Balboa is like a Poem. Would you like to come up to my room and look at my etchings?
This analogy is something I played with years ago when I was trying to figure out the connection between Lindy Hop and Balboa to me personally. I love both equally, and it helped me realize why when I compared Balboa to verse poetry, and Lindy Hop to prose. (It’s important to note that this analogy probably isn’t the same one I’d use today, but I’ll keep thinking about it.)
Works of prose, like a novel, are structured only on the English language and grammar; it’s an open art form that allows great areas of freedom and very little structure. This to me is very similar to Lindy Hop. The strength of Lindy Hop lies in the freedom.
Verse poetry is much more structured, working with meter and rhyme. This is similar to Balboa. For instance, in Bal-Swing, if you’re only attached with one hand, it’s most likely because you’re about to turn.
The fun of creating poetry, especially verse poetry, is working within that structure. Sure, it’s more confining, but such boundaries challenge, and thus inspire, creativity.
Another result of working within the structure is that in poetry, single words hold much more power than in prose, just as in an Pure Balboa dance, for instance, single steps hold much more musical power, and therefore the exact way you step has more focus.
Now, things aren’t as simple and clear cut as I’ve learned much more about each dance. Things like old school Bal Swing, for instance, seem a lot more free to me now than they did then. But, as a basic analogy in my early days, it made a lot of sense to me and helped me develop in each.
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Balboa and Poetry? It doesn’t get any better than that!