Suiting up for a formal ball
This Saturday night I’ll be doing my best Cinderella impression, setting aside my jeans and sneakers and instead donning a gown and heels for a formal ball. In Czech, a formal ball is called a ples. Formal balls are a long-standing tradition that most Czechs have taken part in at least once in their lives. The events can be held anywhere from historic castle ballrooms to the meeting rooms of the local sokol (community center). The balls are often sponsored by an institute or civic organization, such as the Fireman’s Ball or a town’s annual Spring Ball. Perhaps the most famous type of Czech ples is the annual maturitní ples, a formal graduation dance held in the spring at the end of střední škola (middle school) for students who’ve passed their mandatory leaving exams.