A Moscow ballroom has been transformed into a sea of navy and white as glamorous cadets don their finery for the annual military ball.
Russia’s soldiers of tomorrow swapped the parade ground for the ballroom as they attended the opulent International Kremlin Cadet Ball in Moscow.
The annual ball is a picture of discipline, pomp and splendor as girls in billowing dresses twirl across the dance floor, immaculately dressed young men line the hall in orderly rows, and teachers bark out orders, trying to get their students to keep time.
Meanwhile backstage, lipstick is applied and hair frantically braided, girls jostle for position in front of floor-length mirrors, trying to capture the perfect selfie.
For many at Tuesday’s ball, it’s a fairytale chance to experience the grandeur of Russia’s czarist traditions. With its string quartets, traditional dance routines and patriotic speeches, the event harks back to a bygone era.
Sheer delight! Two military school students wait to take their turn on the dance floor during their annual ball in Moscow which attracts youth from all over Russia
The ball is a chance for students to swap their military attire for a touch of glamour, swirling and twirling together on the dance floor
Star attraction: Two students get the ballroom floor all to themselves to show off their dancing skills to their fellow peers in traditional Russian dress
Around 1,000 troops don their finest dress uniforms each as they accompany partners in glamorous gowns at the Gostiny Dvor, the city’s old merchant court.
Male and female cadets can be enrolled as young as eight, with many of the children looking far older than they are due to their sophisticated uniforms.
The ball began in 2012 and many of the cadets who attend are orphans who are encouraged to join up and pledge their allegiance to the ‘Motherland’.
Cadets are mainly from Russia but are also from other parts of Europe as far as Spain and Greece, as well as Eastern Europeans closer to home.
There are cadet schemes in major cities throughout Russia and those who enroll can choose to pursue a career in the military or the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Over 1,000 cadets attend the military ball which gives them the opportunity to experience the grandeur of Russia’s czarist traditions
Well rehearsed: The cadets perform their routines much to the delight of the adoring crowds watching from the sidelines
Round of applause! The students congratulate each other following a particularly high energy number. They all line up according to dress and colour code
Male and female cadets as young as eight can be enrolled in to military school, but occasions like these allow them to take a break from the strict training
Glowing: The females look positively radiant as they all don matching pink silk gowns, with one young woman looking pleased about the tiara atop her head
The ball began in 2012 and many of the cadets who attend are orphans who are encouraged to join up and pledge their allegiance to the ‘Motherland’
Young men and women danced the night away as they performed a series of classic routines while promoting patriotism and the continued development of Russia.
The event is a nod back to the lavish dances of Tsarist Russia where the elite of society would wear bejewelled costumes and perform dances alongside ballets and operas.
Although there was much censorship of some forms of music during the Soviet Union, including jazz, pop and rock, classical music was often encouraged, although evening dances such as these were few and far between for typical citizens.
Balls during the Soviet Union years were permitted, but much more tightly organised and supervised so there were no signs of ‘hedonism’.
But these photographs show those restrictions appear to have disappeared alongside Communism, with young men and women seen laughing and engaging in public displays of affection.
Strictly come dancing! The girls follow the lead of an older dancer becoming a blur as they twirl around in the princess style dresses
Mini Putin: One youngster takes inspiration from his leader by dressing up in his finery accompanied by two older ladies in white gowns
Perfect coordination: The cadets all line up and take their spot on the ballroom floor while the band strikes up the perfect note
Down time: It must be tiring work twinkling those toes as these youngsters prove by taking a breather, slipping off their shoes and checking their phones
Strike a pose! The girls gather around to take the perfect photo as they take a quick break from the dance floor, as the boys try and squeeze in the frame
Professionals also take part in the evening providing entertainment in their fancy dress in between the dances from the cadets
Snap to attention! It’s back to business for the boys who show the girls how to stand tall and take the lead, holding each a gloved hand each
One last check: There are enormous mirrors dotted around the ballroom where the cadets can take one last look at their outfits to make sure they look perfect
Preparation: Before gowns are put on the girls get their hair put up in intricate designs, one friend helps another out by taking a picture of the up ‘do
Sea of white: Some of the cadets are all dressed in white, matching their partners which evokes an almost wedding feel to proceedings
Last minute touch up of the lipstick for one glamorous woman dressed all in a crystal embroidered gown and matching necklace
Looking nervous: The cadets white gowns are given an eerie glow of red, as the lights dim ahead of their first dances with partners