Welcome to the Black & White Ball FAQ, where we hope to address the majority of questions that have cropped up during the past several years of the Ball’s existence. That said, this FAQ is subject to change; the most up-to-date information will come from Black & White Ball staff at the events handled by the Ball (such as classes, Stage Zero demos, and the Ball itself).

Please also note that for questions that touch on information that has been posted elsewhere (like the Dress Code or instructional videos), our answers here do not supersede what’s already been stated. Rather, we want to provide further insight/detail to help eliminate any lingering confusion.

If you have feedback about this FAQ, please share it by emailing us at bwball@fanime.com. Thank you!

What is the Black & White Ball?
The FanimeCon Black & White Ball is a semi-formal dance offered by the Extravaganzas Department of FanimeCon, and takes place on Sunday night for all registered attendees. As of 2012, the Ball will be held in Parkside Hall; its associated dance lessons will be split between Parkside Hall and the San Jose Convention Center. Please check the Fanime.com website and your convention guide in the FanimeCon attendee packet for more details.

What do I need to know about partner dancing?
We prefer that you follow normal dance etiquette:

  1. Feel free to ask anyone to dance. You may also turn down a dance from anyone, too, but if you decline, please do not ask for or accept another person’s request to dance until after that song ends.
  2. Look where you’re going and be aware of your surroundings. The dance floor can be hectic, and it’s easy to bump into others or step on other people. Apologize if you do.
  3. Follow the line of dance if a traveling dance such as waltz or foxtrot is playing. (Line of dance moves counterclockwise around the outer edge of the floor.) More experienced dancers should dance closer to the far edges of the floor, while those new to dancing should remain closer to the center.
  4. If you’re doing a dance that does not travel (e.g., swing) to a song marked as a traveling dance (e.g., foxtrot), please dance in the center of the floor to allow traveling dancers to move around the outer edges of the floor.
  5. If you aren’t dancing, please leave the dance floor. Being stationary on the floor will only increase your chances of getting stepped on! (Or causing pile-ups or collisions!)

Do I have to dress up?
The dress code is enforced as a condition of entry to the Ball. Our guidelines can be found on Fanime.com’s Black & White Ball event webpage as well as on the forums.

Why is a dress code necessary?
The Ball was envisioned to be an elegant, structured, family-friendly dance that promotes partner dancing. We also want everyone to be safe at the ball (no wardrobe malfunctions or twisted ankles!), as well as keep the dance floor nice for future years of use. It’s easier for both attendees and staff if there’s a clear idea of what we feel helps maintain all of these goals.

I have XX-type of shoes, and they fit some of the requirements… will they work?
These are the main questions you should ask yourself: Are they dressy? What’s the heel height? Do the soles leave a mark? (Try scraping a sidewalk with the soles of your shoes to check, if you’re not sure.) If your shoes match any one of the criteria on the “Don’t” list in our dress code, you’ll very likely be turned away at the door.

This year, we are allowing leather loafers such as leather Toms for individuals adopting a menswear-style for their fancy clothes, but we’re still not allowing sneakers (even if they’re made of leather) or canvas shoes. Just to be clear!

Why are solo dancing, line dancing, and conga lines discouraged during the Ball?
Unfortunately, these types of dance can create serious hazards when mixed with partner dancing. As many of the Ball attendees are also expecting to be able to practice and enjoy partner dancing, we strive to maintain a safe and pleasant atmosphere for them to do so — which means breaking up conga lines and line dances, and asking solo dancers to please vacate the floor. If that bums you out, we definitely would encourage you to attend the other dances at FanimeCon that can provide the outlet you’re looking for!

Who are the members of the Ball?
We are a group of people who teach a variety of styles of partner dancing. Some of us are students learning or fully involved in dance; some are hobbyists; some teach dance for a living; and some compete at dance competitions. Since we are diverse in appearance and expression, we wear teal armbands while participating at the Con to identify ourselves.

While we’ll be roaming the Ball to ensure the event is running smoothly, we’re also there to have fun. Count on a friendly tap on the shoulder and someone in an armband saying to you “Please don’t do that” or “Would you like to dance?” depending on the situation.

Can I request specific music at the Ball? If not, where can I make my request?
We won’t be taking music requests at the Ball — our slideshow setup has to be constructed before FanimeCon begins. You can, however, make a request in the appropriate thread on the FanimeCon forums or via email at bwball@fanime.com. Please try to pick songs that can actually be used for partner dancing. What we look for overall is a readily distinguishable beat, melody characteristics for the styles of dance we have in mind, and a speed suitable to dancing by novice dancers. Something like dubstep at the current time may not be suitable, while some house songs may be tailor-made for dances like hustle, for example. If you need an idea of what’s worked in the past (or to check to see if your suggestion has already been used), please check the FanimeCon forums to view playlists from previous years.

Once you make your request, our music people will take a look at it, and give it a go/no for inclusion into the playlist. We have the final say in all music requests.

What if I didn’t like the music that was played at the Ball?
If you do have feedback about the playlist, please post it in the FanimeCon Forums; please be as specific as you can in regards to music so that we can take that into account when reviewing music for the next year.

However, please keep in mind that the playlist has to cover 17 different styles of dance, some of which are mutually exclusive in regards to other styles concerning music. (For example, the mood and feel of a Hustle is nearly opposite that of a Waltz.) We very much value diversity in the dances represented at the ball, and try very hard to avoid potential repetition and possible boredom among our attendees.

If I have a comment or concern, how do I get in touch with someone in charge?
Before and after the Ball, you can let us know your thoughts on the FanimeCon forums, our Facebook group, or send us an email if you prefer privacy. During the convention, flag down any of the Ball staff and we’ll get you in touch with the right person as soon as possible. We take your feedback very seriously, so don’t hesitate to let us know if something’s up!