Students have a ball at the RenFaire Winter Ball

Tenzin Uden, Campus Life Reporter

Illustration by Amelia Ebling.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, the Renaissance Faire (RenFaire) Planning Committee hosted its first annual Winter Ball. Dressed-up students gathered in the glamorously decorated Reid Ballroom, with round tables around the perimeter of the room leaving adequate space on the dance floor.

Over the course of the evening, the committee performed a short court dance and taught four separate dances — the traditional Renaissance single bransle, the Greek dances Hasaposervikos and Ikariotikos and the “Kingdom Dance” from the movie “Tangled.” There was still plenty of time at the end for students to dance however they wished.

Senior Ilse Spiropoulos is the co-chair of the Whitman Renaissance Faire Planning Committee and has been on the committee for four years. Spiropoulos shared that the group decided to throw the Winter Ball for a variety of reasons.

“The committee just felt like we wanted to put on more events for the community, and when narrowing down ideas, a ball seemed fairly intuitive. We also all just enjoy the opportunity to get in costume and enjoy Renaissance activities, such as dancing and music,” Spiropoulos said. “We already have a fall tournament, a murder mystery, and the faire proper, so it seemed fitting to do something a little softer for our fourth event.”

Spiropoulos explained that by hosting a ball, the committee hoped to have a good time and promote the club and other events that the RenFaire hosts. 

“The entire club and committee is about entertaining the community and preserving Renaissance and RenFaire culture. It’s really great to see everyone get together and have a good time, especially during such a stressful time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Spiropoulos said. “Who doesn’t love a little bit of dress up, some tasty food and dancing with friends?”

The whole planning committee, including Spiropoulos and her fellow co-chair, senior Jaime Fields, put in a lot of love and work to pull off the event. They’re hoping that if this year is a success, the club can continue to host this event and add more in years to come. 

For first-year Annaliese Hopkins, this semester has been her first as a part of the Renaissance Faire Planning Committee. Hopkins had been helping plan this event since the start of the year.

“This ball has been amazing. [The committee] brought it up at the beginning of the year [because] we had always wanted to go to a ball where everyone knew the dances,” Hopkins said. “[The ball] felt like a huge community but also just a fun little fantasy thing.”

Hopkins taught the choreography to the song “Kingdom Dance” from the movie “Tangled.”

“Last summer, one of my friends had a graduation party, and we learned the dance for the ‘Tangled,’ ‘Kingdom Dance.’ [During a RenFaire meeting,] we were talking about different dances to do at the ball, and I [said] I know [one] which is just fun and folksy,” Hopkins said. “I taught myself that, and then I taught everyone else. It went splendidly great.”

Hopkins’ highlight of the night included the Greek dances taught by Spiropoulos. 

“I love Greek dances. I am surprised that I was able to do them because they’re a little tricky, but [Spiropoulos] was very good at teaching,” Hopkins said. “I think [something] that highlights the club is that everyone’s very unique. We’re very open to sharing that uniqueness and making something beautiful out of it.”

First-year Jonathan Becker attended the ball and participated in a few of the dances.

“I was nervous at first, but then when people were just dancing it was so [much] fun. I also liked the food,” Becker said. 

Becker shared that he enjoyed dancing the second Greek dance due to the ease of learning the steps. Becker went into the event without any expectations and was pleasantly surprised by the experience. 

“I was looking forward to coming, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was really fun, and I was excited to be there,” Becker said.

Becker added that he appreciated the Winter Ball’s Renaissance theme and representation of historical dances.

“It was a good opportunity, [and] the people who put it [on] did a really good job … It was like living history,” Becker said. 

For further updates, the Renaissance Faire Planning Committee can be found on Instagram @wcrenfaire.