Débutante celebration

The Dancers Ball was a sight to behold at the Barn Palais recently as 400 people gathered to watch 13 young women make their debut into society.

Margaret Cleves School of Dancing and MJ Dance each performed a dance number before the formalities of the evening started and all débutantes had a flower girl from one of the dance schools.

The débutantes wore a tartan sash often in recognition of their family tartan and got ‘piped down’ by bagpiper Janet Bellinger.

Débutantes and their partners performed a choreographed dance, the Queen’s Waltz, with a ‘special person’ and then the Gay Gordon.

The young women were presented to Mount Gambier City Councillor Sonya Mezinec who filled in for Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM.

The guests enjoyed a two-course meal from the Barn Palais and MJ dancer Madi Lane was the MC for the night.

MJ Dance studio director and deb trainer Maria Slape has been training debs for over 35 years.

“My mum trained the debs with the Caledonian Society for the Caledonian Ball and so the year after I made my debut I helped her train debs for a couple of seasons,” she said.

“I would like to get to 40 (years training debs), but I’ll see what happens.

“When it got cancelled at the Barn Palais, we did one year at Casadio Park, but it was not the same.

“There was a time when all débutante balls were cancelled but after a couple of years the interest grew again and we formed the Dancers Ball.”

Mrs Slape said they like to keep the event quite traditional, which she thought was important and beautiful.

“I think it’s nice for kids to learn how to waltz still,” she said.

“It’s lovely to see families get together and celebrating things that are important.

“For some families making your debut is a very important part of growing up. It was for me, it was for my mother, it was for my daughter.”

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