Tag Archives: ball season

NYTimes: Gowns, Wurst and Protesters: It’s Ball Season in Vienna

9 Feb

We made the New York Times! (Doesn’t happen all that often.)

Gowns, Wurst and Protesters: It’s Ball Season in Vienna https://nyti.ms/2GL8Fkl

Café Schwarzenberg

24 Mar

Yes, I was out drinking coffee with someone again, this time at the Café Schwarzenberg. I hadn’t been for  a while so noticed some changes: a line of people waiting for tables, a sign that explicitly tells people to choose a table (something that used to be assumed in Vienna), and a recently renovated women’s room.

You still have to watch the step down into the ladies’ room but the mirrors that were on the inside of the stall doors have been removed. That’s right. There used to be mirrors placed in such a way that you could watch yourself pee, although I don’t think that’s why they were there. I always assumed it had something to do with the fact that Schwarzenberg is one of the cafés that offers a Katerfrühstück in the ball season, that is a breakfast eaten on the way home to mitigate a hangover. I imagined ladies in ball dresses might need to make some adjustments to their attire that required such a set up. If they did need it, it’s now gone.


In Düsseldorf

19 Jan

Am waiting to board the last plane to Vienna this evening and am interested in the information about Vienna they are showing on a screen–that there are more people buried in the main cemetery (2.5 m) than live in the city (1.8 m) and that there are over 300 balls a year. Fun to have another perspective!

November 11

7 Nov

A big day is coming up–November 11. For history buffs, it’s the commemoration of the Armistice, the end of the First World War. For others, it is the official start–at precisely 11 a.m.–of Fasching (what the Viennese call Carnival). This means, as today’s Kurier reminds me, that it is also the start of the Ball Season here. Get out your fancy shoes and limber up your dancing legs–the Ball of the Red Cross in Vienna is on the 20th.

The Ball Season

5 Jan

The Saturday Kurier (yes, I am a bit behind my time ;-)) had a brief section on ball etiquette, which made me think, in a nice way, of the 19th century. Their rules for correct ball behavior: Small talk on the dance floor, yes please, but smartphones must be left on the table. (OK, that one is not very 19th c.) At a ball the gentleman always goes first to lead his partner to the floor. If a gentleman is asked to dance it would never occur to him to decline the invitation. Polite ladies never turn down an invitation to dance without an explanation, of which there are only two acceptable ones: “Kreislaufprobleme” (literally “problems with my circulatory system” e.g., dizziness, more at Kreislauf) or “sore feet”. Partners one has turned down should not be made to suffer by seeing one go out on the dance floor with someone else. One is required to wait until the orchestra takes a break. After that one may dance with someone else. A couple who dances together must also leave the dance floor together. One must never leave one’s partner stranded on the floor. The correct direction to move around the ballroom is counter clockwise. Rather like in a swimming pool there are apparently lanes. The faster dancers should move around the outside of the dancefloor,  the slower dancers more in the middle. I hope this quick report will help everyone avoid collisions and faux pas at their next ball!

Last day of February already

28 Feb

How did that happen??? And yesterday evening on my way to dinner with friends I saw a young man in tails on the tram. In Vienna this almost always means the same thing–the young man in question is on his way to a ball. When you see him at 7 p.m. that is a sign that he is opening the ball. I was mildly surprised to see him on a Thursday evening–there are balls every night of the week in Vienna during ball season but the bigger balls, the ones where you are required to wear tails, tend to be on the weekend. Too late in the year for the Philharmonic Ball, which is the only other major ball that is on a Thursday. With a mild shock I realized that it could only be the Opera Ball, that event which for decades has signaled the approach of Lent in this Catholic country. Sure enough, next week on Wednesday the revels end for 40 days.