Fantastic, sensational and elegant: dresses by Oksana Polonets, a waltz to Khrystyna Soloviy’s live performance “Тримай” (engl. “Hold”) and the pearl of Vienna – the elegant Central Café
At the height of the ball season, the traditional Ukrainian Charity Ball was held in Vienna for the fifth time. As in all previous years, 2020 saw an exquisite, stylish and interesting combination of Viennese classics and Ukrainian charm, only on a larger scale.
On the evening of February 15, 2020, the best tourist attractions of Vienna – Palais Ferstel and Café Central – became the venue for the Ukrainian Charity Ball, organized by the Ukrainian Youth Association in Austria (TUMA) for the fifth time. In addition to the ball anniversary, the organization also celebrated the tenth anniversary of its founding. Around 800 guests were able to experience Ukrainian culture combined with Austrian classics thanks to an impeccably crafted program, refined atmosphere and networking with many outstanding people from the worlds of culture, diplomacy and business.
Ukrainian Ball in Vienna 2020: a waltz from famous singer Khrystyna Soloviy and embroidered dresses for debutantes by a top Ukrainian designer
According to the rules of Viennese balls, the debutants (pairs of boys and girls) open the evening with a polonaise and a Viennese waltz. On the fifth anniversary of the ball Ukrainian singer-songwriter Khrystyna Soloviy performed the song “Тримай” (engl. “Hold”) live. It was to its romantic melodies that the debutants danced the Viennese waltz. The singer herself expressed her happiness to be a part of the program and described the atmosphere of the event as outstanding and amazing! She wanted to memorize every moment. You can watch the video of the Ukrainian Ball 2020 debutant’s dance on YouTube channel tumaaustria.
The Ukrainian and Austrian cultures were especially beautifully and concisely intertwined in the image of the debutantes. The exquisite white dresses were designed by the famous Ukrainian designer Oksana Polonets (Design Studio of Oksana Polonets), who has repeatedly prepared outfits for its former first lady of Ukraine, Maryna Poroshenko. An exclusive collection of wreaths for debutantes was created by Viennese designer Niely Hoetsch. Khrystyna Soloviy’s performance gained about 1.5 million views in just three days! By the way, Voice of America’s video of the debutantes’ dance at the Ukrainian Ball 2018 to the melody of “Щедрик” (engl. “Carol of the Bells”) was watched by more than a million people.
Ukrainian Ball in Vienna 2020: prima donna Susanna Chakhoyan and a furor of violin and DJ duet
The fantastic Susanna Chakhoyan, soloist of the National Opera of Ukraine, Honored Artist of Ukraine, opened the Ukrainian Charity Ball with Marko Kropyvnytsky’s “Соловейко ” (engl. “Nightingale”). Then the soloist of the Vienna Opera, Peter Kellner, performed Mephistopheles’ aria “La veau d’or” (engl. “The Golden Calf”) form Charles Gounod’s opera “Faust”. After the barcarolle, a duet from Geatano Donizetti’s opera “Il lavage di amore” they completely captivated the audience and received a standing ovation.
The undisputed highlight of the program was also the performance of violin virtuoso and finalist of the “Ukraine’s Got Talent” program Oleksandr Bozhyk. He played first one, then two and finally three violins! This part of the program is classical, but the violinist’s performance added novelty and modernity. In addition, after midnight, he performed with Ukrainian DJ Peter Ambryk. Their duet became a real sensation and a modern highlight in the program of the classic performance with century-old history.
Ukrainian Ball in Vienna 2020: folk songs in symphonic arrangement
At the ball, the audience was entertained by the well-known Austrian Ziehrer Hofball Orchestra, which is well versed in the ballroom traditions and has accompanied Viennese balls multiple times. In fact, they are true fans of the Ukrainian Charity Ball. They said that they had never seen so many cheerful guests and a fantastic atmosphere at any Austrian ball, taking into consideration that there are more than 300 balls held throughout Austria from November to February.
Especially for the Ukrainian Charity Ball, the organizers made sure that the orchestra’s repertoire included Ukrainian tango scores such as “Гуцулка Ксеня” (engl. “Hutsulka Ksenia”), “Ніч яка місячна” (engl. “What a Moonlit Night”), “Ой чий там кінь стоїть” (engl. “Oh Whose Horse Is Standing There”), “Місто спить” (engl. “The City Is Sleeping”), “Тримай” (engl. “”Hold), “Як тебе не любити, Києве мій” (engl. “How Can I Not Love You, My Kyiv”). All of these folk songs sounded unsurpassed in the classical way of performance by the orchestra.
The jazzy and playful mood at the Ukrainian Ball was created by the band “Vienna Jazz Melange”, which includes Susanne Stockhammer and first-class jazz musicians. Visitors of the Ukrainian Ball 2020 were enjoying the song “Ніч яка місячна” (engl. “What a Moonlit Night”) performed by Vopli Vidopliassova frontman Oleg Skrypka. The song was arranged by Ukrainian DJ Petro Ambryk. The real highlight of this evening was Oleg Skrypka’s performance of the song “Черемшина” (eng. “Bird Cherries’”) accompanied by the band.
After the official program (which lasted about an hour) and the second dance of the debutants – “Alles Walzer” means that all the guests are invited to dance on the floor. For all lovers of different music, Ukrainian Ball 2020 also featured a Latin American and jazz program accompanied by Ukrainian DJ Peter Ambryk, soloist Olena Hoynyak and saxophonist Oleg Ognivchuk. They impressed the audience with an excellent selection of dance music, both foreign and Ukrainian. In addition, the guests were given a dance master class by current Austrian champions Konstantin and Nadiya Panchenko. At midnight the whole hall danced a traditional quadrille that filled the room with laughter and fun.
Ukrainian Ball in Vienna 2020: helping by dancing
As in previous years, the unofficial slogan of the ball is “Helping by dancing”. It clearly and accurately explained the charitable purpose of the ball, when guests, in order to make a contribution to society, only have to buy a ticket to the ball and have an unforgettable evening. Every year, the funds raised during the charity lottery are directed to the needs of two orphanages in Ukraine. Last year’s ball raised more than 5.000 euros. During the 5th anniversary of the Ukrainian Ball, the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) became an honorary partner of TUMA. The charity lottery raised funds to support the education of children from low-income families in Ukraine.
In addition to charitable purposes, the organizers’ goal of reviving the tradition of the Ukrainian Ball and making It recognizable in the Vienna ball calendar has successfully become a reality. For five years in a row, the Ukrainian Charity Ball has been a meeting place for about a thousand guests of different nationalities and professions. Warm reviews from regular acquaintances and spending an evening in a friendly, sophisticated atmosphere. About 800 people attended the Ukrainian Ball 2020. The audience of the Ukrainian Ball consisted of more that 70 percent Austrians and guest of different nationalities. It is especially gratifying that Ukrainians can also enjoy the ballroom tradition. It’s not the first year that many Ukrainians from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Ukraine and even Canada and America have come to the Ukrainian Ball specifically, that year a whole delegation from the Netherlands came.
The Ukrainian Ball is also considered a bridge of cultural diplomacy between Ukraine and Austria, promoting Ukrainian culture among Austrians and foreigners. Every year it is attended by VIPs from Ukraine and Austria, representatives of the business and diplomatic elite. In particular, representatives of the pan-European movement in Austria, representatives of Institute of Slavic Studies at the University in Vienna and artists. Among the distinguished guests of the ball were Alois Voldan, head of the Institute of Slavic Studies, Ukrainian jewelry designer Victoria Guzema, Viennese designer Niely Hoetsch, Ukrainian designer Oksana Polonets, opera star Zoryana Kushpler, co-author of the wowbody program Yulia Bohdan, UCU’s rector for public relations Oleg Turyi, singer and leader of the band Vopli Vodopliasova Oleg Skrypka, leader of the band SKAI Oleg Sobchuk, Svitske Zhyttia host Kateryna Osadcha, organizer of the Vienna Ball in Kyiv Maryna Ihnatusha, French scholar Bohdan Tycholoz, well-known Ukrainian blogger and host Leonid Martynchuk, Ukrainian singer Khrystyna Soloviy, American historian Timothy Snyder, direct descendant of Kyrylo Rozumovsky – historian Gregor Rozumovsky and others.
Palace Eschenbach (Eschenbachgasse 9, 1010, Vienna) opened its door for the Ukrainian Ball 2017. In 2018 and 2019, the Ukrainian Ball was held at the Palace Auersperg (Auerspergstraße 1, 1080, Vienna).
More information and interesting things in the magazine dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the Ukrainian Ball in Austria – Ukrainischer Ball in Wien Magazin 2020 / Ukrainian Ball in Vienna 2020 Magazine on issuu.
You can watch the video and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Ukrainian Ball 2020 on YouTube tumaaustria.
Read more about interesting Ukrainian footprints in Vienna and Austria in the online archive Interactive Ukrainian Vienna.