On August 11, 2021 we announced on Facebook that registration for CalBal2022 is postponed. Later we announced that we will not be having a “normal” CalBal at all. You can watch the video of that discussion (and meet our Safety and Inclusivity team) over on Facebook.
What’s a normal CalBal? In 2019 and 2020 CalBal was attended by nearly 1,000 dancers from around the world, we hired dozens of the best swing musicians from around the country, we had a staff of international swing dance instructors, organizers, and support staff, and we awarded over 40 scholarships each year to dancers who couldn’t otherwise have attended CalBal.
But based on current COVID-19 infections rates, the rise of breakthrough cases, and the stagnation of vaccination rates, a repeat of the 2020/21 winter holiday surge in COVID cases seems inevitable. Although CalBal2022 was planned as a vaccination-only event (with additional safety measures like masks and tests, if needed) we can’t ask dancers to risk their health by spending a weekend doing a close-embrace dance to fast music.
As important, though, is that we’re are not willing to compromise the standards and idealism that make CalBal worthwhile for the organizers and staff who make the event happen. The reward of the work that goes into making CalBal happen is the event—scores of people put their hearts and souls into CalBal because they love making something incredible together. A sad, poorly attended CalBal, or a CalBal that gets cancelled after months of preparation is not something we can ask ourselves, our team, or our participants to invest in.
So rather than “wait and see” we decided to pull the plug now. Doing so frees everyone to use their time, money, and energy to make something else wonderful. Although we try to run CalBal in a businesslike fashion, the purpose of CalBal is idealistic: to create an event that preserves and honors the heritage of Balboa and Southern California swing dancing and welcomes everyone to be a part of that heritage.