I have reflected on this beautiful experience many times; it seems that as the world becomes increasingly more rushed and technological, the simple beauty of traditions past beckons me. I found myself asking, if I wanted this experience for my daughter, wouldn't others want the same opportunity for their daughters? Therein grew the idea for The Modern Debutante Programme. However, my vision was much more than just one evening of glitz and glamour. I did not want to replicate a finishing school; I wanted to create an empowerment school. My goal was to build a program that bridges the past with the present, while keeping an eye on the future.

 

With a degree in history emphasizing in Women's Studies, I feel very strongly about the legacy of women from the past. Indeed, I believe it is only through understanding their challenges and triumphs can a debutante truly appreciate her role in the world of today. But while The Modern Debutante Programme honors and celebrates the traditions of yesteryear, our true focus is on today with a vision for the future.  Through educational seminars and classes, the modern debutante develops strength and empowerment through refinement and gains knowledge that will empower her to not merely to waltz across the dance floor, but, more importantly, to step up and become the successful woman of tomorrow.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

How it All Started

The age-old tradition of a debutante ball is firmly rooted in the 19th century as an expected rite of passage for any aristocratic or upper class family. However, with the cultural changes of the latter 20th century, the practice became less common. That didn't mean debutante balls ended entirely; it just meant one had to search a little harder to find one.

 

In 2006, while living in Europe, I attended one of the many balls held in Vienna, Austria every spring. Despite attending my high school prom and many formal affairs in the business world, nothing prepared me for all the pomp and circumstance of this Viennese Ball. I had gone expecting my own Cinderella moment, but it was the debutantes who took my breath away. As the trumpets sounded our attention, in walked a procession of lovely debutantes and their chaperones. A kaleidoscope of white dresses and black tuxes followed as they danced a Viennese waltz. It was at that moment, I knew I wanted my daughter to experience this amazing rite of passage.

On my way to the Ball in Vienna, Austria 2006

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Esther@jeffhansen.net

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