TOMORROW, NOV 19: Learn to Switch Dance in a Day. It's almost upon us now!

What is Balboa?

Balboa is a partnered swing dance originating in the 1920s & ’30s.


“It’s the only way to hold someone close in your arms and still dance the fast music”
– Dean Collins


Danced in a closed position,the term ‘Balboa’ was originally short for “Balboa Shuffle” which today is known as Pure Balboa. Pure Balboa evolved due to conservative dance halls where space was a major issue. The dance originally consisted of the leader and follower doing a basic shuffle step with little or no improvisation. Today we use the term “Bal-Swing” as an umbrella term for a combination of classic Los Angeles style swing, such as you see in the movies, as well as body-to-body dancing which incorporates fast and fancy footwork with a lot of improvisation. Originally from Southern California, Balboa is now danced all over the world.


Balboa History

Back in the day halls often had strict rules which prohibited the Charleston and other exuberant dances… so a dance which required very little space was rapidly welcomed within the crowded halls. Naturally the dance evolved and fancier variations such as spins, turns, dips, tricks, and even air steps were introduced. Today the two dances are acknowledged but are often danced as one, switching between the close style of Pure Balboa and the throw-outs, spins and other moves now known as Bal Swing. Balboa is also combined with Lindy Hop of course and is a great swing dance.

In our classes you will learn a combination of Pure Balboa and Bal-Swing.

Swing Patrol holds regular weekly Balboa classes at the Balpit on Tuesdays and a fortnightly Friday Balboa Class and social at Club Maxie’s.
Many other Swing Patrol class venues will occasionally teach a short season of Balboa – check with teachers what’s in store.


Have a look at Balboa in action… if a picture paints a thousand words then these video clips will say it better than we ever could! Enjoy!

And Balboa doesn’t have to be fast ….