A weekend to remember

The Viennese Ball celebrates 40th anniversary at UW-Eau Claire


POWERED BY PERFORMANCE: Women’s Concert Chorale opened the 40th Annual Viannese Ball on Friday with a program that not only consisted of songs in English, but also German. Other groups performing were Jazz Ensemble, Singing Statesmen, Dorf Kapella, among others. Read more about the history of the event on page 12 and look at images from the two-day event on page 16. © 2014 Elizabeth Jackson, The Spectator

Story by Meghan Hosely, Staff Writer

For the second year, the new Davies Center was host to the world’s second largest Viennese Ball.

When the event started in 1974, Executive Director of the Viennese Ball Karen Stuber said it was one night, and only took up a part of the second floor of the old Davies Center. Two hundred people were expected for the occasion.

Instead, 600 people showed up.

“Years later, it went to the entire second floor,” Stuber said. “And then in 1988 I suggested … why not do two nights?”

The idea was crazy, Stuber said, but everyone worked with it. Eventually, more entertainment came in, heightening the popularity of the Viennese Ball, and the whole building was blocked off for this event.

With the addition of the new Davies came a new set of challenges for everyone working the Viennese Ball. Stuber said her team had to figure out what venues worked best in each of the ballrooms, and the new space was a challenge to the committee.

“When we moved into to new building, what we had to do was remove a lot of the decor that had been custom made for the old building,” Stuber said.

Their hard work paid off, and the changes made from last year to this year impressed students like sophomore Sarah Naegeli. She said the new set up allowed for more open space, and the decorations were prettier as well.

“It was a lot better than last year,” Naegeli said. “I really liked how they set up the ballrooms and the different dancing areas.”

Stuber said after a few more events this school year, planning for next year will begin. Paperwork for this event begins in January, but the final touches continue until the moment people are allowed in.

Supervisor for the Davies Student Center Megan Stokes said paper orders for tickets started on February 3, and desk orders followed a month later.

“We sold 1500 tickets,” Stokes said. “Saturday usually sells out because of convenience, but Friday sold out too.”

On Friday, Stuber said students dominated Davies, whereas Saturday tended to more community members. These results do not reflect the sales for every year, but the sales happened to be 50/50 this year.

Naegeli, an instructor for the Two to Tango dance club, and said the Viennese Ball isn’t just for expert dancers.

“If you don’t know how, there are like 5 million people who want to teach everyone,” Naegeli said. “But also, even if you hate dancing, it’s really great to go and see how beautiful they make Davies and to watch the performances.”

And of course it’s not too early to mark the calendar for next year. The 2015 Viennese Ball will be hosted on the weekend of April 10 and 11.