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Debutantes in beautiful white dresses, on the arms of their elegant escorts dressed in white tie and tails, filled The Great Room at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.  The girls were presented to Princess Olga Romanoff, Patron of The Russian Debutante Ball, and grand-daughter of Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia.  The ceremony was choreographed by Leonid Pletnev, Honorary President of the International Dancing Union, and his wife Vera Pletnev.  The Debutantes’ first dance was to the strains of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz.
Dancing was a theme of the evening, and guests were enthralled by a performance by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow’s principal dancers Maria Alexandrova and partner Vladislav Lantratov, supported by dancers from the London Russian Ballet School.  Spectacular singing followed from soprano Alina Yarovaya, tenor Sayan Issin, Oleg Pogudin, and Aigul Shamshidenova, and toastmasters Paul Deacon and Tatiana Pechernikova related the events in English and Russian.
The music tempo changed as The Len Phillips Big Band played a selection of waltzes, quicksteps, foxtrots and Latin American dances.  Champion Ballroom Dancers Vera Fartushnjak and Luca Tonello, and Warren and Kristi Boyce performed crowd pleasing exhibition dances.
Sergei Polunin and his partner Natalia Osipova joined in the celebration, and were introduced to guests by David Banks, who is jointly producing Project Polunin, a programme of new and revived dance, at London’s Coliseum in December.
A Champagne reception was followed by Caviar tasting from sponsors Kasperskian Caviar.  Guests were then served a gourmet dinner prepared by the chef at Grosvenor House Hotel, starting with Taleggio and caramelised shallot tart, peperonata, curly endive, and amaranth herb salad, followed by Gressingham duck confit, potato gratin, kale with caraway, heritage carrots in a port and Burgundy wine jus.  The meal was rounded off with a dessert of Pina colada tart, mint mousse and pineapple and Malibu foam.
A live Charity Auction by Litfund in aid of the London Russian Ballet School to guarantee a grant for Russian dancers to study abroad, produced beautiful pieces of contemporary art, including paintings by Igor Sever, Nina Kotel and Semeon Agroskin.
Lady Jacqueline von Rutenberg designed an elegant dress for Princess Olga Romanoff, worn with a specially designed necklace with the Romanov crest and complemented with earrings by Angelica Grechnaya.
On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, English guests joined the Russians at this traditional Russian event, organised by Elisabeth Smagin-Melloni and Alexander Smagin, assisted by PR Charlotte Ellis.  Guests included Admiral Lord Alan West of Spithead and his wife Lady Rosie West, Natalia Rotenberg with her daughter Barbara Rotenberg, Lord Peter and Lady Svetlana Truscott,  James Scrymgeour, Oswald Boateng, Lana Holloway, Mark Moody, Andria and John  Vassiliou, Editor of Royal Monacco Dr Luigi Mattera, Kasperskian Caviar’s Constantin Siderov and Maria Pavlinova, Adrian and Selma Day, Ensemble Productions Olga Balakleets, French pianist Jason Kouchak, Brooke Greville and Irina Berdisa, and Rosie and Brian Roberts Davidson.


Pictures by Edward Lloyd
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