Chicago Balboa


Instruction by James and Mary 

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Mary has been swing dancing since 1998 when she took lindy hop classes from Rob and Diane in Redwood City, CA.  Since then, she has become an avid swing dancer, adding balboa to her repertoire in 2003.  She has taught dance at Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, MIT, at Fizz in Chicago, Big City Swing, Jumptown in Madison, WI, and around town with James.  She has traveled all over the United States and the world to study with world-renowned instructors.  In 2006, she placed 5th in the Balboa jack and jill at Boston Tea Party, 1st in the newcomer's competition at All Balboa Camp Detroit,  1st place in the Madison Invasion jack and jill lindy hop contest, 1st in the Willowbrook Ballroom Balboa jack and jill (with James!), and was a jack and jill finalist at SF Balboa Fest.  In her spare time, you can find Mary sleeping and eating.  

James first learned the charleston one rainy night in 1999, and has been dancing ever since, stopping only to eat and occasionally change his socks. Since being introduced to the joys of social dancing, he has studied jazz, lindy hop, charleston, balboa, tango, and blues dancing with world-renowned instructors, danced with followers old and young, and built an extensive collection of low-fidelity music. In addition to being a fanatic social dancer, he is an occasional DJ and an experienced teacher, having taught most recently with ItsAllSwing Studio in Boston and Providence Swings in Rhode Island. His favorite bandleader is Count Basie, his favorite dance move is the scarecrow, and sometimes he sincerely wishes that it were 1936 again.

As teachers, James and Mary help students understand the fundamental principles of leading and following, listen to their partners and the music, and unleash their own creativity. James brings to classes a knowledge of historical music and styles and a penchant for embarrassing himself in public. Mary brings an unbridled enthusiasm and an ability to put up with James' wacky ideas.