Author's Introduction to Balboa (or Bal-Swing)
What is Balboa? Balboa is a dance that was popular in southern California in the 1930's. It is sometimes referred to as cartoon dancing because of its fancy lightening bolt footwork. The dance is frequently done at faster tempos (180 bpms and up) and combines well with other types of swing dancing particularly when dancers are trying to catch their breath during faster songs.

The dance was named after Balboa island in Newport beach where it was first developed in the Rendezvous Ballroom. The dance came from either the fox trot, the Charleston or both. "Pure" Balboa was danced completely in closed position and was initially developed for conservative dance halls with limited dance space. Such locations would limit swing dancing by having rules prohibiting the "wild" kicks of the charleston or the space filling breakaways of the lindy.

Eventually, balboa was combined with other forms of swing dancing. When dancers combined balboa footwork with break away or open position patterns it was called bal-swing. Notable developers of balboa were Maxie Dorf, Hal Takier, and Willie Desatoff. This dance combines well with lindy and allows dancers to dance to a greater variety of music at different tempos.

The demonstrations in Chapter One show many of the figures which follow and are explained in Chapter Two. I hope you enjoy it!

--Paul Salter