The Balboa Pavilion in the early 1900's


For a long time the world of dance was largely oblivious of Balboa and very little was documented anywhere. Fortunately, the dance never actually died out with an isolated pocket refusing to let it die. Many of the original dancers continued with their passion and were subsequently discovered by Sylvia Sykes and Jonathan Bixby in the early 1980's. They persuaded some of the old timers to teach them the dance to preserve it into the future. The worked very closely with Maxie Dorf who was widely acclaimed as the 'King of Balboa' amongst those who knew him or saw him dance. Maxie continued to dance and teach to the newer brigade of Balboa fans that blossomed in the late 90's before finally passing away in 2000.

Sylvia and Jonathan have subsequently passed on their knowledge to the rest of the dance community by teaching Balboa workshops all over the world. The current Balboa scene owes them an enormous debt of gratitude for preserving the dance and bringing it to the attention of the masses. Sylvia rightly deserves her nickname as the 'Queen of Balboa'.

Many of the original Balboa dancers have passed such as Maxie, Willie Desatoff, Hal Takier, John Mills, and Bart Bartolo. The ones that are still living attend The Balboa Rendezvous where they can take pleasure in seeing and helping the new generation of fanatics on today's Balboa scene. Most of the Balboa done on today's scene is actually 'Bal Swing' although more and more dancers are becoming interested in the subtleties of pure Balboa.

Sylvia Sykes & Maxie Dorf in May of 1993

Sylvia Sykes & current partner Nick Williams