Debutantes call for traditional ball

A DISTRICT social tradition is set to resume later this year. 

Kerang and District Agricultural Society has put out a call for debutantes to register for this year's ball, scheduled for Friday, May 17.

Kerang and District Agricultural Society has put out a call for debutantes to register for this year's ball, scheduled for Friday, May 17.

Kerang and District Agricultural Society has put out a call for debutantes to register for this year's ball, scheduled for Friday, May 17 in the Memorial Hall.

In 2018 there weren't sufficient numbers to hold the event, show secretary and long-time organiser Sue Poole said.

"But this year we had some inquiries and decided we'd have a ball again," she said. 

Tiana Shepard, who took part in the social coming-out ritual in 2016, described the experience as "awesome".

"It was the best time of my life. I absolutely loved it. If I could do it again tomorrow, I would," the 19-year-old said.

Miss Shepard has been recruited to help organise the event, together with former recent debutante Jorja McDonald.

An earlier graduate of the process, Libby Humphreys, will act as dance trainer together with her fianc√©, Andrew McIntosh. 

Mrs Poole said couples will learn a mix of old fashioned ballroom and rock 'n roll dances.

The ball was a formal event that offered young men and women the chance to learn some etiquette as well, she said.

Tiana Shepard, who still has the song Neon Moon lodged in her memory from her debutante days, said the benefits of being involved were social as well as personal.

"You bond as a group. Dancing can be challenging for some people, but spending one day a week learning these dances in a group is fun," she said. 

"And for the guys, a lot of them start out very nervous and uncomfortable but they build up confidence and a friendship group as well. 

"We've still got the Facebook group from it and we tell each other we should go to Barham RSL to do our old time dancing."

The primary purpose of the evening of course is for the young ladies and their partners to be formally presented to the community, Mrs Poole said.

Miss Shepard agreed the ball was a milestone event that was meaningful to participants and their families. 

"A lot of effort is put into it. It's a big thing," she said.

"I think the dads get a bit funny. They get emotional about it."

Although the time commitment involved is significant, "It's well worth it," Miss Shepard said.

And she said the financial cost didn't need to be high. 

"People are always putting up deb dresses for sale on Facebook. I bought mine second hand and put a brooch on it, and people were saying, 'Holy moly, where did you get that dress?'"

A new committee has been formed to run the ball this year, and is calling for interested girls, with or without partners, to get in touch.

The group will train for around two hours a week leading up to the event, starting in early March.

At the ball, debutante couples would be involved in two or three "presentation dances", followed by general dancing, Mrs Poole said. 

The Friday night event would be enjoyable for both young and old, with local band Endangered Species offering variety that would appeal to both age groups.

She said the night offered past debutantes the opportunity to rekindle happy memories, as well as giving the current crop of young couples the chance to forge them. 

"It's a fun night. They have a terrific time with their mates," she said.

Anyone interested in taking part in this year's debutante ball should contact the show secretary on 5452 2976 as soon as possible.

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