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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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A&M to host 82nd annual ring dance this weekend

The+large+Ring+Dance+ring+sculpture+was+the+highlight+of+the+night
Photo by Photo by: Brian Okosun

The large Ring Dance ring sculpture was the highlight of the night

The more than 80-year-old tradition of Ring Dance began as an idea among a group of seniors wishing to celebrate their graduating class. On May 15, 1936, Ring Dance was held for the first time in one single room, with a string orchestra as the entertainment for the night.

 From its humble beginnings, Ring Dance has developed over the years, reaching attendance counts of 1,100 and expanding throughout eight rooms in the MSC. In the spirit of its continuing growth, this year’s Ring Dance will be held in the Hall of Champions, a sleek venue overlooking Kyle Field, on Saturday, April 29 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

 The event has traditionally served as a rite of passage for the senior class, according to Claire Wimberly, business management senior and Class of 2017 President. It is the period of time when graduating seniors turn their Aggie Rings from facing themselves to facing outward, representing the seniors are ready to “face the next step” after graduation, said Amanda Salinas, accounting senior and Ring Dance Co-Head Director.

 “Ring Dance symbolizes the unity of our class,” Salinas said. “It’s our final unity together before we go our separate ways. It brings everyone together to remember our accomplishments and time here at A&M over the last four years.”

 Ring Dance is a tradition centered around the Aggie Ring and symbolizes the culmination of seniors’ hard work and experiences at A&M. It is annually the last unifying event that brings the senior class together, according to Adrian Leos, psychology and Spanish sophomore. A giant Aggie Ring replica has remained a visual staple of the event throughout the years.

 “Going back in history, [Ring Dance has] definitely changed since it began in 1936, but one of the things that always remains true is the ring replica,” Salinas said. “It’s something that can be expected each year and something that people really look forward to.”

 Since the fall semester, this year’s Ring Dance Committee has been working to coordinate facets of the event, such as entertainment, food, a cash bar and prizes. On the night of the event, around 80 staff members from Class Councils will be assisting with the event to ensure that the night is enjoyable for over 1,100 attendees, said Emma Douglass, business honors and management senior and Ring Dance Co-Head Director.  

 We have made a lot of exciting changes to Ring Dance this year, and that has made planning exciting and different for this year,” Wimberly said. “We have spent hundreds of hours meeting, planning the location change, assessing catering options, touring the venue, booking entertainment and various other logistics.”

 Attendees will have the opportunity to take their picture under the Aggie Ring replica and play casino games for the chance to be entered into a drawing to win prizes, Leos said. The Ring Dance committee has also lined up entertainers, such as DJ Rob — a local DJ that frequently plays on Northgate, and the pianist from Wednesday nights’ “Piano Bar,” hosted by The Tap — a local bar on Harvey Road.

 “We’re hoping that the venue, the live entertainment and the cash bar will all encourage people to really come out and enjoy Ring Dance. It’s going to be great,” Douglass said.

 Around midnight, seniors will take part in their last Midnight Yell as students, followed by the “turning of the ring ceremony” led by Wimberly, Salinas said.

 “We’ll turn our class years from facing us to facing outward all together as a class,” Salinas said. “It represents that we’re ready to take on the next step. We’re ready to take on what the world has to throw at us.”

 Traditionally, Aggies would bring their sweethearts to Ring Dance to spend the evening dancing, or be photographed under the renowned Aggie Ring replica. Since then, the event has evolved into a formal celebration of seniors and their time at A&M, Douglass said.

 “It’s not just for couples — it’s for everyone. Come with your friends. Come with your family. Come with whoever to celebrate your time at A&M, what you’ve done and what your class has accomplished. It’s to memorialize all of that,” Douglass said.

 Jim Anderson, Class of 1986 and father of Paige Anderson, senior allied health major, will attend his first Ring Dance 31 years late. When he was working to pay his own way through college, he could not afford tickets to Ring Dance when the end of his senior spring semester rolled around. This year’s Ring Dance will give him the opportunity to attend the symbolic event, with his daughter, Paige, and wife Stacye Anderson in hand.

 “He paid his own way through college, so he made some sacrifices here and there,” Paige Anderson said. “But that was one thing that he wasn’t able to do, so it’s really cool that he can come back and go with me. It’s exciting because I’ve never been and he’s never been, so we’re both going to get to go at it together.”

 Throughout the growth and changes of the tradition, one aspect has remained steadfast throughout the past 82 years — the iconic Aggie Ring replica that countless pairs have stood under to be photographed.  

 “Those iconic pictures underneath the Aggie Ring replica, like you see in old yearbooks and Muster reflections displays, are proof of how special Ring Dance is to Texas A&M,” Wimberly said. “It is truly the last celebration of our time at Texas A&M. Most importantly, it is so much fun to gather together with all of your classmates and remember the last four years.”

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