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Executing the most athletic feat ever attempted in a ginormous white ballgown, 26 debutantes took their “Texas Dip” into society at the 37th Annual Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ballon February 11.

In grand tradition, each young woman was escorted onto the stage of the Meyerson Symphony Center by her father as the Dave Alexander Orchestra played a theme of her choosing. Dad then kissed her on the cheek, stepped to the side carefully (Don’t step on the dress!) and looked on proudly as she walked forward.

Slowly, gracefully, purposefully, each woman curtsied all the way to the ground – arms out, head forward, head bowed, head to the side – all while clutching a floral bouquet. A member of the Honor Guard then assisted her onto her feet and carefully (Don’t step on the dress!) escorted her off stage to relax.

While most in the audience politely applauded each performance, occasionally an entire cheering section of the young women’s peers (mostly of college sophomore and junior age) would stand up and yell for their friends, as if at a sporting event. (The program specifically requested no air horns or cowbells.) A breach of etiquette, perhaps, but some added celebratory élan at the swanky formal affair.

The 2023 DSOL debutantes were: Britton Barcus, Margaret Bracken, Stephanie Ciarochi, Kate Clark, Sarah Crow, Elena Dewar, Gracie Dix, Natalie Duvall, Arden Eiland, Charlotte Esping, Kaitlin Ann Kelly, Celeste Lay, Ella Marks, Ellie Michaelson, Gigi Miller, Lydia Pigott, Morgan Potter, Sasha Schwimmer, Ellie Steindorf, Catherine Stiles, Elizabeth Thompson, Lucy Tilden, CeCe Tribolet, Danielle Ward, Paige Williams, and Nicole Zimmer.

The DSOL Presentation Ball is a time-honored tradition for many of Dallas’ most influential and philanthropic families. For example (try to keep up here) …

Gigi Miller made her debut, and brothers Vaughn andVance served as Honor Guards. Their grandmother, Tincy Miller, founded the event in 1987. Her son (their father) Vaughn Miller was among the first Honor Guard group in the inaugural year.

Then there is the Averitt family, who has been active in the event for 30 years. Members of the Averitt/Duvall families were present for the debut of Natalie Duvall. Her mom, Susan Averitt Duvall, made her debut in the inaugural presentation ball, and sister Madelyn Duvall was presented in 2020. Susan’s brother Mark Averitt was a member of the first group of Honor Guards, and other family members were involved, as well.

Several parents present had had debutante daughters in prior years, including Heather and Bill Esping, Megan and John Pigott, Dawne and Patrick Tribolet, and Michelle and Erik Ward.

During the onstage ceremony, emcee Stan Garner recognized this year’s honorary co-chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley, Presentation Ball chair Karen Cox, and DSOL president Cynthia Beaird. Legendary fashion show producer Jan Strimple was honored, as this was her final year as choreographer of the ball; she is handing the reins to Densil Adams assisted by Mia Davis.

After each young woman was presented, the audience scurried quickly into the lobby, where trumpeters lined the grand staircase in anticipation of the debs’ procession. Escorted by Honor Guard members, the women were announced and ushered onto the dance floor for the traditional father-daughter dance.

Then patrons found their tables for a sumptuous seated dinner: spring greens bouquet salad with artistically presented red and yellow tomato, mozzarella tower; roasted filet mignon with Yukon gold mashed potatoes, baby carrots, and spinach; and a decadent flourless chocolate torte with brandied cherries and vanilla bean whipped cream for dessert.

Following dinner, Limelight Band took the stage, and the door floor filled for a high-energy after-party.

The Presentation Ball, which was first held in 1987, is the largest fundraiser for the DSOL. Over $13 million has been raised for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through the annual black- or white-tie event.

Founded in 1946, the DSOL’s mission is to support the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through service, education and fundraising activities. Since 1998 the League has contributed over $21 million in support of the DSO’s many community initiatives.

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