CLASSES AT BALBOA ON THE RIVER

Balboa on the River offers one day of ‘all levels’ classes (on the Friday) and two days of streamed classes (on the Saturday and Sunday). Register for a Full Pass, a Couples Pass or a Weekend Pass if you wish to take classes at Balboa on the River.

*** Please note that there is no absolute beginner level at Balboa on the River. ***

Selecting your Level

When you register for classes, you will be asked to nominate the level you would like to dance in for streamed classes. Below is a list of REQUIRED knowledge for entry into each level. It will be assumed by the international teachers that you have these skills. Please read the descriptions and list of required dancer skills, then nominate the level for which you meet the prerequisite list.

Please check with your local teacher if you are uncertain about anything listed below, or if you are uncertain as to which level is most suitable for you.

If you have any other queries, please feel free to contact us at info@balboaontheriver.com.

LEVEL REVIEW

Please also note – although we ask you to nominate which level you think you are most suited for, the international teachers will review everyone in a compulsory level review held at the start of the Saturday workshop. This level review is to make sure that you are in the level that will most benefit your dancing. The international teachers’ decisions will be final. If you are moved during the level review process, and you believe you have been moved unfairly, we will ask you to speak to the teacher of your first class, prior to the commencement of that first class. They will watch you in your first class and make a decision as to whether it is appropriate for you to move up or down within that first class.

LEVEL A – ARCHERS (after Venna Archer)

Consider this level if you wish to work on and refine your core skills; if you wish to work on having more comfortable social dances; if you wish to work on smoothing out transitions between patterns/movements.

LEVEL A REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE

You can dance in Level A if you have learnt the following Pure Bal Steps and Bal-Swing Patterns, and you have the dancer skills as listed for this level. Please talk to your local teacher if you are unfamiliar with anything listed for this level.

Pure Bal Patterns

  • Single Time Basic (aka Down Hold Basic)
  • Double Time Basic (aka Uphold Basic)
  • One-Step (Leaders travelling forward and backwards)
  • Crabwalks in both directions
  • Paddles

(Bal-)Swing Patterns

  • Transition Step (from Pure Bal to Bal-Swing)
  • Breakturn (aka a come around) in closed embrace
  • Breakturn (aka a come around) in open (with a small amount of space between the couple)
  • Lollies
  • Throw outs
  • Cross breaks (also sometimes referred to as crossovers)

Dance Skills for this Level

  • You have basic familiarity with close embrace connection
  • You have basic familiarity with bal-swing connection
  • You have learnt everything listed above

LEVEL B – BARTOLOS (after Bart Bartolo)

Consider this level if you can do everything listed above, and everything listed as required for this level, and you wish to explore transitions, variations, flow and how to better react and dance to the music.

LEVEL B REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE

You can dance in Level B if you are proficient in dancing the Level A requirements using lead-follow principles AND you have learnt the Pure Bal and Bal-Swing Patterns, and you have the dancer skills as listed for this level. Please talk to your local teacher if you are unfamiliar with anything.

Pure Bal Patterns

  • Foot fans

(Bal-)Swing Patterns

  • Out and In Energy
  • Pop-turns
  • Texas Tommy
  • Swivels
  • Maxie Stop Step – that is, you can lead and follow the Maxie Stop Step without faking or cheating
  • Multiple Turns – that is, you can lead/follow Multiple Turns (under arm or free) (up to three turns)
  • Multiple throwouts
  • Lolly Variations – you can dance at least two lolly variations with your partner
  • Throwout Variations – you can also dance at least 3 throwout variations e.g. release follow on the spot, blind release for the leaders, collecting on the wrong side

Tempo

You can dance to music at tempos of up to 180 beats per minute

Dance Skills for this Level

  • You can consistently dance everything in the Level A and Level B required lists, with a range of partners using lead-follow principles
  • You can maintain your footwork and never find yourself stuck on one spot
  • You move through your centre before you move your leg/foot
  • If you become out of sync with your partner, you know to stop and reset to finish the song
  • You demonstrate a consistent rhythm through the entire dance
  • You transfer your weight from one foot to another cleanly. That is, you can always lift one foot off the ground, and your weight is never evenly split 50/50
  • You can step through a turn on the spot, that is, take two steps to do 360 degree turn to face your partner. You can also turn consistently whilst travelling down a line.
  • You demonstrate good posture when you dance
  • You can find a comfortable closed and open embrace with a range of partners
  • You are equally comfortable dancing Pure Balboa or Bal-Swing
  • You social dance Balboa and Bal-Swing

LEVEL C – McCASLINS (after Mary McCaslin)

Consider this level if you can do everything listed above, and everything listed as required for this level, and you wish to explore nuances such as compression and stretch; explore “organic dancing”; explore quality of movement; and explore finding your voice and style.

LEVEL C REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE

You can dance in Level C if you are proficient in dancing the Level A and B requirements using lead-follow principles AND you have learnt the Pure Bal Patterns and Bal-Swing Patterns, and you have the dancer skills as listed for this level. Please talk to your local teacher if you are unfamiliar with anything.

Pure Bal Patterns

  • Triple Time Basic
  • Contra-body movement

(Bal-)Swing ‘Patterns’

  • The Damron Sequence
  • Pivots
  • You can execute a wide variety of variations the Level patterns

Tempo

You can dance to both slow music and music at tempos of up to 220 beats per minute

Dance Skills for this Level

  • You can consistently dance everything in the Level A, Level B and Level C required lists, with a range of partners using lead-follow principles
  • Leaders and followers, you can dance all the patterns in the prerequisite list, on your own (without a partner)
  • When partner dancing, you always maintain a connection/relationship to your partner
  • You can add footwork variations without disrupting the dance
  • The energy in your dancing is appropriate for, and reflects the dynamic of the music
  • You can manage a busy dance floor and avoid obstacles and other couples
  • You are always on balance, or in other words, you are in control of your centre
  • You have flow in your dancing
  • You can watch a move and break it down to its no-frills base without much explanation/clarification

LEVEL D – DORFS (after Maxie Dorf)

Consider this level, if you can do everything listed above, and everything listed as required for this level. Here anything goes!

LEVEL D REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE

You can dance in Level D if you are proficient in dancing the Level A and Level B and Level C requirements using lead-follow principles AND you have learnt the Pure Bal Patterns and Bal-Swing Patterns, and you have the dancer skills as listed for this level. Please talk to your local teacher if you are unfamiliar with anything.

Pure Bal ‘Patterns’

  • Your footwork is varied and effortless and connected to the music

(Bal-)Swing ‘Patterns’

  • Slides
  • You can turn on a dime

Tempo

You can dance to slow music and music at tempos of over 220 beats per minute

Dance Skills for this Level

  • You can consistently dance everything in the Level A, Level B, Level C and Level D prerequisite lists with a range of partners utilising lead/follow principles
  • You can lead/follow subtle nuances within the dancing partnership and momentum. Your transitions in your own movement, and with your partner, look effortless and seamless, and you rarely miss a pickup
  • You are always aware of where your par’tner is, and where the other couples are on the dance floor
  • You can adjust for mishaps without it disrupting the dance
  • You know how to show your voice in your dancing
  • Your movement incorporates your entire body
  • Your dancing looks/ feels organic (that is, as a norm, your dancing never feels contrived or fake or constricted)
  • You demonstrate connection and flow in your movement and ideas, and your movement and ideas are connected to the music
  • You regularly play with contrast and changes of energy within your dancing and within the partnership (eg. milk and burn energy)
  • You understand and can demonstrate how posture, and alignment, and orientation, and other choices we make as a dancer, can break connection to the floor, our partner, and the music
  • Although you may not think about it all the time, you understand the difference between how a lindy hop dancer would react to energy, and a bal-swing dancer would react to energy, and can demonstrate both
  • You can do a 360 degree (single) solo turn, in any direction, on any foot without falling. That is, you can do a turn clockwise and also anticlockwise. You can do the turn in either direction, on your left foot and also on your right foot
  • You learn new figures quickly

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