The Balboa, also known as "Bal" is a swing dance that originated in Southern California during the 1920s and enjoyed huge popularity during the 1930s and 1940s.
Balboa is an 8-count dance that is done in closed position. The earliest form of the dance (often called "Pure Balboa") evolved in the mostly conservative dance halls of southern California where space was limited and strict codes of conduct were enforced. These dance halls usually prohibited the wild kicks of the Charleston and Lindy Hop. Pure Balboa is characterized by an upright posture with partners standing chest to chest. Step variations generally play with the rhythm or look and feel (style) from below the knee downwards and deal with changes in direction. Balboa is frequently danced to fast jazz (usually anything from 180 to 320 BPM), though many like a slower (170-190 BPM) tempo. While most dancers differentiate between pure Balboa and Bal-Swing, both are considered to be a part of the dance. Bal-Swing evolved from Balboa when original Balboa dancers experimented with fancier variations of the dance which forced the chest to chest connection to be broken. In this form of Balboa a variety of spins, turns, dips, tricks, and even air steps are introduced.
Balboa came from Southern California during the 1920s. Balboa is named after the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California, where the dance was invented. The Balboa Pavilion, and the Rendezvous Ballroom are credited as the birthplaces of Balboa when dance floors became so crowded that dancers invented a dance to swing music that could be danced in place. Balboa dancing continued in California throughout the twentieth century and spread around the world to the present day.  In 1978, two long-time Balboa dancers, Hal and Marge Takier, started a twice-a-month Balboa dance at a Bobby McGee's restaurant in Newport Beach. Dancers who danced at the Bobby McGee's Balboa nights and video footage from there became highly influential in informing the Balboa dance as it is done today. Two styles of modern Balboa dance developed, "Pure Bal" is danced in close embrace, and "Bal Swing" is danced in a mix of close embrace and in open position.
Alma Heaton included two pages on Balboa in his 1954 book "Ballroom Dance Rhythms", and a page of instruction in "Techniques of Teaching Ballroom Dance". Heaton described two Bal-Swing figures in 1967.
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- Stevens, Tamara; Stevens, Erin (2011-04-07). Swing Dancing. ABC-CLIO. p. 105. ISBN 9780313375187. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
- History: Over 100 years of history surrounds the pavilion., Balboa Manor, archived from the original on 2011-02-02, retrieved 2020-05-18
- Shine, Nicole (2014-01-22), Balboa: Depression-era dance halls left a footloose legacy, The Orange County Register, retrieved 2020-05-19
- Stevens, Tamara (2011). Swing dancing. The American dance floor. Santa Barbara, Ca.: Greenwood. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-313-37517-0.
- Stevens, Tamara (2011). Swing dancing. The American dance floor. Santa Barbara, Ca.: Greenwood. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-313-37517-0.
- Dubin, Zan (1995-09-07), "Doing the Balboa Puts a Little Swing in Brea", The Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2020-05-19
- Stevens, Tamara; Stevens, Erin (2011-04-07). Swing Dancing. ABC-CLIO. p. 119,151–153. ISBN 9780313375187. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
- Ballroom Dance Rhythms. Alma Heaton. 1954. Brigham Young University Press. pages 35, 36
- Techniques of Teaching Ballroom Dance. Alma Heaton. 1965. Brigham Young University Press. Third Edition. pages 161,162
- Ballroom Dance Rhythms. Alma Heaton. 1967. Brigham Young University Press. pages 75, 76
- Balboa & Bal-Swing History - Peter Loggins - Part 1
- Balboa & Bal-Swing History - Peter Loggins - Part 2
- Balboa & Bal-Swing History - Peter Loggins - Part 3
- Balboa & Bal-Swing History - Peter Loggins - Part 4
- Balboa & Bal-Swing History - Peter Loggins - Part 5
- All Balboa Weekend
- Balboa Rendezvous Event
- Eastern Balboa Championships
- Twin Cities Balboa Festival
- Incubalboa: Balboa Festival in the Catalan Pyrenees
- Korea Balboa Weekend
- California Balboa Classic