Ball Season in Austria

    Austria's ball season is sometimes called the "fifth season." In a country that knows how to enjoy life with all senses, these events take on a magical character.
    Please be aware that some balls have been cancelled / postponed to 2023 due to COVID-19 concerns.

    Nowhere else are balls as romantic and festive as in Vienna. This tradition enchants locals and guests from around the world well beyond a single night. In Vienna there are over 400 balls happening every winter, which are attended by dance-loving visitors from all walks of life. The special ambience is created by the ceremonial program and the courtly customs, which were adopted from the 18th century: there are dress codes, an opening fanfare, the debutants' arrival, and the exclamation "Alles Walzer!" You can also look forward to the so-called "midnight performance," often a quadrille, and a small gift for every visitor when entering the hall.

    Many of the Viennese balls are now organized by professional guilds. The coffee maker ball, for example, transforms the Vienna Hofburg into the most festive dance café in the city with an elegant and charming programme. The Viennese confectioners came up with a "ballet of pastries" for their ball. Many consider the Ball of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to be the unofficial highlight of the ball season: it takes place in the halls of the Vienna Musikverein, from where the New Year's Concert is also broadcast every year. The Opera Ball, which takes place "in the most beautiful ballroom in the world" - the Vienna Opera House - is the official State Ball of the Republic of Austria. It also is meant to celebrate the artists of the Vienna State Opera in one magical night.

    The Most Beautiful Balls

    • Vienna Opera Ball

      State Opera, Vienna
      Once a year, the Vienna State Opera transforms into the most beautiful ballroom in the world. Guests from all over the world marvel at the opening polonaise, sip from champagne glasses, and listen to the performances by prominent opera singers.

      When: February 2023

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          Opening Ceremony of the Opera Ball in Vienna / Vienna
    • Ball of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

      Musikverein, Vienna
      Vienna's most exclusive ball, as some would say. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the most famous orchestras in the world, invites the distinguished world to dance in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein.

      When: 20th January 2022

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          New Year ́s Concert Vienna
    • Confectioners Ball

      Hofburg, Vienna
      A Viennese ball highlight, not just for those with a sweet tooth. The city's bakers and confectioners invite you to dance in the imperial ambience of the Hofburg. An event in itself: the tombola. You can win 3,000 handmade cakes!

      When: 13th January 2022

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          Vienna Confectioners' Ball
    • Concordia Ball

      Rathaus, Vienna
      The summer ball takes place in the state rooms of the Vienna City Hall and in the arcade courtyard. There has been plenty of dancing outdoors for years! Johann Strauß dedicated the Morgenblätter Walzer or the Feuilleton Walzer to the Concordia Ball.

      When: 20th May 2022

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          Concordia Ball in Vienna / Vienna
    • Coffee Maker Ball

      Hofburg, Vienna
      The Coffee Maker Ball is a classic, not only among coffee lovers. With 6,000 guests a year, the ball event in the Hofburg is one of the highlights of the Viennese carnival. Of course, one of the absolute must-do's at the coffee maker ball is a visit to the coffee bar!

      When: 18th February 2022

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          Ball of the Coffee Brewers / Vienna
    • Opera Redoute

      Opera House, Graz
      Big robes, festive ambience: the ball in Graz' Opera - one of the most magnificent opera houses in Europe - is the social event of the Styrian capital. The Graz Philharmonic, the ballet, and the singers open the ball together.

      When: 29th January 2022

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          Graz Opera Ball
    • Edelweiss Ball

      Kongresshaus, Salzburg
      The Salzburg "Edelweiss Club", the leading mountaineering club in the city, hosts its own ball event every year. The dress code is strict: dirndls and lederhosen. This is the perfect ball for those who want a more rustic and Alpine atmosphere!

      Back in 2023!

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          Cozy enjoyment in traditional costume in Salzburg's old town
    • Physicians' Ball

      Hofburg, Vienna
      The Physician's Ball is another mainstay of Vienna's Ball Season. The glamorous setting inside the Imperial Palace guarantees a glamorous night! And if there are any medical emergencies, you are more than covered.

      When: 29th January 2022

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          Opening of the Opera Ball / Staatsoper Wien

    How to Waltz

    Quick Tutorials from Ball Veterans

    With tailor-made courses, the Rueff dance school is aimed particularly at international guests who are planning a dance evening during their visit to Vienna - and have little time to rehearse. Here, dance is not only conveyed as a sequence of steps, but as a living cultural phenomenon!

    The Elmayer dance school is located right next to the stables of the Spanish Riding School in downtown Vienna: couples or individuals learn the most important dance steps in the famous Palais Pallavicini - and at the same time get tips for correct etiquette in the ballroom.

    Opening Ceremony of the Opera Ball in Vienna / Vienna

    Interview with Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer

    The prominent Viennese dance school teacher Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer talks about Viennese ball culture and his personal favourite dance. What differentiates Viennese ball culture from dance events, say in New York or Frankfurt am Main?
    Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer: The biggest difference is made by the Viennese, who are extremely experienced in balls and know that the guests themselves are the most important part. The Viennese audience knows exactly what is important for a ball: a good atmosphere, elegant clothes, charming etiquette, cultivated conversation, and joy of dancing. In addition, a classic Viennese ball always includes an opening by the "Young Women and Young Men Committee" and at least one quadrille of the public. These things are not common in other countries?
    Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer: Many balls in other countries are not opened with debutante pairs. The public quadrille is almost unknown abroad. Only in Bavaria, where the quadrille is known as "Française", have I seen it at the "Ball of the Austrians". You run the most renowned dance school in Vienna. How enthusiastic are young people today about dancing?
    Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer: Attending the Elmayer dance school has become a fixture and indispensable part of adolescence among Viennese families for many generations. Every year, we succeed in getting the young people who attend our courses enthusiastic about the Viennese ball tradition. Your personal favourite dance?
    Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer: The Viennese waltz, of course. What distinguishes a good dancer?
    Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer: A good dancer should recognize which dance suits the music played, always dance to the beat, be considerate of the partner and her knowledge of the dance and not worry about looking great on the dance floor. What is an absolute no-go at a ball?
    Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer: Any kind of stress, lack of consideration, and a bad mood are inappropriate. In addition, regardless of the temperature, it is essential for the festive mood that all guests wear elegant ball attire and keep this unchanged until they leave the ball.

    Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer talks about the Ball Season in Vienna

    • What makes the Ball Season in Vienna so special?
    • What is the etiquette on a Viennese ball?
    • What is the dress-code on a Viennese ball?

    Listen to Thomas-Schäfer Elmayer answering the most important questions about Vienna´s Ball Season.

    Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer

    Dresscode Opera Ball

    The right tailcoat for every man

    Lambert Hofer junior is one of the most sought-after outfitters of the Viennese ball scene. As soon as summer is over, the first tailoring requests for the opera ball arrive in the studio. At the height of ball season in Vienna, there is a crowd in the atmospheric rooms on Margaretenstrasse shop, just like there is on the dance floor of the Vienna State Opera just before the midnight quadrille.

    "The Viennese ball culture is unique," says Olga Hofer, who has been running the tailcoat and costume rental in the fourth district alone for some time after her husband's death. “As a man in Germany you can go to an exclusive ball in a black suit, that's an absolute no-go in Vienna. Tuxedo is the minimum, tailcoat is better. ”And so, year after year, Ms. Hofer and her team of tailors help countless despairing men to find a matching tailcoat.

    The studio

    3 tips for a successful ball night

    •                     Corona Shooting - Bitzinger Albertina Würstelstand

      Meeting point: Viennese sausage stand

      The city's sausage stands are popular meeting places during the ball season!
    •                     Schlumberger chilled / Vienna

      Austrian Sekt

      What would the ball season be without a little something sparkly in a tall glass? Schlumberger is the Sekt of choice.
    •                     Christina Zauner

      Fashionable updos

      The real artists of the ball hairstyles are at work in the Steinmetz Bundy private salon.

    „May I?“

    Viennese Waltz

    The waltz as a couples dance initially stirred up moral outrage. The Vienna Congress (1814/15), which met in Vienna to reorganize Europe after Napoleon's campaigns, finally made the dance socially acceptable. The political work was so abundantly accompanied by balls that the legendary saying "the congress dances!" was born.

    The intoxicating rotary movements in the waltz step brought an intimate atmosphere to the festive ballrooms. And Johann Strauss's father (1804 - 1849), who founded the predominance of the waltz with 152 such successful compositions, played on this enthusiastic dance with his orchestra from Vienna to London. "May I?" is the classic invitation to dance during a long ball night and makes many hearts beat faster.

    Vienna Ball Season
    Ball of the Vienna Philharmonics / Vienna

    The music

    The waltz is danced to classical and modern music in three-quarter time.

    • Opening Ceremony of the Opera Ball in Vienna / Vienna

      The turn

      The gentleman begins with a big step to the right - sideways - close.

    • The Vienna Opera Ball

      The basic step

      The basic step is a swaying pendulum step, which you either dance sideways or back and forth.

    • Vienna Ball Season

      The dancing posture

      The gentleman puts his right hand lightly under the lady's shoulder blade.

    • Johann Strauss Manuscript “Donauwalzer“

      Learn to dance the Viennese waltz

      The Viennese waltz is a fast dance with many turns. Tip: When dancing, do not look at your feet, but at a fixed point in the room and insert pendulum steps between the turns. Once you can do the basic steps and turns in your sleep, you can advance to waltz figures, dips, left waltzes, or the women's solo.

    Waltz Around the World

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