Trocadero Ball 
in Wuppertal, March 29 and 30, 2003

- a Look Back on a hot Swing night in Spring 

- and The Kaiser’s railcar trip on the historic 1900-era suspension railway through the Wupper Valley

An Article by Andrea and Markus from Essen/Germany
(English Version by an American Friend of the Swingstyle Syndicate)

A Look Back on a hot Swing Night in Spring

The Trocadero Ball was held on March 29, 2003, in Wuppertal for the first (and hopefully not the last) time. The site of the entertainment was the venerable “Haus Richter In der Beek" dancing-accommodations restaurant. Already upon entrance, it became clear that this locality was mostly still in its original “old-fashioned” condition. The time-honored doors, wallpaper and carpets testified quickly to the delightful ambiance with utmost charm.

Yet the highlight was, beyond doubt, the wonderful dance hall. The small tables decorated lovingly with flowers and candles provided fine wooden seating arrangements. The dance parquet was suitable for fast dance moves. At the end of the hall, partitioned by banisters, there was an elevated floor that permitted increased seating among stucco environs and antique lights. Additionally, a separate side entrance with even more tables invited cozy chatting off to the side of the musically-swaying dance area.

About 9 PM the hall filled rapidly, and a spot among the dance floor action was always passionately desired. The performance of the excellent “Little Simon” band evoked a special intuitive feeling for the music. The band, which was situated behind a decorative screen (that skillfully served to hide all modern technology from sight of the guests), always had the correct time-period musical instruments at hand — in order to properly encourage those willing to dance. People danced for all they were worth (and the clothes spoke for themselves). The mood was splendid, as clearly expressed by so many beaming with joy and whose faces were heated by the dancing.


Even international guests from Italy, Switzerland, England, Holland and Belgium hadn’t shied from coming so far way. Thanks to the many people (and that was really almost everyone) who came to the event dressed in attire corresponding to the occasion, one felt as if they were transported back in time. Thus, it was also not surprising that the conclusion at 2 AM suddenly shifted many moods into a melancholy tendency of wistful nostalgia — a shame that it should now be in the past. With the last dance-piece, played to “Auf Wiederseh‘n”, the “Little (Great) Bandster” Simon thanked everyone by a parting dance, followed by standing ovations and hip-hip-hoorays for the good work! And there were also much praise for the organizers. This was a truly marvelous evening!

Snapshots from the Ball
... and here are some snapshots from the Ball

The Kaiser’s railcar trip on the historic 1900-era suspension railway through the Wupper Valley

On Sunday, about 2:30 PM, all the excursion-seekers (as later turned out, not all were free of fear of heights) assembled at a parking lot that was near one of the train stops, and the journey began together on a short footpath to the stop at Wuppertal-Vohwinkel under ideal weather conditions (lucky us, because it rained really hard the ball night before). 

With all the joyful expectation that could be expected, we nevertheless stood on the platform with 55 people who were unusually “stylish” for today's conditions. Punctually the imposing combination car arrived, and the happy group embarked on the cars swung from the overhead apparatus. Once inside, everyone marveled at the beautiful interiors outfitted in Art Nouveau furnishings, and they shifted into the correct mood. Then we were off and away. The antique compartment floated briskly forward and offered an unhampered view of the roadway more than 8 meters (30 feet) below.

After some 5 kilometers (3 miles) the elevated pathway swung the railcar directly over the course of the Wupper River, and the first gleeful expressions became gradually more serious. The trip was now in the full swing past many older houses and factories, some of which were unfortunately not so quaint. Swinging and jolting, the train traveled toward Elberfeld and passed through some beautiful (and some not so beautiful) stations along the way without stopping, while the cameras clicked incessantly.

After approximately 30 interesting, entertaining and pleasurable minutes the “changeover” was announced. We had to leave the track at the last stop in Oberbarmen and switch to the other side. We were always followed by people... well, one is somehow already used to the open mouths and wide eyes of others who happen to coincidentally be around us. When the “All Aboard” was called, some used the opportunity to now take a seat in the motor coach for the ride back, if they had traveled on the rear car on the way out. And once again, everything went along in a completely leisurely fashion back to the starting point, which was reached after an hour and 15 minutes - fortunately without a need to search for the non-available barf-bags because of dizziness experienced by some on the train ;-) . 

... and here some snapshots from the railcar trip + video sequences !

Now the time came for some to part ways. They began the first part of their long journey home amid loud cheering farewells. Those who still had the time and desire, agreed to end the excursion with a drive to another get-together over coffee at the Haus Richter, the location of the spectacular Ball evening. And, in such a way, there was yet another really nice late afternoon social opportunity to enjoy coffee, cake and the most beautiful weather — until all these pleasantries also gradually got too late and the illustrious company split apart to literally set out in all directions of the compass, back to their homes. 

... and at the "coffee klatsch"

So ended an inspired and priceless weekend, which succeeded all around, and which we fully enjoyed in full measure. Hopefully, there will also be many more entertainment events, equally as affectionately planned and agreeable, in Wuppertal.