Track Descriptions

You asked and we listened!
We have updated and clarified our Track Descriptions as of Nov. 14, 2022.  We added video and song links as references to assist you.  Please take your time looking through these to be sure that you are in the track that you feel is most accurate.  Our goal is to have as *FEW* track changes on site as possible.

You can request track changes through this form until December 1, 2022.  We will attempt to place everyone in their preferred tracks!

Request to change tracks here »

Tracks A-C  do not have a level check*.
*CalBal reserves the right to strongly recommend moving to another track if a dancer has placed themself in an inappropriate track.

Tracks D-F  have a required level check
This occurs during the first class on Saturday morning.

Track Info:

Tracks without level check:

Tracks with level check:

Level Check Format

The level check is held during the first class with your track on Saturday morning.  We hold this during class so that the judges can see how you learn and dance. We want everyone to be in a group that fits their learning AND dancing ability as much as possible.
Judges for the level checks will look for dancers that are outliers from the group who will clearly be a better fit in a track that is either above or below the track they registered for. They will be watching how students learn in class, how they pick up new material along with, how well they dance to music. They will pay attention to whether a person is struggling because their partner is rough so they don’t accidentally move the wrong person down due to a less-skilled partners. They will also look for people who are able to do well despite having a partner that is rough to potentially move to up.

Video References

How they should be used: We have added links to most of the moves and concepts that are specifically listed in their track.  You should be able to click on the move name or concept description to go directly to the time stamp in our reference video.
Please note that the video references are meant to give *general* ideas of what we are expecting.  Most of these moves have multiple names and ways to do them.  You’ll notice that we don’t use the words “right” or “wrong” because what is “right” in one situation might be a poor fit for another situation.  We hope you find this tool helpful.  Let us know what you think in the YouTube comments!

Track Appeals

Dancers wishing to change tracks during the weekend must visit the track appeals on Saturday from 1-2pm after attending their second class. Dancers may be moved if they are obvious outliers from the other dancers participating in the track they wish to be moved from.

Track Descriptions and Prerequisites

Track A

No level check.
This is a Balboa fundamentals track. Geared for newer or slightly experienced Bal dancers, this track is for those wanting to learn and refine their basics, connection, and technique. Dancers wanting to learn their non-primary role would be a good fit here as well.

No prerequisites. However, some previous Bal experience is highly recommended.

Track A Focus
Instructors will emphasize building a solid foundation for social dancing Balboa. Students can expect to learn basic Bal vocabulary for leads and follows, develop skills that support comfortable social dancing, and practice listening and adapting to the music.

 

Track B

No level check.
This is a social dance improvement track for dancers who should be able to dance through the material below to songs between 120 bpm to 180 bpm (beats per minute). This is also a good track for Advanced Lindy Hoppers that are new to Bal and can quickly pick up new material AND change their technique with little guidance.

Dancers in this track are expected to know the material marked required and should be familiar with at least some of the additional material listed.

Required:

Additional:

Track B Focus
Classes in this track add to existing Bal vocabulary with an emphasis on adjusting technique to dance comfortably with a variety of partners. A mix of material will be covered including moves, stylings, technique, and musicality.

 

Track C

No level check.
This track is for experienced Bal dancers who social dance Bal regularly, or as regularly as possible. These dancers should be able to adapt to partners that have less experience than them while still having fun, comfortable, and musical dances.

Dancers should easily be able to do the material for Track B.  They are also expected to know the material marked required and should be familiar with most of the additional material listed.

Required:

Additional:

Track C Focus
This track will focus on improving technique for social dancing with partners that have a wide range of experience. Classes will emphasize partnering technique, responding to the music as well as adding to existing repertoire of moves and stylings.

 

Track D

Saturday morning level check required.

This track is for experienced Bal dancers who are comfortable learning at a faster pace and want to be challenged in class. They have a thorough Bal vocabulary and can easily execute the moves and skills required for Track B and Track C.

Dancers in this track can be described by most of the attributes listed below. The more attributes track attendees can demonstrate, the more they will blend into the track. Outliers may be selected during the level check to move to track C or E if it appears that those tracks will be a better fit.

Track D Focus
This track will be less oriented towards moves or stylings. Classes will likely touch on more conceptual ideas like aesthetics, individual style, flow, partner conversation, musical connection, and competition skills, etc.

 

Track E

Saturday morning level check required. These dancers are likely setting trends, attracting other dancers to watch them and creating moves of their own. This track is great for dancers that don’t get bored exploring partner connection and technique. Dancers in this track already have a solid Bal repertoire and can easily add to it on their own. These dancers don’t expect to be taught many moves and stylings in class. They are actively seeking feedback from more experienced dancers both within and outside of their local community. Some dancers in this track will be teachers for their local communities. In addition to meeting the criteria for Track BTrack C, and Track D they can demonstrate the ideas listed below. The more concepts they can demonstrate OR the better quality they demonstrate few of the ideas listed below will help with the level check. Outliers may be selected during the level check to move to track D or F if they appear that those tracks will be a better fit. 

  • Maintain flow and musicality at high tempos such as 240 bpm and Slow Bal tempos like 80 bpm.
  • Easily adjust their connection and move or styling choices to a wide range of partners without sacrificing either partners’ own style, creativity and enjoyment.
  • Insert musical footwork, variations or stylings into a dance without having to think about it.
  • Adapt to new ideas (or recover from mistakes) without breaking flow in the dance.
  • Take feedback from peers and use it to improve skill and self-awareness.
  • Demonstrate moves or stylings that they contributed to or created.
  • Demonstrate slides or slide variations (if the floor and shoes are good).
  • Dance an entire song without getting bored using only one set of the three core basics associate with Bal:
    • Pure Bal (Or chest to chest connection)
    • Out & Ins (closed position that’s not chest to chest and not using spins or turns)
    • Rotational (Lolly Kicks, turns, Toss-Outs, etc)

Track E Focus The classes in both tracks E & F will have an emphasis on ideas listed below.  Track E might have more concrete moves and examples of these ideas while also having drill or exercises to practice.

  • Changing posture and shape in order to curate a desired look or style.
  • Making small changes in connection and technique to improve BOTH feeling and style.
  • Studying original dancers overall movement as well as intricate footwork styles.
  • Getting personal feedback.
  • Improvising with the music.
  • Complex and nuanced rhythmic variation within moves, connection and footwork.
  • Moves or movements that have unusual technique or partner connections.

 

Track F

Saturday morning level check required.
This track is for dancers who have enough self-awareness and ideas for improving in their own dancing that they can take classes in any track and learn a lot.

They exceed the requirements and expectations for Track B, Track C, Track D, Track E and also fit the description below.  The better quality they demonstrate the ideas listed below will help with the level check. Outliers may be selected during the level check to move to track E if they appear that it will be a better fit.

  • Can demonstrate musicality and creativity if asked to dance an entire song while only staying in one of the three core Bal basics:
    • Pure Bal (Or chest to chest connection)
    • Out & Ins (closed position that’s not chest to chest and not using spins or turns)
    • Rotational (Lolly Kicks, turns, Toss-Outs, etc)
  • Can respond to a partner’s ideas by creating new moves and stylings during a dance.
  • Have already started to develop their own look, artistic voice and style of musicality.
  • Have likely been asked to teach outside of their local dance community.
  • Fit in with competitors that are in the Open Competitions (or contests above Amateur level).
  • Can dance fluidly with musicality to any song the DJ will play. How fast or slow the song is doesn’t make a difference.
  • Would likely be happy not to learn a single new move or styling during the weekend because they are seeking specific and nuanced ideas.
  • Slow Bal is a comfortable and musical dance for them at tempos around 70 bpm.
  • Dancing at tempos around 260 bpm is familiar ground and not a challenge.

Track F Focus
The classes in both tracks E & F will have an emphasis on ideas listed below.  Track F might have less concrete moves and examples of these ideas.  At this high of level, teachers might move more slowly through material to practice and discuss at a more intricate level since these dancers are ready for more nuance in their dancing.

  • Changing posture and shape in order to curate a desired look or style.
  • Making small changes in connection and technique to improve BOTH feeling and style.
  • Studying original dancers overall movement as well as intricate footwork styles.
  • Getting personal feedback.
  • Improvising with the music.
  • Complex and nuanced rhythmic variation within moves, connection and footwork.
  • Moves or movements that have unusual technique or partner connections.