It is the end of December, and as the year draws to a close, the time has come to reminisce about everything that has happened in 2017. I would like to tell the readers about a wonderful event that took place at the beginning of this year, but is still well remembered. The 3rd Annual Tatiana’s Ball occurred on January 27th at the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C.
The Tatiana’s Ball is not a simple entertainment opportunity: all the funds raised by the Ball go to various charities. This year the money was donated to the Fair Aid Charity which was established by Dr. Elizaveta Glinka, to Donetsk and to sick children in D.C.
This Ball is dedicated to Saint Tatiana, the patron saint of Russian students, who is celebrated on January 25th. Also, the Ball is held in memory of the late Princess Seline (Evdokiya) Obolenskaya, who dedicated 40 years of her life to supporting and developing Russian culture in the Washington D.C. area. Finally, the Ball is also dedicated to the image of poet Aleksandr Pushkin’s heroine- Tatiana Larina- the ideal Russian young lady and woman.
This year, this image was brought to life by eight young debutantes, who were award red sashes by the Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. I was one of the debutantes of 2017 and the memories from the Ball will stay with me forever.
The debutantes are a tradition that had existed in Russia, and throughout the entire world for many years. It is a young lady’s entrance or “debut” into society, after which they could take part in high social life and philanthropic activities. With the help and support of the organizers of the Tatiana’s Ball- Ksenia Woyevodsky, Ekaterina Kariman and Natalia Sammons, this tradition was resurrected at the Tatiana’s Ball too.
I was one of the eight young ladies selected to be debutantes because of our contributions to the support and development of Russian culture in America. Some of us are troop leaders in Russian scouts, others actively help in various church activities and sing in the choir, while yet others dance in the Russian ensemble “Matreshki”.
The “Matreshki” dance ensemble was established by the parishioners of St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral nearly six years ago. Originally, our ensemble performed only Russian and Ukrainian national dances, but thanks to our choreographer, Olga Rines, we have expanded our repertoire to include various ballroom dances, too- such as the polonaise and the waltz. We first opened the Tatiana’s Ball with our polonaise in 2016 and now it has become a tradition- we will open the Ball with our polonaise in 2018, too.
This past year the debutante ceremony was the first “act” of the Ball. We were all slightly nervous, but for me the feeling of awe was stronger. For about half an hour, I was taken back in time to the 19th century, to the court of the Russian Tsar, and my nervousness disappeared. I felt as if a thin thread had stretched from our Ball back into the past, which was almost destroyed by the Bolsheviks, but survived because of the Russian immigrants, who carefully preserved their culture. I suddenly felt the sense of honor and dignity, the ceremonialism, the unbreakable faith in God and love for the Motherland which breathes in the memoirs of White officers and in the letters of the last Tsar and his Tsarina.
I realized the importance of preserving our Russian traditions, language, culture and faith. The Ball, which had previously been just a fun «night-out», acquired a new depth of meaning for me.
At the next Tatiana’s Ball in 2018, the debutante tradition will be continued. This time there will be young ladies not only from Washington D.C. but also from New York. The 4th Annual Tatiana’s Ball will take place on Friday, January 26th and this year we would like to invite to Russian youth from all over the US to our Ball!
This year we will host a Tatiana’s Ball Weekend- three days full of fun in Washington D.C. We will enjoy the Ball, and spend the next two days exploring D.C.
All the guests from out of town will arrive either Thursday evening or Friay morning and will be hosted at the church house of St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral. Our Cathedral is located close to the center of D.C., and close to the Russian Embassy.
The first day of the Weekend will be Friday, January 26th and it will be filled with preparations for the Ball and then Tatiana’s Ball itself. On the second day, Saturday, the Russian youth from D.C. will meet up with our guests from California and New York and we will spend the day in D.C.
In the center of D.C. there is a large expanse called the National Mall, which is surrounded by many museums and monuments. Thus, it is quite easy to visit all of the major landmarks in less than a day. Furthermore, nearly all the museums have free admission!
D.C. is sometimes called a «garden-city». It is a fascinating combination of wide city streets, narrow cobblestone alleys, old and solemn buildings and modern stores, restaraunts and a variety of museums- ranging from the newly opened Museum of the Bible to the Museum of African American Culture and the Museum of Natural History.
One museum which is a «must» is the National Gallery of Art. This museum houses priceless paintings and statues. This Gallery has many permanent and temporary exhibits that show a variety of art movements.
The Washington Monument is located at the center of the National Mall, while the Lincoln and Jefferson Monuments are a few minutes walk away. You can also stroll along the Potomac River at the Tidal Basin which is filled with delicated cherry trees, given to the US by Japan as a symbol of friendship.
After visiting the museums and monuments we will have lunch in one of the many restaraunts that border the Mall. And in the evening we will enjoy iceskating at the rink located in the Sculpture Garden next to the Gallery of Art.
Sunday will be the last day of our Weekend. In the morning we will attend liturgy at the St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral and lunch, following the service. After lunch the guests can start heading home, carrying with them wonderful memories, and many new friendships!
Once again, finishing my tale, I would like to invite all the Russian youth from California and New York to our Tatiana’s Ball!
By Yaroslava Kuzina and Katerina Forrest