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Ball Season in Prague, a Tradition Still Alive and Well Today
Who said that elegance and gallantry had disappeared? Ball season, which kicks off annually in February in the Czech Republic, and especially in Prague, is the proof of that. For all the ladies who have dreamed of being Sissi, and for everyone who appreciates luxury and elegance, this time of year is ideal for taking a little visit to Prague and plunging yourself into an reminiscent of the Viennese balls of the old days, with a touch of modernity!
If you take a sojourn to Prague during the month of February, you will definitely run into a few teenagers in groups in the subway corridors and during evenings out, who will be dressed to the nines under big, shapeless parkas to combat the frosty air, cheeks a bit red, sometimes a little awkward in their nice dresses and their slightly quirky tailored suits. That's a sign that ball season has started, and in the Czech Republic, teenagers learn to dance all through the year by taking courses (“taneční”) in order to be ready for the big day: the Graduation Ball (“maturitní ples”) which often happens in this season.This tradition of holding a ball to mark the end of secondary school is still well-rooted in the culture, proof that balls remain an important entertainment in the Czech Republic! Aside from these student balls, there also exist numerous other get-togethers, this time targeting adults. For example, the Czechoslovak Ball has taken place every year for more than 40 years in the gorgeous setting of the Municipal House, right in the heart of the Old Town. It is there, amidst the building's ostentatious Art Nouveau décor, that on the 14th who likes to dance to the sound of jazz groups, for example, will be found. Several rooms offer different types of music! At the end of the evening, Czech and Slovak folklore groups traditionally close the ball. A six-course meal in addition to a very early breakfast are included in the price of the tickets, which cost 2400 to 5900 CZK depending where you want to sit. http://www.ceskoslovenskyples.cz/
Another major seasonal highlight is the Opera Ball, organized at the State Opera House, a stone's throw from the top of the Wenceslas Square promenade. The very first opera ball was held in 1948 and this event regained steam after the Velvet Revolution. Each year, numerous showbiz stars are invited, like the French actor Alain Delon, Michèle Mercier, who unforgettably portrayed Angélique, Marquise of the Angels, Ivana Trump, and Peter Ustinov. Today, the Opera Ball strives to be both a high-society get-together, as well as a charitable event. Ticket sales generally support a non-profit organisation or an association. Next year, the Opera Ball will take place on the 7th February, 2015. www.plesvopere.cz
For a romantic evening by the waterside, head to the Žofín Palace, which stands on an island in the Vltava River. All throughout the season, balls are organized according to a “guild”-type model here. There's the medical students' ball (January 9th gardeners' ball (February 6th, 2015), the doctors' ball (January 24th), the, and the only one for which tickets are currently already on sale: http://www.ticketpro.cz/jnp/spolecenske-akce/ples-tanecni-zabava/1468752--73-reprezentacni-zahradnicky-ples.html), the Europe Easy Energy ball (February 27th), and finally, the Czech Radio ball (March 7th). Tickets for all of these except the gardeners' event will go on sale later on http://www.zofin.cz/cs/program/plesova-sezona-na-zofine-2015/
Finally, in another vein entirely, for the last few years Prague has been reconnecting with an ancient Baroque carnival tradition. And one of the highlights of the Praha Carnival festival is just that, a Baroque ball called the Crystal Ball, which is accompanied by a grand banquet. A breathtaking experience is guaranteed when it comes to this ball, which is usually held in a sumptuous palace in Prague, like last year's Clam-Gallas Palace. Your only obligation: come in period costume and radiate pure elegance and mystery from behind your mask. www.carnevale.cz/