Balboa as a dance style


The Balboa dance originated in Southern California in the 1920’s and 1930’s. More specifically, it started on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach where CalBal (fabulous Balboa event!) is arranged every January. The dance got its name from the place where it became popular, the Balboa Pavilion, which opened in 1905. It is associated with the start of the jazz age!


Balboa dancing uses upright body postures. Therefore, a close embrace is used in order to maintain a full body connection, which increases partner awareness. A human connection is a beautiful thing; it is like giving a hug to a stranger. The Balboa was designed for small spaces or crowded dance floors.

The Music

The music for Balboa varies from 100 to 300 beats per minute. Additionally, the Balboa is really a fusion of dances that includes Fast Balboa, slow Balboa, and Bal-swing. It includes a broad range of music, including songs like “Melancholy Baby” by Tommy Dorsey and “Begin the Beguine” by Artie Shaw