The Ball’s Tradition
The “Alt-Neustädter Ball”, better known as “Officers’ Ball”, has a very long tradition. People of all ages from various social and professional backgrounds enjoy getting together at this splendid event.
Uniforms from all over the world show how well the Austrian Armed Forces and their officers are embedded in the international defense community.
Every year this ball is organized by the Alt-Neustadt Society, i.e. by graduates from the Theresian Military Academy which was founded in 1751 and started its classes in 1752.
The original motto – “comrades who never let you down, who are prepared to go above and beyond their line of duty, who keep their humor even in times when one could forget how to laugh” – still applies.
Maybe it took exactly these kinds of comrades who, 92 years ago, despite the dreadful life circumstances, were ready to found this society. It was a network for exchanging experiences and ideas, finding help when in need, and in doing so, seeking better ways leading into a very uncertain future. It was certainly also something like a refuge where you could withdraw and recall the good old times with service comrades.
But, is it any different today? No. And the ball event is the annual closure and restart of this never-ending exchange between “young” and “old”.
Since 1926 the officers of the Austrian Armed Forces have had the honor to invite guests to this ball event.
Organized by the Alt-Neustadt Society – an alumni association of the Theresan Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt – this yearly event, known as Ball der Neustädter Militärakademiker, was held in the ceremonial rooms of the Vienna Hofburg Palace until 1938.
After Austria had regained its sovereignty, this tradition was taken up again. As early as 1956 the Austrian Ministry of Defense organized a ball in cooperation with the Alt-Neustadt Society in the ballrooms of the Vienna Sophiensäle. This building, originally used as a public bath, was later converted into a dance hall, to the great joy of many generations of dancers.
The steadily growing number of guests during the 1960s and 1970s, partly due to intensified cooperation among the military commands and units of the Armed Forces, industry, and the economy as well as other interest groups eventually led to the creation of a ball committee in 1977 and in 1981 the ball’s venue returned to the Vienna Hofburg Palace.
Until today the ball committee, consisting of officers of the Ministry of Defense, the Military Command of Vienna, and the Alt-Neustadt Society has been in charge of organizing the Officers’ Ball, assuming more and more tasks, with the ball increasingly gaining national and international reputation. It is no longer just a meeting place for officers of the Austrian Armed Forces and for Vienna’s society but also for European politicians and businesspeople. Due to increasing international cooperation with foreign armies, more and more officers from those countries attend the Officers’ Ball, particularly because it has become customary that each year one of the neighboring countries contributes to the Opening Committee.
These young people open the ball together with cadets of the Theresan Military Academy and debutantes of Elmayer, Vienna’s most prestigious dancing school that is also responsible for the choreography of the opening waltz.
Under the guidance of this dancing school the famous Fledermausquadrille is performed and enjoyed by dancers and audience alike. Live dance music is provided by famous national dance and show orchestras, including the Große Ballorchester and the Band of the Guards, who play in the ceremony hall.
Therefore, it always seems much too early when the Master Bugler of the Guards starts playing Taps in the early morning hours, introducing the end of a wonderful night and an unforgettable event – the Officers’ Ball.
At the Officers’ Ball you have the unique opportunity to dance with Austrian Armed Forces competitive sportsman and Dancing Stars winner Vadim Garbuzov.
Today, the Officers’ Ball is not only a meeting place for Viennese society but also for a variety of international guests.
Susanne Hirschler confirms that uniforms are attractive.
Business before pleasure. Our couples at the opening ceremony support the atmosphere and glance of the Officer’s Ball.