2023 Weekend Overview

California Balboa Classic 2023
January 13–15, Pasadena, California

CalBal2023 returns to Pasadena, walking distance from scores of great restaurants, nightspots, and historic locations. For 2023, we’re working to assemble an incredible lineup of music, instructors, contests, and dance settings.  

Location

Pasadena California is located in California’s San Gabriel Valley about 12 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and  28 miles northeast of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Pasadena is home to scores of historic locations including the Gamble House, Pasadena Civic Center, CalTech, and Huntington Gardens. It is a renowned as a center for the American Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s.

Pasadena Masonic Temple

Pasadena Masonic Temple—location for CalBal 2023’s main evening dances and select class tracks. Also home to LindyGroove—one of Southern California’s longest-running weekly swing dances.

Hilton Pasadena

The Hilton Pasadena is where CalBal will conduct additional classes and late-night DJed dances.

Venues

For 2023, CalBal will be held at the historic Pasadena Masonic Temple and the Pasadena Hilton. The two locations are about one block apart. Select classes and our main evening dances will be held at the Masonic Temple, additional classes and late-night dances will be held at the Hilton.

Schedule Overview

Thursday, January 12, 2023

  • Special reception for event sponsors (time and location TBD).
  • Evening dance with bandleader Keenan McKenzie (time and location TBD).

Friday, January 13, 2023

  • Afternoon elective classes for all pass holders.
  • Contest prelims for Pure Balboa and Amateur Open competitors.
  • Evening dance at the Pasadena Masonic Temple with bandleader Jonathan Stout. Finals for Pure Balboa and Amateur Open competitions.
  • Late-night dancing at the Pasadena Hilton with international DJs.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

  • Daytime classes for all pass holders and level checks for selected class tracks (TBD).
  • Contest prelims for Open Classic, Open Mix-and-Match, and Amateur Mix-and-Match competitors.
  • Evening dance at the Pasadena Masonic Temple with bandleader Jonathan Stout. Finals for Open Classic and Open Mix-and-Match competitions.
  • Late-night dancing at the Pasadena Hilton with international DJs.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

  • Daytime classes for all pass holders.
  • Contest prelims for the Artistic Voice competition
  • Evening dance at the Pasadena Masonic Temple with bandleader Michael Gamble. Finals for the Artistic Voice competition.
  • Late-night dancing at the Pasadena Hilton with international DJs.

Monday, January 16, 2023

  • Afternoon beach dance (time and location TBD)

Tickets & Capacity

After two years without producing a live event, for CalBal 2023 we will be reducing capacity to help ourselves and our guests manage safety better. For CalBal 2023, we expect to have no more than 600 tickets available (that’s about 10% smaller than in 2018 and about 30% smaller than in 2020).

For 2023, we are committed to giving away up to 100 full weekend passes to people who could not otherwise attend the event. This number includes approximately 50 scholarships and 50 name-your-own-price passes (see below).That means we will sell 500 tickets at most.

To achieve this and also ensure financial viability of CalBal, we’re changing how we sell tickets. In prior years, we opened registration with a batch of inexpensive tickets available to folks who registered early. But, after two years away, we need your support to help us rebuild so we will only be selling full-weekend passes at three price options:

Patron Pass: $500–$1,500 A Patron Pass includes full access to all parts of the weekend as well as the option to choose the way(s) you’d like to sponsor the event. You can sponsor aspects of CalBal 2023 like music, scholarships, contests, and more. You may also choose to receive some special perks (including a special reception on Thursday), and you’ll receive a tax-deduction for a portion of the ticket price. Patron Pass access to the main event is fully transferrable to another person or another year (subject to a few limits).

Standard Pass: $250 A Standard Pass includes full access to all parts of the main weekend (January 13, 14, and 15) and opportunities to purchase access to the Thursday night live event with Keenan McKenzie. Standard passes are fully transferrable to another person or another year (subject to a few limits).

Name-Your-Own Price Pass:  CalBal is committed to creating access to the event for as many people as possible. If you cannot afford a Standard Pass and you do not qualify for a Scholarship, you may request a name-your-own-price pass and you may pay as little as $0. A Name-Your-Own-Price pass includes full access to all parts of the main weekend (January 13, 14, and 15) and opportunities to purchase access to the Thursday night live event with Keenan McKenzie, but  is not transferrable.

More details will be available when registration opens on August 10.

Live Music

Live music at CalBal 2023 will feature three bandleaders: Michael Gamble, Keenan McKenzie, and Jonathan Stout. We are busy confirming many of our favorites musicians and will add details as the become available.

For the first time ever, CalBal will offer four nights of live music—Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Access to the Thursday live music is likely to be limited, so stay tuned for details.

Michael Gamble headshot

Bandleader Michael Gamble. Photo: Jerry Almonte

Keenan McKenzie headshot

Bandleader Keenan McKenzie

Jonathan Stout headshot

Bandleader Jonathan Stout

Classes

Full-weekend pass holders will have access to 12 hours of instruction plus electives. As in prior years, classes will be “tracked” according to students‘ experience levels. We have already confirmed a stellar array of instructors and are working on adding more.

Instructors Confirmed for 2023

Sylvia Sykes

Sylvia Sykes headshot

Instructor Sylvia Sykes

Heather Ballew

Heather Ballew headshot

Instructor Heather Ballew

Shani Brown

Shani Brown headshot

Instructor Shani Brown

Javier Johnson

Javier Johnson headshot

Instructor Javier Johnson

Laura Keat

Laura Keat headshot

Instructor Laura Keat

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer Lee headshot

Instructor Jennifer Lee

Matt Mitchell

Matt Mitchell headshot

Instructor Matt Mitchell

Jeremy Otth

Jeremy Otth headshot

Instructor Jeremy Otth

Annabel Quisao

Annabel Quisao headshot

Instructor Annabel Quisao

Bobby White

Bobby White headshot

Instructor Bobby White. Photo: Jerry Almonte

Jacob Wigger

Jacob Wigger headshot

Instructor Jacob Wigger

Nick Williams

Nick Williams headshot

Instructor Nick Williams

Competitions

Competitions are open to anyone holding a CalBal 2023 pass. Read complete rules and descriptions on our CalBal 2023 Competitions page.

Open Classic: open to couples of any skill level.

Amateur Classic: open to couples who meet our definition of an “amateur.”

Pure Balboa Classic: open to couples of any skill level.

Open Mix-and-Match: open to individuals of any skill level.

Amateur Mix-and-Match: open to individuals who meet our definition of an “amateur.”

New! Artistic Voice: open to couples of any skill level.

Safety & Inclusion

For CalBal 2023, we’ve assembled a team of health, safety, and inclusion experts to help us make good decisions and to create a welcoming environment where you feel safe, supported, and free to be yourself. COVID-19 has changed the responsibilities of event organizers and we will be constantly updating our safety and inclusion policies to reflect changing conditions. Read our current Safety & Inclusion policies »