Society / The Seen

At the Dallas Symphony’s Largest Fundraiser, Debutantes Do the Iconic Texas Dip

Inside the 2024 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball

BY // 03.01.24
photography James French Photography

It’s a move that could strike fear in even the steadiest of stiletto wearers: The Texas Dip. The iconic curtsey, which may or may not be linked to ballerina Anna Pavlova’s “Dying Swan” performance from the early 1900s, requires raised arms, a pointed toe, and a pretzel-like bend into a seated position — all while maintaining a straight back, eye contact, and a smile. The grand move is unique to Texas debutantes, and was on full, formal display at the 2024 Dallas Symphony League Orchestra Presentation Ball.  

First held in 1987, the ball has become the DSOL’s largest fundraiser, raising millions for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and its outreach and education programs. 

Bailey Robirds and Vance Miller (Photo by James French Photography)
Bailey Robirds and Vance Miller at the 2024 Dallas Symphony League Orchestra Presentation Ball. (Photo by James French Photography)

The Scene

On a cool night in February, families and friends of this year’s debutante class gathered at the Meyerson Symphony Center in the Dallas Arts District, greeted by 44 large portraits representing each of the 44 debs that would take the stage later that evening. After opening remarks from Presentation Ball Chairman Kristin Cordiak, the young women took a turn at the perilous Texas Dip one by one, scored by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performing a song of the deb’s choosing. After each successful, swan-like dive, a male member of the 2024 Honor Guard was there to lend the ladies a hand. All smiles and posture remained intact. 

Post-bows, members of the symphony’s horn section led the procession of newly debuted women down the steps of the Meyerson, where a formal seated dinner and dancing awaited the hundreds of guests that had gathered. The evening felt almost European with its pomp and grandeur, and yet, it felt right at home in the Dallas Arts District — newly anointed the “best in the nation.”

2024 Honorary Ball Chairmen Margaret and Barry Hancock (Photo by James French Photography)
2024 Honorary Ball Chairmen Margaret and Barry Hancock (Photo by James French Photography)

The Seen

Several parents were witnessing the debut of their second or third child, including Laura and Jason Downing, who were present in support of their third daughter. Celebrating their debutante Electra Wallace Ford were Kelli and Gerald J. Ford. Daffan and Doug Nettle along with Gayle Sands were parents of twin daughters presented during the 2024 Presentation Ball. Other proud parents were Kristina and John Hallam, and Dena and Vaughn Miller.

The 2024 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball Debutantes are: Helena Breland Bach; Erika Mae Batson; Mia Lane Blanton; Claire Elise Cahoon; Ripley Elizabeth Cooley; Kennedy Claire Downing; Electra Wallace Ford; Sarah Rose Gambrell; Ellie McClain Gidden; Catherine Lee Grayson; Camille Anne Greening; Meredith Elizabeth Hallam; Grace Soleil Handler; Caroline Parker Hart; Catherine Bradford Hunt; Isabella Ann Jackson; Ashley Elizabeth Jaynes; Ellen Taylor Jones; Minje Kwun; Emannuelle Grace LeVoyer; Claire Michael Levy; Riya Kaur Luthra; Elizabeth Myers Madison; Avery Pilar Moore; Finley Elizabeth Nelson; Day Gilmire Nettle; Lillian Susan Nettle; Mina Hiranmayee Raj; Bailey Erin Robirds; Courtenay Christianson Sands, Kathryn Bunker Sands; Caroline Robertson Smith; Sheridan Michelle Spencer; Caroline Story Stiles; Leslie Katherine Swango; Caroline Parker Teegarden; Payton Grace Thurman; Megan McKamy Dyer Underwood; Lauren Alexis Watkins; Charlotte Nicole Webb; Kelley Caroline Wheeler; Abigail Archer Willingham; Claire Anh Wooley; and Sophia Corina Yung.

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