Big band buffs, get your dancing shoes on. The Zim Zemarel Orchestra will provide music for ballroom footwork and buffet dinner tonight at the Springfield, Va., Hilton.

Zemarel grew up with the sounds of Duke Ellington, the Dorsey Brothers, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and all that swing, formed his first band in 1949 and organized his present unit nearly 15 years ago. The band's sixth album on CBS records will be out later this month. A "territory band," the 16-piece aggregation keeps busy playing dances and concerts throughout Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Frequently called upon in their home city of Baltimore to provide accompaniment for celebrities, the band has backed up Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, Bob Hope and others. Sinatra, in town for a fund-raiser, rehearsed two numbers with them and said, "I don't have to hang around--they know what they're doing."

"I have the band sounding a lot Glenn Miller-ish with a Basie rhythm pattern," Zemeral explains. "I find that those are the two most popular beats people will dance to." He adds that they'll do some slow ones tonight, like "Moonlight Serenade," for the cheek-to-cheek couples and some swingers, like "Z.Z.'s Blues," for the rug-cutters.

Seating for the four-hour bash begins at 5:30, the beat kicks off at 6 p.m. For reservations, call 971-8900.