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Balboa is an American variation of swing dancing. This form of swing dancing is distinguished by adaptations that allow it to be performed in tight spaces: dancers maintain chest-to-chest contact throughout the dance, while performing the dance in an upright posture, and do not perform any spins, kicks, or dips. Balboa is an eight-step count dance, and is usually performed with quick tempo music. A modern version of Balboa, called Bal Swing, has many components that break the original “rules” of Balboa and allows partners to perform moves, such as dips and turns, so long as the feeling and framework maintain the original Balboa style.

Is this activity known by any other names?


What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Balboa was developed in the 1920s in California, USA, in the area around the Balboan peninsula. It is a variation of swing-dancing that developed in response to rules that required partners to remain in tight proximity due to the limited space of the area's dance halls. The arrival of Balboa in Canada and the GTA is not known.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages and ethnocultural backgrounds.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

In the GTA, Balboa occurs year-round in classes and performances.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

Bees’ Knees Dance; Lindy Hop Revolution; Rhythm in Motion Dance Studio; Swing Toronto

Cultural Significance


Is there anything else we should know?



  • Swing Toronto
    805 Dovercourt Rd.
    Toronto, ON M6H 2X4
  • Lindy Hop Revolution
    703 Bloor St. W
    Toronto, ON M6G 1L5
  • Rhythm & Motion Dance Studio
    3352 Dundas Street West
    Toronto, ON M6P 2A4

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