Tulane faculty, alumnus to be introduced in new 610 Stompers class at Debutante Ball

Sam Ergina, Online Arcade Editor

They are among us. Some are students, some are faculty members, and they come from all walks of life. Despite their differences, the 610 Stompers share a passion for dance. They are ordinary men with extraordinary moves.

While there were already a few Stompers from Tulane, this year’s rookie class includes two members of our community: Dr. John Nonnamaker and his son, Matt Nonnamaker. John Nonnamaker is the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, while his son, a recent Tulane grad, works in Housing and Residence Life.

“New Orleans is not a spectator city,” John Nonnamaker said. “Everybody joins in, that’s what a second line is.”

The 610 Stompers are an all-male dance crew founded in 2009. Most of the 100-120 members have no formal training in any style of dance whatsoever and fall in the range from 20 to 80 years old. The variety of men involved with the organization truly projects the image of regular men who simply love to dance.

The technique and experience aspects of dancing are irrelevant. Al Roker once described this team as “fat guys, flailing arms.” It’s the drive to express themselves through movement and music that makes this crew so appealing. The 610 Stompers perform dance in its purest form. Their motivation, combined with the 80’s-inspired image results in a group that’s devoted to entertainment and fun.

Throughout its seven years of existence, the 610 Stompers have been embraced by the city as a part of its culture. Shrines of them can be found in popular food chains like Raising Cane’s, and the team performs at some of the biggest parades of carnival season such as Krewes of Nyx, Hermes and Orpheus. Over the past few years, the Stompers have even begun representing New Orleans at major events in other cities, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

The 610 Stompers are also dedicated to raising money for local charities and nonprofit organizations. Their auditions every summer act as fundraisers as well, since those wishing to join the team pay for the opportunity.

The Stompers will have their Debutante Ball this Friday starting at 8 p.m. at Mardi Gras World. The annual 21+ event may have an admission price of $40-60, hefty for the average college student’s budget, but it features an open bar, free food from tons of amazing New Orleans restaurants and a performance by the Stompers, during which the rookies will be introduced to the sweet sounds of Blackstreet and Dr. Dre’s “No Diggity.”

The ball is expected to sell out with around 2,500 people in attendance. It also involves dressing up in an ’80s theme such as a past ball named “610 Candles.” This year’s theme is more of a punk rock style titled “London Calling,” based on an invitation from the mayor of London for the 610 Stompers to perform at the city’s New Year’s Day parade in 2017.

“They’re of New Orleans, they’re in New Orleans and they’re ambassadors of New Orleans,” John Nonnamaker said. “I don’t think there’s any other way to give back and have so much fun at the same time.”

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