Balls, once staples of the social calendar, have long since faded into tradition for most cultures, but the custom is still alive and well in Vienna. There are over 300 balls held in Vienna alone every year, and the majority of them are open to the public. If you find yourself in Vienna during ball season, typically between late-December and mid-February, be sure to avail yourself of this wonderful tradition that has continued into modern times. Tickets are typically reasonably priced, and table seating and drinks are an optional add-on.
As all Viennese children are taught social dances in school, the first thing you’ll want to do once you’ve purchased your ticket for a ball is to make sure your feet are ready. If you need a little brushing up on your Viennese Waltz, there are many studios throughout the city that offer lessons. Some offer multiple day-long courses, while others have a more informal, drop-in structure. Either way, it is worth the investment, as those who attend are sure to arrive in style and ready to dance.
The typical ball in Vienna begins with dinner, followed by opening ceremonies. These formalities usually include a presentation of debutantes and attending dignitaries, as well as singing, dancing and live music. After the ceremony concludes, dancing begins and goes well into the night, typically running until about 4am. Drinks and hors-d’oeuvres are often available throughout the night, and bars and cafés often stay open into the wee hours in order to feed hungry ball attendees.