Throughout the Ball you will find Austrian-inspired music, dancing, rooms, food, drink, decor and more. As you experience Vienna for the evening, we invite you to learn more about the rich Viennese and Austrian culture!
Ball Season in Vienna
Since the Congress of Vienna, the city of waltzes has been famous for its legendary balls. Each year more than 450 balls take place in Vienna. An especially large number of balls are held at the Imperial Palace. These traditional balls adhere to a festive ceremonial pattern. The ladies appear in a long evening gown, the men wear a tuxedo or tails. Young ladies in white dresses and their gentlemen open the ball with a polonaise; the rest of the visitors are only allowed on the dance floor after the proclamation "Alles Walzer!" (Let the waltz begin!).
Once considered wicked, today it is the very definition of all things Viennese and a UNESCO cultural heritage: the Viennese waltz. The people of Vienna love the music - made world famous 150 years ago by waltz king Johann Strauss - as well as as the dance of the same name in three-four time, which is a feature at every ball.
Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms and Mahler wrote waltzes that are not intended to be danced to but rather as a song, for piano or orchestra. However, it was the danceable waltzes of the Strauss dynasty that triumphed around the world like no other. Dancing the waltz - that was and is the Viennese way of partying. Nowhere else is that so keenly celebrated as at the Viennese balls.
More famous composers have lived in Vienna than in any other city – in Vienna, music is literally in the air! Strauss, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schoenberg all called Vienna home.
Enjoy the sounds of our University Symphony Orchestra at the Ball in the Zeremoniensaal (Ojibwe Grand Ballroom).
UW-Eau Claire is the proud custodian of a Viennese-made Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano. This unique instrument includes an additional eight bass keys, giving the piano a total of eighty full octaves. Delivered in 1988, funds for the Bösendorfer were raised by Viennese Ball Committee members, and the University and local community members.
Enjoy our unique treasure at the Ball in our Bösendorfer Salon, or throughout the year in the Blugold Living Room on the second floor of the Davies Center.
Zeremoniensaal (Ceremonial Room)
The Habsburg Throne Room in the Hofburg embodies regal majesty. Against this inspired setting, Napoleon asked Marie Louise, the Emperor’s daughter, for her hand in marriage. The 26 double chandeliers of crystal glass illuminate festive gala banquets, celebratory balls and elegant congresses. The Zeremoniensaal is framed by the 24 surrounding Corinthian pillars in stucco lustro.
The Ojibwe Grand Ballroom at the Ball is named in honor of the Zeremoniensaal at Hofburg.
Zum Goldenen Löwen Festsaal (Golden Lion Festival Room)
With its 1,000 sq meters of floor space, the Hall of Festivals (Festsaal) is the biggest hall in the whole of the Hofburg. Although built as a throne room, it was never used as such. The internal works were finished in 1923, but the artwork remained incomplete. The hall has Alois Hans Schramm's three ceiling paintings, dedicated to the greater glory of the Habsburgs, complete with Emperor Franz Joseph's motto "Viribus Unitis" (With United Strength).
The Davies Marketplace at the Ball is named in honor of the Festsaal at Hofburg.
Rathskeller is a name in German-speaking countries for a bar or restaurant located in the basement of a city hall (Rathaus) or nearby. Many taverns, nightclubs, bars, and similar establishments throughout the world use the term.
The Cabin at the Ball is named in honor of a traditional rathskeller.
The Burgtheater is the Austrian National Theatre in Vienna, the most important German language theatre and one of the most important theatres in the world. The Burgtheater was created in 1741 and has become known as "die Burg" by the Viennese population; its theatre company of more or less regular members has created a traditional style and speech typical of Burgtheater performances.
The Woodland Theater at the Ball is named in honor of the Burgtheater.
Designed by Adolf Loos, a pioneer of modern architecture in Vienna and quite a controversial figure in his day, Vienna's American Bar has been one of the city’s architectural centrepieces for more than a century. The interior is dark, but moodily rather than oppressively so. Mirrors have been used to create a greater sense of space and the 290 sq ft saloon gleams in the low-lighting. Its backlit walls are layered with onyx tiles while mahogany panels cover the bar counter and ceiling. Green and white marble squares turn the floor into a shining checkerboard. Though the bar doesn’t serve food, its drinks are superb.
The Dakota Ballroom at the Ball is named in honor of the American Bar.
Demel K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker
Also know as a tomcat breakfast, a katerfrühstück is the first meal of the day after a night of heavy drinking. Believed to cure a hangover, it usually consists of marinated herring (rollmops), pickles and other sour-tasting food.
The katerfrühstück at the Ball is served after midnight in the Marketplace and features traditional breakfast foods.
Leontopodium nivale, commonly called edelweiss, is a mountain flower belonging to the daisy or sunflower family Asteraceae. The plant prefers rocky limestone places at about 1,800–3,000 metres (5,900–9,800 ft) altitude. It is a scarce, short-lived flower found in remote mountain areas and has been used as a symbol for alpinism, for rugged beauty and purity associated with the Alps and Carpathians, and as a national symbol, especially of Romania, Austria, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Switzerland. According to folk tradition, giving this flower to a loved one is a promise of dedication.
Our Viennese Ball logo pays homage to this symbolic flower.
Coat of Arms
Stained Glass Windows
"Scenes of Vienna and the Surrounding Area" Lithographs
On permanent display in the Davies Center Centennial Room, the Scenes of Vienna and the Surrounding Area lithographic prints were a gift from Viennese Ball Committee members Bodo and Dorothea Degenhardt. They were framed as a special project of the 1987 Viennese Ball Committee.