About slow bal

Slow Bal, or Slow Balboa, is a swing dance from the 1940s. You dance it to the slow jazz music of that time. It is a playful and above all elegant dance. It is especially fun to learn and dance!

Swing dance and Slow Bal

The most famous swing dances we know today are Lindy Hop, Charleston, Collegiate Shag and Balboa. It was danced to jazz music that was popular in the late 1920s to the late 1940s. These dances are still danced almost all over the world.

A hidden gem in the Swing world is Slow Bal.

Where the other swing dances were mainly danced to the faster tempos, Slow Bal, or Slow Balboa, is precisely made for the slower tempos. Going out was (and is) also an opportunity to find a partner. And what could be better than dancing a slow dance?

Slow Bal in Rotterdam and beyond

Slow Bal is becoming more and more popular. Some people already dance another Swing dance and like to add Slow Bal to their repertoire. Others have no dance experience at all and choose Slow Bal as their first dance. It´s all possible!

Especially here in Rotterdam. We are in a unique position, as Slowfeet Studio is the only dance school in The Netherlands (and in Europe!) that offers weekly lessons in this beautiful dance.

Are there enough people who dance Slow Bal? Yes, of course! Within Rotterdam, but also beyond, there are plenty of Slow Bal dancers who regularly meet during ‘socials’ (dance parties). So there are plenty of people to dance with.

Would you like to learn to dance Slow Bal outside of Rotterdam? Then look for a workshop weekend in or outside The Netherlands.

Slow Bal dansfeestje
Mickey Fortanasce Slow Bal

The history of Slow Bal

Slow Bal is said to have its origins in the 1940s. Nobody knows exactly how this dance came to be and how people back in the day danced to slow jazz music. We have two ‘old-timers’, Dean Raftery and Ray Cunningham, to thank for the dance that we now know as Slow Bal

There is not a lot of (historical) footage available on which we can see people dancing Slow Bal. With little material to base our dance on, Slow Bal developed further with influences from all kinds of dances, like Balboa and Tango. We are still developing new Slow Bal figures with the dancers in our scene.

Mickey Fortanasce is one of the dancers who has tried his best to pass Slow Bal to as many people as possible. We spoke to him about the history of dance.

Curious? Click here to go to the interview.

Our teachers

Slow Bal Deirdre

Deirdre

With a great passion for Slow Bal, Deirdre started Slowfeet Studio in 2019. Before that she was a Lindy Hop teacher for many years. With a lot of enthusiasm she now shares her love for this beautiful dance in the studio every week.

Lucien Slow Bal

Luciën

Luciën is, together with Deirdre, the ‘founding father’ of Slowfeet Studio. Although Luciën no longer lives in the area, he still likes to share his enthusiasm for Slow Bal during workshops.

Slowbal-deirdre-joost

Joost

Joost’s dance adventure started when he was young. As a teenager he did acrobatic rock & roll and threw girls high into the air. Later he discovered Swing and also Slow Bal. And he likes that relaxed pace!

Mark Slow Bal teacher

Mark

Swirling on the dance floor, Mark danced classic Ballroom and Latin. But as is often the case, he too fell in love with Swing. For a long time he mainly went wild on Balboa, but Mark is now also daring at the slow pace.

Beau Slow Bal dansen

Beau

Perhaps the sweetest dance teacher we have at Slowfeet Studio. Beau is a real ‘Slow Bal addict’ and does everything to make you feel comfortable on the dance floor, so that you have as much fun as she does!

Elmer Slow Bal teacher

Elmer

Another ‘founding father’ in our midst, but this time it was Elmer who brought Swing to Rotterdam and opened the first Lindy Hop school. The slow tempo of Slow Bal gives Elmer plenty of room for his creativity.

Over Slowfeet Studio Slow Bal

About Slowfeet Studio

Why would you start a dance school with a dance that hardly anyone knows? And if no one in The Netherlands teaches Slow Bal, how did we learn it?

The adventure started when Joost showed Deirdre a Slow Bal video clip of Mickey Fortanasce and Kelly Arsenault. Together they taught Lindy Hop at Swing in Rhythm. Deirdre immediately fell in love with Slow Bal when she saw this clip and wanted to learn it too. Fortunately, Joost had an online course! So practice practice practice is what they did.

After some practice, it was time to put what had been learned into practice. At Swing in Rhyhtm, the Swingdansschool in Rotterdam, Deirdre and Joost taught a number of mini-courses and workshops. Luciën was also there and thought Slow Bal was a great dance. More more more, is what he wanted!

Together with Luciën and a number of other enthusiasts, Deirdre started a Slow Bal training group. We jokingly called it ‘The Secret Slow Bal Society’. The love for this dance continued to grow and Deirdre and Lucién played with the idea of ​​turning it into something serious: their own dance school.

To learn more about the dance, they traveled to various workshop weekends abroad. A private lesson was always a regular part of the weekend to gain that little bit of extra knowledge about Slow Bal.

There was also a lot of training. Almost every weekend! Endlessly they watched the scarce Slow Bal videos that could be found online. Until Deirdre and Luciën were ready.

In January 2019 Slowfeet Studio opened its doors for the very first weekly Slow Bal dance lessons. The first course was mainly filled with swing dancers who were ready for something new. But soon people with a different dance experience or without any dance experience also found Slowfeet Studio.

And we still give lessons to many dancers every week. We do it with great pleasure and love for the dance.