At the very start of the season Vienna will send its regards to Japan. This year the Vienna Red Cross Ball on November 15, 2013 at City Hall, taking place for the third time, is themed “Vienna meets Japan”. The proceeds from the charity ball night will be donated to various Vienna Red Cross projects aimed at giving children and teenagers a better start in life. His Excellency Shigeo Iwatani, the Japanese Ambassador to Vienna, Mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl and President of the Vienna Red Cross Karly Skyba are the patrons of this year’s event. Ballgoers will have the chance to find out more about Japanese culture, including a traditional tea ceremony.
L’Esprit Viennois is the motto at the elegant Le Grand Bal at the Hofburg Vienna on New Year’s Eve. The celebrations will play out in the state rooms of the former imperial residence – just as they once did in the days of the empire. Artists from the Vienna State Opera and Volksoper will top the billing, with several orchestras performing everything from dance music to waltzes and jazz numbers. The four-course New Year’s Eve menu features poached char fillets, fillet steak with potato tartlets and cranberry mousse. Guests can watch the skies fill with fireworks while savouring a glass of champagne at the new outdoor bar on Heldenplatz.
The capital’s ball season reaches its peak during Fasching, or carnival season, in January and February. Traditional highlights include the Opera Ball at the Vienna State Opera (Feb 27, 2014, www.wiener-staatsoper.at), the Vienna Philharmonic Ball at the Musikverein (Jan 23, 2014, www.wienerphilharmoniker.at), events at the Hofburg such as the Confectioners’ Ball (Jan 16, 2014, www.zuckerbaeckerball.com), as well as the Coffeehouse Owners’ Ball (Feb 21, 2014, www.kaffeesiederball.at), the BonbonBall at the Konzerthaus (Feb 28, 2014, www.bonbonball.at) and the Rainbow Ball, Vienna’s classic gay and lesbian ball, at the Parkhotel Schönbrunn (Feb 22, 2014, www.regenbogenball.at).
The long-established Elmayer dance school in the old town has a special offer for visitors to the capital in the shape of waltz crash courses for beginners. Every Saturday afternoon from 4-5pm the school introduces visitors to the fine art of Viennese waltzing. There is no need to book places in advance, and lessons are held in English. Shoes with leather soles – and a dance partner – are the only prerequisites. It goes without saying that the world-famous dance school next door to the Lipizzaner stables is also open for private lessons by prior reservation.