The Vienna Opera Ball which is one of the highlights of the European social calendar will this year stage its famous opening dance of the debutants for the first time with a same-sex couple.
Every year 5,000 people travel to the Austrian capital to mix with opera stars and other celebrities and politicians for the traditional event that always begins with the dance of the debutants.
But this year, among the couples applying for the chance to join the debutants were 21-year-old music student Sophie Grau from Fellbach and 22-year-old medical student Iris Klopfer from Ludwigsburg, both in Germany.
Speaking about the decision to accept the pair, organiser Maria Grossbauer said: “I thought it was absolutely the right thing to accept a female pair who at the end meet the most important criteria, which is to be able to master the left Waltz.”
However, one tradition will still remain with the young pair in which one of them will have to wear a black tailcoat while the other will wear a floor-length white dress.
The couple describe themselves as passionate dancers, and the pair agreed that it would have been fantastic if they could dance together in the “iconic setting” which has taken place since 1814 as a distraction for the crowned heads of Europe during the middle of the Napoleonic wars.
It has taken place in the opera house since 1877, and is often accompanied by left-wing demonstrators against capitalism outside.
The two women said they were not in a relationship but counted many gay people among their friends wanted to make a step for equal opportunities and traditional events. They said they had no problem matching the strict dress code that included hiding tattoos and for Iris wearing a tiara.
Iris said that she herself felt 100 percent comfortable as a woman, but by taking part she wanted to “support Sophie in breaking up gender norms”.
For her part Sophie said although she loved dancing, it always bothered her that it was the man which lead.
They will join the 144 other couples, and at the end of it, Iris will be able to take home the tiara that she is given by the organisers for taking part, and Sophie will be able to keep the cufflinks.
This year’s ball has 5,150 registered guests and will be watched live on TV by 2.5 million viewers. This year’s theme was inspired by the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute.
The Austria Metro page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.