I Could Have Danced All Night

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Do you dream of formally dressed dancers waltzing gracefully across a ballroom floor? If so, consider visiting Vienna, Austria during Vienna’s Ball Season. Vienna’s balls are an enchanting part of Austrian history and an opportunity to experience the elegance and traditions of the  former Imperial city of Vienna. In 1773, Emperor Joseph, part of the Habsburg dynasty,  made the ballrooms of the Hofburg palace available for public balls for the non-nobility and and the dance known as the Viennese waltz, became the Austrian way of celebrating the yearly carnival season.

The ball season kicks off in Vienna on December 31st  with the Imperial Ball and continues until the end of March with over 150 public balls as well as numerous private ones. The balls are hosted by various organizations including the city of Vienna, churches and several balls sponsored by occupations including the Pharmacist’s Ball, the Lawyer’s Ball and the Coffee-Maker’s Ball, though it is not necessary to be associated with the profession to attend these public balls.

Each ball begins with an opening ceremony and dance show before the open dancing starts. Although the Viennese waltz is the traditional dance, other ballroom dances such as the foxtrot, polka, cha cha and tango are performed.

The Vienna Tourist Office http://www.wien.info/en produces a ball calendar and it’s recommended to book tickets for the ball you wish to attend well in advance if you plan to attend one of the most famous balls, though it certainly is possible to buy tickets upon arrival in Vienna for all but the most well-known balls. Ticket prices vary according to how popular and lavish a ball is, and whether you wish to attend the dance show that occurs prior to the attendees heading to the dance floor or simply arrive later for the dancing.

Most balls have dress codes with black tie being the most common although the most lavish balls are white tie. So if you are feeling like Cinderella with nothing to wear to the ball, you can rent a gown from some of Vienna’s boutiques such as Art for ART, Flossmann and Kleiderverleigh Rottenberg. Worried about your partner having two left feet? There are dance schools in Vienna,  such as Tanzschule Elmayer: http://www.elmayer.com/  where you can take a Viennese waltz lesson to prepare before your ball.

The Imperial Ball season in Vienna happens to occur during the off travel season, so you can have a less expensive trip as well as  a once-in-a-lifetime memory of  experiencing the magic of the Vienna Ball Season.

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