A world of pure imagination

President of the Oakland University Ballroom Dance Club Ria Perez gave dance lessons at the beginning of the ball.

Since the 1970s, the Meadow Brook Ball has brought in students and staff for a night of elegance and dance. The event continued to impress on Friday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Jan 31.

This two-night event had a creative spin on it, and this year’s title said it all: “A World of Pure Imagination.” Students entered Meadow Brook Hall to find it adorned with Willy Wonka-themed decorations and activities throughout the mansion.

Students took part in various activities throughout the ball. At the start of the night, there were ballroom dancing lessons. Later in the night, the ballroom was filled with students and a DJ, creating an energetic environment for the usually-quiet mansion.

A magician roamed the halls of the mansion, performing tricks of the hand to unsuspecting guests. Students visited a photo booth and took pictures with an array of colorful accessories, and sat patiently for a two-minute caricature sketch of themselves and their date. There was also a craft room, where guests decorated bags to fill with candy, and a room to play various card games or even the board game Candy Land.

The Meadow Brook Ball is more than just a game-filled event, though. Jean Ann Miller, director of the Center for Student Activities, explained that the ball feels more sophisticated than what one would expect when met with a college dance.

But if students want to go, they have to work for it. According to Miller, only 300 tickets are sold for each night. 

“Someone was in line at noon the day before tickets went on sale,” Victoria Humbarger, president of the Meadow Brook Ball Committee, said.

According to Miller, the Meadow Brook Ball is something every OU student should experience in their time on campus. By offering two nights, the Ball offered choices for students.

“Friday was more calm. I think most students wanted to go to Saturday’s dance since they had the whole day to prepare and not have to go to class. But having both days made sure more students could get the chance to go,” Miller said.

“We used to only have one, then we changed to having one in the fall and one in the winter. But I think having two back-to-back meets everyone’s needs, since the winter dance is always the most popular,” Miller said.

The process of making the mansion into the desired theme varies every year. For each ball, the entertainment, decor and theme change so attendees experience a new scene.

“I would say that the most exciting part about the ball being in a mansion is just getting to see what an actual mansion looks like,” said William Bunch, an attendee of the Meadow Brook Ball.

Students can visit the mansion during any of their public tour hours for free with their student ids.