Keeping the Holiday Ball tradition alive

Written by: 
Mackenzie Beaver
Social Ballroom students showcase their skills at the Holiday Ball on Nov. 30.


Classical music fluttered out from the Aloha Center Ballroom on Friday, Nov. 30 as the Social Ballroom Dance class held their annual end-of-the-semester ball.

This semester, the Holiday Ball was titled, “Mele Kalikimaka” and it was held from 8-11 p.m. The ball is a formal event sponsored by the Exercise and Sports Science department at BYU–Hawaii.

There were four total performances held. Two of these performances were at 9 p.m., and the other two were performed at 10 p.m. Refreshments were provided and students were invited to dance throughout the night with their dates as well as in between the performances.

Brother and Sister Oleole teach the Social Ballroom Dance class at BYUH. They have been teaching this class together every semester since 2007. The couple began teaching this class together after Bro. Oleole retired from the business department at BYUH.

Sis. Oleole said, “The former head of the EXS department knew my husband and I danced ballroom, so he asked us to teach this class together when my husband retired from teaching business.”

Sis. Oleole explained she has been dancing ballroom since she was in high school in the 1960s. “I invite students to come take this class or to come to this [ball] next semester. I feel that ballroom and classical dancing has become a lost cause. I encourage students to take this class, so this type of dance is not forgotten.”

Gabriela Herrera, a junior from Texas studying peacebuilding, explained the background to the gold and green ball. “In class we learned that the gold and green ball is tradition in the [Latter-day Saint] culture, and it was really popular around the 1920s-1950s. The gold and green ball was a yearly event where people dressed in formal wear and were invited to ballroom dance.”

Herrera explained the gold and green balls still happen, but are not as popular because people are not as educated. “Honestly, I learned this all in just from taking the ballroom class this semester, so I think that goes to prove people really lack understanding of this topic.” 

Herrera took this class with her fiancé just for fun. This class was not required for her major and it was just an extracurricular course. “My favorite part about this class was learning and becoming educated about all the different types of ballroom dances. All we did during class was dance, and every week was a new dance.”

Reka Bordas-Simon, a senior from Hungary studying peacebuilding and psychology, took the Social Ballroom dance class with her husband this semester. Bordas-Simon said, “I feel like this dance gives students an opportunity to have a more ‘formal’ dance. Everyone is required to bring a date so this dance has a much more date-night feel to it rather than the other dances the school provides.” Bordas-Simon also said this class has made her more confident to dance in social settings, such as weddings or other special events.

Bordas-Simon said during her busy schedule she looked forward to this class, especially since it was with her husband. “It was a nice break in-between classes and a fun little date a few times of the week with my husband.”

Bordas-Simon, Herrera, and Oleole all encourage students to take this class and to learn more about formal and ballroom dancing.

This ball is held every semester as the final for the Social Ballroom Dance class. Each student is to bring a date to this event and dress formal. Part of the students’ final is to help set up this ball as well as perform during it.


Date Published: 
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Last Edited: 
Thursday, December 6, 2018