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30 Dec 2019

Lukashenko attends Vienna Ball in Minsk

Lukashenko attends Vienna Ball in Minsk

MINSK, 30 December (BelTA) – The first Vienna Ball in the history of independent Belarus took place in the Palace of Independence on 28 December, BelTA has learned.  

Taking part in the event were Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Prime Minister Sergei Rumas, Chair of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Natalya Kochanova, Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko, high-ranking officials and diplomats.

However, the focus was on debutantes who got invitation to the ball thanks to their achievements in studies, art, sport, science and public work. Those were students and graduates of universities and vocational training colleges, a total of over 360 people.

The Vienna ball is part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. The ball in Minsk was held in line with long-standing traditions of classic Viennese balls.

The ball opened with a polonaise performed by the debutante girls clad in snow-white gowns with miniature bouquets in their hands. The boys wore tailcoats.

“It is with great pleasure that I am looking at you now as you are standing here so young and happy with shining eyes. Girls are clad in splendid gowns and boys are wearing tailcoats. I am very proud (and you know it) of the beauty of our nation. You embody our nation today. I know that this beauty is enhanced by intelligence, education and hard work. These are the qualities the Belarusian people are known for. This is what distinguishes us from other people,” Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he addressed the participants of the ball.

The female participants were dressed in gowns of soft colors, like rosy, blue, beige and light green. The men were wearing tailcoats, tuxedos and uniforms. Everyone was nervous. “It is such a big event. It is not often that we do it, therefore, we are a bit nervous,” Natalya Kochanova said.

This is her second New Year ball, therefore she helped Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko to prepare for the event and held several joint rehearsals. “He was doing really well,” Natalya Kochanova said.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Austria to Belarus Aloisia Worgetter said that it is a great honor for her to take part in the Vienna Ball in Minsk. She emphasized that European ball traditions fit well into the Belarusian cultural scene, but acquire a national flavor. The ambassador had her outfit made by Belarusian designer Natalya Lyakhovets. The diplomat was very happy with her gown. She did not dance because of some medical conditions, but promised to get back in shape by the next ball.

The participants performed polka, pas des patineurs, galop, and Midnight Quadrille. When a traditional Viennese waltz was announced, everyone took to the floor to dance to the Strauss music. The head of state joined the dancers.

There were also professional artists, including  Zoryana Kushpler, Soloist of the Vienna State Opera, as well as Merited Artists of Belarus Oksana Volkova and Vladimir Gromov. Master classes were given by a choreographer of the Elmayer dance school.

On behalf of the Austrian delegation Aloisia Worgetter extended gratitude for the wonderful evening. “It is a great joy to be here and to see how Austrian traditions and love for elegance and beauty are adopted in Belarus. It is enough to recall the name of the great Belarusian musician Michal Oginski who composed the beautiful polonaises that opened the ball,” the ambassador said. She presented a symbolic gift to show her appreciation. The word ‘ball’ also has another meaning, i.e. a spherical object. Therefore she presented a glass ball made by Neman Glassworks filled  with round Austrian sweets. She expressed hope that Viennese balls will become a good tradition in Belarus.

“I am glad to hear your opinion about western traditions in Belarus. Thank you for the nice words. I thought that sooner or later these good traditions will be adopted in the center of Mother Europe,” the head of state said. He suggested holding Viennese balls every year with assistance from the Austrian side.

“Culture and art are the things that unite groups of people, nations and countries despite political disputes between them. We, diplomats, pay much attention to this matter. I believe that the participation of Austrians in this event will also contribute to closer ties between our people,” Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said.

At the end of the ball, A1 company presented a gift card to the international public association SOS Children’s Villages in Belarus.

Each participant of the event was given New Year gifts. The president gave an instruction to make a video about the event. 

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