LIONS CLUB

Undoubtedly Vienna has always been and remains the world ballroom capital. balls are an indivisible part of the Vienna carnival and their roots are part of the not-so-distant past.In order not to deprive the ordinary people of the joy of the colourful entertainment, Emperor Joseph II (1765-1790) repealed the privilege that only nobles could take part in the balls in the Hofsburg palace. at the beginning of the 19th century, the waltz, which was the only dance for the ordinary people, was already very popular and a new era was beginning for dance entertainment. This was the beginning of balls for the ordinary people  a joyful, liberating and elegant event. The tradition of Viennese balls, however, began to spread throughout the world  New York, Honk Kong, Peking, Washington, berlin, Milan, athens, brussels, Singapore, Dubai and Moscow, and last but not least - Sofia was infected by the same dance fever. The Viennese ball became an export tradition from the capital of austria. In Vienna most ball take place in January and December, although the first ones begin in November, and the last ones take place in June. This year there have been more than 450. The official opening of the ball season took place on New Year s Eve with the Grand ball in the Hofsburg Palace, which for more than 40 years has been known as the Imperial ball. The culmination of the season will be on the 7th February when the most important of these, the traditional Opera ball in the Vieena Staatsoper will take place. Most balls try to use the atmosphere of the historical build- ings and the scent of the past centuries. However, there are balls which break with this tradition  such as the "ball of Life" which takes place in the Vienna's city hall. It is dedicated to combating aIDS and is internationally recognised. Why do the Viennese go the ball? One of the most important characteristics of the phenomenon of the Viennese ball is that new contacts can be made and old contacts maintained in a pleasant atmosphere. In fact the event has always been seen as a place to chat with political or other partners away from the confines of business meetings. 85% of people participating in the annual survey for the reasons to go to the ball, indicated in first place the opportu- nity to spend a pleasant evening with their male or female partner, 75% go to the ball for its wonderful atmosphere, and 70% choose to go to the ball to meet friends. The dances and the good music are also indisputable factors which attract the Viennese to the ball rooms, but they are in fourth place with 65%. The Viennese just love to dance - most of all they love the traditional waltz and foxtrot. However, this year the Viennese dance schools have noted an increased interest in Latin american dances, in particular the tango and salsa.

Viena

The last two days before the ball, there are no performances in the opera theatre. The seats are removed and a floor is laid. The transformation of the auditorium takes a total of 30 hours. In the evening before the ball a dress rehearsal takes place. Immediately when the event finishes, at 5.00 a.m. precisely, work begins to return the hall to its former appearance. Work takes 21 hours and is only interrupted for the traditional performance of the "Magic Flute" for children. Every year on the day after the ball, 3500 children from all the federal provinces of austria come to see two performances of the "Magic Flute" with soloists from the Vienna Staatsoper and children from the opera school. The instrumental part of the opera is performed by the Vienna Philharmonia. The dress code for the ball is very strict: Ladies have to wear long ball gowns and their shoes should not be seen, while men must wear a tail coat.

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