Vienna: The Prom Capital of the World

In addition to being the capital of music, Vienna is also the capital of dances. Counting down in a year, Vienna and even the whole of Austria will hold thousands of balls (Ball).

All walks of life in Vienna hold dance parties, and the conventions of dance parties in each industry are different in Chengdu. Yixiang Temple’s dance party is not just a tradition of the upper class. In addition to the “Opera Theater Ball” where dignitaries appeared and were broadcast live on TV, there were also “Firefighters Ball”, “Coffee Owners Ball”, “Pastry Chef Ball”, “Doctor Ball”, and “Student Ball”…… Regardless of wealth, those who attended the ball All have to dress decently.

The dance party, which is very particular about dress and makeup, has become a lubricant for society, showing the dignity of people from different economic classes, and also a platform for sharing what is needed in the industry. The rise of the affirmative movement in recent years has also made the dance party culture more diversified.

Every year from November to the end of the following spring, it is the “dance season” in Vienna and even the whole of Austria. The Austrians proudly say that the “prom season” is their “fifth season.”

The Austrians proudly say that the “prom season” is their “fifth season.”

“The Prom of the Republic”
The Republic of Austria is a country of music and balls. Which is the most prestigious dance party in the Republic?

Among the many balls, the “Vienna Opera Ball” held in February can be said to be the “Republic Ball” in Austria.

Every February, the auditorium of the Vienna State Opera puts away its seats to free up a huge ballroom for the “Vienna Opera Ball”. The dance began at 10 pm. The Austrian president, cabinet dignitaries and international celebrities were guided into the venue by a loud opening trumpet. They appeared on the royal podium of the opera house; the Austrian national anthem was played first, followed by the European Union anthem. It is a sing of ballet performances and opera arias. As the opening ceremony of the ball, 180 pairs of young dancers in formal dresses were introduced into the hall. After the group dance repertoire is over, the dance floor will be open to all guests, and the dance will last until 6 o’clock in the morning the next day.

The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation will broadcast the ball live, shooting close-ups of every politician, industry leader and celebrity. The dignitaries who appeared in front of the TV also proved their sense of existence through the dance.

The “Opera Ball” is one of the oldest traditional dances in Vienna. The dance party culture in Vienna can be traced back to the carnival. In the earliest carnival activities, the people at the bottom could wear masks and various costumes to imitate the royal family and church personnel, without fear of retaliation and liquidation. Later, the carnival tradition was banned. During Maria Theresa’s time, the authorities banned the wearing of masks in the public, so the carnival activities were forced to move indoors, which became the origin of the dance tradition.

Formed in royal tradition
Although Austria is a republic, Vienna, as the imperial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, retains many of the legacy of the old European empires.

The prom that is blooming everywhere in Vienna today can be organized by all walks of life, and it can be said to be a national entertainment. However, during the imperial regime, dance parties were mostly organized by the royal family and nobles, and they were exclusive.

The Hofburg New Year’s Ball, originated from the masquerade ball in the Hofburg Palace, the imperial palace. As early as in the reign of Queen Maria Theresa, due to the imperial family’s financial constraints, the Baroque theater in the Hofburg Palace had been idle for a long time. Masquerades were becoming more and more fashionable among European aristocrats at that time, and the aristocrats suggested transforming idle theaters into ballrooms. Teresa herself loves to dance, and when the nobles offered to bear the cost of transformation, they adopted their suggestions.

The theater has a long history before the renovation. On the occasion of Teresa’s wedding in 1736, the Italian composer Antonio Salieri was invited to perform a concert to celebrate. The ballroom was remodeled in 1748 and was grandly opened as a large-scale masquerade during the carnival that year. Since then, the large-scale masquerade at the annual carnival has become a tradition and lasted until the end of the Habsburg dynasty.

Historians believe that the modern dance party flourished during the “Vienna Conference”.

Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I at the ball in 1900

After the Napoleonic Wars of 1814, European politicians gathered in Vienna to discuss the new pattern of Europe in the “post-Napoleonic” era, restore the European dynasties that were overthrown during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and restore the feudal order of Europe; the victorious country Re-division of European territories and territories, drawing a new political map, enabling European countries to check and balance each other, so as to maintain long-term peace. During the Vienna Conference, the ball came into being as an entertainment and pastime after negotiations between the nobles and politicians of various countries.

In the Republic era, the “Hofburg New Year Ball” held at the Hofburg Palace on New Year’s Eve was the climax of the entire Vienna ball season.

Among the traditional Vienna balls, there is the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Ball held every year in the Golden Hall as well as the “Hofburg New Year Ball” and the “Opera Ball”. It was held for the first time in 1924, suspended during the Nazi occupation and World War II, and did not resume until 1949. Since then, it has become one of the classic events of the Vienna Ball Season every year. The Austrian poet and playwright Anton Wildgans wrote at the beginning of his poem “To the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” for the first ball of 1924: “Hometown loves you, and the world is proud of you.” With the Vienna Philharmonic The composer Richard Strauss, who has collaborated for many years, wrote the performance music for the first ball, which is still used today.

The “Hofburg New Year’s Ball” is the beginning of the climax of the entire Viennese Ball season.

The booming industry ball
When the royal family and aristocrats became tired of dancing parties and became accustomed to enjoying life, so that the dancing parties could no longer bring more interest, the dancing parties gradually became commoners.

In 1772, Joseph II opened the Masked Ballroom to all civilians; anyone, regardless of class, can participate. Nevertheless, only those who have been invited can participate in the court ball. Some nobles disdain to mingle with common people, and in order to maintain their special noble status, they turned to hold private dances in their residences.

At the same time, folk pop dance culture has emerged in taverns on the outskirts of Vienna, including dances organized by low-level groups such as laundrymen and carriage drivers. The attendees, rich or poor, danced to the rhythm of waltz. Even folk dances have very strict etiquette and customs. Men wear tuxedos and bows, while women wear evening wear. The prom will give orders to the host, a live orchestra and flowers for the ladies.

Perhaps this is the origin of the various trade dances in Vienna today. Today, there are more than 450 balls in the entire Viennese dance season. In addition to traditional dances such as “Hofburg New Year’s Ball” and “Opera Theater Ball”, a large part of them are industry dances organized by various industry associations, such as the “Hunter Ball” held in 1905. The Austrian charitable organization “Green Cross Association” was established in 1905 to engage in forestry, agriculture, and hunting protection work. The first “Hunter’s Ball” that year was the founding ceremony of the Association. Today’s “Hunter’s Ball” has become an important part of the association. Annual fundraising event. It differs from the traditional dance party in Vienna in that the attendees must wear national costumes.

The “Officers Ball” was first held in 1926. It was originally the Austrian Armed Forces Ball organized by the Teresa Military Academy Alumni Association. After World War II, due to the increasing international military cooperation, officers from other countries were also invited to participate in military uniforms. At the ball, the soldiers in the uniforms of various countries just showed Austria’s integration into the international society. In addition, there are the “Pharmaceutical Industry Ball” organized by the Austrian Pharmacists Chamber (beginning in 1932), the “Doctor Ball” (beginning in 1949) organized by the Association of Doctors, and the “Coffee Owners Ball” (beginning) organized by the Coffee Industry Association. In 1957) and so on.

A platform for expressing “political demands”
The dazzling variety of dance parties not only serve as social activities and fundraising activities for people in the industry to welcome the New Year, but also gradually evolved into a voice platform for some groups to express their “political demands.”

Since 2013, the Austrian right-wing political party, the Vienna branch of the Austrian Liberal Party, has held an “Academic Ball” at the Hofburg every year. While inviting members of Austrian right-wing fraternal organizations and right-wing parties in other European countries to attend, it has also attracted countless people. Protesters. Scientists expressed anger at the right-wing groups’ abuse of the name of “academic” to organize right-wing activities. University presidents and scientists in Vienna held the “Science Ball” as a “Protest Ball” for the first time in 2015. Ronald Lauder, the dean of the Vienna Lauder Business School, said that the Vienna “Science Ball” symbolizes “enlightenment, openness to the world, and the joy of learning.”

In recent decades, the importance of identity politics in cultural life has become increasingly prominent, providing equal opportunities for “self-expression” to groups outside the mainstream society. The “Refugee Ball” has been held in the Vienna City Hall since 1995. Fundraising proceeds have been used for refugee resettlement and social integration programs; the “Life Ball” was held for the first time in 1997, and charitable fundraising has been used to fund various AIDS organizations; since 1998 The “Rainbow Ball” held in 2008 gave sexual minorities the opportunity to participate in the dance tradition of Vienna and raise funds for support projects for sexual minorities in Vienna. These balls have become indispensable activities in today’s dance season, making the tradition of the Vienna dance more inclusive.

At the same time, the traditional dance party is also advancing with the times and conforming to the diversified trend of the times. In 2020, the Vienna Opera Ball will break the tradition of “opposite-sex dancers” and welcome the participation of “same-sex dancers” for the first time. The two female dancers are both students from Germany. Even though they are only in same-sex friendship, not same-sex partnership, the party organizer’s decision to accept them is still controversial. Faced with the question of “destroying the dance tradition”, the organizers tried their best to defend the decision made. Organizer Maria Grossbauer said: “It is already 2020, and tradition cannot exclude diversity and tolerance; we support equal opportunities and oppose discrimination and homophobia.”

Expressing one’s demands in the shadow of Yixiang temples, and making a sound when the waltz is played, this kind of social adjustment is not impossible.