Black & White Ball FAQ

This FAQ is subject to change.
The most recent information during the convention will come from a staff member of the Black & White Ball at the events handled by the Ball, such as classes, the Ball, or Stage Zero demonstrations.

While this FAQ may address information that has been posted formally, it is intended to be a clarification rather than a substitute.
If you have any feedback or would like additional information, email us at bwball@fanime.com.

What is the Black & White Ball?

The FanimeCon Black & White Ball is a formal dance offered by the Extravaganzas Division of FanimeCon that takes place on Sunday night for all registered attendees from 6:00pm until midnight.

This year, the Ball and its associated dance lessons will be held in Parkside Hall, next to the Tech Museum.
Please refer to your program guide or ask an Info Desk staffer for information on how to get there if you are unable to find it.

What do I need to know about partner dancing?

We prefer that you follow normal dance etiquette:

  • Feel free to ask a partner.
    Feel free to turn down a partner; but if you decline, please do not ask for or accept a dance for the duration of the song that is playing.
  • Look at where you are going and be aware of your surroundings.
    The dance floor can be hectic and it is easy to bump into others or step on other people.
    Apologize if you do.
  • Follow the line of dance if a travelling dance, such as waltz or foxtrot, is played.
    Stand in the middle of the floor, point your finger at the edge of the floor, and turn your body to the left.
    Line of dance is the path your finger traces along the edge of the floor.
    More experienced dancers should dance closer to the edge of the floor while those new to dancing should remain closer to the center.
  • If you are doing a dance that does not travel (i.e. swing) to a song marked as a travel dance (i.e. foxtrot), please dance closer to the center of the floor so as to allow travelling dancers to move around the outside of the floor.
  • If you are not dancing, please leave the dance floor.
    Being stationary on the floor will only increase your chances of getting stepped on!

Is there an age restriction?

Nope!
The Black & White Ball is an event for all ages.
In order to keep this appropriate for all ages, certain steps have been made.
For example, our staff checks the lyrics for every song (no matter the language of the song) to ensure that it is clean and child-friendly.

Formal?

A dress code is enforced as a condition of entry to the Ball.
The dress code can be found here.

If you have any questions about the dress code, would like to find out more details, or would like to see if what you plan on wearing is appropriate, head over to the forums!

Why is a dress code necessary?

Among other things, the Ball was envisioned to be a structured dance that is family-friendly, with cleaner music (i.e. no profanity), members of the Ball roaming during the Ball available for dance, and less individual dancing.
This is, of course, in addition to normal Con etiquette such as civility to fellow con-goers, good personal hygiene and being aware of your surroundings.

The dress code is also there to promote safety. We restrict shoes to dressy types andwith certain types of heels. Stiletto and narrow heels are prohibited due to the high probability of feet getting stepped on while partner dancing.
In the partner-dancing world, ankles and feet can be severely scratched and muscles (as well as ligaments) can be torn due to being stepped on by stiletto heels.
Thick heels are preferred because of this, as they give dancers the least chance of injury.
Of course, accidents do happen, but the thicker heels will not hurt as badly as a stiletto.

Why is there a dress code check? How is this run?

Our dress code check this year will be handled by select, trained staffers from both the Black & White Ball as well as Idris’s Closet (the formal-wear thrift shop that will be selling clothing throughout the weekend at a discounted price – all proceeds go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation).
Their guidelines are set as to what to check for and they will be properly trained as to how to handle everything related to the dress code.

The dress code check will be happening at the front door of Parkside Hall.
These select staffers will be making sure that the attire you wear adheres to the dress code.
Please be courteous to these staffers – they don’t like turning away attendees just as much as people wearing inappropriate attire dislike being turned away.

If a piece of your attire is questionable, you may be asked to step aside to double-check.
The most common items of clothing that may be questionable are generally related to skirt/dress length or heel height/width.
Prior to the event, one may test their skirt/dress length by putting their knees on a solid surface (chairs are great to test this on).
If you can see skin at this angle, chances are the skirt/dress in question is too short.
The easiest way to test heels beforehand is to grab a nickel and see if at least two edges of the heel are equal or greater in size.
The staff members checking shoes at the door have wooden dowels with cutouts that are of this width.
If a heel is too narrow, it will move in the dowel.
If the heel is snug in the dowel (ie. it doesn’t move at all), or is larger than the cutout, the heel is allowed.

If you are having your dress code checked at the door and feel like you are being unfairly treated, please calmly request to speak to a department head or second and one will be sent to the door to speak with you.
This is an opportunity to discuss at length just what you are concerned about so it can be addressed immediately.
No one likes to be the bad guy in this situation by turning you away.
We all want you to attend and enjoy the Ball!

Why is dancing individually broken up on the dance floor?

The Black & White Ball was envisioned to promote partner dancing, so we strive to provide as many opportunities as possible to learn about partner dancing and an experience comparable to what you would find at conventions devoted to it.
We offer around 24 hours of instruction during the convention for that purpose in a wide variety of styles, such as Ballroom, Latin, and Nightclub. We also offer semi-private lessons throughout the weekend (focused mainly in the evenings) for those people who don’t have time during the day to take lessons, or prefer a little more concentrated instruction.

We have gone to the expense of providing a real dance floor that is used at ballroom and swing dance competitions.
While we regret discouraging your full creative expression on the dance floor, please bear in mind that your actions on the floor may interfere with those people who were willing to put in the time and effort to learn and dance.
There are many other dances at FanimeCon that can accommodate your preferences.

Who are the staff members of the Black & White 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 who teach dance for a living, and some who compete at dance competitions.
Since we are diverse in appearance and expression, we have taken to wearing teal armbands while participating at the Ball to identify ourselves.

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

Are you unsure of whom you would like to ask to dance?
Feel free to ask one of us!

Can I request specific music at the Ball? If not, where can I make my request?

Let’s break this up into a couple of parts:

Requests can be posted on the forums in the link below.
The staff has the final say in what goes into the playlist and listen to every song requested to make sure they are appropriate not only for dancing, but for the all-age environment.
http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/topic,18887.0.html

Requests cannot be taken at FanimeCon itself.
The reason why is because we finalize the playlist before the weekend itself.
If you take a look at our previous playlists (listed in our music request thread), you will notice a wide range of genres from Asian Pop to 8-bit game music themes.
What we look for in every song 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; with a couple of advanced-dance-suitable songs for those of us who want to try it.
Something like dubstep at the current time may not be suitable while certain house songs may be tailor-made for some dances, such as hustle.
In addition to this, we also try to incorporate music that relates to our yearly theme as well as songs from our MusicFest Guests of Honor.

What if I don’t like the music that was played at the Ball?

When it comes to the playlist, we try our best to achieve diversity and danceability.
The playlist is reviewed by all of the Black & White Ball staff for repetition and possible boredom.
Please bear in mind that the playlist has to cover 13 different styles of dance, some of which are mutually exclusive in regards to what type of music can be played.
It is also entirely possible that you may have caught a portion of the playlist that covered a subsection of dance that you may not have liked.

If you have feedback about the playlist, please either mention it in the appropriate feedback threads or email us.
Please be as specific as you can in regards to music so that we can fix it for next year.

If I have a comment or concern, how do I get in touch with someone in charge?

The Head of the Black & White Ball will draw attention to herself during Stage Zero, the classes, and at the Ball itself.
If she is not in one of these locations, her Seconds will be around Parkside Hall throughout the weekend.
Feel free to come up and chat, but please be respectful.

If you have additional feedback, feel free to post in the appropriate feedback threads or email us at bwball@fanime.com.

What if I have another question that hasn’t been asked yet?

Please email us or post on the Black & White Ball FAQ thread in the forums and we will get back to you as soon as we can!