Track Descriptionsadmin

General Track Information

ABW 2018 will feature six tracks: Beginner, Intermediate, three Advanced tracks and Masters.

The tracks this year will all be more challenging than the classes of years past while still being welcoming to newer Balboa dancers. Thus, expect to be in a different level than you might have been previously, because the levels themselves are different! And remember, our instructors will always customize material to the students in the room to ensure that you are challenged.   

Classes in every track will include the following kinds of material (exact material will be determined by the instructors):

  • New and classic moves and variations to build your vocabulary
  • Footwork variations for leaders and followers
  • Stylings for leaders and followers
  • Focus on improving individual and partnered mechanics
  • Work on transitions and flow
  • Development of musicality, voice, and creativity
  • New toys and ideas to play with courtesy of our fabulous instructors

Similar concepts will be taught across multiple tracks, with adjustments to pacing or level of detail made for the needs of the students. Thus, we encourage students not to worry about “missing out” on material on the basis of their track, because ideally they will be in the track best suited to their needs.


Level Check During Your First Class

Your initial level registration is just the starting point. During the first class of Friday morning, our staff will watch students in Intermediate through Advanced 3 tracks dance and learn for an entire class, in a real learning environment. If after this level check class you are moved to a different track, this means that we are trying to improve your learning experience by grouping you with other students who are similar to you. Although most students in the Masters class will be preselected for Masters, additional students may be moved up to Masters at that time.

If you have concerns about your level placement after the level check class, attend track appeals on Friday afternoon to meet with the organizers and have your dancing reassessed. Going to the track appeals does not guarantee that you will be moved to a different track. See the schedule closer to the event for further details on time and location.

Students who will arrive late (e.g., not until Friday night or Saturday morning) will be taken care of! Please contact the organizers with your specific arrival details for more information.


Beginner  Track

12 hours of classroom instruction

The Beginner track is your immersion program for the basics of Balboa! Classes in the Beginner track will cover the following movements:

  • basic step (up-hold and down-hold versions)
  • Pure Bal fundamentals such as paddles, forward/backward progressives, and ad-lib steps
  • come-around
  • lollies
  • toss-out
  • out-and-in
  • transitions between these movements

Your instructors will also add other fun material of their choosing as time permits.

Beginner dancers include those who…

  • are brand-new to Balboa
  • have taken Balboa classes before but want to refresh their memory
  • want to concentrate on technique and partnering for basic movements and transitions between these movements
  • may know how to dance one role in Balboa and want to learn how to dance the other role

*There will be one-hour guided practice sessions for Beginner and Intermediate track dancers at the end of the classes on both Friday and Saturday. These sessions will be staffed by experienced Balboa dancers and instructors. They will be ready to dance with you, give you feedback, and address any questions or concerns you may have. Please take advantage of these guided practice times, as many past students have found these sessions to be extremely helpful. See the schedule for exact times and locations.



Intermediate Track 

12 hours of classroom instruction

**Please note that the description for this year’s Intermediate track is different than in the past! Read on to find out whether Intermediate might be the right track for you this year!**

The Intermediate track is for dancers very comfortable with the basics who are ready for more content, more, technique, and more creativity!

Intermediate dancers…

  • are newer Balboa dancers who are ready to move beyond the basics
  • may have been dancing Balboa for years but feel they never progress beyond the Intermediate or Intermediate-Advanced levels and want to improve

To take the Intermediate track, dancers should be confident in dancing an entire song of Balboa at tempos up to 150 beats per minute, including all the movements listed in the Beginner track. Click here to hear a song at approximately 150 BPM and try dancing to it at home if you are unsure whether this track is for you; if it feels too fast, then the Beginner track may be a better fit for you.

The level in this track will be more rigorous than your typical “one level above beginner” class in your local scene—although of course always customized to the dancers in the room. Dancers who took Intermediate or Intermediate-Advanced in previous years should consider this class depending on their comfort with the listed tempos for this track versus Advanced 1. We promise that even if you have been dancing for years, you won’t be bored!



Advanced 1 Track

12 hours of classroom instruction

The Advanced 1 track is for dancers with at least a few years of experience with Balboa who want to refine what they already know, learn interesting new movements and variations, and improve their technique and musicality.

Advanced 1 dancers…

  • may have taken the Intermediate-Advanced or Advanced level in previous years of ABW
  • likely do not teach Balboa, although they might be interested to teach in the future
  • may compete in Balboa, and might do well in prelims but not typically make finals in contests similar to ABW’s Amateur Mix & Match

(Note: It is not required that you teach or compete in Balboa to take this track; these guidelines are meant to inform you if you do decide to teach or compete.)

To take the Advanced 1 track, dancers should be confident in dancing Balboa at tempos up to 190 beats per minute. Click here to hear a song at approximately 190 BPM and try dancing to it at home. If this tempo feels like a stretch for you to confidently execute variations and more complex material (meaning not just the basics), then the Intermediate track may be a better fit for you.



Advanced 2 Track

12 hours of classroom instruction

The Advanced 2 track is for seasoned Balboa dancers who want to expand their horizons into new movements and variations, better technique, and more personally expressive musicality and creativity.

Advanced 2 dancers…

  • have probably been dancing Balboa for at least 5 years (or compressed 5 years’ worth of instruction into a shorter time frame!), which means that they’ve been exposed to—and had time to master—a wide variety of vocabulary and technique
  • may have taken the Advanced or Advanced-Plus levels in previous years of ABW
  • may teach Balboa in their local scenes but probably do not teach at regional or national events
  • may compete in Balboa and would consistently make semi-finals or finals in Amateur divisions similar to ABW’s Amateur Mix & Match or may make competition finals at larger events

(Note: It is not required that you teach or compete in Balboa to take this track; these guidelines are meant to inform you if you do decide to teach or compete.)

To take the Advanced 2 track, dancers should be confident in dancing Balboa at tempos up to 220 beats per minute. Click here to hear a song at approximately 220 BPM and try dancing to it at home. If this tempo feels like a stretch for you to confidently execute variations and more complex material (meaning not just the basics), then the Advanced 1 track may be a better fit for you.



Advanced 3 Track

12 hours of classroom instruction

The Advanced 3 track is for highly experienced Balboa dancers on the cusp of qualifying for masters-level classes at national or international events.

Advanced 3 dancers

  • have probably taken the highest level or next-to-highest level classes at large events like ABW for several years
  • probably teach Balboa in their local scene and/or at regional events
  • may compete in Balboa and would consistently make finals in Amateur divisions similar to ABW’s Amateur Mix & Match, or they may enter Open division contests

(Note: It is not required that you teach or compete in Balboa to take this track; these guidelines are meant to inform you if you do decide to teach or compete.)

To take the Advanced 3 track, dancers should be confident dancing Balboa at tempos up to 230 beats per minute (by the way, that’s the tempo you’d see in the finals of a Mix & Match competition). Click here to hear a song at approximately 230 BPM and try dancing to it at home. If this tempo feels like a stretch for you to confidently execute variations and more complex material (meaning not just the basics), then the Advanced 2 track may be a better fit for you.



Masters Track

12 hours of classroom instruction

The Masters Class at ABW is for the most talented and experienced Balboa dancers at the event. If you wish to be considered for the Masters track, register for the Advanced 3 track. The organizers will select students for the Masters track ahead of time from among those registrants; additional students may be added to the Masters track after the completion of the first class on Friday.



How to Pick Your Track

Registering for tracks is an imperfect process and we know that it can be challenging to gauge your level as compared with dancers from around the world who you may not know.

When picking your track, we ask you to do your best to evaluate your dance ability as it is right now even if you have been dancing Balboa for many years. One indicator of ability is how well you can dance to music of various tempos. That’s why for each track you’ll see a suggested tempo that you must be able to comfortably dance at with good quality of movement and partnering skills for you to qualify for that track. Speed isn’t the only consideration, of course (it’s just one that’s relatively simple for you to assess at home)—so that’s why during the first class on Friday morning the organizers will check all levels to ensure consistency in the abilities of the dancers in the room and help you have the best classes possible.

 

We hope that you greet the new level descriptions with an open heart and excitement and that you learn more this year than you ever have before. We appreciate you putting your trust in us to help you find the appropriate track for you. If you have any concerns, please let us know, as we are always here to support you in having a positive experience.

 

We look forward to seeing you at ABW 2018!

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