Aristocrats gathering around Emperor Franz Joseph at a ball in the Hofburg Imperial Palace, painting by Wilhelm Gause (1900)
A ball at the Russian imperial court in the 1910s
Budapest Székely Ball
Five partner dance at a Colonial Ball in the Albert Hall Canberra (circa 2016) (sepia)

A ball is a formal dance party. Social dance forms a large part of the evening; actual ballroom dancing may or may not occur.



The word "ball" derives from the Latin word ballare, meaning "to dance"; the Latin word also developed into French baller—from where it swapped into languages like English or German—, and bailar, the Spanish and Portuguese verbs for "to dance" (although all three Romance languages also know danser, danzar and dançar respectively). Catalan uses the same word, ball, for the dance event.


Example of a country ball in Georgian EnglandEdit

A well-documented ball occurred at Kingston Lacy, Dorset, England, on 19 December 1791. The occasion was to celebrate the completion of major alterations to the house and the event was organised by Frances Bankes, wife of Henry Bankes, owner of the house. The event involved 140 guests, with dancing from 9pm to 7am, interrupted by dinner at 1am.[1]

See alsoEdit

An American dance card from 1884


  1. ^ "Frances Bankes' ball at Kingston Lacy 19 December 1791 (From Regency History)". Regency Retrieved 2014-01-03.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit