Balboa (dance)

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Balboa / Bal-Swing
Type: Couple dance , tournament dance
Music: Swing , big band
Time signature : 44- stroke
Tempo: 32-60 ++ TPM
Origin: United States
Creation time: 1915
List of dances

Balboa is a couple dance from the swing dance family , which was first fashionable in the 1930s and 1940s and is enjoying some popularity again today; It is an integral part of the program at many regular Lindy Hop and Boogie camps.

Balboa was originally danced in mostly 8 beats (8-count) in a closed dance position and was characterized by tricky footwork.

Due to the very tight dance posture, Balboa is especially ideal when the dance floor is full and makes dancing to fast music particularly easy, but also works at slower tempos. Enriched with opening figures, as in boogie and swing, Balboa becomes a bal swing and is particularly varied.


The dance is named after the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach (California) near Los Angeles , where it was created.

to form

Balboa has two basic forms:

  • Pure Balboa: This version of the Balboa is danced very tightly and with a lot of variation in the step technique. The main stepping techniques include the single-time balboa , double-time balboa, and triple-time balboa .
  • Bal Swing: In this form, the couple opens the very tight dance posture to dance turns and spins. After a figure you come back into the close position, i.e. H. back into the Pure Balboa form.


Some of the great Balboa dancers often said, "We can't tell you how to dance Balboa, but we can tell you when you are not dancing Balboa."

Body movement

The dancers stand very close together and sometimes touch each other from the hip to the shoulder. This posture makes it very easy to lead with the body and enables very quick turns and figures. The feet remain largely under the body, sweeping movements are rare.

The dancing is largely stationary, i.e. H. the couple hardly moves from the square. Often only the footwork and the turns can be seen for spectators, the interesting thing for the dancers is the guidance over small changes in weight and the tension from which the turns arise. This is why Balboa is often referred to as a "dance for dancers" and not as a "dance for spectators".

Due to the small, stationary movements, Balboa can also be danced to very fast music, and it takes up very little space. In the case of slow music, elements from other swing dances are often incorporated, which become more expansive.

Basic step

The most often taught "up-hold" or "double-time" basic step for the leader is as follows:

  • 1 - reverse left
  • 2 - right right
  • 3 - Left tap (= "hold up", unloaded)
  • 4 - left forward
  • 5 - Right forward
  • 6 - left left
  • 7 - Right tap (= "hold up", unloaded)
  • 8 - right backward

The steps are the same for the follower , but start with 5–8, then only 1–4, i.e. offset by exactly one measure.

The "down-hold" or "single-time" basic step is similar:

  • 1 - reverse left
  • 2 - right right
  • 3 - left forward (loaded)
  • 4 - pause (= "hold down")
  • 5 - Right forward
  • 6 - left left
  • 7 - right backwards (loaded)
  • 8 - pause (= "hold down")

These basic steps can also be combined, e.g. B. 1–4 as in "down-hold", 5–8 as in "up-hold".

Stylistically, some prefer a “kick” instead of the “tap” when “up-hold” (which is still very small and flat, you should never hit your partner with it), but that is only one of several ways to vary the steps . Even with the “tap”, the foot is hardly or not at all lifted from the floor, but rather pushed forward on the floor. In the “pause” step, too, a small “pulse” is maintained in the body, unless the dancers want to emphasize a “break” in the music.

The decisive factor in the Balboa is not the steps, but how the upper body controls the balance and the position of the partner (and thus the couple). With the so-called “One-Steps” or “Adlibs”, for example, steps 1 + 2 or 5 + 6 can be repeated as often as required (even in different directions of movement). Steps 3 + 4 and 7 + 8 are then just a change of direction and foot, which can be performed as an up-hold or down-hold, among other things. The "basic step" is therefore more used to learn the leadership and step technique, some teachers would even only see steps 1 + 2 as a basic step, 3 + 4 as another.

Most figures are based on the basic step, and differ only in the direction the pair are moving. For example, a “come around” is half a “down-hold” (1–4) followed by a half “up-hold” (5–8), with 1–2 initiating the rotation, on which “down” (3–4) is turned and 5–8 catch the swing again. For the "paddles", steps 1 + 2 or 5 + 6 are repeated as desired, with the pair remaining on one side with the weight and rotating around the supporting leg.


  • Throwout
  • Come around
  • Lollie kicks
  • Paddles
  • Crossovers
  • Twists
  • Texas Tommy

Famous dancers

Web links