It’s time to shine.
The Illuminated Ball happens Saturday night. A fundraiser for the Procession of the Species, the ball spotlights dance, music and art — and the creativity and style of attendees, who are invited to “dress to illuminate.”
Folks take that seriously, sometimes dressing in formal wear adorned with battery-operated lights or accessorized with glowing jewelry.
For this year’s ball, volunteers have created an array of elaborate headdresses — made of repurposed materials — that attendees can model for photographs and buy.
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“The headdresses are beautiful. So come even if you don’t have any lights to wear, and buy one,” said Mary Nelson, a dancer with Random Acts of Dance Collective who helped dream up the choreography for this year’s ball.
And dream is the word, since this year’s theme is “The Dream Outside Our Window.”
“We wanted to have a presence within Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, so that’s why we chose this theme,” procession founder Eli Sterling said. “We wanted to celebrate the idea of dreams and what it means to move forward as a community, and how important the connection to the natural world is.”
The Eagles Ballroom will be decorated with the theme.
“The art that we’re creating has to do with the moon and the night sky that we see outside our window,” Sterling said.
The pageant, which Nelson described as “a dream collage,” will feature dance by Radco, aerial performance by Joanna Gibson, music by The Gravity Quartet, and a skit with puppets and music created by Emily McHugh and friends.
Puppets in the skit include woodland creatures like a snowy owl, raccoons and foxes.
“There’s a child stepping outside her window and engaging with the natural world, as if it were a dream, and then realizing it’s not a dream,” Sterling said.
In the dance portion of the pageant, Radco dancers and Gibson will portray other dreamers.
“We’ll be sleepwalking and then waking up as dreamers,” Nelson said. “We’ll dance various dreams.”
The event will include a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar.
The return of the ball will replace the Procession Gala, held the past two winters at Hotel RL Olympia. Those events were more fundraisers in a traditional mold.
“People missed the pageantry,” Sterling said. “With the Illuminated Ball, we’re trying to celebrate our own capacity to create something out of nothing.”
That creativity fits the mission of the procession, for which all kinds of people create costumes and floats from simple to elaborate. The 23rd procession is April 29.
“The procession is a shining light in this world of darkness,” Nelson said. “The Illuminated Ball is so important to help fund the procession. I’m hoping people will come and have the time of their lives and then go home and seed their own dreams.
“That is the message of this year’s Illuminated Ball: Illuminate your dreams. Don’t hide them. Go for it.”
What: The ball, a fundraiser for the Procession of the Species, returns after a two-year hiatus. The evening features art, music and dance, plus a silent auction.
When: 7:30 p.m.-midnight Saturday.
Where: Eagles Ballroom, 805 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia.
Tickets: $40 at Traditions Cafe & World Folk Art or bit.ly/2j8MITt. The event is open to ages 21 and older only.