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Melody Ball proof that even 
nerds care to dance

Every year, Anime Boston hosts a costume ballroom formal. This year’s event was called the Melody Ball, and it was the highlight of my Anime Boston, as always. The Melody Ball enforces a formal dress code and plays almost exclusively ballroom music, which makes it the ideal event for tuxedo enthusiasts, amateur ballroom dancers, and Disney fairy tale cosplayers — all of whom, as it happens, were in attendance.

I do enjoy ballroom dancing, but opportunities for someone like me to dance in public without being hopelessly outclassed by more dedicated dancers are infrequent, to say the least. At the risk of sounding more than a little vain, the Melody Ball is one of the few chances I ever have to make a good impression on the dance floor with something other than my Michael Jackson impersonation, and with significantly more dignity.

To their credit, the organizers of the annual Ball do make an effort to make sure attendees have at least a basic understanding of ballroom dance before they attend so that everyone has fun, but those with even a little extra experience, confidence, or personal hygiene frequently stand out from the crowd. The right costume can also make quite the splash — one young woman arrived in Belle’s gold ball gown from Beauty and the Beast; understandably, when the title song was played for a waltz, she received nothing less than full-on applause.

Other interesting costumes included formal versions of The Joker and Harley Quinn, various Asian-inspired formal wear, and any of a number of anime characters I had never heard of but looked interesting nonetheless. The musical selection varied between popular music, like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Tango: Maureen” from Rent, and live music by a string quartet courtesy of the Video Game Orchestra like the “Blue Danube” and Sleeping Beauty waltzes — as I said before, Disney cosplayers, right at home.

The formal ball has been my primary reason for attending Anime Boston for the last three years, and this year’s Melody Ball was by far my favorite memory of the convention. My dance partner and I drew our fair share of attention dressed as The Spirit (me) and Generic Asian Girl (her), and we made some new and charming acquaintances. I’m a bit sad that I probably won’t be going to Anime Boston again in the near future, but my dance partner’s first Melody Ball seems to have been a success — she’s already making plans for next year.

—Michael T. Lin