About Petroushka Ball


The Petroushka Ball, a traditional Russian ball held annually in New York City, is the primary fundraising event for the Russian Children’s Welfare Society (RCWS).

The Ball was started in 1965 as a expansion of a small tea dance, by a group of members of the Society (Mr. and Mrs. Serge C. Bouteneff, Mrs. Ivan P.Obolensky, Mrs. Diane Erstavi, Princess Sergei Belosselsky-Belozersky) with a Junior Committee that was formed including Helen Basilevsky, Mafalda Chanler, Amy Gristede, Andre Kotchubey, and Beatrice and Vladimir Fekula, the current President of the RCWS. To this day, the latter two still debate who gets the credit for coming up with the name "Petroushka" during that first meeting. The late Helen Basilevsky (grand daughter of White Guards General Pyotr Vrangel) designed the "Petroushka" emblem which is still used on all our invitations and programs.

The first Ball was held at the now defunct Delmonico Hotel; it sold out and was an overwhelming success. It has become one of New York most vibrant and anticipated annual events, attracting upwards of 700 dinner and dancing guests.


Petroushka logoIn old Russia, one of the most popular puppet theater characters was Petroushka. No matter his misfortune, he always bounced back to entertain the crowd. Igor Stavinsky, Michael Fokine and Alexandre Benois created a masterpiece ballet "Petroushka", featuring the luckless but undefeated Petroushka who had fallen in love with a graceful ballerina.