Annual ‘Blood Ball’ makes a roaring return to Columbia after year-long hiatus

Peter Midwa

By Gabby Bach, Copy Editor

Columbia students dressed to the nines and danced the night away at this year’s Blood Ball, marking the return of a long-standing, annual tradition at Columbia.

The ball took place at Columbia’s Student Center, 754 S. Wabash Ave., in the fifth floor’s event space on Friday, April 8.

The dance was not held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, making this many students’ first time attending the event. The previous Blood Ball, held in March 2020, was hosted the same night the college sent out a collegewide email announcing the suspension of classes from March 14 through April 6.

Columbia students (from left to right: Olivia Ross, Izzi Calton, Molleigh Verhoye, Riley Grace Abbott, Lulu Rozo, Aurora Borealis, Moriah Gilman and Lydia Jacobson) pose for a photo, ready to take on a night full of dancing. Peter Midwa

Stephaine Villanova, coordinator of student organizations at Columbia in the Student Organizations and Leadership office, said the event’s return was an important outlet for students.

“I think it was really important for the community to have, after such a long time of isolation and not being on campus and folks maybe not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel through all of this,” Villanova said. “I think it was just a really good experience for folks to have fun and just dance their hearts out.”

The theme of this year’s dance was Black and Gold to represent vintage Chicago.

Villanova said a committee of students from the Student Government Association, Student Organization Council, Student Programming Board and Student Athletic Association suggested the theme as a nod to the World’s Columbian Exposition, which was held in Chicago in 1893.

First-year radio major Kady Roberts matches her outfit with the black and gold theme of the night. Peter Midwa

The theme for this year’s Blood Ball also took strong inspiration from the college’s history. In 1890, Mary A. Blood — the ball’s namesake — and Ida Morey Riley, the college’s first co-presidents, founded the Columbia School of Oratory.

Blood and Riley named the college in homage to the 1893 World’s Fair — the inspiration for this year’s Blood Ball theme.

In order to immerse students in the theme, there were tables where students could pick up black and gold beaded necklaces and glow sticks. There was also a photo station where students could pose against a backdrop with gold, black and silver streamers and balloons.

When students weren’t milling in the common area, they were out on the dance floor.

Students gather in the ballroom to enjoy music from the DJ. Peter Midwa

Iconic late 2000s hits, such as “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha and “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift were a part of the night’s playlist.

There was also room for some classic tracks. Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” prompted students to create a conga line that nearly extended the perimeter of the event space.

Nivash Jayaram, junior audio arts and acoustics major, said his favorite track of the night was the one that closed out the dance, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by Panic! at the Disco.

“That [song choice] probably got me as hyped as I am right now,” Jayaram said. “I’m a little bit amped.”

While Jayaram may have enjoyed the music, he said his favorite part of the night was reuniting with his friends and marking what feels like a major turning point in the pandemic.

“I have my soccer team, my quidditch team, and that’s really what brought me out tonight,” Jayaram said. “After COVID, seeing everybody, like hundreds of people around you, feels great.”