balboa island improvement association

improving the island since 1918

about biia - visit and see what we are about and who our leaders are... see the links below...

RENTALS - Whether your renting, buying, or just staying a day or two... see the links below...

Destinations - Here are just some of the greater destinations on the island... see the links below...

Shop & Dine - Activities are in abundance here on the island. Learn more about us by selecting from the links below...

about balboa island - Activities are in abundance here on the island. Learn more about us by selecting from the links below...

Maps and travel - balboa island -whether your flying, driving, or walking, here are the maps that can get you there...

Events - balboa island - Has Several Annual Celebrations - Make sure you catch one of these...

Find out more about the BIIA or read our Bi-Monthly Newsletter to See Whats Happening... See links below...

Welcome to Balboa Island, CA

This is the Balboa Island Improvement Association's guide to Balboa Island. This guide offers listings of accommodations, activities, activities, maps, and travel information. Hopefully, this guide shall assist our visitors in enjoying the best of what Balboa Island has to offer. Stop by and stay a while, and see why many refer to this beautiful island as "The Host of the Coast".


The Swing Dance known as the "Balboa"

The Balboa is a form of the Swing Dance family. The original Balboa is a hybrid of the Charleston, Jig Trot, Swing and appropriated steps from the Collegiate Shag (1920's), which later Arthur Murray would try to refine in the mid 1930's thru his studio chain (I know swingers don't like to hear Arthur Murray, but that's the way it goes) but his version became stale and way to boring. Later, many dancers started to add steps and twist and kicks back into the dance at Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California (Balboa Pier), with a new Balboa being born out of this Shag, Jig Trot/Walks, Charleston and Swing mixture, as well as very tight dance space and a chance to catch your breath (Jockeying) while dancing fast. It had finally come full circle and was getting very popular with the swing dancers in Southern California.

Welcome to Balboa Island :

History of Balboa Island - Come see what made this historic island great.

About The balboa island improvement association

In 1918 the Balboa Island Improvement Association was started (and is still going strong). The BIIA was a strong motivating force in working with the City on bulkhead repair, ferry service, a sewer system, water, gas, electricity, paved streets and sidewalks, and street lighting.

The Newport clubs in California, such as the Rendezvous Ballroom started having swing dance nights in the early 1930's that continued well into the mid 1980's. Over the years the dancers who did shag, charleston, Jig Walks, Foxtrot, and Lindy merged the dance into a more energetic style. Most of the Balboa dancers were of today's older West Coast Swing crowd, with a few newer Lindy dancers finding the beauty of this dance as well today.

After a while the newer swing dancers coming on to the scene, not aware of the Balboa, would refer to the Balboa as "The Shag" since most of the swing dancers that knew how to do the Shag also went to "Balboa Island - Swing Nights," and these swing dancers would be called "Balboa dancers." The Balboa became a dance of the Swing dance family and was reported many times as a new dance. Basically the dance evolved thru crowded dance floors and high tempos. A dancer getting tired would pull his partner close and do Balboa to catch their breath, then swing out again or it was just plain to crowded to dance.

Balboa is mainly a closed position swing form, that uses very little break-away's, only a few turns, and usually fast footwork. Most written articles of the time report that the Balboa was replacing the Fox-Trot in swing circles. Most of the larger Ballrooms were so crowded that they had signs posted "No Breakaways" (such as the Paramount in L.A.) and the Balboa worked real well for overly crowded dance floors.

There are a few different styles of Balboa such as the:
1) "Swing-Bal." (Has some swing steps thrown in, uses swing timing, to be clear not shag timing, but does have some converted shag movements).
2) Slow Balboa (similar to Rhumba), that is very, very smooth!.
3) and "Fast Balboa" that is any style you happen to know, done real fast. :)
3b) Plus there is Single Bal, Double Bal and Thriple Bal (Swing Rhythm) to mix.

The origin of the Balboa (not the Shag) can be said to be The "Rendezvous Ballroom" on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, CA. around 1934/5 to about 1941. Some original music was Dorsey's "Melancholy Baby" or Artie Shaw's "Begine The Beguine" (as reported by a Photo Play article.) Jackie Cooper and Bonita Granville were avid Balboa dancers.

Birth Place Creation Date Creator Dance Type
Balboa Is. Newport, CA. 1930's None Swing

A History of Tradition

Today Balboa Island remains a major desination in Newport Beach. Over the years, Balboa Island has developed into a wonderful community, home to professionals, families, retirees, students and celebrities. Some bay front lots that once sold for $25 are now appraised at over $3 million dollars. And yet, Balboa Island maintains its charm and small-town feel.

In the Summertime, the Bayfront is lined with joggers, children and summertime visitors eating Balboa Bars. In the serene winters, sometimes all one can hear is the sound of halyard lines beating against their masts and an occasional seagull. The Island has undergone significant improvements, thanks in great part to the Balboa Island Improvement Association.

Balboa Island continues to be a wonderful place, both for residents and visitors alike. As we arrive in the 21st Century, it is reassuring to know that there are still a few places left on the planet like Balboa Island, California