Feb 28th 2010 12:55PM Thank you. It seems I cannot stop reminiscing. You mention that students in Austrian schools get dancing classes. In preparation for the 'Maturaball' Austrian high school seniors receive dancing instruction arranged for by the school. The ball is usually scheduled in the fall and so precedes the regular ball season, which gets its real sendoff by the Silvester ball on New Years Eve, the day commonly named so for its patron saint. Contrary to the American prom, the Matura* ball is an occasion in which the senior's family and relatives as well as all the teachers, and in smaller towns probably most of its prominent citizens, participate enthusiastically. It symbolizes the youth's entrance and acceptance into adult society.
* Matura is the common name for the final exams a high school senior must pass at the end of the school year in order to be judged as having achieved his/her maturity.
Feb 26th 2010 4:32PM Tafelspitz used to be a favorite Sunday dinner (taken at noontime) where I come from, but we never had it served in this elaborate fashion. However I would like to mention that this dish was Kaiser Franz Joseph's absolute favorite and he would have had it served in inimitable Hofburg style, but surely not with the soup pot on the table.
Feb 26th 2010 1:59PM I loved your articles on the Tafelspitz and the ball at the Hofburg stables, being Austrian myself, and remebered many a winter night spent dancing into the morning hours at one ball or another when I was a student in Vienna. Going home in a cab, if there was a partner who had the wherewithal for one, you could start giving in to your weariness in the back of the taxi until you were deposited at your door and then sink into oblivion as soon as you hit the feathers. If both of you were penniless students you might have had to take the tram home, less comfortable, a lot colder and its shaking surely kept you wide awake for the duration, but at least the ride was free for students in those days.