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The ball beginning in the Instagram era

Christian Maccabi holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Geology. She was a research fellow at the North Pole. She studied mathematics and science in Micronesia.

“Not your typical debutante,” she said.

But there was, during the night, one of 14 women in their twenties involved in a beginner ball, a ritual of 1 percent of the long period before the term’s existence.

They wore across the ballroom in long clothes in Vienna opera. The lowest-cost ticket costs $ 1,100. Tables are priced from 10 to 12 up to $ 25,000.

In the era of Facebook, Instagram and dating apps, the ball created by the wealthy and their language – when formal dances were a way to meet their potential mates and get to know a “polite community” – appears to be a strange tradition.

Luxury festivals and a fairly homogeneous circle may appear to be from the wealthy people who go to it in a heterogeneous city in a diverse city struggling with income inequality.

But the beginner party circle, a staple of high-end community in New York for generations, still lingers in the new city age full of extreme wealth.

Formalities remain – long gowns, long gloves and bouquets for women; white ties and tails to accompany them. The crowd is mostly white. One of the women in Vienna football last week had an aristocratic title she had been in her family since the nineteenth century. Another is the daughter of the Austrian ambassador to Portugal. Another is the accomplishment pianist was Miss New York outstanding In 2017.

But there were transformations that would have made Mrs. Astor gloomy again in the “400” days, a well-known secret list of the most elite members of New York society. An Austrian photographer on the ball clipped his hair in the back to illustrate “Vienna”.

The reasons for attending Junior Ball are different than before.

“Think of it as a way to join the community to find your man, to get married,” said Mrs. Maccabi, 26, but that was no longer the case. This is a very old interpretation of the event. In this day and age, it’s almost a way for young women to show themselves and what they have accomplished. “

There was, of course, a sense of privacy: beginners were interviewed and selected on the basis of education, achievement and background. Fifty application, according to Sylvia Fraser, president and CEO of the ball. Some were invited to do so, but they had to be interviewed as the organizers reduced the number to 14 accepted beginners.

Women can bring their own escorts, or if they don’t, one is assigned to them based on height and ability to dance. There are no questions about sexual orientation.

Organizers said that potential participants cannot buy their way; many parents do not purchase schedules. (Organizers said they expect to donate more than $ 50,000 to a music therapy program at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center through Gabriel Angel Cancer Research Foundation, a charity set up by the Denis Rich Social Foundation.)

Fewer freshmen are chosen in the past, mostly because of the space. Organizers said they were limited to 14 couples on 42 Cipriani Street, opposite Grand Central Terminal. This is nearly half of the number that attended when the ball was held in Waldorf Astoria, is now closed for renewals.

The ball was opening with a sleigh sliding across the ballroom. One year, transportation and live horses made the entrance. Another year, the focus of a jeep in World War II, symbolized the signing of the treaty ending the occupation after the war in Austria.

This time, the women and their escort led the way. Organizers said Cipriani 42nd Street wasn’t big enough for a sleigh ride and didn’t have a freight lift for a wagon or jeep. This time, the orchestra was not transferred from Vienna. The organizers said the savings would increase the amount they could donate.

But gowns and hairdresser were installed carefully. One of the two co-chairs, Jan Shaverov, wore only two dresses. It has changed from Oscar de la Renta to Carolina Herrera.

The Viennese ball is the last of the so-called Gallas beginner in the New York winter social calendar. The International Junior Ball, held every December, was the event that featured generations of beginners – Astors, Vanderbills, Rockefellers, princesses, and daughters of presidents.

Colgate Rompog, who is included in the Viennese Ball program as head of the Junior Committee, described him as “more original and more elegant” than other stations in the social circle.

“It’s not just another party with Peter Duchenne or Alex Donner,” he said, referring to two community leaders. “It is the full experience as it is in Vienna, with a whole section of the series fertile and romantic.”

Mr. Rambaugh is a 29-year-old descendant of the founder of Colgate Palmolive Company and Marjorie Merewether Post, who inherited a cereal company and planted it in the public food company. One of her daughters was the grandmother of Mr. Rambaugh, actress Dina Merrill.

Beginner balls are not for everyone. “Absolute suffering” was how Eleanor Roosevelt was described as one she attended in New York (after her first appearance in the White House, when the president was her uncle Theodore Roosevelt). Edith Wharton famously wrote that she endured the ball of the debutant “in miserable speech.”

Writer Christine Richardson, author of “The Season: A Social History of the Beginner,” said the balls in New York “are less important every year” but they have become “invincible.”

“You can track back down and wax,” said Ms. Richardson. “In the 1960s and 1970s, this was unloved, and organizers believed their balls would disappear. There were demonstrations in some beginning balls. In the 1980s, with Reagan’s revolution, unjustified displays of wealth became very popular again, and the balls saw Also “.

In the nineties, when she offered me as an option, “As a teenager, she said,” There was no way for me and my friends to do that. ”

Recently, thanks to social media, Novice Balls have reached a new audience and are gaining popularity “as a way for people to show imaginative images,” said Mrs. Richardson.

She said, “They can use these rituals to promote themselves.”

But only if they can. Aimée Auguin, who works at an art gallery and attended the Vienna Ball Opera, said that she was invited three years ago, but she could not go because of a scheduling conflict.

She said she got the finals at Columbia University, where she was young at the time.

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