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Houses Gear Up for Formal Marathon

Five-Day Spree of December Dances to Offer New Twists on Familiar Themes

By Zoe Argento

With the short winter formal season only 22 days away, it's time to get the tuxedo cleaned. And cleaned. And cleaned.

In a five day-marathon from December 8 to December 12, all 12 houses will sponsor the traditional gala events. But this year, students can anticipate a few unusual innovations in addition to the old stand-bys.

Members of the three Quad houses may find themselves sought-after as dates by those eager to attend the first ever Quad-wide formal, to be held at the Wang Center on December 10.

The three house committees hope to "encourage intra-Quad relations" at the joint event, as well as save costs, said Katherine A. Woo '95, co-president of the North House committee.

Other dances to be held off-campus include formals for Mather, Quincy, Winthrop and Leverett Houses.

But Leverett, too, will break from tradition this year by holding its formal at the World Trade Center in downtown Boston.

Although the last two Leverett winter formals have been held in the dining hall (once due to snow) this year's event will be held high above the snow with "a great view of Boston," said Leverett house committee member Delphine L. Chen '95.

Dunster House, as usual, promises to be different. But aside from the date, December 9th, and the hint that the dance will take place on campus, the house committee will maintain secrecy for another week until house members receive their invitations, said house committee member Victor Chiu '95.

In past years, Dunster formal surprises have included karaoke and arts and crafts.

"Dunster tries to put interesting twists on its formals and will do it again this year," Chiu said.

Quincy has reserved the Zanzibar Club of downtown Boston for December 11th. For five dollars, the house members can dance to a club DJ and savor roasted honey and teriyaki wings. In addition, if the guests attend a reception from 10 to 10 p.m., they can pick up two free drink tickets, house committee member Kerri E. Ostergaus '95 said.

Aiming for a more cultural appeal, Mather has reserved the Institute of Contemporary Art. Decoration at this formal will be a mind-broadening "Elvis and Marilyn" exhibit.

The Winthrop dance will be held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. The house committee will provide buses all night to and from the dance, said house committee co-chair Kristin M. Galanek '95.

But she added that Winthrop will enjoy coach buses while Quadlings will take school buses despite nearly identical ticket prices--$15.

Food, decorations and themes are still being decided. For some houses, however, like the Quad dance at the Wang Center, decorations will be unnecessary. All the formals will offer food, with varying degrees of emphasis. Mather will probably have chips and dip. At the other extreme, Kirkland House will offer the traditional house-only dinner followed by a dessert reception, according to house committee members.

Galanek said Winthrop's event will offer a food "by nationality."

Kirkland is the only house with a free formal. But only house members can cash in on this formal--and the free alcoholic beverages, said house committee co-chair Mary E.M. Rocha '95.

For those who want to attend as many formals as possible, however, Dudley House is a must to get started on the formal scene. The Dudley formal takes place December 3 in Lehman Hall. In addition, students at Dudley can rub shoulders with grad students.

The houses also vary widely on the amount they will spend on the formals. Kirkland will probably spend a meager $1,000, Rocha said, but most other houses will spend between $3,000 and $7,000. Leverett's dance at the World Trade Center and Winthrop's at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel stand on the expensive side of $6,000 to $7,000.

The Quad-wide formal tops the chart, however, with a $9,000 budget, house committee members said.

The Quad's costs will be "divided evenly between North, Currier and Cabot at $3,000 dollars each," said Cabot House committee member Charmaine T.M. Chiu '95.

The Quad house committees say they expect that by selling only 600 tickets, the costs will be evenly distributed between houses despite their different sizes.

In addition, a restrictive selling policy should ensure that all Quadlings are able to buy tickets. Tickets will only be on sale for seven days. For the first five, an individual can only buy two tickets. For the last two days, people can buy as many as they want.

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