What is Balboa?

Balboa is a swing dance that rose in popularity in the mid 1930s at the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California, America. Characterised by a close hold, and an upright posture, balboa can be called a “feeling” dance, as you have to feel what your partner is doing rather than see it.

Traditionally Balboa has been danced to swing music at high-tempos, however it can be so lovely when danced slowly.

Like all dances, Balboa has been constantly evolving, and thanks to a growing international community of dancers, it has many different interpretations.

We favour a feelings based approach to our Balboa, which focuses on our innate and natural body movements, rather than emulating certain visual style elements.

What is Boogie Woogie?

Boogie Woogie is another form of swing dance popular throughout Europe. It is danced to boogie woogie piano music, but also fits nicely to rock ‘n’ roll. It is athletic and energetic, the perfect dance to really get you moving!

It is danced in an open hold, with partner connection maintained mostly by holding hands. The movements are characterised by staying opposite your partner and changing places interspersed with fast spins. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there is much fun to be had with tricks, dips and other fancy things!

Do you teach private classes?

Yes! Please get in touch via email. We charge £70 per hour + Studio Fees (if needed) + travel expenses (if outside London).

Do you dance any other styles?

Yes! We started out dancing Lindy Hop. We will occasionally still dance Lindy Hop if the music calls for it.

We love watching the TV show “Strictly Come Dancing” so we gave Latin and Ballroom a go, but we realised it wasn’t for us.

What should I wear to classes?

Any clothing that you feel comfortable moving in. Balboa classes are not likely to get too sweaty. However Boogie Woogie can be a workout, so bring a change of clothes in case you would like to change after classes.

Please don’t wear your outdoor shoes inside a dance studio space! We love dance floors, and don’t want to damage them with grit and dust.

For Boogie Woogie, any trainers or plimsolls will do. Although it’s advisable for them not to be too grippy, as sticking to the floor might damage your knees.

For Balboa shoes, see the next question.

Where do you get your shoes?

There are so many good European and American dance shoe brands! We can’t recommend a specific one, as everyone’s requirements and feet are different. For a low budget Balboa option, our best advice is to go to your local dance shop and have a look at leather soled “leather stage shoes” or “character shoes” for women. For men, any leather soled, soft leather shoe will be suitable for Balboa as long as you are comfortable wearing it. If the sole isn’t leather, you can always take it to your local cobbler to have it re-soled.

Ilona, where do you get your hats?

Mostly the hats I wear are made by me!
In my time not dancing, I am a milliner, check out my hats here.