April 17, 2017
Murgon’s Castra retirement complex isn’t usually the first place that springs to mind when talk turns to debutante balls … but that could all be about to change.
Last Thursday, eight couples from Murgon’s Social Dance Group performed the Last Chance Debutante Ball at the complex for an appreciative audience of about 40 residents and staff.
The Ball began when each couple was individually presented to former Murgon Mayor Bill Roberts and current South Burnett Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff.
Participants were all dressed in traditional debutante ball costumes, many wearing elegant dresses and tuxedos that had been worn to similar events years before.
After all the couples had been presented, the dancers swirled around the floor to recorded music, executing traditional ballroom dance numbers with a genuine verve and enthusiasm that made onlookers forgive any missteps.
The Ball was the idea of dance teacher Jenny de Jong, who runs the Murgon Social Dance Group at the South Burnett PCYC with her husband Roy.
Every Thursday, between 1:00pm and 3:00pm, Jenny and Roy teach students traditional dances at a social dance class.
Last June, Jenny asked Castra if they’d like to have the group hold a dance at the retirement complex to see if it would provide entertainment for residents.
Castra agreed, and the dances have become a regular monthly fixture ever since.
Jenny said Castra had been very supportive of the idea from the outset, as evidenced by the many staff members who also dressed up for the Last Chance Debutante Ball.
While most Castra residents are no longer able to dance themselves, dances were a big part of many of their lives and many residents got great enjoyment from watching the dancers perform.
Cr Kathy Duff agreed.
“I remember going to lots of dances when I was growing up,” Cr Duff told the audience when she declared the Debutante Ball open.
“They were a big part of my life and they were always a lot of fun.
“So I understand why these dances have become so popular at Castra, and I congratulate everyone for this great idea.”
After the dance concluded, Cr Duff and Bill Roberts cut a special cake that had been baked for the Ball, and then residents and dancers relaxed together over an afternoon tea.