Day 5: Your favorite non-Lindy Hop swing dance (charleston, balboa, shag, etc).

Balboa, hands down!

From the bonny shores of southern California...

I actually learned balboa before I learned lindy hop, weirdly enough. I had been taking “swing” (ECS) classes for a while here at my college scene, and we had a workshop that was part Balboa and part Charleston, so it was accessible to me as a non-Lindyer. I got the basic step, and did some things like lollys and I think something called a Dragon Kick which I haven’t seen since, and then pretty much forgot most of it until about a year later when I took more classes, went to Twin Cities Balboa, and the rest is history.

Fresh off the presses Balboa JnJ from Lindy Focus X, happening right now in Asheville, NC. Lots of fun partner switching going on, for a finals round…

I love balboa. I don’t think you can understand how lovely balboa is until you’ve gotten it yourself enough, and you’re dancing with a good partner, and you just get into that amazing groove. It can be so smooth, so connected, so relaxed and just right. It’s also got a lot of fun flashy footwork aspects that appeal to my inner tap dancer. I’ve heard it described as a “dancer’s dance” because, I guess, it’s more fun to dance than to watch, but I think the more recent competitions in balboa are pretty fun to watch. I’m a little biased though 🙂

Still one of my favorite Balboa videos!

Of course I love lindy hop; it’s the essence, the beginning, it is swing dancing. But I think I personally respond to balboa almost more than I do to lindy hop… there’s just something so sassy and subtle and cozy about it! As someone once described it, balboa is a three minute hug (and I love hugs!)

[I suppose it could partly be that I’ve gotten to the stage in my lindy where I know exactly how not-good I am, and have tons of stuff to work on, while my balboa stays at a constant sort of good beginner level… so it’s just the joy of the thing I’m still in. Well, time will tell!!]

One thing I recently remembered (at a large beginners bal class) is that bad balboa is really bad (bad lindy hop has nothing on it, imho). But the thing is, good balboa is so much fun! It’s worth it to push through to get to.

Now, this isn’t the place to dive into a discussion of the midwestern balboa scene, but I certainly have things to say. More to come, I suppose…

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