Class Tracks

Every year, the team at California Balboa Classic works to improve the workshop experience in order to provide an excellent environment for improving, experimenting with, and enjoying your Balboa.

The purpose of estimating your level is to attempt to match up the levels of leads and follows and to balance lead and follow ratios. We know that the leveling process can be difficult and even emotional, but we rely on your honest assessment to create a workshop environment that is successful for everyone involved. Please be prepared to dance in a workshop at the level you estimate yourself, but keep in mind that the California Balboa Classic reserves the right to move you into another group if we feel it will better serve you and the workshop experience of other participants.

Our goal this year is to try to place attendees in appropriate groups as much as possible before the event so that the level check at the event is truly just a “check.”

PLEASE sign up for the level that seems most appropriate and seek help from your peers and teachers if you find the self-assessment process difficult.

Track 1: Balboa Crash Course

The Balboa Crash Course is sold as a separate pass from other tracks and includes six hours of classes, discounted price, all dance access, and access to competitions.

The Balboa Crash Course is for beginner or beginner/intermediate Balboa dancers interested in learning Balboa or reviewing the basics. The series will progress at a faster pace than a typical weekly beginner series. Dancers in this series frequently have some previous Balboa experience, although dancers new to Balboa are also welcome if they are ready to dive in.

The following topics are likely to be covered in the beginner crash course:

  • Single- and double-time Pure Bal basic (down-hold and up-hold steps)
  • Progressive steps and variations in Pure Bal
  • Come-arounds and transitions steps
  • Lolly kicks and turns
  • Toss-outs or Throw-outs
  • Out-and-ins and/or Crossover Breaks
  • Other moves and variations as selected by the instructors

The instructors will emphasize individual and partnered technique for leaders and followers, with a focus on comfort, communication, and transitions.

Track 2: Aspiring

Full weekend pass, 12 hours of classes (including Friday electives), all dance access, access to all competitions

The Aspiring track is for dancers who are certain the Balboa Crash Course is not for them. Dancers in this track should be able to demonstrate most of the following movements at tempos up to 150 beats per minute:

  • Single- and double-time Pure Bal basics (down-holds and up-holds) with proper rhythm
  • Progressive steps and variations in Pure Bal
  • Come-arounds
  • Lolly kicks and turns with appropriate stretch and compression technique
  • Out-and-ins and/or crossover breaks with “out, out, in, in” flow and timing
  • Toss-outs or Throw-outs with circular rotation

The instructors will emphasize individual and partnered technique for leaders and followers, with an emphasis on flow, communication, and musicality. They will help you build your vocabulary and add style and variations to the dance.

Note: The first class on Saturday morning will be a level check where instructors and other staff will verify you are in the appropriate group. You will receive your track wristband after the Saturday morning class—don’t be late!

Track 3: Experienced

Full weekend pass, 12 hours of classes (including Friday electives), all dance access, access to all competitions.

The Experienced track is for dancers who can confidently demonstrate ALL of the material described in the Aspiring track as well as most of the following material at tempos up to 180 beats per minute:

  • Crab Walks
  • Counterbody motion in Pure Bal (drags, etc.)
  • Triple steps in Pure Bal (done independently or led)
  • Swivels
  • Maxie’s stop step (swivels with a led “V” slide break and a slide to the side)
  • Ability to spin at least one turn, on one foot, while balanced
  • Independent stylings in Pure Balboa and/or Bal-Swing

The instructors will emphasize individual and partnered technique for leaders and followers, with an emphasis on flow, communication, and musicality. They will help you build your vocabulary and add style and variations to the dance.

Note: The first class on Saturday morning will be a level check where instructors and other staff will verify you are in the appropriate group. You will receive your track wristband after the Saturday morning class—don’t be late!

Track 4: Experienced Plus

Full weekend pass, 12 hours of classes (including Friday electives), all dance access, access to all competitions.

The Experienced Plus track is for dancers who can confidently demonstrate the material described in the Experienced track as well as the following material at tempos up to 200 beats per minute:

  • Appropriate inward-focused connection in Pure Bal
  • Smooth transitions between movements
  • Multiple ways to shuffle or styles of shuffling in Pure Bal
  • Behind-the-back Throw-outs or Toss-outs
  • Texas tommy in Bal-Swing
  • Ability to lead and follow timing variations in Maxie’s stop step
  • Fall off the logs or “Hal’s kicks”
  • Independent syncopations and/or stylings in Pure Balboa, Lollies and Out & Ins/Cross-over Breaks

The instructors will emphasize individual and partnered technique for leaders and followers, with an emphasis on flow, communication, and musicality. They will help you build your vocabulary, adapt what you already know to new situations, and add style and variations to the dance.

Note: The first class on Saturday morning will be a level check where instructors and other staff will verify you are in the appropriate group. You will receive your track wristband after the Saturday morning class—don’t be late!

Track 5: Top-Shelf

Full weekend pass, 12 hours of classes (including Friday electives), all dance access, access to all competitions.

The Top Shelf track is for dancers who can confidently demonstrate the material described in the Experienced Plus track at tempos up to 220 beats per minute.

Dancers at this level should also be able to

  • Maintain rhythm and flow at high tempos (220 BPM is the tempo of a contest finals)
  • Adjust their connection to new partners of various skill levels
  • Insert variations or stylings into the dance that fit within the flow
  • Demonstrate musicality through individual adaptations and/or stylings
  • Adapt to new ideas (or recover from mistakes) without stopping the dance

The instructors will emphasize individual and partnered technique for leaders and followers, with an emphasis on flow, communication, and musicality. They will continue to help you build your vocabulary, adapt what you already know to new situations, and add style and variations to the dance.

Note: The first class on Saturday morning will be a level check where instructors and other staff will verify you are in the appropriate group. You will receive your track wristband after the Saturday morning class—don’t be late!

Track 6: Over-the-Top

Full weekend pass, 12 hours of classes (including Friday electives), all dance access, access to all competitions.

The Over-the-Top track is for dancers who can confidently demonstrate the material and technique described in the Top Shelf track (and probably more) at tempos up to 230 beats per minute.

Dancers at this level typically have years of experience in Balboa and usually take the highest level of classes at other Balboa events. They often compete in Balboa and would either make finals in an Amateur division or qualify for an Advanced/Open division (however, it is not required that you compete to take this track).

The instructors will emphasize individual and partnered technique for leaders and followers, with an emphasis on flow, communication, and musicality. They will continue to help you build your vocabulary, adapt what you already know to new situations, and add style and variations to the dance.

Dancers who register for this level may be asked to provide a reference from a teacher or an invitational level dancer.

Note: Over-the-Top dancers should consider the Challenger track as an alternative depending on their interests. The first class on Saturday morning will be a level check where instructors and other staff will verify you are in the appropriate group. You will receive your track wristband after the Saturday morning class—don’t be late!

Track 7: Challenger

Full weekend pass, 12 hours of classes (including Friday electives), all dance access, access to all competitions.

Dancers must meet the qualifications for the Top Shelf track (or higher) to register for the Challenger track.

The Challenger track is for dancers who want to “level up” their dancing with an eye toward the Invitational Track Level and/or consistently making finals when competing at large events. They are sometimes (but not consistently) invited to take Masters/Invitational classes at events like Cal Bal or are otherwise “on the cusp” of being classed among elite dancers. Although all classes at Cal Bal pose a fun challenge, Challenger track classes will include additional emphasis on hard work and honest feedback to jumpstart your improvement.

Dancers in the Challenger track were not invited to the Invitational track but would like to be (either this year or sometime in the future). They want to work hard in class and practice more than they want to be poolside (and when they are poolside…let’s face it, they’re probably practicing). They are willing and able to give and receive candid feedback from instructors and peers with equanimity (or better yet, with enthusiasm).

Dancers who register for this level may be asked to provide a reference from a teacher or an Invitational-level dancer.

Note: The first class on Saturday morning will be a level check where instructors and other staff will verify you are in the appropriate group (remember, the Challenger track requires that you at least meet the qualifications for the Top Shelf track). You will receive your track wristband after the Saturday morning class—don’t be late!

Track 8: Invitational

Six hours of invitational workshops with peers, access to all other classes as desired (including Friday electives), access to all dances, access to competitions.

Invitational-level dancers often teach and/or compete at the national or possibly international level (however, teaching and competing are not required for entrance). You are able to give and receive feedback from your peers in an appropriate and helpful way.

At the California Balboa Classic, we feel that dancers at the Invitational level have less need for lots of hours of workshops and more need for small chunks of ideas to work on. Thus you will have six hours of workshops with your peers as well as the ability to attend any other classes at any level (we hope to see you in some Challenger track classes).

Individuals will be invited to the Invitational track privately before registration opens. If you do not receive an invitation, please register for the Challenger track. Some students may be selected from the Saturday level check class to join the Invitational track at the teachers’ and level checkers’ discretion. Students who paid for a full weekend pass but who are placed in the Invitational track at the event will have the difference in their pass prices refunded.

All class descriptions, instructors, and qualifications are subject to change without notice. Final class information will be available at the event.