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Rocking In A Winter Wonderland
It is with great excitement (and trepidation) that the students steel themselves for the Yule Ball, an enchanted evening of formal dress, proper dancing and…dates!

The production staged the elaborate Yule Ball celebration just before the Christmas holidays in December 2004, a fitting and colorful end to the year's filming. "We wanted to create a tremendous change in the Great Hall for the Yule Ball,” Newell explains, "so that the characters and the audience feel like they've never seen this place before.”

Production designer Stuart Craig and his art department were responsible for the Great Hall's magnificent transformation. "The description in the novel is that it's an ice palace with icicles hanging from the ceiling,” Craig notes. "We took it a step further and made the magic ceiling out of ice. The walls are covered in highly reflective silver and everything you see, from the doors, flambeaus, windows and even the fireplace, was given an icy or silver makeover.”

To complete the look, set decorators Stephenie McMillan and Lee Sandales created magical ice sculptures, iced drinks and frosted food of all descriptions. "We descended on Billingsgate fish market and literally cleaned them out of lobsters, prawns and crabs!” McMillan recalls. "We had to treat and prepare them to survive the heat of film lights and to stop them from smelling, but they made fabulous centerpieces for the Yule Ball tables.”

The cast underwent a major wardrobe transformation for the Ball as well. "We prepared over 300 costumes for the Yule Ball alone,” costume designer Jany Temime says. "First, we designed the boys' evening attire. Each has white or black ties and fancy waistcoats. Harry wears a very classic black waistcoat. The Slytherins have white ties because they regard themselves as posh.”

Ron doesn't fare so well, however. "My outfit is horrible, all pink lace and flowers!” Rupert Grint exclaims. "But it was actually quite fun wearing it. It was kind of like something out of the 1970s and so hideous I actually quite liked it!”

Designing the girls' dresses took several months, during which a team of 100 dressmakers and wardrobe artists handmade the the gowns at Leavesden. "The girls were so excited about what they were going to wear it was as if they were going to a real ball!” Temime recalls.

A turning point of both the evening and the story occurs when Hermione, the typically serious-minded student, makes a grand entrance on the arm of Durmstrang champion and Quidditch superstar Viktor Krum. "Hermione's dress had to be really special,” Temime says of the gown, which took three months and twelve meters of chiffon to make. "I wanted it to be a fairy tale dress, something that would make all the children gasp when she entered the room.”

"It's unlike anything Hermione has ever worn before,” Emma Watson notes. "Our hair and make-up team spent hours transforming me for the scene. I knew that all eyes were on me when I entered the hall, which was very scary!”

"Emma is such a naturally beautiful girl that we have to play her makeup down when she's dressed in her school uniform as ‘plain' Hermione,” says makeup artist Amanda Knight, "but we were able to really have fun with her makeup for the Yule Ball.” 

Then there was the considerable task of teaching the teenage cast to dance over several weeks of rehearsal at Leavesden. "The girls were really looking forward to the dance and the boys, being typical boys, were very nervous about it,” Watson observes. "I love dancing and really enjoyed learning to waltz, but what was interesting was that Mike didn't want us to be perfect dancers. He wanted the camera to pick up that we weren't exactly sure what we were doing.”

"It was terrifying,” Radcliffe says. "My parents are both very good dancers, but it seems to have skipped a generation. Everyone else<

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