The Conferment Ball

A Conferment Ball will be held at the Old Student House on graduation Saturday. The Conferment Ball is a traditional event, celebrated during Conferments, and student associations’ and students unions’ festivities. The ball is largely based on the 19th-century ballroom dances, rooted in 18th-century court dances from Central Europe.

The evening program includes traditional guest and doctoral polonaises and a master’s contredanse française with black and white costumes. After the traditional ball dances, an orchestra entertains the guests with light music. 

During the ball, a buffet dinner will be served and selected guests will be honored. The Conferment Ball ends with a night procession around Helsinki, followed by an admiration of the sunrise on Sunday morning.

Polonaises
Masters’ contredanse française
The ball dances

Polonaises

Doctoral polonaises with invited quests

The guest polonaise is also an eye-catching show, danced by people involved in the promotion, such as the Conferrer, general wreath weaver, jubilee masters, as well as honorary doctors, and university staff under the leader of the chancellor and rector. After the guest dance, the newly promoted doctors will gather together to dance the doctoral polonaise.  The polonaise is rehearsed during the general dance rehearsals. The doctoral polonaise is a dance for recently graduated doctors with their companions. The traditional doctoral polonaise is danced in pairs. The calm tempo ensures that the doctor’s hats and swords stay untouched during the dance. 

Masters’ contredanse française

The master’s contredanse française is a sophisticated pattern dance, performed by recently graduated masters and their companions. Full-length contredanse françaises are rare today, so participating as well as watching the dance is rather an unusual, yet memorable experience. Indeed, there are not often opportunities to dance it, except when graduating from the University of Helsinki. 

In master’s contredanse française, the newly inaugurated master’s and their companions dance in large squares with varied patterns. The tempo of the dance ranges from a peaceful walk to a wild gallop. During the rehearsals, the most time-consuming part is mastering the joint dance part, and not so much the steps and patterns.

The masters’ contredanse française is attended by registered participants and by those who have previously rehearsed the dance. The dance partner can be a wreath weaver, invited guest, another promoted master or doctor, dressed in a tailcoat or white prom dress. Learning a masters’ contredanse française does not require special dance skills, but due to its versatility and solemnity, couples should participate in all rehearsals (a training schedule will be published on the website later). As the masters’ contredanse française is danced in pairs, please keep in mind that if you have to interrupt your rehearsals, two participants from another pair will have to be left out in addition to your own partner.

The ball dances

After the common waltzes, it is time to enjoy the festive dances of academic traditions such as Krakowiak, Mignon, Pas d’Espagne, Cicapo and Pompadour. These dances can be attended by everyone at the ball. Couples choose which dance to attend. Dances are rehearsed jointly during the general dance rehearsals (timetable to be announced later). All the dances are rehearsed in the general rehearsal event. Participation in dance rehearsals is not necessary, but still highly recommended especially for those who participate in ballroom dances.

During the Ball, Marshals will be there to help the guests. There will be temporary storage available for wreaths, hats, handbags, and other accessories, in addition to the hanger service. For the night procession, participants will be assisted by the faculty association Kannunvalajat for the transport of additional clothing and accessories to the venue of the continuation party.