Get Your Bal On

At Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout

There’s another great weekend dance workshop coming up later this month: the Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout. This event will feature balboa classes for all experience levels, world-class instructors, social dancing, competitions, and live music by Jonathan Stout and His Campus Five.

It’s also a fundraiser for Community Minded Dance, a local organization that works with Denver Head Start and Colorado public schools to provide arts education for k-12 youth. So your ticket purchase will not only get you great dances and instruction, but also supports a worthy cause.

For those new to the dance style, balboa differs from other types of swing in some key ways: a close partner connection, restrained upper body movements, and small, quick steps that can turn into seriously flashy footwork. These were adaptations to the crowded dance halls of Southern California in the 20s and 30s, where swing outs and other floor-spanning moves were difficult, if not outright dangerous.

Photo from the International Lindy Hop Championships by JSAlmonte

Photo from the International Lindy Hop Championships by JSAlmonte

For a lindy hopper, learning balboa can feel quite different from the big, energetic movements they’re more used to. Rather than relying on visual cues, the dancer has to learn to feel the changes in their partner’s movement based on shifts in body weight.

However, adding balboa to one’s repertoire opens up a wealth of new moves. It makes dancing to fast tempos much easier, and is just a ton of fun!

“I’m looking forward to Rocky Bal because it gets people excited about balboa and because you can learn so much in a weekend,” says Heather Ballew, who has attended every year of this dance since its inception. “Especially at the beginner level, because the classes are small and you’re learning from the best in the world.”The dancers come from all over, as well—from other Western states to further afield in the United States and abroad. “It’s not just about the pros coming in, but so many people, amateurs, who are excited about dancing. You can meet people from all over the world.”

Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout is open to anyone interested in learning or improving their balboa, regardless of prior exposure. It will be held October 21-23 at the Castle Events Center in Northglenn, Colorado.

Online registration includes options for à la carte dance tickets as well as full weekend passes.

And for more on cmDance’s goals and mission, check out this video: