What is Balboa?
This cruisy, classy dance was mostly well known for its popularity in dance halls on the Balboa Peninsula, California in the 1930’s, and was nearly lost forever, but thanks to some really dedicated people, it has been saved, to be enjoyed for years to come!
Balboa is danced to a wide variety of tempos, but because the basic step takes up such a small space, it can be danced to fast music (over 300 beats per minute), exciting!
Designed to take up only a small space, Balboa involves chaining two-step movements together while shuffling the feet on the floor. The dance was originally a response to overcrowded ballrooms where the swing-out or breakaway (a move popular in Lindy Hop at the time) was often difficult, if not actually banned by the venues!
Modern Balboa dancers sometimes distinguish between two types of Balboa, “Pure Balboa” and “Bal-Swing.” In Pure Balboa, dancers stay in close embrace for almost the entire time, their torsos touching, doing variations based on footwork, turning as a couple and moving as a couple. Bal-Swing, in contrast, incorporates movements in which there is more space between the partners and thus more dynamic, open movements.