29.04.2010 | news Anya Palm | photos Imagine Photography Studio
The dance floor is packed. In front of the live band on stage are a number of women – and men – cheering and dancing and singing loudly along to the well known tunes. 360 people in gala outfits, with their champaign glasses and canapés on the side, Saturday night experienced what a real Danish party should look like.
“The ladies acted like they were 15, it was fantastic,” Lotte Samuelsberg laughs. She is chair of the committee that arranged the Danish Gala Ball, which was held this weekend. The ladies letting loose was exactly according to plan.
“We have been encouraging dancing and a relaxed athmosphere, because that is how Danes party. We chose music that was easy to recognize and easy to dance to for the same reason,” she says.
To further ensure that, supersuave ladies’ man, the Danish rock star Thomas Helmig performed along with the popular Antonelli Orchestra, best know from the Danish hit show “Vild med Dans.”
“It was just…a fantastic performance, Lotte Samuelsberg says.”
Raised more than half a million yen
The Danish Gala Ball 2010 with the theme: “Strictly Come Dancing”, is the 14th of its kind. The tradition was started in 1996 by Ambassador Christopher Bo Bramsen, who himself is very fond of music and even plays the sax, when he gets the chance.
“I believed, we could use a ball,” he says today of his decision to start an annual party.
And over the years, the ball has grown to be one of the most important events of the year for the Danes in Beijing. The current Gala Ball Committee has worked to pull of Saturday’s ball for a good part of the past year to make sure it became perfect.
Not only, because a good ball is something that every guest will remember. But also because there is a serious side to all the fun: It is a charity event and the money collected goes to a good cause.
Last year, the guests and sponsors donated almost a million yen, which was given to Sun Village, an NGO that provides education for children with parents in prison, and to the Lian Cun Town Center Primary School.
The committee is still counting up the toll of this year.
“We are expecting the total to be a bit lower this year, because of the financial crisis, but it went well,” says Lotte Samuelsberg.
The collected money will go to the China Children and Teenager’s Fund and their “Spring Bud Project” . The project aims at helping poverty-stricken girls get an education and the Gala-money will be spent on supplying the girls’ tuition fee, boarding, food, books and other educational supply over a 3 year period.
Caroline Wozniacki’s dress from Wimbledon auctioned
Throughout the evening, there were different competitions and events planned and one of the highlights was the auction. During the year, the committee has been working to get donations of different kinds to use in the auction and Saturday, the guests could secure themselves an object from the night. It was an objective for the committee that all that was under the hammer, must have a uniqueness and a value, either monetary or as a collecter’s gem.
And they certainly made that happen. A range of beautiful artwork form local artists, jewelry, lithographic prints from Danish actor Leif Sylvester, plane tickets from SAS and even the dress young tennis prodigy Caroline Wozniacki wore at the Wimbledon finals, was under the hammer Saturday night.
Lotte Samuelsen looks intently on a fellow committee member, Tina, who managed to secure the Wozniacki-dress for the auction.
“We have some cheeky ladies in this committee! So anything is possible,” she says.
Had to close the bar
Sunday morning a few heads were a little heavier than usual. Again exactly according to plan, the party did not stop until 5.30 next morning – and that even only, because the arrangers took affair.
“We had to close the bar to get the last ones out. It was a great party,” Lotte Samuelsberg says.
The next thing on her to-do list is a very pleasant one: Donating the money.
“Firstly we are going to hand out the money, so these girls can get their education. They get 500,000 yen. And everything above that number, is going to the victim’s of the earthquake in the Sichuan-province,” she says.
And one more thing, too: Planning the Danish Gala Ball 2011.