Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Austrian Ball of Montreal

Have you ever seen images of Debutantes at Viennese Balls? All the young girls wearing white ball gowns, with their partners’ black tie attire contrasting like night and day… I remember seeing such a seen in a travel documentary about Vienna and it made me dream.

The Vienna State Opera Ball

I know these are supposed to be old tradition and that their purpose is to say loud and clear that the young woman being presented is of noble blood and is eligible for marriage. But I’m a girl, and I love princess stories; even modern ones.

To my surprise, I have discovered that there is a Viennese Debutante ball, right here in Montréal in November of each year by
The Austrian Society of Montréal. And check this out, debutantes have to be younger than 30 (plenty of time for many of us to be one).

Edit: I can no longer confirm that information on their website, but I'm sure I saw it before. So, age unconfirmed.

Montréal Austrian Ball Debutantes, 2009

When you are a debutante, you must wear white. The colour is reserved to you and other debutantes for the evening. While debs in other places might be free to get which ever white ball gown they want, the Montreal Debutantes must all rent the same dress. They are also expected to dance a traditional waltz (dance lessons are included if you are chosen as a debutante).

Of course, I will probably never be a debutante at any ball; I am not Austrian, or single, or of high society. But I could still attend a ball and wear a gorgeous ball gown, in any colour except for white. In Vienna, during the Ball season (between November and June), there are about 300 public balls. Anyone is welcome! All you need is your ticket and evening wear. And perhaps some dance lessons.

Now I have another reason to visit Vienna (the first being to eat Sachertorte – the world’s best Chocolate cake!).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Young Academy at the Oireachtas

This week-end I went to the Oireachtas for the first time. In Irish Dancing, Oireachtas are championship competition at the regional level. Since the next step up if you place is the World’s Irish Dance Championship, you could say it is a big deal. Now, I’m nowhere near good enough to dance as a soloist at this competition, but I did enter the Mini-Feis, which was more my calibre and just for fun. I was also a member of a Céilí team, in our case an 8 person group dancing one of the traditional choreographies for 8 people.

Since this is a costuming blog and not a dance blog, I know what you really want to see is my dress. I received my school dress last week, just in time for the competition.

Gwenyver in he Young Academy of Irish Dance School Dress

Our school dresses were made by a seamstress in New York. We sent her the school logo and the colours we wanted and she designed the rest. It is really beautiful. We all love how our dresses look.

Young Academy of Irish Dance Céilí team and Coach

I don’t know if I lost that much weight since sending the dress maker my measurements, but, my teacher had to tighten my dress with safety pins and try to make it look good (yet she refuses to let me take it in, I guess due to the cost of the dress and the fact that the school paid for half and therefore owns half of it – trust me dear, I’ll do a good job).

About the competition, we didn’t win anything, but hey, at least we had fun!

Young Academy of Irish Dance Céilí team - Charlie's Angels style

And next year, we’ll be more experienced and will do much better; I am confident of that!