Swing dancing Victory Ball celebrates WWII veterans

The second annual Victory Ball sponsored by the Swing Dance Club was held Saturday, April 30.

The event included World War II uniforms, music from the ’40s, old-fashioned hairstyles and swing dance lessons. But it was more than just a dance.

Swing dance club co-adviser Eric Delacruz, a staff member in the Study Abroad Office, said the dance is “a celebration of all the veterans.”

The Victory Ball began last year when the swing dance club was looking for a date to have an on campus dance and it “happened to be May 8, which coincides with the 65th anniversary of Victory in Europe,” Delacruz said.

Delacruz is a collector of World War II artifacts, including uniforms, which he loaned out to students and the Victory Ball was born.

Tom Lutes, a senior and one of the four co-chairs of the club, said he enjoys the Victory Ball because “we have the opportunity to make history come alive.”

“I think it’s a lot of fun to explore something that came earlier,” Lutes added.

Sophomore Nick Froehle said he came to the Victory Ball because he “really likes the music” and enjoys swing dancing.

“There’s an actual form to it, there’s a structure, there’s an organization,” Froehle said. “It requires give and take from lead and partner, which is unique.”

Though the event was free to students, a freewill donation was taken for the Twin Cities chapter of the Patriot Guard, which is a group that honors and supports veterans by attending funerals, visiting homes, homecoming and deportation events.

Delacruz said seeing students in the historic uniforms is like “watching a time machine going back in time,” adding that it’s “striking” because “these students were at the correct age of their grandparents and great-grandparents…that went off to serve in the war. They were just kids.”

He said it was also symbolic because “when you see them it just kind of makes you think about that a little more, how the youth had to give such a great sacrifice.”

Lizzy Schmitt can be reached at schm9587@stthomas.edu.

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