Dreams Do Come True: A Princess for a Night at a Viennese Ball

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Carissa Corrigan
November 21, 2022
Dreams Do Come True: A Princess for a Night at a Viennese Ball

"Dreams DO come true!" At least, that's what Cinderella says. But after I got to attend a REAL-LIFE ball, I think that I would have to agree.

I had been looking forward to this for months. I had even packed my own ball gown from home so that I wouldn't have to worry about trying to find a cost-effective gown while here in Vienna.

On the day of the Vienna Red Cross Ball, I hurried home after my morning German class and climbed back into bed. I needed to make sure that I had plenty of energy for my fun night ahead. So yes, I took a VERY long nap. When I woke up, it was time to start getting ready! 

For dinner, my apartment planned a dinner party with another apartment of our friends, so I headed over there for a quick bite. Before we knew it, it was time to head to the ball! We put on our dresses, took a few photos, and headed over to the Vienna Rathaus to meet one of my friend's parents who were visiting for the week. They took a few more photos of us, and then we headed inside.

It was just like a fairytale. There were red carpets lining the regal staircase as we entered. We were handed bottles of winter-scented lotion as an attendance gift. As we walked up the final staircase to the ballroom, the Red Cross workers lined the staircase to greet us and a photographer took our picture as we entered the ballroom.

The ball began with an opening ceremony of many performances that included the Red Cross anthem, "I am from Austria," an interpretive dance, a flag ceremony, and the opening dance of the debutants. After the dance master announced, "Alles Walzer!" we waltzed to "The Blue Danube"—a dream!!—or at least tried to. No one knew what they were doing, but we watched the other Viennese dancers and tried to copy what they were doing. And just trying was plenty of fun!

One of my favorite parts of the night was the "midnight Quadrille." We danced the quadrille three times—once maybe around 11 p.m., again at 12:30 a.m., and once more at 2:30 a.m. It's a bit like a classy partner line dance that keeps getting faster and faster until it erupts into utter chaos! Then, when the dance is over, the music begins again and you gallop around the dance floor and run through the tunnel made by the other dancers. Once you get to the end of the tunnel, you join the end of the tunnel so that it extends further.

Unlike Cinderella, I stayed until the ball ended at 4 a.m. (sorry, Mom!). But it was one of the most memorable nights of my abroad experience. The ball ended with a final waltz to "Brüderlein fein," the song that ends every ball in Vienna. It was a beautiful evening and a night that I will never forget.

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Carissa Corrigan

Hallo! Ich heiße Carissa. I’m a Westmont College senior who is double majoring in Music Education and History. I am an enthusiastic musician and play the oboe and English horn. In my not-so-free time, you can usually find me baking cupcakes or cookies, painting, or planting seeds in my garden.

2022 Fall
Home University:
Westmont College
Gilbert, AZ
Music Education
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