Tales from Vienna

 Lord Mayor's Appeal 2004 Viennese Ball

Manson House, London

18 October 2004

Andrew Le Quesne



The London Viennese Ball was a great success! I joined in Michaela’s dance lessons on the second rehearsal night and was immediately thrown into the delights of the Radetzky March, the Gallop and the Waltz. After many promenades, marche carrés, moulinets, forward - forward - turns and dos-a-dos we were finally learning to about-turn at the same time and ‘find our lines’. My other personal challenge was to learn the Waltz. At the open dance class for guests before the ball, I at last got the hang of how to both spin around and move in an anti-clockwise circle around the ballroom at the same time. In fact my partner and I got so carried away that we nearly crashed into Michi and knocked her over.

Following the success of the dress rehearsal (apart from a maybe chaotic run through the Quadrille) we arrived at the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House the following Monday in high spirits. The group assembled in the Egyptian Hall for a final practice with the London Symphony Orchestra. There were a few moments of panic as we adapted from the poky confines of the practice room to the palatial grandiose of the Egyptian Ballroom. This had caused us to spread out too much and ‘lose our lines’ but in the end we needn’t have worried.

At 8:30 PM we lined up in a column of couples at the top of the main staircase; the gentlemen dressed in dinner suits and the ladies looking resplendent in their white ball gowns, sparkling tiaras and holding their bouquets of flowers. We descended the staircase to make our grand entrance to the Egyptian Hall and our eagerly awaiting guests. After the entrance procession, in which we marched around the ballroom twice in a loop, we performed the Radetzky March to the live accompaniment of the London Symphony Orchestra. It went off to a T - much to the delight of Michi and the guests. This was followed by a couple of short speeches by the Lord Mayor and HE the Austrian Ambassador after which, on the announcement of ‘Alles Walzer’, we all started to Waltz, Polka, and Gallop – interspersed, of course, with numerous champagne breaks.

Another high-light of the evening was a dance show by two outstanding professional couples who held the audience captive with their Argentine Tango and other dances.

The night was rounded off with a Quadrille followed by the last Waltz. A thoroughly great evening!