Austria’s Glorious Balls

Every winter, Austria hosts hundreds of classy ball nights – nowhere are balls so romantically formal as in Vienna.

Over 400 of them are staged each winter, strict dress codes, an opening fanfare, the entrance of the debutants and debutantes and the call „Alles Walzer!“ (literally: “Everything is waltz!”) are all part of a classic ball. Balls open usually with a Polonaise and punctuated by speeches, etc.

In the past wearing of masks and costumes was reserved for the nobility. To compensate for this, Emperor Joseph II opened up the dances in the Redoute Rooms in the Hofburg palace to everyone. This allowed the Viennese to copy the courtly customs of these celebrations, something which they retain to this day.

The waltz, being a partner dance, was initially perceived as a provocation, and caused moral outrage. The Vienna Congress (1814/15), meeting in the city to establish the new order in Europe following Napoleon’s campaigns, made it acceptable via the salons.

The balls today have kept a lot of the traditions of the past, while at the same time adapting many modern elements – like performances by professional dance groups and celebrities, charity campaigns, etc. It was a charity ball in the Viennese Hofburg palace that i was at – the 14th Dancer against Cancer Ball. From the opening with the debutants and the „Alles Walzer“, through to the modern dancing performances, the whole show was full of variety.

I am sharing with you some photos from this fabulous event. I was wearing a black and white dress, shoes and bag, trying to blend in with the waltz couple’s monochrome colors.

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