Audio story: "The 19th century ball culture"

A ball was always a celebration. Gorgeous, livelily and cheerful. Those dancing parties in Russia were always welcomed and adored. Ball - a solemn social event, the main component of which was a dance program. That is why since the 18th century dancing became a compulsory subject in all higher and secondary educational institutions, schools and boarding houses. It was studied at the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum and in ordinary trade and commercial schools, in gymnasiums and military schools.

The latest and ancient ballroom dances were not only perfectly known in the Russian Empire, but also were performed perfectly. Dance culture rose to the occasion in the 19th century. Balls had specific ceremonial rules and code of behavior. The sequence of dances was strictly determined by the norms of etiquette.

The accouterments were no less important. One of the most important accessories of a lady's ball costume was a fan, which served not so much to create a fresh breeze of air, but as a language of communication, now practically forgotten.

When going to a ball, a lady took with her a ball note-book -- a carnet de bal -- where, against the list of dances, she wrote down the names of the gentlemen who wished to dance with her this or that dance. Sometimes a fan rear side could be used instead of a carnet de bal. These ballroom accessories are presented at our new thematic exhibition "The Order of Things".
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How were balls organized in the Russian Empire in the 19th century? What was the ball dress code, what ball traditions existed at that time? All this will be discussed in the new audio story "The 19th century ball culture".

The items presented at "The Order of Things" exhibition are presented in detail in the museum Photo Gallery.

On the cover: "Ball at the Winter Palace on February 9, 1889", Mihaly Zichy (1827-1906), Russian Empire, St. Petersburg. 1889 (fragment)