The Balboa dance, sometimes referred to as Pure Balboa, is a form of swing that originated in Southern California in the 1920's and 1930's that descended from various other dances like Charleston, Collegiate shag and swing. It arose at the same time and was danced to some of the same music as the Lindy Hop. It is characterized by an upright posture, close embrace with full body connection and a shuffling of the feet using intricate footwork variations, to music that may varies from 100 to 300 beats per minute. The Balboa is a fusion of dances that includes Fast Balboa, slow Balboa and Bal-swing, which is still Balboa but uses open movements. It is a dancers dance since it involves considerable lead/follow techniques that are subtle in nature and difficult to observe by spectators. The Balboa was designed to be danced in small spaces or crowded dance floors since the couple remains in a close embrace for Pure Balboa.
The dance started on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach and was danced in the early 20th century in the Balboa Pavillion, which opened in 1905. Balboa is danced to a broad range of music including songs like "Melancholy Baby" by Tommy Dorsey and "Begin the Beguine" by Artie Shaw.
Joel Plys, world renowned swing era dance professional heads up the Pattie Wells' Dancetime Center's, Balboa and Bal-swing department with a wide range of Balboa and Bal-swing dance courses for all levels of dancers every Monday and Wednesday nights. He teaches all the swing era dances including Lindy hop, jitterbug, East Coast swing, Collegiate shag, Balboa and Bal-swing plus offers regular workshops for intensive training. Joel Plys and Pattie Wells are collaborating on a variety of events for San Diego swing and Balboa dancers including Balboa practicas, Balboa dance bootcamps, a Balboa Dance Club and Balboa dance parties at the Dancetime Center. The famous Balboa Rendezvous had its kick off event with a packed house dancing the Balboa, Bal-swing, Lindy hop to the tunes of the Django Band with singer, Isela LeClair.
The Balboa, Lindy Hop and other swing era dances experienced a revival in the starting in last decade of the 20th century due to the efforts of swing dancers like Jonathan Bixby and Sylvia Sykes. Balboa and Bal-swing have continued to thrive in San Diego, California, for the last couple of decades and is one of the favorite swing dance genres among the swing era dance community.