Balboa is an 8 count dance which is typically done to faster tempos of 170bpm+ (but really can be danced to any tempo). Because of the "shuffling" footwork done in a small/precise space you are able to dance fast without breaking a sweat! The posture for Balboa is more upright with just a slight bend in the knees. The basic uses steps and holds and utilizes a full body connection. Pure Balboa is when you and your partner stay in closed position and Bal-Swing is when you separate from your partner for moves like Throwouts, Lollies, and Crossovers. Balboa and Bal-Swing is danced to the jazz music of the 1930s & 1940s but anything with a swing beat will work!

The dance was created in Southern California in a city called Newport Beach. The "Balboa" got its name from the Balboa Peninsula at Newport Beach where the dance started. Balboa dancers would gather in the Balboa Pavilion (and later in the Rendezvous Ballroom just a few blocks away). The Rendezvous Ballroom was built in 1928 - it was a two story dance hall covering half a block with a capacity probably in excess of 4000 at its peak. The dance floor was 12,000 square feet and could easily accommodate over 1,500 couples! Because of the lack of space on the dance floor, Pure Balboa was only allowed in the crowded ballrooms.

The original dancers tell stories of how they danced Pure Balboa until they were tired of staying in closed position and went into Bal-Swing, which got them kicked out of the ballroom! They didn't care because they would just hop on the Red Line (train) and do it all over again at various ballrooms up and down the coast.