Magazine article Newsweek International

May I Have This Dance? Japanese Women Flock to Austria to Become Princesses for a Season

Magazine article Newsweek International

May I Have This Dance? Japanese Women Flock to Austria to Become Princesses for a Season

Article excerpt

Byline: Kay Itoi

For at least part of every year, Makiko Krone is a princess. Dressed in a dramatic evening gown and escorted by a princely young man, she spends the winter waltzing her way through the regal balls in Vienna. By March, when the ball season ends, Krone--like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight--closes up her rented apartment in Vienna and returns to her ordinary life in Tokyo. There she helps arrange trips for other Japanese women eager to fulfill their dreams. "Any woman can be--and is--a princess,"she insists.

Who says you have to be born into royalty? More and more Japanese women are paying to discover their inner princesses. For a minimum of $2,000, they can fly to Vienna, take dance lessons and even find dates for some of the grand balls that have dominated Austria's social scene for centuries. Several Japanese travel agents offer tour packages that include ball tickets; one of Austria's most famous dancing schools, the Elmayer, holds classes for some 100 Japanese visitors every season. Krone helps coordinate dance lessons, admission to the balls, and even local escorts; since 2000, she has arranged trips for about 100 Japanese--a few of them men--including some elderly enthusiasts of ballroom dancing, which is popular among Japanese seniors.

The Japanese visitors are often overwhelmed by the ballroom splendor. Colleagues Kazumi Terada, 26, and Naoko Seki, 30, who work together at a Tokyo consulting firm, were enchanted by the Opernball (the Opera Ball), Austria's largest and most glittery celebration, which they attended in February. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.