It is a few minutes past seven, and the early-bird arrivals are shuffling around the entrance, stopping now and then to sit at round tables while they wait impatiently for the doors of the Student Union Building’s (SUB) Great Hall to open. It is Friday, January 15 — the evening of UFV’s first masquerade ball, hosted by a multitude of clubs: the Why So Serious? club, Arab club, Hip Hop Dance club, Circle K, and Oxfam.
Speaking to a few attendees, there were mixed feelings on what to expect for the evening. Some were confident that the ball would be a success; others were unsure, but still eager to experience it. As more party-goers arrived, the magic of the masquerade gave ordinary university students an air of beautifully-attired mystique. Women wore a mix of cocktail dresses and floor-length ball gowns. Most men opted for the traditional tuxedo, though some wore more vibrant colours. Masks of every shape and form graced the faces of all who attended.
And then the doors opened.
Flashes of light could be seen through the high windows as the party-goers disappeared into the darkened hall. It was like being transported into another world as lights flickered around the room, the DJ confidently mixing away, the floor littered with guests ready for some fun. On one side of the room were tables set up with pizza, samosas, chips, Cheetos, drinks, and so on. A photo booth for selfies was also set up, with a table that had strange-looking glasses and accessories for the photo shoot. A great big teddy bear guarded the photo booth, courtesy of Oxfam.
The mood was infectious, and as a few brave souls began to dance to the beat, one gentleman in particular was setting the stage for the group, wearing a silver mask, deep-blue shirt, and a dark vest. His energy was commendable, and he seemed to fly higher and higher into the air as he danced enthusiastically around the room. A beautifully dressed woman who resembled Cinderella with her royal-blue ball gown and feathered, white mask joined him centre stage — soon, more people decided to join in the fun.
After a while, a highly anticipated flash mob led by the Hip Hop Dance club took over, first mingling in the crowd as ordinary dancers, then proving their skill by strutting their stuff, awing the audience, and putting on a fantastic performance for their first real showing at an event. This garnered the much-needed energy and enthusiasm to keep the party going well into the night.
As the night wore on, several more attendees arrived fashionably late, making grand entrances into the Great Hall and dancing to the beat of the music. Taking a break from the festivities, several of the party-goers relaxed outside and upstairs in the Canoe. One lady in particular was very happy. “I love how everyone is having a good time,” she said. “I transferred from a college, and [it’s great] just seeing everyone being so happy … and the chocolate fountain was pretty amazing too!”
At around nine, the Hip Hop club once again took centre stage and preformed another number flawlessly — the most anticipated event of the night. Well coordinated and intense, it wasn’t hard to see why these dancers were one of the biggest successes of an already successful night. Their energy rubbed off on the crowd, and yet again the party-goers danced as one on the packed dance floor.
The party continued until the exhausted but elated guests left for home. When asked earlier that day what she hoped the event would give UFV’s students, the masquerade’s lead organizer, Mithat Singh, gave this response: “We want to start off the new semester with a bash … just for people to have a good time, have fun, and dance the night away!” And the guests did precisely that.