in the beginning, we really hadn’t planned to offer Balboa classes. We wanted to build a community, host practices, and occasionally bring in awesome out-of-town instructors to get people excited about Balboa in the Boston area. But after numerous requests, including a few years of teaching classes for other organizations and teaching drop-ins at our practices and running a few 4-hour introductory crash courses, we finally gave in, and offered our first Intro to Balboa class in 2014 at Boston Swing Central‘s Crosby Whistle Stop.
4-week, month-long classes seem to be a thing in Boston, probably because it’s how we often rent space at venues.
Shortly after that first class, we all lost access to the Whistle Stop when BSC unexpectedly lost their lease. We ultimately were able to get a contract with the Dance Complex (and where we happily remain), where we ran another pair of introductory classes — Fundamentals of Pure Balboa and Fundamentals of Bal-Swing, in which we taught similar fundamental connection and movement mechanics as our first intro series and crash courses, but then had some more time to introduce several of the other fundamental shapes and figures.
Starting in 2015, we put together the ABC series, which gave us the opportunity to cover what we felt were the fundamental figures of Balboa (Kate Hedin once referred to the Bal-Swing elements as “the Archipelago of Bal-Swing” in a weekend workshop). Because we had more time, we also added some higher level technique and movement concepts in order to round out the curriculum. We’ve been largely keeping the same content, while continuing to make adjustments in how we present the information, both for reasons of pedagogy, but also in order to tune the classes towards the specific students in attendance.
We’ve been mostly happy with this structure, but over the past few years we’ve found that the attendance through the full series drops off in the 3rd month, and people often miss important fundamental content. We also want to create more opportunities for new people to start learning Balboa for the first time, as well as to offer more directed practices and more advanced content for our more experienced students.
To that end, we took the fundamental figures from our ABC classes, and condensed them into two 4-week series, Balboa Fundamentals 1a (Intro to Balboa) and Balboa Fundamentals 1b. A breakdown of the material can be found on our weekly classes page here. Fundamentals 1a is the same content as the old Fundamentals A, while Fundamentals 1b contains the condensed contents from the old Fundamentals B & C. You can register for these classes on our registration page. We also plan to add more frequent crash courses (for 1a & 1b) on weekends throughout the year, interspersed with intermediate/progressive weekend clinics similar to those we’ve had in the past.
We hope that clears things up; and we hope to see you soon, dancing Bal!