Under new leadership, this year’s Winter Ball has been revamped, revitalized and relocated.
Winter Ball, traditionally held in Commons, will take place this year in the Ezra Stiles and Morse college dining halls. The Feb. 15 event will retain its formal characteristics but will keep few other elements that have defined the dance in past years. The separate dining halls will serve to accommodate two musical acts — a band and a D.J.
Since being nominated as the Winter Ball co-chairs, Yale College Council representatives Dennis Hong ’05 and Tammer Qaddumi ’06 said they have worked hard to spice up the gala.
“We wanted to make [the Winter Ball] a little more outrageous,” Hong said. “But still classy.”
Similar to the layout of Casino Night — where one dining hall is used as a dance floor, while the other is used as a casino floor — Winter Ball will use the Ezra Stiles and Morse dining halls to offer Yalies a choice of music. Sonido Unidad, a salsa band, will provide live music in one of the dining halls, while a D.J. will spin a variety of hip-hop and dance music in the other room.
When Hong and Qaddumi began planning the Winter Ball last November, they rejected the idea of having a large dance with one featured band. In the past, the YCC has transformed Commons into an elegant dance room. But this year, the co-chairs decided the event should feature two musical acts performing simultaneously. In turn, they needed a location that could accommodate the two musical features. Functionally, and also pricewise, Commons was not a logical location for the ball, Hong said.
“When you book Commons, you have to pay for Commons’ catering service and the space did not work with our plan for the event,” Hong said. “It was too restrictive.”
Silliman College was considered a possible alternative because its large common room could function as the ball’s second dance floor. Yet the unrenovated college proved problematic after Silliman Master Judith Krauss stipulated that the YCC could only have a maximum of 1,000 students, Hong said.
“We didn’t want people to have to wait outside to get into the dance,” Hong said.
Qaddumi said he thinks having the Winter Ball in Ezra Stiles and Morse will work well.
“The venue is smaller than Commons but it will be more intimate,” said Qaddumi.
Normally an event that attracts Yale freshmen and sophomores, Winter Ball organizers will advertise the event as an evening festivity for all Yale classes, with additional incentives for the senior class. Senior Class President Katharine Cole ’03 said she told YCC President Andrew Allison ’04 that she wanted an event to which the senior class could go together.
“The senior class has really come together this year,” Cole said in an e-mail. “I think seniors are eager to take advantage of all sorts of Yale activities that, perhaps, individuals haven’t checked out in their past three years.”
Citing her own memories of the Winter Ball, Cole said the ball’s formal character distinguished the event from other dances held in Yale dining halls.
“There aren’t that many opportunities in a year to dress up for,” Cole said.
Juniors and seniors, who remembered Winter Balls from past years, said they are intrigued by the ball’s redesign.
“I remember that the dance felt like you were dressing up for your prom,” Giovanna Masci ’04 said. “But two dance floors would give people a greater variety. It sounds much cooler.”
Hong and Qaddumi said they hope these types of sentiments bring all of Yale to the Winter Ball this year.
“There’s going to be a lot going on,” Qaddumi said. “People won’t get bored.”