FAQs — Washington Spring Ball

Frequently Asked Questions (& Answers)

Click on a question to see the answer.

Attire — What is acceptable attire for attendance at the Ball?

  • Clothing: Variants of this question are "how dressy is the Ball" and "what period" is appropriate for costumes?
    • Period dress is not required for Ball attendees. Dances on the program may range from Playford (17th century) to modern compositions. Dancers at past balls have worn attire meant to reflect dress of various periods. Some ladies wear ball gowns and men may wear suits and even tuxedos. Attire tending toward more formal wear is appropriate for the Ball. Comfortable, dress-up attire is another descriptor of appropriate attire.
  • Shoes: Dancers should wear comfortable shoes with soft soles to both the practice session and the Ball. Soles must be clean and free of grit to help protect the dance floor.

Changing clothing — Where can dancers change clothes before the Ball?

Areas for will be provided for changes of clothing before the Ball. Signs will be posted to direct dancers to changing rooms for ladies and men.

Do attendees need to know the dances before the ball?

  • A practice session will be conducted on the afternoon of the ball so dancers can "brush up" on dances that they are less familiar with. Basic English country dance figures will not be taught at the practice session.
  • During the Ball, each dance will be briefly talked-through and dances may be prompted for a few rounds after they have started. However, there will be no walk-throughs nor teaching.
  • For the enjoyment of all, we suggest that dancers avail themselves of opportunities to practice ball dances before the day of the Ball.
  • Ball dances will be taught during FSGW's weekly ECD in Glen Echo, MD. Dancers are encouraged to attend these events to learn basic figures and Ball dances.
  • See "Where can dancers obtain instructions for the dances?" for more info.

Is the Ball a "for those who know" event?

The Spring Ball is a fun and welcoming event with a line-up of dances to appeal to most dancers and is not a "for those who know event." (See answer to immediately preceding question.)

Where can dancers obtain instructions for the dances?

  • Instructions for Ball dances will be available in ball programs distributed at the practice session and available at the ball for those who do not attend the practice.
  • Instructions are also available on the Resources page
  • Videos of Ball dances are linked from the Resources page.

Will sheet music be provided for dances conducted at the Ball?

Many of the tunes for the dances are in the "standard" references for ECD tunes, i.e., "Barnes I" or "Barnes II." See Resources for a index to tunes in the Barnes books, and, for links to sheet music for those tunes not listed in Barnes.

Tell me about the venue. Is it air conditioned? Other details?

  • The Ballroom at the Silver Spring Civic Building was designed for the comfort of dancers and is air conditioned.
  • The dance floor is resilient bamboo over wood, designed for dancing (not concrete).
  • The Civic Center is located on a plaza with nearby restaurants, shops, and hotels.
  • Go to the Civic Building web site to view Veteran's Plaza, the Civic Center; take a virtual tour of the facilities, including the Ballroom. (Access the Ballroom view by clicking on the "Great Hall" button on the front of the "Welcome Desk."+
  • Download and view a brochure for the Silver Spring Civic Center.

Will food and drinks be available? Will there be a Potluck?

  • Potluck — Laurie and Jim Mielke have generously offered to host a potluck at their home in Chevy Chase, about 2.5 mi from the Ball venue. Directions to the potluck will be available at the practice session.
  • Restaurants: Our local dancers have prepared a list of select restaurants, available at Restaurant Tips.
  • Snacks and drinks will be available during a break around the mid-point of the Ball
  • Water will be available during the event.

Is public transportation available to get to the Ball?

  • Ride the METRO Red Line to Silver Spring and walk about 1/2 mi to the Civic Center at 1 Veteran's Plaza. View a map for pedestrians on Google Maps.
  • A useful resource is Metro's Trip Planner. The trip planner includes links to metro-area bus routs and schedules.
  • Out-of-town dancers in need of help with transportation may contact organizers (see "More Questions? Contacts," below).

How about parking?

  • Free parking is available on weekends across the street from the Ballroom.
  • Map, with image of entrance to parking garage.

Is hospitality available? How about hotels?

  • Housing ("hospitality"), provided by local, volunteer dancers, will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Apply for hospitality on registration forms. Early requests are encouraged to provide time for organizers to make arrangements.
  • Hotels: there are several hotels near the dance venue, some within walking distance. Search Google for hotels near Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD. Hotels near and to the north of the Ball venue have better ambience.

Is reduced-rate admission (scholarship) available?

Work scholarships are available to those who need assistance paying for admission. Contact the Ball Chair or Registrar for information about availability (see "More Questions," below, for contact info). Note also that there are also discounts for students and for early registration.

What opportunities for volunteering are available?

Volunteers are always welcome and needed. Opportunities include,

  • Decorating the hall.
  • Setup and cleanup.
  • Contact the Ball Chair or Registrar to volunteer (see "More Questions," below, for contact info).

More questions? Contacts?

Consult the main ball page for more info, e.g., to view the program of dances, to register, for directions, tips on where to eat near the dance venue, etc. If your questions are still unanswered, send an email to the , or, Kappy Laning, .

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