It's well and truly a global village if you can recreate a Venetian masquerade ball and import Austrian dancers to come frolic in Nepal. Next Friday, the Atrium at the Hotel Yak & Yeti will have all the elements necessary to eat, drink and make merry: music, masks, a fabulous menu, delicious wine and wonderful surprises that we are not at liberty to disclose.
In renaissance Italy and the royal courts of Europe, masquerades were a holiday from strict social decorum. What that translates to in Kathmandu remains to be seen, but the Active Women of Nepal (AWON) are determined to get things just right for their first charity ball which promises to be a big tamasha, the likes of which has probably not been seen in Lal Darbar since Rana days.
All the carousing comes with a feelgood factor: charity. Proceeds will be poured into AWON\'s welfare schemes for Nepali women and children. AWON president Marilu Sarif told us, "The money will go to vocational training for women, scholarships. The idea of a Venetian masquerade ball was perfect because it's fun and educational as well."
But what ever is one going to wear? Sourcing a ballgown in Kathmandu is not easy, and gentlemen will find tuxedos hard to come by. Which is why masquerades are so exciting. Colour, pomp and splendour rule masquerades. Hidden behind bejeweled masks, some Nepali some imported, all those who attend are welcome to come as whatever they fancy.
Y&Y's Executive Chef Victor Holla has lined up a spread for the evening. It'll be haute cuisine featuring smoked salmon, New Zealand lamb, special Italian breads, a dessert buffet that features a mouthwatering white chocolate and Drambuie mousse and top drawer Tyrell vino from Down Under. AWON is going so far as to ensure ballroom skills that aren't up to snuff can brush up with dance classes prior to The Masquerade Ball with German dance master Andreas Lehrke. Those with a severe case of two left feet can sit back and admire professional dancers Karin Lemberger and Peter Kantor from one of Vienna's most prestigious dance schools perform. "This is going to be the event of the year!" promises Marilu. Looks like New Year's Eve has come early.
AWON presents The Masquerade Ball on Friday 14 November at Hotel Yak & Yeti. Tickets: Rs 3,499 per person, Rs 6,000 per couple.
Andre's ballroom dance classes: 11,13 November,
Hotel Yak & Yeti. Rs 200 per session.
Partners encouraged but not required.