Bobby & Kate have specifically created lessons on many of the moves and concepts expected in Level Test from top-level events such as California Balboa Classic, Bal-Ast Off, and the All Balboa Weekend. We will add more lessons here throughout the future.
Swivels is considered by many to be the “5th basic.” At Cal Bal 2020, it’s part of the Track 3 level test.
The behind-the-back toss-out is, simply put, one of the quintessential moves of Bal-Swing. And, it’s one of the most poorly-lead moves on the dance floor, because it’s easy for leaders to lose the lead when they go for the look rather than the feel. So, without further adieu, here is an in-depth breakdown of the Behind-The-Back Toss-Out, including some extra Maxie Dorf technique and styling. At Cal Bal 2020, it’s on the Level 3 level test.
Maxie’s Stop Step
One of the most classic moves of all time, from the incredible Maxie Dorf. This move often shows up on level tests and is a great way to show control and musicality. It also, you know, has a fun slide. At Cal Bal 2020, it’s part of both the Track 3 and Track 4 level test.
Multiple Turns & The Helwig
We dive into multiple turns, one of the quintessential techniques of Bal-Swing. Then, we show one of the great classic Bal-Swing moves of all time, which uses both multiple turns and some basic Texas Tommy technique. In the modern era we call it “The Helwig,” named after Jack Helwig and his partner Genevieve Grazis. Multiple turn & turning technique are expected on almost all level tests. Helwig is not expected, but when done well, shows a great mastery of timing and control for both partners.
The Texas Tommy
This move is probably the greatest scurge of the social-floor follower, who are all to used to having leaders throw their arms around their back and yank on them like lawn mowers. It’s also on pretty much every Level Test description we’ve seen. (At Cal Bal 2020, it’s part of the Track 4 level test.)
So, our aim was to create the most in-depth Texas Tommy primer we could, geared towards making sure it’s as comfortable as possible, so that everyone will enjoy the experience.
Three Basics: Box, Lilt, Counterbody
Mastery of texture is a part of Quality of Movement, the number one thing judges are looking for in level tests. Dancing with more sophisticated basics is a great way to show off this quality. Specifically, Counterbody in Pure Bal is part of Cal Bal’s 2020 Track 3 level test.
Counterbody in both Pure Bal and Drags is part of Cal Bal’s 2020 Experienced track (track 3) level test. Here is Counterbody in drags as well as a few other figures.
Triples is part of Cal Bal’s 2020 Experienced track (track 3) level test. Here are Triples in basic timing, Maxie’s timing, and Maxie’s Pull-back Triples.
Aesthetics for Followers DVD
This DVD (and its Technique companion) are ALL about Quality of Movement for Followers, so it covers a lot of the kinds of things judges are looking for in Level Tests, especially the higher levels. Fitting in variations within the flow is specifically mentioned in higher level tracks in the Cal Bal level tests.