A couple dances in the Swing Room.

What is the Viennese Ball?

Viennese Ball is an exciting Stanford tradition with social dancing, live music, performances, and live contests. It was started in 1978 by students returning from the Stanford-in-Austria program, who were inspired by the vibrant balls which took place in Vienna. These Viennese balls usually began with a lavish opening ceremony featuring honored dignitaries, costumed dancers, and handsomely-clad young couples. Stanford’s first Viennese Ball, held in Toyon Hall, was attended by 350 students. Since then, the ball has blossomed into a prestigious formal affair held at magnificent off‑campus ballrooms.

Viennese Ball is first and foremost a time for celebration and merriment with friends. Though the ball emphasizes social dance, you need not be an experienced dancer to have a good time — with frequent performances, live music, and light refreshments, there is always something to do.

In addition, we offer complimentary social dance classes in the weeks before Viennese Ball to get you up to speed. Take this opportunity to try something different, magical, and uniquely Stanford! Check out the footage below for a glimpse of Viennese Balls past.

Dress Code

Black tie optional, tuxedos and suit jackets optional. No jeans and no high heels, unless they have suede bottoms for ballroom dancing. We recommend flat shoes for everyone. Example outfits: collared, long-sleeve button-down shirt and tie with dress pants or slacks, a long gown, cocktail dress, or pantsuit. Dancing in socks is also acceptable, especially for beginners. If you wear high heels to the event, please exchange them for dance shoes or flats while dancing for safety’s sake.

Get Involved


Steering Committee is the team that organizes the ball and ensures that it runs smoothly. We are a group of Stanford students who are passionate about dance, operations and management, and elegant affairs. If you’re interested in learning more, please come visit us at the Fall and Spring Activities Fair, or shoot us an email at stanford.viennese@gmail.com.


We are grateful for the support of a number of enterprises around the Bay Area over the course of the ball’s history. They have provided contest prizes as well as donations to help make the ball a success. If you are interested in supporting us with an in-kind or cash donation, please contact us at stanford.viennese@gmail.com.


  • The Stanford Fund
  • Associated Students of Stanford University
  • City of Vienna

Contact Us

We would love to hear from you! Get in touch with us in a few ways:

Sign up here for our mailing list if you’d like to receive announcements about Viennese Ball activities.