By Welmoed van Ens
The announcement of the grand Bal Masqué was, beyond any doubt, pleasant news to the ladies who had been lobbying for the coveted masks. However, many students are questioning the choice of date – Friday before the break. Isn’t that traditionally the night when our instincts lead us to the bar to dance the stress away in a less sophisticated fashion? And what about the internationals who have already reserved their tickets home and our fellow hitch-hikers, ready to set off for Barcelona the very next day?
UCSA board secretary Valeria Boers-Trillers explains that “there are quite a lot of events coming up after the break, so there was no room for prom there. The venue we liked was available the weekend before and after midterms, so we weighed the pros and cons. It seemed like a bad idea to organize a prom two days before exams, so the decision fell on March 15”.
Though it’s not just the travellers that question the timing of the event. Many don’t feel like being on their best behavior after weeks of stress and rigid work. A night at our familiar bar might seem more appealing, even if it leaves us with a slight headache and only a handful of hazy memories afterwards.
Is prom really such a big deal compared to a party in the bar or are we making a mountain out of a mole-hill? A close look at the invitations sent by the Board reveals an underlying theme very similar to midterm parties. In fact, very similar to parties in general. The proposal to “make merry, tempt, seduce, engage in acts of foolishness and wantonness” suggests that the atmosphere will be lively and relaxed, instead of formal and square-toed.
When we look at prom this way, it seems silly to dwell on the date. Of course it’s not just a party for which we happen to hoist ourselves into a fancy dress. We spend a fair amount of money on a ticket and the perfect attire. We spend hours dressing up and make an exception to our campus-only rule, heading for the city centre. In return, we expect something special.
The Prom Team is aiming for a “mysterious and elegant ambiance”, says member Raluca Ciausoiu. The parade of masks and special outfits should go a long way towards creating this atmosphere. “We have also prepared a variety of entertainment so that everyone will have a good time.” It seems like the Prom Team is doing their best to balance a degree of formality and a relaxed atmosphere.
The UCSA board may not have picked the most convenient night, but any other date would have raised different objections. For those of us that are still desperately upset over the absence of a midterm party: prom ends at 3 AM. You can misbehave to your heart’s content at the after party in our very own bar, which will continue well into the morning.