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29 May, 2010 17:55

Atmosphere of 19th-century balls arrives in St. Petersburg

Russia’s northern capital of St. Petersburg is holding a landmark event. For the first time since tsarist times, the famous ball of 1810 described in Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” is coming back to its original scene.

Inspired by the scene where the charming Prince Andrey invites Natasha Rostova to dance at her first ball, the “War and Peace Ball” was founded in 1988 in London as a charity event under the supervision of Count Andrey Tolstoy-Miloslavsky, heir to the famous Russian writer.

The ball is considered one of London’s most prestigious high-society events, and gathers around 400 guests from all around the world annually.

All guests are attired in early 19th-century style – beautiful, whispering lacy dresses, and tailcoats with white ties. Guests find themselves in a splendid atmosphere, reliving the excitement and beauty of Russian balls during Napoleonic times.

The Constantine Palace at Strelna just outside St. Petersburg that once used to serve as a royal summer residence will host the event.

The “War and Peace Ball” marks two anniversaries this year – 200 years since the famous ball on the English Embankment in St. Petersburg was described in the novel, and 20 years since it was revived.

All the proceeds collected during this year’s “War and Peace Ball” will go to the charity fund “United Way of Russia.” It will be used for the family crisis support program of the Perspectives charity fund.

In the framework of this program, 31 families with disabled children will receive the professional medical help of doctors, social workers and caregivers. They will also receive all necessary medications, and financial aid will be provided.

“We’ve always dreamt of doing the ball in Russia, and now I’m pleased to say that we’ve done it,” declared ball organizer Andrey Tolstoy-Miloslavsky, a descendant of Leo Tolstoy. He also said that the “Russian audience is very willing to dance. Of course they dance very well in England as well, but here everyone jumps to dance straight away.”