Intro to Swing Dancing - Balboa

Photo by Kadie Pangburn

What: 6-week beginner swing dance series "Intro to Swing Dancing - Balboa"

When:  Mondays at 8:15pm, 6 week series begins on April 13th, 2020
              Class dates: April 13th, 20th, 27th, May 4th, 11th, 18th

Where: RVA Swing Dance Studio, 6114 Lakeside Ave, Suite C

Instructors: Erica Vess & Ryan Lemar              

Cost: $45 per student for the 6-week series if you register in advance or $55 on the day of class (if space is still available). No single class drop-ins allowed in this series without advance permission from the studio.

IMPORTANT: Class size is limited and some classes do sell out ahead of time (especially for follows attending without a partner). We strongly encourage you to register online in advance to ensure that you get a spot in the role of your choice. Once all the spaces in the class have been sold, there will be no at-the-door registration available. 

What is Balboa?

"Balboa" is commonly used as a general term for swing dances that originated in Southern California during the 1920s and 1930s. Balboa is named for the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California, where the dance was invented. Balboa is danced to big band swing music in a wide variety of tempos, typical of the music played at any swing dance. Because the basic step takes up such a small space, Balboa can be easily danced to music that is too fast for Lindy Hop.

Often danced in a close embrace, the true art of Balboa is in the subtle communication between the lead and follow, which most viewers cannot see. As a result, Balboa was originally considered more of a “dancer’s dance” than a “spectator’s dance.” Today, Balboa also encompasses many larger, flashy swing movements like kicks, turns and spins and is a versatile dance perfect for new and experienced dancers alike!

Check out some high level dancers bustin' out some fun dance moves in this great video! (There is a lot of fancy stuff going on in this video, because these are masters-level dancers. Rest assured, our intro series will be a gentle introduction designed for those with no previous experience. Your instructors will give you some basic building blocks to have fun on the social floor.)

About the class:

New to swing dancing in general? This class is for you!

Done other forms of swing dance, but are new to Balboa? This class is for you!

Taken a few beginner Balboa classes but still lack confidence on the social floor, would like a review, or want to try the other dance role? This class is for you, too!

No partner or previous Balboa experience required.

In this special 6-week unit, we will introduce students to the fundamentals of Balboa.  The focus in this session will be on learning basic rhythms, common moves and patterns, connecting with the music, developing good partnering skills and, most importantly, having fun!

Because each class will build on the material in the previous class, registration is for the whole series only. New students without prior experience in this specific dance style must attend the 1st class in order to participate in subsequent classes.

(No drop-ins without prior instructor approval. If you are a new student, or have never done any Balboa before, you must attend the first class in order to participate in the series. Seriously. For really realz, y'all.)

Register Online:

Don't understand what "lead" and "follow" mean? Read about dance roles, as well as what to expect in a group dance class here.

Current availability for this series:
These totals were last updated at 2pm on 2/25/20 and may lag behind actual registrations.

Follows: 12 spots available
Leads: 12 spaces available

Click here to register online 

Registered studentsOur registration system sends out an almost instant confirmation email with all your information. Didn't receive one? Please check your spam folder first, then contact us at (You will also get a PayPal receipt once your payment is complete, sent from PayPal).

If you experience any errors being re-directed to PayPal (or if you just derp and navigate away), you can always use the "return to this booking" link in your RVA Swing confirmation email to complete your payment. The more you know! :)

You'll also receive an email from us the day before the first class with everything you need to know. In the mean time, if there is something not already answered on this page or our Info for New Dancers page, please don't hesitate to contact us with questions. We can't wait to meet ya!

Refund Policy:  

Please make sure to give us  24 hours notice of cancellations in order to receive a full refund.

Registered for a series and can no longer attend? Please let us know ASAP by emailing  

We can only issue refunds or class credits to students who notify us directly of cancellations before the class begins.

--Cancellations made at least 24 hours before the 1st class of a series are eligible for a full refund or class credit (please indicate your choice when you notify us of your cancellation).

--Cancellations received on the day of the 1st class are considered “late cancellations” because these spaces can be difficult to fill with short notice.  Late cancellations made at least 4 hours before class starts are eligible for a 50% refund or a 50% class-credit  towards a future series.  Please indicate your choice when you notify us of your cancellation.

--Last-minute cancellations received less than 4 hours before a class begins, as well as no-shows,  are not eligible for any refunds or class credits.

-- Did you have an emergency? Email us up to 24 hours past class start and let us know and you can still get your partial class credit or partial refund.

--Once you start a series, no refund or credit is given for class absences.

Shoe Policy

We spent over a month building our dance floor and we want it to stand the test of time! Help us keep it nice by following these basic guidelines:

--Please remove your street shoes right away (before you come inside, if you can).

-- Please wear suede or leather-soled dance shoes for classes and dances.

-- If you don't own proper dance shoes, please bring a clean pair of sneakers with non-marking soles to change into for classes/dances. This will help us keep grit and dirt off the floor.

The following types of shoes are absolutely prohibited inside the RVA Swing studio:

NO stilettos or other spiked heels. Not only are these inappropriate and dangerous footwear for swing dancing, they also tend to gouge and dent wood floors.

No home-made duct tape soles.  Yeah these might work great for a bit, but as you dance, you wear through the tape and leave sticky adhesive gunk for everyone else to dance on. No beuno!

No tap shoes. These shred the floor. Any tap classes will be soft-shoe only. :)

How to find us

The RVA Swing studio is located inside the Lakeside Towne Center, at 6114 Lakeside Ave.  There is tons of free parking in the lot adjacent to the Farmer's Market pavilion, as well as behind the Towne Center building.  Enter through the Towne Shops door under the RVA Swing sign and head down the hallway! 

Please note that some GPS systems will send you about 2 blocks away.  You want the parking lot by the Farmers Market and the CVS. :)