Prepare to make your debut

Christa McKey (left) in the dress she will wear when she makes her debut in Casino this June, and one of last years Rotary debutantes, Nikki Warren.

Theres nothing quite like the anticipation leading up to your Deb.

From the dress purchase to the dance classes, navigating stilettos to the moment of arrival: young couples stepping out of limos in floor length gowns and tuxes to the flashing of cameras.

Theres no denying it, Debs are a rite of passage.... and a great excuse to dress up and party.

The Rotary Club of Summerland Sunrise is offering the chance for young women from Year 10 upward to make their Debut this year at their annual Debutante Ball.

There are just eight spots left so potential debutantes should be quick to ensure their place at the Ball which will be held on May 19 and will fundraise for Lismore Base Hospitals cancer unit.

To become a debutante, girls and their partners need to attend a seven-week training program starting early April that teaches the dance and presentation skills needed for what is traditionally a young persons first formal event.

The debutante ball (from the french debutante which means female beginner) is a traditional young womans rite of passage or coming out into society found across the world in places such as the UK, USA, Phillipines and Latin America as well as Australia.

Originally debutante balls were held in upper class circles as a way to introduce and display young women of marriageable age to potential suitors and their families.

In Australia, just as the name morphed into the Deb the tradition has morphed into a social event that is more about having fun and learning a few social graces than marriageability.

Today, Debs are held through High schools and local clubs like Lions, where girls wear sumptuous white dresses, boys wear tuxes and formal dinner and dancing is the order of the evening.

A tradition found in both country and city, the Deb is just as relevant today as ever, said Noreen Colley who will be training this years Rotary Debs.

Noreen said the Deb provides an exciting opportunity for young people to see a different aspect of life, carry on what may have be a multi-generational tradition and equip them with the skills needed for weddings and other formal occasions.

The Deb also can instill a sense of pride in young people.

Noreen recalls a boy she trained a few years ago whose life was transformed by his Deb experience.

He was from a broken home, he was drifting between parents and out on the streets, attending school on and off said Noreen.

After a girl invited him to be her partner he turned up with cigarettes up the sleeve and arrogance...but after the seven weeks that boy was transformed. To see him on the night dressed up with a beautiful haircut.... He gave me the biggest hug and told me the last seven weeks have changed my life. That boy ended up going back to school and now has a bank job in Sydney.

18-year-old Syke Wilks is one of the girls already signed up for the Rotary Deb.

Skye said she was looking forward to the formality of the occasion which provides such a contrast to every day life.

Its not often you get the chance to dress up like that, where you feel so glamourous, said Skye. Cos we are Australian, you know, we slang all the time. (Something like this) makes you feel a bit more proper...But do we have to dance?

For more information on becoming a deb for this years Rotary Ball phone Noreen on 6621 5643 or 6622 8028.

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