The Kremlin in Izmailovo, a unique centre for culture and entertainment, hosted the 2nd annual HSE Spring Ball on April 25. The event, organized by students in the Faculty of Economics, saw a large number of participants dressed in historic costumes dating back to the reign of the Tsars. From the observer’s point of view, it seemed as though they had travelled two centuries back in time.
The Spring Ball is an annual event designed to broaden students’ horizons by exploring the beauties of Russian culture through contemporary and traditional prose in the form of paired dancing. As one of the most anticipated events of the year, it lived up to expectations, giving attendees the opportunity to showcase their acting prowess as characters from historical romance stories.
Last year, two students – Anna Gosteva and Natasha Kirsanova – made the dream of hundreds of girls come true by playing Anna Karenina and Natasha Rostova, characters from Tolstoy’s novel. This year, the Spring Ball was hosted by Eugene Onegin, who was played by Nikita Kuznetsov, a second-year student of Economics.
Prior to the event last year, Anna Gosteva admitted that her acquaintances didn’t believe that such an event could be successful due to possible bureaucratic and administrative difficulties. Nobody hesitated to sign up for the Spring Ball, however, and registration had to be closed after just after a couple of hours due to demand; sadly, many students weren’t able to attend. Arina Zhukovа, and Vladimir Tikhonenko, third-year students of Economics who came to the Spring Ball as a couple, rushed to register on the first day of in order to be certain of getting in!
In total, 300 students – 150 ladies and 150 gentlemen – attended the dance this year. Students and teachers from different faculties and universities had the chance to feel as though they had gone back in time to the 19th century. Victor Lapshin, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Economics, who takes an active interest in historical dancing culture, assisted with preparations for the Spring Ball.
The event was an evening of culture, dance and passionate experience that will be remembered for a long time. Traditions were observed, such as gentlemen defending their honour in a duel. Dmitrii Zaharov and his second Ivan Nenov duelled with Dmitrii Borisowskii and Borisowskii’s second, Eldar Kirov, because of rude words spoken by Borisowskii. The guns weren’t real, but it was hard not to believe in the realistic fall of one participant.
The Spring Ball consisted of waltz, polonaise, cotillion, marsh and other historical dances. One general feature of participating in historical dancing is that couples are expected to be familiar with the manners and gestures that were widespread in the 19th century.
Some members of this year’s ball took time to share their experiences. “The Spring Ball gave an opportunity for many students to learn core rules and ethics that we are missing in everyday life today,” said Alisa Pavlova, who stood up afterwards to dance the cotillion. For Alisa, a second-year student from the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design, the Spring Ball was the first time she had taken part in such an event.
Mihail Dubov, a first-year Master’s student in the Faculty of Computer Science, admitted that the reason he attended the Spring Ball was the essence of its historical dancing. He loved the atmosphere and enjoyed dancing.
The second Spring Ball was a huge success. Although international students didn’t have the opportunity to participate this year, Liya Khafizova, a third-year student in charge of organizing the event, promised to invite international participants next year.