Venn Diagram #7: Lindy at Bal Events

Bal dancers that lindy

Occasionally I’ll overhear someone wonder if it’s OK to swing out at a Bal event. It  is often coming from the place of trying to be sensitive to the desires of the community, which is sincerely appreciated.

However, to set the record completely straight — Please know that the Bal community is composed almost entirely of people who also know how to Lindy Hop and enjoying doing so. Just as dancers are perfectly comfortable asking people if they’d like to Bal at a Lindy event, dancers should feel equally comfortable asking people if they’d like to Lindy at a Bal event.

If  you and a partner desire to do Lindy, and someone on the side lines gives objections, I don’t think their objections are worth the time you could be spending dancing how you like to incredible swing music.

Do, of course, ask your partner if they want to Lindy before you do it, and consider the courtesy of floor craft.

Thanks to great Bal dancer and promoter Desiree Roffers who inspired this post, and who also is happy to do some Lindy at Bal events.



Following this post on Facebook, the comments lead to some good reflection on the message of the post. I updated the above post with a few tweaks accordingly. Here were some further thoughts I offered in response to a question:


“I usually try to post things from a very open-minded position, giving each side it’s reasonable due. But I couldn’t find *any* reason why someone should, let’s say, vocally object to people doing Lindy on a dance floor at a Bal event that didn’t seem to go against what these dances tend to stand for in the community, what they definitely stood for historically, and what they stand for for me, personally.

Probably the quickest way I can put this: Trying to have your entire dance floor remain one dance style seems (1) very controlling (the dance floor is full of individuals with their own desires of expression) (2) arbitrarily elitist (how many Possible bal converts have been turned off from trying out the dance by this fear of how the Bal community feels?) and (3) blatantly disconnected to the history of the dance (the Southern California dance floors were full of all styles and people often mixing styles or hopping back and forth between them. Even before Lindy Hop came to SoCal you still had “Swing” dancers making up new dance steps right next to the people developing the specific style of “Bal-Swing” right next to Shag dancers and a possible corner of Pure Bal dancers.)

Now, even though I talk about the history of the dance a lot, I try to check myself that I’m never not suggesting that just because it was that way in the past means it should be that way in the present. However, in this case, I can’t see how the modern idea of discriminating against other swing dances when there’s great swing music playing wouldn’t be anything but a huge digression and very unhealthy for our scene.”


6 responses to “Venn Diagram #7: Lindy at Bal Events”

    • No prob.

      This graph uses the modern use of “Bal” as in “The family of Southern California dances including (Pure) Balboa, Bal-Swing, So-Cal Swing, and the modern interpretations of those dances.”

  1. Oh well, it is kind of annoying if you are at a balboa party and suddenly you can’t balboa any more because of the rather expressive and “big” Lindy Hoppers…

  2. Personnaly, i know i Can be upset when i see rock/latino dancers dancing on swing music.
    So, how about people dancing a totally different style of dance on swing music ?
    It’s talking about each desire of expression but how Can someone who listening at least a little big the music Can feel it’s inappropriate. No ?

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