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Halloween is just around the corner, and for many members of the UR community, that means it’s time to shine their dancing shoes and break out their swankiest outfits — that’s right, the Ballroom Dance Club is gearing up for their annual Viennese Ball, which will be held this Saturday, Oct. 29, in Wilson Commons.

This year’s festivities will remain grounded in the traditions of the ball but will also feature a brand new element — a formal dinner just before the dance. Tickets to the dinner, which will be catered by and held at the Meliora Restaurant, cost $23 (which includes entrance to the dance) and are available at the Common Market. Costing only $8 more than admission to the dance alone (approximately the price of a Philly cheesesteak and drink at The Commons), UR Ballroom hopes this new element will further increase student interest in the already growing event.

According to Ballroom Dance Club President and junior Scott Lucchini, putting the Viennese Ball together each year requires a lot of planning within the University community and beyond it. Among these challenges, the group has to work with Event Support and administration to plan dates and times, pull together student musicians for the event’s orchestra and organize practices for them, as well as contact members of the wider Rochester dance community to find outside groups to perform. This year, Michelle Madore’s DanceSport will provide the ball’s live dance entertainment.

Two years ago, the Viennese Ball was held at the Radisson hotel in downtown Rochester, but last year the event was moved back on campus. According to Lucchini, keeping the event at the University is crucial to preserving its historical context.

“The original Viennese Ball — as hosted by the music department years ago — was on campus, and I feel that that is the true vision of the ball,” Lucchini said.  “We actually put a lot of work into bringing the ball back on campus last year, and I think that having the ball in Wilson Commons continues the original tradition of the Viennese Ball, and it encourages more students to attend due to the added convenience.”

In Lucchini’s eyes, the future is strong for the Viennese Ball and the Ballroom Dance Club as a whole. His vision for the ball is to expand it into “more of a Rochester tradition,” rather than just a campus one. In terms of the club itself, he hopes to see it grow into a more well-known group on campus. This year, he says he hopes to integrate a performance component into the group, which will allow them to hold joint events with other dance organizations on campus.

As for the here and now though, Lucchini simply emphasized that students give the Viennese Ball a try, regardless of their experience or skill level with the waltz.

“The Viennese Ball is one of the longest running traditions at the UR,” he said. “It is a fantastic experience walking around Wilson Commons with everyone in tuxes and ball gowns, and it is something no one should miss while here at the UR.”

Fleming is a member of the class of 2013.

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