Military Ball

Newbie alert! ;)

I've been reading through the threads and figured I'd post my situation, see if anyone had any advice or tips.

I'm apparently headed to a military formal 'ball' next Friday (2-10) and have no idea what to expect. [Yes, leave it to a man to give me a week's notice!] I just bought a killer dress so that's taken care of, but the dancing has me a bit worried. I know my date fairly well as we've been dating about a month now but my dancing skills aren't very up to par. The last dance I went to was my senior prom. :tongue: General 'basic move' tips would be very welcome here. I don't need to be the belle of the ball, I'd just prefer not stick out like a sore thumb. He actually has some dance skills it seems, which intimidates me for some silly reason. I'm not a club person, though I'm tempted to drag my roomie out this weekend just so I can scope out some folks and pick some things up. Hmm ...

Does anyone know what kind of music is likely to be played? How 'informal' will the dancing be? I'm new to the military thing so this is all very foreign to me; I don't know whether to expect radio/club music with some slow mixed in or more formal music. :confused:

Any help and/or encouragement is welcome. :D


Well-Known Member
Welcome. I recollect we do have a few peopel affiliated with the hopefully someone will be able to help you out. Not sure if a military affair is different from other balls. :confused:


Well-Known Member
Just to pipe in, Sagitta, that even though I am a military member (Navy Reserve), I have never attended a military ball. So I can't tell you whether they have actual dancing or just your basic free-style cluster.


New Member
I normally just lurk around here, but this is a question I have some experience with...

Firtst off, I've only been to Navy and Marine Corps balls, so if it is one of the other services, the dancing situation might be different. But at all the balls I've gone to, the dancing usually starts with a few foxtrots, waltzes and other slow ballroom-type music. After that it really depends on the band/DJ that has been hired for the evening.

Marine Corps balls tend to draw a lot of younger military members and, at the ones I've attended, it was not too long before the band started in on the salsa and hip-hop music. The Navy balls here in the DC area are heavier on the more senior military attendance, so the music tends to be motown with a bit of latin thrown in.

Lastly, you probably don't need to worry to much about your dancing skills. I've never seen anything terribly formal about any of the dancing at a military ball. Purely social dancing for fun. And at the Marine Corps balls we went to, probably the last "formal" dance for about 80% of the attendees was their senoir prom also! ;)

A bit OT, but if you are ever unsure of anything regarding etiquette during dinner or throughout the evening -- when to start eating, what fork to use, which bread plate (use the one to the left of your plate), when to sit, when to stand, etc. -- watch the wife of the most senior military guy sitting at your table and just do what she does. :D

Hope you have fun!
Thanks for the welcomes. :D

Wow, thanks a lot, mkyte! I hadn't even thought about the etiquette stuff. :shock:

It's for the Army Nat'l Guard but I guess I'll just see how it goes. Any other tips welcome too. :D


Well-Known Member
Yeah. Same here. Never have figured out what to do when there's cutlery placed above the plate. :oops: :lol: Although a lot of paces, these days, are using the same-sized forks and spoons in each place -- maybe to protect us from embarrassing ourselves. :lol:


Well-Known Member
Ooh. I just googled cutlery etiquette and found a really nice series of articles at, which describes basic cutlery etiquette, which utensil to use for which dish, how to hold the utensils and use them, and where to place them when you're done.

I won't link to it (too many cheesecake photos -- nothing too sleazy, but it is a men's site, after all. :lol: ) But it's one of the top few hits, if you google "cutlery etiquette."

HTH :)


Well-Known Member
Well that explains that. I don't drink coffee, and I usually don't eat the desserts at these functions either. The desserts are often something involving dark chocolate. Blech! :lol:


Well-Known Member
I tried it. Didn't like it. Can't believe I ate (I bet you're expecting me to say the WHOLE thing) But no. Can't believe I ate two bites. One was enough. Yech! :lol:

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