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Ball season in Vienna

Nowhere are balls so romantically formal as in Vienna. This tradition is intoxicating to locals and visitors for far more than a single night.

In Vienna, over 400 balls are staged each winter, frequented by 300,000 dance-loving visitors from all around the world. A unique flair is invested in proceedings by the ceremonial program. The reason for the carnival-like addiction to balls amongst the Viennese can be dated back to the 18th century, when the wearing of masks and costumes was reserved for the nobility and on private occasions only. To compensate for this, Emperor Joseph II opened up the dances in the Redoute Rooms in the Hofburg palace to everyone. This allowed the Viennese to copy the courtly customs of these celebrations, something which they retain to this day: strict dress codes, an opening fanfare, the entrance of the debutants and debutantes and the call “Alles Walzer”, dance cards and changes of music, together with the ‘midnight interlude’, generally a quadrille, and the formal ending are all evidence of this. Another unique feature is the “Damenspende”, a selected gift for each lady as she enters the room.

The waltz, being a partner dance, was initially perceived as a provocation, and it caused moral outrage. The Vienna Congress (1814/15), meeting in the city to establish the new order in Europe following Napoleon's campaigns, made it socially acceptable in the salons. The political work was so lavishly accompanied by balls that it gave rise to the legendary saying “Der Kongress tanzt!” (“The congress is dancing!”). What the Congress was dancing to ultimately moved the world more than any of its decisions: the Viennese waltz was honoured as the king of dances.

The intoxicating turning movements at waltzing speed brought an intimate pleasure into ecclesiastically-solemn ballrooms. And Johann Strauss the Elder (1804 - 1849), who established the supremacy of the waltz with 152 successful compositions, struck up the invitation to this dreamy dance from Vienna to London with his orchestra. “Darf ich bitten?” (“May I have this dance?”) is the most wonderful invitation at a ball, which makes the heart beat quite a bit faster. And when it is ladies' choice (meaning the woman invites the man to dance), men too get to experience that feeling of being the chosen one.Many of the Viennese balls are now organised by groups of professional persons. The “Kaffeesieder-Ball” (organised by the Coffee Brewers) transforms the Hofburg in Vienna into the most formal dance café in the city, with an elegant and charming programme; the Confectioners delight by serving a great variety of delicious pastries at their ball. For many people, the ball staged by the Vienna Philharmonic is considered the unofficial highlight of the ball season; it is held in the rooms of the Vienna Musikverein, from where the New Year's Day concert is also broadcasted around the world every year. The Opera Ball, held in the Vienna Opera House, “in the most beautiful ballroom in the world”, is the State Ball of the Federal Republic of Austria and at the same time also the artists' ball of the Vienna State Opera.


December 31, 2016
New Years Eve Ball
Tickets: Kongresszentrum Hofburg, A-1014 Wien
Tel: 011 43 1 587 36 66 x 23
Fax: 011 43 1 536 44 249

January 13, 2017
Blumenball (Town Hall)
Flower Ball
Tickets: Verein der staedtischen Gartenbediensteten Wiens
Johannesgasse 35,1030 Vienna
Tel: 011 43 1 4000 8042

January 19, 2017
Ball of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Ball der Wiener Philharmoniker (Musikverein)
Tickets: Wiener Philharmoniker
Boesendorferstrasse 12, A-1010 Vienna
Tel: 011 43 1 505 65 25

January 21, 2017
Pharmacist's Ball (Imperial Palace)
Tickets: Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists
Spitalgasse 31, 1090 wien
Tel: 011 43 1 404 14-124

January 27, 2017
University of Agricultural Sciences Ball in the Imperial Palace
Tickets: University of Agriculture
Peter-Jordan-Strasse 76, 1190 Wien
Tel: 011 43 1 476 54 2000

January 28, 2017
Physicians' Ball in the Imperial Palace
Tickets: Austrian Chamber of Physicians
Weihburggasse 10-12, 1010 Wien
Tel: 011 43 1 515 01-1234

February 11, 2017
Gala of the Viennese Industry in the Imperial Palace
Tickets: Österreichischer Wirtschaftsbund
Lothringer Straße 16/5, 1030 Wien
Tel: 011 43 1 512 76 31 11

Feburary 17, 2017
Ball of the Viennese Coffee House Owners
Hofburgball der Wiener Kaffeesieder (Imperial Palace)
Tickets: Club der Wiener Kafeehausbesitzer
Judenplatz 3-4/1, 1010 Wien
Tel: 011 43 1 514 50-4112

February 23, 2017
Opera Ball
Opernball (State Opera)
Tickets: Opernball-Buero
Goethegasse 1, A-1010 Vienna
Tel: 011 43 1 514 44 2606 

February 24, 2017
Bonbon-Ball (Konzerthaus)
Tickets: Buero Alphonsus
Tel: 011 43 1 214 35 02

February 25, 2017
Lawyers' Ball in the Imperial Palace
Tickets: Lawyers Association
Justizpalast, 1016 Wien
Tel: 011 43 1 40127 1535
Fax: 011 43 1 40127 1482

February 27, 2017
Rudolfina Masked Ball in the Imperial Palace
Tickets: KÖSTV Rudolfina
Lenaugasse 3, 1080 Wien
Tel: 011 43 1 405 48 11

February 28, 2017
“Elmayer Kränzchen” - Elmayer School of Dancing Ball in the Imperial Palace
Tickets: Dancing School Elmayer
Bräunerstrasse 13, 1010 Wien
Tel: 011 43 1 512 71 97

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