Vienna Opera Ball in Turkmenistan

A decade ago, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence, the first Vienna Ball took place in Ashgabat and became one of the most beautiful and spectacular events of the anniversary year.

On October 11, 2023, the 5th Vienna Ball returned to the country with the support of the City of Vienna. The event celebrated the opening of the new city of Arkadag near the capital of Turkmenistan.

At this historically and politically significant event, the internationally renowned choreographer Dimitar Stefanin had the honor of directing the opening ceremony. In addition to his role as director and choreographer, Stefanin himself performed the legendary show “The Mask” from the 1990s.

Following the example of the world-famous Vienna Opera Ball, a classic Viennese waltz was presented as the second act. Dimitar and his partner Irina Gasser were warmly welcomed by the Turkmen audience with standing ovations. The media showed great interest in the performance, the concept and the modern costumes.

When asked: “Do you think that a viewer from a completely different culture will understand you? What similarities do you see?”, Dimitar answered in German

Dance occupies a special place in the world of art. It serves as a universal language that enables us to understand and feel in harmony with each other. Dance is a form of expression that cannot be misunderstood. As representatives of different cultures and traditions, we will experience this in person tomorrow. I sincerely hope that my performance here in Turkmenistan will be an important milestone in our cultural relations, as I am eager to learn more about this country, its culture and its people.
During our conversation, Stefanin showed interest not only in the local culture, but also in the cuisine. He mentioned that he would soon be trying dograma and Turkmen plov. His one-day stay in the country has already borne fruit, as the Austrian guest confidently greets others with “Salam Aleikum!”

What role did the Turkmen-Austrian Society play in organizing your appearance? She has played a decisive role. In my opinion, the Turkmen-Austrian Society under the leadership of Mrs. Neda Berger is doing everything to connect our cultural codes. The efforts put into the organization of the Vienna Ball are simply impressive! The Society has proven to be an effective mechanism of cultural diplomacy between the two countries.

The conversation also revolved around Turkmen dances…
Interview here

The Turkmen art of singing and dancing “Kushdepdi” has been inscribed by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The guest expressed great interest in this dance and mentioned that he would like to learn it in the future.

What made the event so special and unique was the sheer power of dance to bring people of different cultures, ages and backgrounds closer together! This exchange of millennia-old cultures established a new partnership between Austria and Turkmenistan through dance and music.

The focus was on the performance of classical music pieces such as the Danube Waltz and Turkmen national songs. The Austria-Turkmenistan Society, with the support of the Turkmen Ministry of Culture, initiated this event, which is traditionally well-known in Austria but new in Turkmenistan. As you may know, the Austrian capital has been famous for its numerous balls for over a hundred years, and this celebration of music, waltz and elegance is now held in many other cities around the world. Viennese balls have been inscribed on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

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2024 ยฉ Dimitar Stefanin