CALL it a deb ball century or even a debu-ton, if you will!
Either way, Albury dance trainer Glen Strauss chalked up his 100th debutante ball in Albury this month.
The owner of Albury Wodonga Dance Centre said the events had snowballed since his first gig 12 years ago.
"In my first year I did two deb balls, then in my second year it was four, then in my third it was seven; now I do 12 to 14 a year," he said.
"By the time I finish this year, I will have done 110."
Strauss said he had trained as few as six couples at a time to dance up to the largest cohort of 24 couples, with an average of 15.
He said they trained for a minimum of 12 hours to learn three or four dances, usually getting together weekly over 10 weeks.
"The main exception is a Yarrawonga group - Sacred Heart College - which I train over one week in the school holidays," Strauss said.
"We train Monday to Thursday and the deb ball is on the Friday night."
Strauss said he never tired of watching the teenagers transform.
"At the first training we show them the easiest dance and the guys say: 'There's no way we can do that!'; then they realise they can do it," he said.
"Every now and then we'll get footy players rock up in their footy boots on the first night; I love the transformation when you see them dressed in their suits and the debs in their frocks. Sometimes you don't even recognise them on the night!"
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Of Strauss' 100 deb balls, 56 were organised by Dianne Stepto, of Albury District Debutante Balls, which gifts the profits to charity.
The youngest of 10 siblings, Albury born-and-bred Strauss said he started ballroom dancing at 13 on a dare from a friend.
"At the first class I said there was no way I was going to touch the girls," Strauss said.
"By the second week I was getting the hang of it. By the third lesson I knew I was going to be doing this for the rest of my life!"
A national champion ballroom dancer in his own right, Strauss said dancing gave people myriad skills.
"Ballroom dancing gave me confidence, leadership and social skills," he said.
"It builds co-ordination as well as fitness; it also helps with posture. To be able to dance with another individual also develops teamwork."
Having been a deb ball partner four times in his youth, Strauss said his first ball was only weeks after he lost his beloved dad.
"I did the ball because he would have wanted that; he was my No. 1 supporter.
"Now I'm teaching ballroom dancing; I get a lot of kids who are shy and uncoordinated, and dancing builds them into individuals who are confident and social and I'm very proud of that."
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