You’re Invited!

Kate McMillan_Staff Illustrator_Dance_1018
// Kate McMillan

Last Saturday’s Inaugural Ball proved that Yale knows how to get down (and keep it supremely classy while doing so). We at WEEKEND, from what we can remember, had a glorious time, and now are desperate to know: in light of the ball’s inevitable passing, what event will step up to claim the title of Yale’s Next Best Dance?

 

Yale Does Diwali

I’m going to preface this one by saying I was that girl in high school. And by “that girl,” I obviously mean the one who pushed for “Bollywood” to be my school’s prom theme every year. My dream date is Hrithik Roshan and all of the songs played would have to be from “Khabi Kushi Kabi Gam.” Needless to say, I was in the minority, and I sucked it up to have fun in “Fire and Ice”- or “Midsummer Night’s Dream”-themed spaces. But I am still waiting to whip out the sari my best friend from high school bought me on Devon Avenue. And you know what is coming up next month? Diwali.

Maybe you celebrate Diwali at home, maybe you came to Yale for exposure to different cultures, or maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about. For the last groups, Diwali is the five-day Hindu “festival of lights.” For all groups, let us get together for a marathon of partying and drinking Taj Mahals (or a mango lassi — but remember, you must be 21 to consume alcohol in the State of Connecticut).

Each day, the quality of dancing would get better and better as the student body gets to know the traditional dances. People would stop just “screwing in the light bulb and petting the dog” and begin to engage in a complex interweaving reminiscent of that scene in “Pride and Prejudice” with Keira Knightly, and also I guess that scene in “Bride and Prejudice.”

Each Indian restaurant would cater a different day. This way, students can finally end the classic Thali Too vs. Zaroka debate, and those other Indian restaurants near Chapel and Howe could get their names on the map so that Indian-ophiles like me would remember them, unlike now.

As a New York City ad campaign has recently taught me, “We’re a culture, not a costume,” so I want everyone to know I mean this with absolutely no pretense whatsoever. I would love it if the Yale community could come together to learn more about the importance of this holiday, giving those who celebrate at home a chance to share it with their friends. I am sure something like this happens (hi, invite me), but Yale has never seen it like this.

 

Disney, College Style

Throwing a Disney sing-along dance is like providing condoms in entryways: the University knows an event is imminent and so might as well provide the resources for it to happen safely. Now that Safety Dance has been cancelled, Yale no longer oversees the inevitable girls’ wearing spandex and neon — Dean Gentry has delegated that responsibility to Toad’s. Now, rather than being offensive on grounds of public decency, the outfits at Yale’s biggest dance risk offending the politically correct partygoer: every vaguely Indian, Middle Eastern, or Hispanic-looking girl comes dressed as Pocahontas.

When they first walk in, partygoers take turn posing with Woody and Buzz cutouts (so they can advertise who their best friends are posting the photos on Facebook in case they’ve already used the “‘23 things best friends do’ Buzzfeed link on the wall” move). The music first starts up with selections from “The Little Mermaid.” When “Part of Your World” comes on, collective euphoria overwhelms the mob, which has already formed a ring around the dance floor. “Bright young women, sick of swimmin’: ready to stand!” prompts especially dramatic pull-your-fists-into-your-chest gesturing. Next is the “Circle of Life” moment, and some guy raises up a bottle of Bacardi like it’s baby Simba.

The staff behind the “Lady and the Tramp”-themed spaghetti counter look the other way. When the DJ — who pretends never to have seen Disney movies because of their mainstream appeal — plays “Mulan,” a number of kids shuffle out: they’ve sung the first two lines of “Let’s Get Down to Business” so enthusiastically that it’s too embarrassing for them to stick around mumbling the rest of the lyrics. The end of the night leaves a very drunk circle of die-hard fans with their arms around one another, swaying, singing, “You’ve got a friend in me.” “This is just like my bar mitzvah!” one kid exclaims.

 

A Seminar-Themed Affair

Dances are festive, inebriated affairs, free of Yale’s social mores like “stressing out,” “walking upright” and “being able to identify the gender of the person you are making out with.” Yes indeed, dances are a blast. You look forward to them all year and show up ready to impress. Then there’s a stampede at the door as everyone tries to get in, and your outfit that you thought was just SO cute is nothing compared to the next girl’s. You finally enter, and it turns out that it’s kinda the same as all the other dances: people who think they can dance, people getting sloppy, the music sucks, and despite this all your friends are apparently having the time of their lives. Plus, get ready for the hangover. And you didn’t even get any action. So that’s dances.

Seminars are sober and academic, where we go to interact meaningfully with our peers and use words like “problematic” and “dialectic.” The best seminars are among the best moments of your college career. You look forward to them from the moment you spot one in your Blue Book, and you show up ready to do all the reading and contribute meaningfully. Then you get there and there are 35 people trying for 18 spots and people are forced to sit on each other’s laps in LC 213 and the comment you made wilts compared to the next girl’s. But you stick it out and get in off the waitlist only to find out that it’s pretty similar to the seminar you took last year: intolerably self-important assholes, no one does the reading, the professor is a bore, and despite this everyone else talks about how much they love him. Just wait until the final paper. And you didn’t even get any action. So that’s dances. Wait, I mean, so that’s seminars.

Crowds, disappointment, redundancy, sexual frustration: Dances and seminars are exactly the same.

In light of this I propose a seminar-themed dance. Or perhaps a dance-themed seminar; who can tell the difference? In any case, applications would be due by 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28. A short statement of interest/whether or not you’re DTF is required. Some may require a twerking sample of no more than 500 words. Preference to majors and people wearing neon spandex.

 

Show Some Skin, 18th Century Style

This is the start of a long, long journey upwards. The Inaugural Ball, in truth, was simply an enjoyable, glorified club night, and just the beginning of centuries of smashing parties and classy balls at Yale. Since Yale obviously has no qualms against hosting Woad’s (of sorts) straight on campus (no need for the stumble to Toad’s and back), I say we kill the restraints.

The Inaugural Ball was all fun and games, but if we can’t match spirit of Toad’s, I say we’ve failed. We want Toad’s Place with a flourish of Bulldog spirit and a veneer of class.

What ungrateful, wretched children are we if we do not celebrate the founding of our glorious university? It’s October 9th and the night is young. Women, grit your teeth and flatten that tummy as your suitemate yanks relentlessly on those corset strings. Curl your hair, don your gown, your petticoat and your slippers. Embellish with ruffles.

Men, pull on your stockings, breeches and your buckled shoes. Wear your knee-length coat over your waistcoat. Place that colonial hat on your head. Be not shy because this is the Founder’s Day Ball: annual, socially mandatory and shameless.

There shan’t be any more heels sinking into the soft grass. No more tripping over the cracks on the paths of Old Campus. No more strange ambient lighting underneath a colossal tent where the strobe lights fade into the thick air. This one’s going to be at Commons, where the black lights shine blue and the strobe lights pulse and the dirty beat drops.

We tip our hats to the founders with our swanky garb, but this one’s for the rebels. It’s for the card-playing, tavern-hopping, skirt-chasing, rule-breaking sons of the elite back in the day. So don’t be afraid to flash a little ankle to get the boys’ hearts racing. Feel free to shimmy up to that girl with the nice ruffles. Boola boola, Bulldogs. Happy Founder’s Day – we keep it classy at Yale.

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