Ready for the ball

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

Home-schooled teens don’t al­ways have the same so­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties as their main­stream peers but they do get to go to the ball.

Palmer­ston North Youth Space will play host to the Fire and Ice Ball for 13 to 19-year-olds on Oc­to­ber 1.

Youth Space li­brar­ian Alan Din­g­ley said team mem­ber Tara Black came up with the idea of a so­cial event for home-schooled and alt.ed kids to mark the fifth an­niver­sary of the Cole­man Pl youth cen­tre.

‘‘It’s a full for­mal masked ball with ball gowns and suits, mock­tails and hors d’oeu­vres,’’ Din­g­ley said.

In­spired by the ball gown and suit drive idea from Patea Area School, Youth Space has put out the call for do­na­tions of for­mal cloth­ing so ball-go­ers can look the part with­out the ex­pense.

‘‘We want to make it as easy as pos­si­ble for peo­ple to at­tend, and for them to look as glam as pos­si­ble,’’ Din­g­ley said.

‘‘So far we’ve had do­na­tions of 40 gowns, cock­tail dresses and evening wear, with clutches, high heels and ear­rings. It’s pretty cool. Peo­ple are re­ally awe­some.’’

Youth Space will be hold­ing a ‘‘shop­ping day’’ so ticket hold­ers can find suit­ably sized and styled cloth­ing.

Gar­ments that are cleaned after­wards and re­turned could be used for fu­ture for­mal events - a bit like a ball gown li­brary, Din­g­ley said.

The Youth Space ball ‘‘magic’’ doesn’t stop there. Other mem­bers of the ex­tended city li­brary team have joined the prepa­ra­tions by bring­ing along their sewing ma­chines.

‘‘There have been sewing bees to make full-drop ceil­ing to floor cur­tains be­cause it’ll be day­light sav­ing. They’ve re­ally got in be­hind this, slav­ing over hot Bern­i­nas. They’re mak­ing an in­cred­i­ble ef­fort. It’s un­like any- thing I’ve seen be­fore.’’

Din­g­ley hoped that young peo­ple would take up the mas­quer­ade idea.

The li­brary’s 3D print­ers have been cre­at­ing minia­ture masks.

With the help of vol­un­teers, Neil Wal­lace of Pas­sion­art has con­structed a large pa­per mache´ mask to dec­o­rate the back wall of the venue, and will be su­per­vis­ing mask-mak­ing work­shops for ball­go­ers.

Ball num­bers are limited to 100, with pref­er­en­tial tick­ets to reg­u­lar Youth Space vis­i­tors, but will be of­fered on gen­eral sale for $10.

Reg­u­lus Van Hels­ing and Caitlin Kirk­woodWool­lams check out do­nated ball wear at Youth Space.

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