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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Ring Dance to celebrate final days for A&M seniors

Photo by File

Photos from the 1966 Aggie Ring Dance.

This Saturday will mark the 81st annual Aggie Ring Dance, an A&M tradition with deep roots.

Aggie Ring Dance began in 1936 when a group of graduating seniors marked their final days in Aggieland with a dance dedicated to the token of their senior year, the Aggie Ring. This year’s Ring Dance will be held from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday on the second floor of the MSC. 

Ring Dance was designed to be the event during which graduating seniors turn their Aggie Ring from facing themselves to facing outward, symbolizing their readiness to face the world, according to the Class Councils website. 

After eight decades, Aggie Ring Dance has undergone many changes in size, location and entertainment. Ring Dance today is hosted by Class Councils, the traditions organization in charge of hosting events such as Maroon Out, Elephant Walk and Pull Out Day, among others. 

Evan Shaffer, public relations director of Ring Dance and communication senior, said one of the major changes is the number of rooms used for the event.

“The size of the room has progressed tremendously,” Shaffer said. “It was just one room all the way up until 1978 and then they added one.”

By 1997 Shaffer said A&M had eight rooms in use for the event — the largest number of rooms ever dedicated to Ring Dance. Since then the size has gradually decreased back to four rooms.

There have been three years in A&M’s history in which two Ring Dances were held to accommodate students. In 1943 and 1945 adjustments were made to graduation dates because of World War II, which led to one dance being hosted in January and another in May.

According to Shaffer, seniors made a second ring replica and told their dates that it was necessary to go through both rings at the 1941 dance in a scheme to get an extra kiss. 

The 2016 Ring Dance theme is “A Global Affair,’” with four rooms representing a different famous location including Beijing, Paris, Casablanca and Rio de Janeiro.

Ring Dance serves as a fundraiser for the seniors’ class gift, Shaffer said. 

“All the money that we make goes to [the senior] class gift,” Shaffer said. “There is no cash that we keep on hand — it all goes back to the school. And in 1999 we raised $99,000. It is always something to shoot for.”

Jill Palmer, head director of Ring Dance and international studies senior, said there has been a decline in attendance each year.  To combat the shrinking attendance there has been a larger focus on publicizing the event this year, Palmer said.

“We are really pushing the tradition with a big social media presence to try and make people aware that this is an actual thing­. It’s not some kind of corny prom,” Palmer said. “It is a tradition deeply rooted with 81 years of history behind it.”

Palmer said Ring Dance is an important part of the Aggie experience because it is the last tradition before graduation. 

“I think [Ring Dance] is important because it’s your last tradition before graduation,” Palmer said. “It’s a moment of closure to reminisce on your time and memories you’ve made over your four years at A&M . .. Ring Dance is one big celebration to just have fun, reminisce and get prepared for after graduation.”

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