie attire, they stood at a table admiring the lights and decorations in Alumni Hall.
“You know, you don’t get the opportunity to get dressed up very often,” Wolf said. “You just sort of assume that high school prom is the last time you’ll do that. It was fun to be able to get ready for this, and it really does feel kind of magical in here.”
The event offered dancing, games and food, as well as performances from the IU ballroom dance team, the IU Ballet and the break dancing club.
“We’ve been a little tied up with the Nutcracker, so we didn’t create the dance until earlier today,” sophomore ballet dancer Mackenzie Allen said. “But we did this last year and loved it, and I think being asked to perform for events like this is a lot of fun.”
The Yule Ball was run as part of the Late Night program with the Indiana Memorial Union and the Union Board. The IMU has an event every Friday night, with the Union Board planning a larger Friday night event once a month.
“When we do things with the Union Board, it’s meant to be something fun and different to liven up what a Friday night can be,” Mara Dahlgren, IMU program coordinator, said. “This event in particular, as well as most of the things we do with the Union Board, are great ways to meet new people and create a fun experience for a group of friends.”
The Union Board also collaborated with the Student Cinema Guild and the IU Harry Potter Society. Profits from ticket sales served as fundraising for these organizations as well as covering the cost of the event. Students from the Cinema Guild dressed up as some of the more recognizable characters from the Harry Potter series, acting in character whenever they interacted with other students.
“The Harry Potter books and movies were such a defining part of our childhood, and a lot of people our age grew up with them,” said Emma Maidenberg, a Student Cinema Guild officer dressed in a cape and witch’s hat. “I think that makes something like this, where it’s an event straight from the series, seem really exciting to a lot of people.”
As students in suits and full-length gowns continued to flood into Alumni Hall, a student dressed up as Albus Dumbledore from “Harry Potter” addressed the crowd from the stage. After welcoming the students and introducing the performers of the night, he only had four more words for the crowd.
“Let the magic begin.”