Walking to the Tinkham Veale University Center on Oct 8, I had reasonable expectations for “Tinkerball”, the annual Homecoming dance put on by the University Program Board. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high in case they were crushed, despite having heard the event was a big hit last year. When I entered the ballroom, I knew right away this year’s “Tinkerball” was definitely not going to be the same as last year’s.
At 8 p.m., I stared at the ballroom and the word that best described what I saw is sad. Although it was the homecoming dance, there was hardly anyone present, and as the night progressed, those numbers would drop rapidly. There was hardly a soul on the dance floor, and those that were there primarily stood around, awkwardly swaying off beat to the music.
Strolling past the sad sight, I continued to the food, hoping maybe that could be the saving grace, and was met with no such luck. I knew that only light food was going to be provided, but I still couldn’t hide my disappointment when I was met with a sad display of vegetable spring rolls—that honestly couldn’t be called spring rolls: sweet bell peppers, French bread, pita bread, an assortment of cheeses and cheesecake with some other tart. I love cheese and cheesecake with a passion, so I was able to fill up on that, but it was clear other attendees were not happy with the assortment of food provided. As for beverages, the only options were lemonade and unsweetened ice tea, so I settled for ice tea, dumping six packets of sugar into the tiny cup.
Homecoming week’s theme this year is “Geek Week,” and this was hardly reflected in “Tinkerball,” save for an oddly placed periodic table tucked away in the corner. The ball was more carnival themed, which was disconnected from the Homecoming theme. As a part of this theme, there were two magicians, a juggler, two stilt walkers and two aerialists. It is this group of performers that I felt the most sorry for. Despite performing, hardly anyone paid them attention, too busy trying to dance or talk instead. The dance floor was at one end of the room and the performers at other end, not at all conducive to highlighting their performances. It’s a shame, because they were clearly talented but not even given the time of day. It got to the point where most of them stopped performing and started taking selfies and playfully dancing with one another, disregarding the students.
Now we enter upon the largest problem of the event: the music. The music gives the dance energy. If people don’t know the song or it’s not really a song you can dance to, then it probably shouldn’t be played. More often than not, the music was not acceptable for the setting. There were a few songs that people were able to get into, but those were few and far between. Unfortunately this hurt the event a lot. There were numerous moments when I would overhear someone say, “How do you dance to this?” or “My middle school dances were better than this.” It’s sad this dance was one of the first impressions of the dances here at Case Western Reserve University for the freshmen that dominated the event. As a result, when sucky songs played, flocks of students would immediately leave, shrinking the already small population.
Around 9:15 p.m., there were maybe 15 people left. As soon as “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande played, that number quickly dropped, and who can blame them? Unless you’re veering into interpretive dance, the song is hardly one you can dance to in this setting. Towards, 9:30 p.m., the DJ bombarded the few people left with back-to-back to back Justin Bieber songs, resulting in only four people being left on the dance floor. I like to stay for the entirety of dances, but as soon as it was clear the music was headed towards electronic dance music, I bowed out.
I can honestly say the only reason why I stuck around for as long as I did was because of the availability of cheese and cheesecake. Had those been taken away sooner, I would have left a lot earlier. I’m not sure why this event turned out as it did. In the past, every event I have gone to thrown by University Program Board has always been a good time, but this one was not nearly up to par with the group’s other events. I’m hoping that as the year progresses, this will not be a trend at their events, but only time will tell.
Group: University Program Board
When: Sat. Oct. 8, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom
Rating: 2/5 Stars