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December 11, 2009

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Germans throw splendid ball

NIGHT of Temptations," this year's German Ball, drew around 1,000 elegant guests to the Grand Hyatt Shanghai Ballroom decorated with purple and diamonds. Many of the guests wore purple in keeping with the theme and danced the night away.

The annual ball in November is always one of the most glamorous in Shanghai.

It is organized by the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and around the same time another German ball was held in the capital Beijing.

This was the ball's 12th year, on November 28, and it's always such a hot item that tickets sold out within days. Organizers said they could easily have sold another 1,000 tickets, even in these straitened economic times.

But the idea was to preserve an aura of exclusivity. Besides, organizers said it was hard to find a larger venue of equivalent elegance and ideal location. The ball occupied both ballrooms of the Grand Hyatt in Jin Mao Tower, its home for the past five years.

As guests arrived, they walked through a light-and-sound tunnel to the music of "Time for Dreams," a joint creation by piano superstar Lang Lang and German sound artist Schiller.

Following a champagne reception, the grand staircase was opened with a dance performance. Many "ooh" and "ah" were heard.

The guests were welcomed by Manfred Rothgaenger, executive director of the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, and Arved von zur Muehlen, chairman of the board.

German Consul General Dr Albrecht von der Heyden and his wife Gabi, in keeping with tradition, then opened the dance floor with a traditional waltz.

German-imported Master of Ceremonies Felix Heimberg began with a much-appreciated announcement - opening the sinful dinner buffet of temptations. Pork knuckle on sauerkraut was replaced by oysters, caviar, beef tenderloin and a vast dessert spread.

The international crowd was getting into the rhythm.

Especially flown in for the night, international top acts Princess Cut and the James Steiner Band got everyone out of their seats and onto the dance floor early on for a very modern party.

Those with tired feet could take a break at the champagne bar or the cigar lounge or look over their photos taken earlier in the night.

As with every German Ball, at midnight came the lucky draw. Prizes included two business-class round trip tickets to Europe and a weekend getaway by Porsche to Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

There was a midnight buffet and then more dancing.

The last guests left, happy, tipsy and a bit footsore, at 6:49am.


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