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All Balboa Weekend

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Please put your hands together for another fabulous guest writer, UD’s very own Emily Stienecker.  She’s adorable and I hope you enjoy reading about her adventures at All Balboa Weekend as much as I did.


What a weekend! I’m going to be honest, I was a little apprehensive about going to this event at first. I knew that this was going to be nothing like other exchanges I had been to, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Also, some of the things I had heard about the Balboa world were things that I wasn’t quite sure I would like. For example, some people who consider themselves mainly Balboa dancers only dance Balboa, and nothing else. This is strange to me since I’m used to being around Lindy hoppers all the time, who often transition between several types of dance within even the same song. It was a little weird going to a swing event and not doing any Lindy hop or Charleston the whole weekend. It was something I got used to though. And I wasn’t the only one there who felt that way either. At the end of one of the dances, I caught a glimpse of some people doing Lindy hop and Charleston (I joked about it and called it a “party foul”). 😛 Also, there was a point during the weekend when Peter Strom hosted a “soul party”, where he played music that people could do other styles of dance to. That was kind of cool if people wanted to take a break from Balboa for a little bit (we didn’t go, but other people told me they had a good time).

The social dances here were unlike any others I’ve been to. At ABW, they gave us different colored wristbands, which corresponded to the class level we were in. Knowing what classes they corresponded to could have definitely made a difference as to who people asked to dance. But the cool thing about this was that the people running ABW had an idea as to how to prevent people from becoming classist. We were all told that when we got to the dances that we had to turn our wristbands inside out, so that on the outside they all appeared white. This way, people wouldn’t know what class others were in without creepily staring at their wrists, trying to see the inside color of the band. Because of this precaution, I got to dance with some really awesome leads (some of which I doubt would have asked me to dance if they knew that I was only in the intermediate class). And the variety of people there was insane! There were dancers of all different levels and from all over the world (I danced with someone from England!) Also, the band was awesome!! Although I didn’t dance to every song, (like Jay did) I feel like I could have. At some dances, songs are played that seem “undanceable”, either being too fast or too slow, etc. At this dance though, some of the songs that the band played were a little bit fast, but not completely impossible to dance to, which was nice. Jonathon Stout and His Campus Five really know what they’re doing when it comes to music.

The lessons were amazing too. The instructors there are all amazing dancers, and it was an honor to be in their classes. My favorite instructors were Bernard and Anne-Helene Cavasa from Toulouse, France. They are a cute little married couple and they have a great sense of humor (and amazing French accents). And on top of that they are great dancers. Their spotlight during the Open ACBC competition was just incredible! Anyway, the lessons taught me new stylings, new moves, and some things about technique that I really think is helping me become a better Balboa dancer. Honestly, Balboa still just blows my mind sometimes, but some parts of it make way more sense now than they did before ABW.

Overall, it was a great event! A little expensive, but totally worth it for the classes and the dance experience. Can’t wait to go again next year!

Bernard and Anne-Helene’s spotlight during the Open ACBC competition

Jeremy and Laura won the Open ACBC, which was totally deserved, as I believe can be seen during the All-Skate. (watch how they move all around the floor and draw attention to themselves):

These are just a couple of my favorite videos from the event to watch, but all of the performances were amazing!


About Olivia

Vintage fanatic. Dancer. Armchair physicist. Polymath. Cat-killing curiosity. Wearer of many hats.

2 responses »

  1. Ellen McIntire

    Balboa is one of the coolest dances I have ever seen, I just wish I cold do it! It sounds like an awesome time and I love watching you (Emily) and Jay dance Bal! You’re both awesome at it and I can only dream about the day I can dance at that level hehehe

  2. Thank you for your review of the All Balboa Weekend! It is nice to know that some of the little (and big) things that we (the ABW planning committee) agonize over do not go un-noticed and unappreciated! Thank you for helping us spread the word that although it is the ALL Balboa Weekend that you don’t have to do Balboa ALL of the time. Hope to see you next year! Valerie Salstrom and the ABW committee (Cleveland, Ohio)


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