european balls

European Balls



waltz stately venerable
ball (2) minuet magnificent
parquet box seat highpoint
glamor in front of look forward t
all over admission date back to
dose square (2) polonaise
grand imagine  debutante
abroad dictate (2) counter-clockwise
lagoon elaborate riot of color
riot costume occasion
seduce baroque celebrate
carnival hang up






From classic waltzes to formal and stately baroque minuets, Europe dances away the cold time of year.

Magnificent balls are held everywhere in winter.

One of the loveliest is held in late January, in the eastern German city of Dresden: the Semper Opera Ball.

Every year, more than two thousand guests, including many celebrities, find their way to the venerable opera house.

A highpoint of the ball is the opening dance of the debutantes, the men traditionally wearing black; the women in red.

Steve Hadicke, Debutant: “The Semper Opera Ball is special — you start looking forward to it when you’re really young . . . to be part of it.

The full Opera House — it’s just fantastic!”

The Semper Opera Ball dates back to the 1920s and 30s. As of 1939, the parquet stood empty for decades.

The opera has not opened for dancing again until 2006.

The Semper Opera Ball is not just for guests lucky enough to get an admission ticket — the whole city joins in.

Outside, on Theater Square, in front of the Opera.

Two-weeks later, it’s the turn of Vienna, the capital of Austria.

The Vienna Opera Ball is Europe’s most important ball. Stars from all over the world lend it an extra dose of glamor, for example actress Hillary Swank.

And celebrity Kim Kardashian.

Kim Kardashian, American TV personality: “It’s definitely the most gorgeous thing ever. And it’s so much bigger and grand than I imagined it to be.”

Half of the 5,500 visitors come from abroad.

People pay up to 17,000 euros for a box seat.

The Vienna Opera Ball is opened by debutantes too, with a polonaise.

The dress code is black and white.

And they dance to the beautiful Blue Danube, counter-clockwise, as tradition dictates.

Venice in northern Italy also has many lovely balls.

Come February, the lagoon city is a riot of color.

About 3 million visitors come each year to the Venetian Carnival. Many wear elaborate, imaginative costumes.

Carnival is the occasion for many masked balls throughout the city. Guests from all over the world dress to the nines in the Palacio Pon Dolu of the luxury hotel, Danielli.

In Venice, it’s tradition to stage theater plays at the balls.

For example, one telling the story of the famous Venetian seducer, Casanova.

At the balls, visitors perform baroque dances from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Europe will be celebrating its ball season till the end of the carnival season in February.

Then it’s time to hang up those dancing shoes again until next year.

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1. European balls are usually held in the summer. Is this correct or wrong? Why are they usually held in winter?

2. What is the highpoint of the ball?

3. The balls first became popular about a decade ago. True or false?

4. What kind of people attend balls? Are only celebrities and the rich involved?

5. Describe the Vienna Ball. What do people say about it?

6. Venice has the same type of balls as Vienna. Yes or no?

7. Do the participants dress the same and do the same type of dances in Dresden, Vienna and Venice? How do they differ?


A. My city hosts dance balls, parties, dance festivals and carnivals. Yes or no? If yes, describe it.

B. Should there be more balls, carnivals or other dance festivals?

C. I would like to attend a ball or carnival. Yes or no? Where would you like go?

D. Balls are only for rich, high-class people. What do you think?

E. What might happen in the future?

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