It seems like an impossible task to write about the indescribable experience that was the TU Ball!
Throughout my entire life, the concept of a ball had an ethereal aura of yesteryear that I had only seen in the movies or had read about in passing. Now, with my research on the financial goings-on of opera houses, I caught myself considering balls as another revenue or expense category on the balance sheet rather than a lavish event overflowing with history and tradition. Merely finding myself walking past the Hofburg during the orientation in September had already been a dream in and of itself. But then, entering the building months later—in a ballgown no less—and stepping foot into the ornate rooms and halls was an unforgettable moment. When I looked up at the ceiling, the glittering lights of the chandelier and the intricate frescos were spellbinding.
To be in such a famous landmark attending this historical event; to see the attendees dressed so elegantly; to be surrounded by the sounds of the music, by the movements of the dancers—I felt transported back in time. I was afforded a new—and more immersive—perspective with regards to an event that encapsulated so many differing layers. From the silent disco room to the room with traditional music playing, each space was an unreckoned sensorial experience; it felt as if I was in an arcane realm, especially by way of the music and dancing. And the Festsaal! I was, unfortunately, not able to watch the opening ceremony. But, hours later, it was a beautiful experience to observe the attendees waltzing about, to witness the midnight quadrille and the playful chaos that ensued.
By Alice Lee
Christine Schwarz, who organizes the annual ball, and Hermann Agis, the executive director of Fulbright Austria