Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting Started with Balboa

Balboa, to me, is breath itself. I know, sounds overly dramatic when it's put that way, but hey- I can't help that this is my passion. Balboa is a small, albeit, mighty community of interesting and yet astoundingly dapper people from all over the world. Though being dapper and interesting are not a requirement for the dance, for me it is about community, the music, and having fun.

Coming up in Phoenix is BadAZ Balboa with the wonderful Chris & Beth Grover. I hope I can convince some of you to come out and experience a little piece of heaven that I feel whenever I dance Balboa. I must admit it took a little while in my dance journey to truly love this dance, but now that I do, I can't stop! I even danced when I was in the birthing suite at the hospital, getting ready to deliver our daughter Athena! Hey now, we all have a starting point.

Now, if you are a lindy dancer already or any other dancer for that matter, it is often difficult to see what the heck is so great about Balboa. To put it bluntly, Balboa is not a performance dance. It isn't meant for spectacle. Balboa, like 20th Century classical music, takes a trained eye (ear in the case of Twentieth Century music- I'm talking atonal music, in case you are wondering what that's about) to really appreciate and figure out what the hell Balboa judges in competitions look for or why the heck there are people out there that ONLY do Balboa. Yes, it is true. There are Balboa only dancers out there.

Since, I know I won't convince anyone to really love Balboa based off an impassioned article, I wanted to leave you with our "Balboa Homework" so you can decide for yourself. I put this list together when we taught a Balboa workshop in Las Vegas. Balboa is much more about how the dance "feels" in my humble opinion. Lindy hoppers (myself included) all know that a good solid swing out feels freaking AMAZING, but in reality that feeling isn't what drew us to the dance in the first place. There are many reasons people are attracted to lindy hop, but the feeling of a great swing out isn't one of them, because as beginning dancers we hadn't experienced that joy yet.  Same with Balboa, you have to put some practice and energy into learning it so that you can find that "feeling".

We know this is not a complete list of resources. Take it for what it is, a launching point. I leave the rest of the journey up to you.

Toss out and Prosper,



Balboa homework:
Bobby White’s blog, http://swungover.wordpress.com/table-of-contents/ , check out the Who’s Who (Balboa) section and the piece on “Meditatin’ on Pure Balboa”.
Nick William’s article “Out and In-terest”, http://www.swingnick.com/206/out-and-interest/ . I mentioned this specific article in class.
Willie and Lila dancing: http://youtu.be/FDkdSJzlzjg  
Peter Loggin’s Balboa and Bal-Swing History:
Peter Loggin’s interview with Dwight Lupardis(Balboa historian), this link lists all(8) of the videos on YouTube:
In the same vein that lindy hoppers SHOULD know about the Hellzapoppin’ clip(i.e), bal dancers should be aware of the Venice Beach clip: http://youtu.be/4uEbgpvxjfY

Modern day bal dancers that Howard and I really appreciate (not a complete list in the least, but I wanted to toss out names to look up): Nick Williams, Sylvia Sykes, Jeremy Otth, Laura Keat, Mickey Fortanasce, Kelly Arsenault, Beth and Chris Grover, David Rehm, Mia Goldsmith, Adam Speen, Nelle Cherry, Teni Lopez-Cardenas, Andreas Olsson, Bobby White, Valerie Salstrom, Jacob Wigger, and Kate Hedin.  

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