The Den Dance: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Orange. Blue. Green. Red. Blue. Last Saturday, the new multi-colored ceiling lights in The Den, formerly known as the Ryley Room, flickered away as a fervent crowd of students flooded into the newly revamped lounge for the inaugural Den dance. Booming beats from the basement reverberated throughout the entire Paresky Commons. The varied accommodations of the new Den create a club-like atmosphere. Students can dance with their friends or sit at the booths and watch the projection screen on the wall. “I liked that the dance was separate from the TV space, but I also think that a lot of people didn’t dance because they were distracted by the TV,” said Kell Yang-Sammataro ’12. The division of the Den made the room seem less cramped, allowing more dance space and breathing room. The Dance Dance Revolution machine was open to those who wanted to dance away from the crowded dance floor, however it remained unused for most of the night. The Den is noticeably more spacious than before, making for a more enjoyable dance experience. “I thought it was an improvement with space, and I could tell that a lot more people fit into the area. It was annoying how no one could be on stage during the dance, but that was because we had a professional DJ who took up a lot of room,” said Brianna McCarthy ’09. Underwood dances have been known to get dark, sweaty and crowded to the point of claustrophobia. Even when music blared and the students were hyped, the lack of air circulation and dripping perspiration caused the windows to fog up and the room to get very humid. The crammed dance floor was hard to navigate and one could easily get jostled by the pushing elbows and jumping dancers. The Kemper dance was less cramped, but still extremely warm. “[The Den] is a lot cooler, that’s for sure, because we have windows that can actually open. And it doesn’t get so humid,” said Paul Chan ’10. “I think people were excited to get that room back after over a year,” said Jay Dolan ’11. For most dances earlier this year, student DJs have picked the nights’ soundtrack, however, for Saturday’s dance, the Student Activities Board hired a professional DJ. “I didn’t think the DJ was all that good. I think the student DJs do a much better job because they know what we want,” said Dylan Cahill ’10. Mari Walsh ’11, however, said, “The music is a lot better than other terms.” The Den has many features that the Ryley Room lacked. Entrances and exits are much more accessible. Doorways no longer become congested, as there is space for student belongings and student congregation outside the Student Activities Office. The old Ryley Room was laden with clanky furniture, plain brown and white décor and poor lighting. In the Den, the lightweight furnishings, new and colorful paint job and improved and exciting lighting give an entirely new and modern feel to the room. The new lights were a big hit. “I think the ceiling is amazing,” said Eve Simister ’12. Certainly, the lights added an improved ambiance compared to the plain dim of the Underwood Room and Kemper Auditorium. In general, many were pleased with the way the dance went. “The new room made a huge difference, and I think everyone liked it a lot more than the past dances in Underwood,” said Robert Palmer ’11.