Around the World with Russian balls or what “Party like a Russian” actually means

Maria Sergeeva
November 8, 2017

Dozens of debutantes from Russia, the UK, America, France, Palestine, Jordan, Latvia, Estonia, Malta and Asia opened the 5th Russian Charity Ball in London last Saturday.

According to the high standards set by the organizers of the Ball, ESM Event Management,  the brightest stars of the world famous Bolshoi Theatre, Symphonic orchestra Camerata Tchaikovsky conducted by Andrey Lebedev, The Len Phillips Big Band, renowned international musicians and dancers were invited in London, making  this ball one of the most stunning events of the social calendar.

The Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow’s principal dancers Maria Alexandrova and partner Vladislav Lantratov, photo by Danila Deliya

The debutantes were presented to the patron of London Ball Princess Olga Romanoff, a descendent of Tsar Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, and the daughter of Prince Andrei Alexandrovich, who said parting words to the ladies and guests at the very beginning of the ball.

The debutantes’ polka and first waltz were choreographed by Leonid Pletnev, Honorary President of the International Dancing Union, and his wife Vera Pletnev.  The Debutantes’ performed the Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz, before guests were invited to the floor.

The Debutantes performing polka, photo by Danila Deliya

Vera and Leonid Pletnev with debutantes, photo by Danila Deliya
The international Toastmaster and Master of Ceremonies Paul Deacon and Tatiana Pechernikova, one of the founders of "Dancing with the Stars" TV-programme in Russia, guided the guests through the evenings of previous balls.

Many of debutantes discovered ballroom dancing for the first time after being selected by the ball committee, spending months polishing their dance skills, all together with their gallant partners, learning etiquette and simply making friends on the same wave length.

For those, who came from Moscow, the first ball in the capital was just a beginning. Paying tribute to that great epoch  and dreaming of living this fairytale again and again, numerous young ladies and gentlemen travel around the world to attend the debutante balls, perfecting their dancing skills, coming as debutantes and after as guests  next years.

It is allowed to be a debutante only once, but it is impossible to resist to the desire to enter deeply into the feelings, thoughts and emotions of the debut, so the young tsarinas have found a solution. They simply open Russian balls in different counties. As the recent history of Russian Balls by ESM Event Management accounts already 15 years, a series of spectacular balls are being held all over the world, in London, Vienna, Karlovy Vary. Without forgetting newly launched Baltic Ball in Riga or in Almaty and balls previously held in Kiev, Rome, Vienna, Montreux and Biarritz.

“The next Russian ball in China is awaited. We are planning to open a big Russian Ball in Shenzhen in June 2018.”, revealed to Beam Alexander Smagin, the General Director of “Venski Bal Moskva”, so the Russian ball might become a good pretext of discovering the world, getting new contacts and of course dancing.

Traditionally a way to introduce young ladies into society, it is not by chance that the young ladies should meet strict requirements to participate in the opening ceremony.

The eligible ladies should be at least 16 and no older than 24, unmarried showing to judges their good manners, high level of education, great erudition and foreign language skills.

The lucky selected princesses wear pure white, floor length evening gowns, as a sign of their purity, white elbow length gloves and white dancing shoes.

Some of the debutantes and guests have Russian origin, some are in love with Russian culture, others are connected with Russia through the business or just discovered the event via friends or Internet and couldn’t resist.

Stopped abruptly after the 1917 revolution, during which Tsar Nicholas was murder with his family, the tradition is now enjoying a second lease of life, but “its author is time”, explains  Alexander Smagin.

“The modern society made a request for this kind of events, and the concept of ??the ball was revived. The fact is that not always this idea has been realized at the proper level. As for our balls, my wife Elizabeth (e, Smagin-Melloni, the president of the ball committee, ed.) is the author of the idea, and we have been conducting the balls all together for fifteen years already”.

Russian ball it’s not only about entertainment, it’s also about charity.

Fifteen lots for a total of £ 69,000 were sold at a live Charity Auction by Litfund. The pieces of contemporary art were estimated from £ 2,000 to £ 10,000 .The funds collected at the auction will cover the grants for the students of London Russian Ballet School.

Contrary to the common belief, there is no need to be children of oligarchs to open the ball or to be a guest with tickets starting from £ 290, while  registration fees for debutantes are at a relatively modest £200, compared to other balls in London.

The media usually mention the term of ”Russian elite” attending the Debutante Balls and the General Director of Moscow Viennese Ball explains why:

"This is in part because balls really are an elitist way of spending leisure time. But, first of all, we are talking about the cultural aspect, and not about the financial one, although this is also true. Among the guests of the ball you will meet many people who usually go to the opera, attend classical music performances, and are interested in art. This is, above all, the cultural and intellectual elite and only then financial".