Colorful tiles on the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

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Vienna Media News – December 2022 Waltzing into the Ball Season

New Year's Eve Galas

  • At the turn of the year, Palais Auersperg serves up a heady blend of historical ambience and music courtesy of the Vienna Residence Orchestra – as well as a phenomenal five-course gala dinner. Meanwhile, celebrations at the Kursalon in Stadtpark go on long into the early hours.
  • The New Year's Eve Gala in the opulent ballroom inside City Hall is the apotheosis of Viennese ball culture. Here, the Vienna Court Ball Orchestra and a live band keep the dancefloors packed. A four-course gala menu is served against the backdrop of live vocal and dance performances.

Traditional Balls in the Hofburg

In January, the ball season really starts to pick up a head of steam. One of the most popular locations is the Hofburg Vienna, which hosts numerous professional trades each year: such as bakers and patissiers (Vienna Confectioners' Ball, Jan 12, 2023), attorneys (Lawyers' Ball, Feb18, 2023) and doctors, too (Vienna Physicians’ Ball, Jan 28, 2023). Rather than tuxedos and ball gowns, revelers at the Hunters’ Ball (Jan 30, 2023) are decked out in traditional Alpine costume. The Coffeehouse Owners’ Ball (Feb 3, 2023) has a reputation for serving up a special atmosphere each year. Universities also celebrate at the Hofburg (Ball of the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Jan 14, 2023, and the TU Ball – Ball of the Vienna University of Technology, Jan 26, 2023).

65th Vienna Opera Ball Fun and Fundraising

The Vienna Opera Ball at the Vienna State Opera (Feb 16, 2023) is a legendary affair and represents the out-and-out highlight of the ball season for its 5,000 attendees – and for a TV audience running into the millions. On this special night, ballgoers can watch proceedings from the comfort of their private boxes, or rub shoulders with stars from the world of music “backstage”.

However, the 65th Vienna Opera Ball will not be business as usual – instead it is putting itself at the service of a good cause in 2023 with a major campaign designed to help people in need in Austria. The ball-related TV broadcasts by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) will be used to raise money, and surcharges on the ball admission tickets and sales of food and drink will be donated in full to charitable venture Österreich hilft Österreich.

The facts and figures surrounding the Opera Ball speak for themselves:

  • 5,150 guests
  • 150 debutante couples and 150 musicians
  • 171 flower arrangements and 480 bouquets
  • 52,600 glasses, 9,200 pieces of cutlery, 1,000 champagne buckets
  • 320 catering staff
  • Around 2.5 million TV viewers
  • 30 hours to convert the opera house into a ballroom, and another 21 to put it all back again
  • 350 specialists and 150 support workers on hand during the conversion
  • 80 truckloads for the dance floor, stage-side boxes and cladding elements
  • Total budget of around EUR 1.5 million spread between the 50 companies used to set up the ball

Even more highlights

  • The most fragrant ball: City Hall will be transformed into a single sea of flowers for the 99th instalment of the Vienna Municipal Gardens Department’s Flower Ball. The origins of the popular ball date back to the 1920s, and a floral dance hosted by the parks and gardens functionaries in the Prater (Jan 13, 2023).
  • The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra hosts its ball at the Wiener Musikverein. After the opening ceremony, the musicians in this internationally acclaimed orchestra put their instruments to one side and join everyone else on the dancefloor (Jan 19, 2023).
  • Another major draw in the impressive surrounds of the Musikverein: the 133rd Industry and Technology Ball (Jan 21, 2023).
  • At the annual Vienna Rainbow Ball around 1,500 guests converge on Parkhotel Schönbrunn to celebrate diversity in all its rich variety. In 2023, this highlight for the LGBT community will be themed The Roaring Twenties. Proceeds from the event, in its 25th edition this year, will go towards various LGBT projects (Jan 28, 2023).

Summer Balls

Although the ball season traditionally ends on Shrove Tuesday (Feb 21, 2023), summer events are becoming increasingly popular. One such example is the Diversity Ball. Staged at City Hall on June 3, the 2023 edition of the event will once again be all about enjoying life and respecting diversity. LGBTQI+ partygoers and their friends set an example of diversity, tolerance, accessibility and mutual respect on a wild ball night at the Kursalon Wien alongside a range of other communities.

The city’s sweetest ball is the Bonbon Ball – hosted at the Konzerthaus for many years, it is known for its fun, informal atmosphere. But in 2023, the 72nd instalment of the perennially popular event will take place at City Hall on June 23, 2023 as a summer ball instead. That said, the night will still feature all the hallmarks of a classic ball night.

Viennese Ball Tradition

Traditional Viennese balls follow a set pattern. The dress code prescribes a long evening dress for the ladies, while the gentlemen are expected to wear a tuxedo or tailcoat. Suitable eveningwear is available for hire from various specialist stores including Flossmann or Vondru. Debutante couples – the young ladies in white – open the ball with a polonaise. And it is only after the words "Alles Walzer" ring out that the dance floor is declared open to all comers. As an alternative to the standard dances in the main hall, partygoers will also have plenty of chances to dance to club beats away from the main ballroom.

The end of the ball also follows a traditional ritual: the lights in the ballroom are dimmed and the band starts a slow waltz. Every self-respecting ball night in Vienna comes to a conclusion with a trip to a sausage stand or a bowl of goulash in the local coffeehouse.

Viennese Waltz

The journey from non-dancer to fully-fledged ballroom aficionado is shorter than people might think, as the dance comprises a mere six steps – it’s just that mastering them at speed can be a challenge. More accomplished dancers like to alternate between the traditional waltz to the right and the much trickier version that goes in the opposite direction. And anyone who finds themselves getting a little giddy after all that swirling around (pro tip: always look in the direction “of travel” and avoid looking down at the ground), or hemmed in by the melee on the dance floor can always stop to catch their breath with a few sneaky and well-timed steps on the spot.

Waltzing is also good for the health: dancing 12 waltzes in a single evening is the equivalent of around an hour of intense exercise. Dancers perform around 2,500 turns, complete 5,000 sets of steps and cover a total distance of around five kilometers.

Balls and Galas (selected):

Viennese dance schools:

Formal eveningwear hire:
Flossmann, bridal gowns and eveningwear,
Modehaus Vondru,


Helena Steinhart
Media Relations
+43 1 211 14-364