The Northwest Balboa Festival is back for its fifth year! Who thought we'd make it a whole half-decade? But here 2019 is, and our shoes are still slick, our steps still shufflin', and our music is still hot. This year's Northwest Balboa Festival will bring the best of what the Pacific Northwest's dance community has to offer.
Since its start, Northwest Balboa Festival has been about building community and making everyone feel welcome. This has been the underlying driver for every decision we make. We didn’t set out to create the largest event possible, nor did we set out to pack as many classes as possible into one weekend. This event has always been shaped and built by many members of our Seattle scene to provide a warm environment that encourages meeting new people and growing our regional dance scene in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Further, as our dance community at large evolves and grows, it is clear that we have entered a period in which consent violation and lack of personal safety have become problematic. With increasing awareness of these issues, we strive to provide a safe environment where we can all share this dance that we love. If you experience any such problems at the Northwest Balboa Festival, please do not hesitate to come talk to any one of us.
The Code of Conduct for the Northwest Balboa Festival can be viewed at the bottom of this page.
We feel so blessed that you have chosen to spend your time with us, sharing this dance that we love. Let's make 2019 the best Northwest Balboa Festival yet!
Ever thought about competing, but never pulled the trigger? Like the idea of dancing in a contest, but struggled finding a partner? This contest is for you!
Competitors sign up individually as a lead or a follow, and will be paired with a dancer from the Perfecter Track. Competitors will dance in heats, changing partners a minimum of 3 times. Only Amateur dancers will be judged.
This competition is meant for those who are new to competition, and may have never competed before. Dancers who have finaled in a Balboa competition may not compete.
Sunday Strictly - Free
Heather Ballew hails from the lovely, landlocked city of Denver where majestic mountains tower over the skyline, sunny days are plentiful, and the name "Mile High City" has many connotations. As a participant of the 1990's swing renaissance, Heather Ballew swears she learned everything the wrong way first and has had to relearn and refine every bit of her dancing multiple times over the years. Because of this, she is keenly aware of what works and what doesn’t on the social floor. In the classroom, she strives to help her students gain confidence and realize their full potential as social or competition dancers but her biggest goal is to open up new avenues for creativity and communication within the partnership. She loves dancing with people of all levels and she is known for her connection, footwork and playfulness. She can be found teaching around the United States and abroad, talking passionately about scene-building, and starting zany and sometimes thoughtful Facebook discussions
Javier is a rocket scientist by trade, and he brings a powerful analytical sense which joins the mechanics of dance and the soul of expression. He is well versed in all the swing dances, but specializes in Balboa and soul. As an international swing dance instructor, he’s traveled around the world sharing his joy of teaching and his passion for jazz dances. He was the founding member of Lindy Circle (now Hartford Underground) back in 2007. He wanted to create a space where folks could get down and have some serious fun.
Composer and guitarist Greg Ruby is a distinctive voice in the Hot Club jazz tradition. His 2010 CD, Look Both Ways, celebrated the 100th birthday of gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt with 12 original compositions, and reached #1 on the Roots Music Review’s jazz chart. His compositions have appeared in both television and documentaries including NBC’s Parks and Recreation. As a former member of the group, Pearl Django, Greg spent five years performing and touring throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and appeared with the group at the prestigious Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois sur Seine, France. As founding member of the hot jazz string band, Hot Club Sandwich, Greg can be heard on all four of the band’s recordings and produced their 2010 release, And If Only, featuring legendary vocalist Dan Hicks. In 2014, he received an funding from King County’s 4Culture to create and record new work for a prohibition era Jazz dance band. The project was debuted at Seattle’s historic Washington Hall during the 2014 Seattle Lindy Exchange. Currently, he leads his own group The Greg Ruby Quintet, collaborates with New York and New Orleans musicians on a project called The Rhythm Runners, and performs European cafe jazz with the Bric-a-brac Musette Trio.
The only airport in the area is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From SeaTac, there is a Sound Transit Light Rail which runs approximately every 10 minutes, with a fare of $3. Don't forget to buy your ticket before you get on the platform! With a new station on Capitol Hill, you can get within 5 blocks of our classes venue with just one ride!
Once you have arrived in Seattle, there are many options for getting around town. If you choose to take public transit, King County Metro has excellent bus service around town. Their website also has a trip planner. One Bus Away is a must-have app, giving real-time and scheduled arrival information for busses in the Puget Sound Area. Alternatively, Lyft and Uber have strong ride-share presences in Seattle.
There's free street parking on Sunday; on Saturday there's a variety of paid lots nearby all of our venues. Pay attention to the posted signage, street parking is normally limited to 2 hours!
Airbnb has a strong presence in Seattle, with many different options throughout town. In past years, many dancers have successfully booked with them. You could even stay on a houseboat!
Hal and Marge Takier are nice, so we are nice.
Northwest Balboa Festival (NWBF) is an event that celebrates the joy of Balboa dancing, its heritage, music and history. The goal is to build, strengthen and enrich the Balboa community. It is open to all ages and promotes playfulness, growth, open-mindedness, creativity and a space where dancers are safe to express themselves.
Northwest Balboa Festival is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, spiritual beliefs or any other factor. All attendees, instructors, organizers, and volunteers at NWBF are required to comply with the following code of conduct. We will not tolerate harassment in any form. This includes deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or video recording, sustained disruption of classes, inappropriate or unwanted physical contact, or unwelcome sexual attention. If anyone is found engaging in harassing behavior while at NWBF, the organizers will take appropriate action to address the situation. Anyone violating the code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from NWBF without a refund.
The following guidelines will help ensure the event is enjoyable for everyone.
If you are experiencing harassment, feel unsafe, or have any other concerns, please contact an event organizer immediately. We will be happy to help participants contact local law enforcement, provide an escort, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event.