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The Northwest Balboa Festival is back for its sixth year! We're ready for 2020, shuffling our way into the new decade. 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 2020 the best Northwest Balboa Festival yet!

Full Pass

  • Regular - $115 ( Until March 17 )
  • Late Registration - $125

Beginners Pass

  • Regular - $95 ( Until March 17 )
  • Late Registration - $105

Student Pass

  • Must provide Student ID at check-in
  • Regular - $95 ( Until March 17 )
  • Late Registration - $105


  • Beginners
  • This track is for the aspiring Balboa dancer! If you're just getting familiar with your step-step-hold-steps, or you've just put on some dance shoes for the very first time, this is the track for you. We'll start with the absolute basics, and move quickly to get you shuffling your way across the floor. If you've already danced a little bit of Balboa but are still feeling a bit uneasy about dancing socially, come to this track and brush up on your fundamentals! We'll get you lolly-kicking like a pro.
  • The Beginner track is priced to encourage new and continuing dancers to enter the world of Balboa. To create the best learning environment, this track is limited to 10 leaders and 10 followers.
  • Learner
  • For those who are getting more comfortable with Balboa, but would like to review and refine their technique. You may already know how to out-and-in and swivel, but sometimes need some help nailing the moves. You're probably confortable with a couple different stylings, but would like to learn how to add your own personal flavor. This track is appriopriate for those with significant other dance experience, especially Lindy Hop.
  • Improver
  • This track is geared for dancers who are very comfortable with Balboa and Bal-Swing. You may be "that person that dances Balboa" in your local community. You can probably name a couple of the Old Timer Balboa dancers, do a Maxie Slide, and may have even traveled to an event just for Balboa. Classes will emphasize on refining technique, adding moves, playing with rhythm, and exploring musicality.
  • Perfecter
  • This is the track for those who are in a committed long-term relationship with Balboa. You're easy to connect with on the dance floor, and can likely both lead and follow. Some might describe your Pure Bal as "dreamy". You've probably competed at a couple different events, and may have even taught locally. Dancers in this track should be extremely comfortable with Balboa and Bal-Swing, with a strong interest in perfecting technique, musicality, and aesthetics.

  • Dancers interested in the Perfecters track should register for Improver. When registering, please provide a brief description of your Balboa background (years dancing, typical level placement at other events, other events attended in the past 1-2 years, any other pertinent Balboa related info, a link to a video if you're feeling really spicy).


  • Amateur Balboa Classic Competition - $25 (Sign up as a couple!)
  • It's time to strut your stuff! This year, the NWBF wants you to grab a partner and show us what you got. You'll be judged as a couple, and have the opportunity to win fabulous prizes.
  • This competition is only open to dancers who have not made the finals of any Open Balboa competitions in the previous 2 years, and have not placed in the top 3 placements of an Amateur Balboa competition in the last 3 years.

  • Sunday Strictly - Free (Sign up as a couple!)

  • Open to anybody!
  • This competition is for those who enjoy the element of surprise. As in, we can't tell you what it is! But we're certain you'll have a grand time, so grab a partner and join us for this free competition!



Evening Dance: Greenwood Masonic Lodge

  • 9pm-12am
  • Live Music with Jen Hodge!
  • Check in and Registration opens at 830pm
  • $TBD Cover for non-pass holders


Class Schedule TBD

Guided Practice: Russian Community Center

  • 2pm-4pm
  • $2 Cover for non-pass holders

Evening Dance: Russian Community Center

  • 830pm-1230am
  • Live Music with Greg Ruby!
  • $TBD Cover for non-pass holders


Class Schedule TBD

Afternoon Dance

  • 3pm-545pm
  • China Harbor
  • Competition at 415pm
  • $5 Suggested Donation

Evening Dance: Century Ballroom

  • 930pm-1230am
  • Not Included with Weekend Pass
  • $10 Cover


7910 Greenwood Ave N
704 19th Avenue East
628 11th Avenue East


Jenn Lee and Mickey Fortanasce

Kirkland, WA and New York, NY


Jennifer Lee travels all over the world for Balboa. If there is great Balboa, you’ll find her there, dancing until the wee hours with the biggest, most contented smile on her face. Fourteen years ago, a friend took her swing dancing, and she’s been devoted to that scene ever since, first as a student, then later as an avid competitor, organizer, advocate, and now as a popular instructor. Her teaching style reflects her creativity, music background, collaborative approach, and partner communication. She is thrilled to be dancing and collaborating with some of the best Balboa partners out there. Her film titled “One Girl and Two Boys” won the Jazz Dance Film Festival, and she holds 1st place titles from the California Balboa Classic, All Balboa Weekend, the Eastern Balboa Championships, the Snowball, and Lindy Focus.

Mickey began swing dancing in Los Angeles in '99. A year later he was teaching local swing classes at NYU. After graduating he worked with local teams in New York including Varsity Swing and Hop Swing and a Jump and later started running his weekly dance White Heat (something he's been meaning to start up again). Mickey has taught extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, Korea, and Australia.

Deb Eason

Honolulu, HI


Currently based in Honolulu, Deb has been dancing and teaching Balboa for over a decade. An avid social dancer, she loves great partner connection, playful musicality, and mind-meldy dance moments. As a teacher, she brings the analytical mind of a scientist to the classroom with thoughtful, innovative teaching methods (and the occasional mad science experiment). Whether geeking out over technique or improvising on the social floor, she strives to help create richer dance conversations.

Deb has also won numerous competitions with a variety of partners, including the California Balboa Classic, All Balboa Weekend, Balboa on the Promenade and others.

Joe Pangburn

Huntsville, AL


Joe Pangburn loves running, e-skateboards, writing stories, all the sportsballs and, of course, swing dancing and balboa. Within Balboa, he loves pure Balboa, musicality, playing with rhythm, flow, and the minutiae of balboa mechanics and fundamentals. He was also incredibly honored in 2018 to be awarded the prestigious “Amy Denissen Social Dancer’s Award” by the California Balboa Classic for the joy and fun he shares with others through social dancing. He has been teaching and coaching in various fields for nearly 20 years and has a passion for helping people achieve their goals.

Joy Jing and Doug Mathews

San Francisco, CA


Based out of San Francisco, Joy is passionate about the improvisational energy and partnered creativity of swing dancing. She loves to both lead and follow and has dabbled in almost all styles of swing dance, with an emphasis on Balboa, Collegiate Shag, Lindy Hop and St. Louis Shag. She has been teaching since 2014 and has won international and national Balboa competitions at events such as All Balboa Weekend, The Snowball, Camp Hollywood, Great Lakes Balboa Escape, Hot Rhythm Holiday, and Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout. Her teaching style focuses on empowering students to pursue their own growth (in whatever form that may be), as well as technique and partnership. She teaches regularly in the Bay Area, and loves to share her passion for the subtleties and musical dexterity of Balboa, as well as exploring new ideas and followers’ impact.

Douglas started swing dancing in high school in 2001, then after a decade of enjoying Lindy, they fell in love with Balboa after finding a class in 2010. After a whirlwind obsession with the dance, Douglas started teaching a few years after and began travelling, competing, and social dancing all over the USA. From their first classes being ELEF (everyone leads, everyone follows), they developed a strong appreciation for empathy and attention to partnership within the dance that they bring to their classes and dancing. Douglas cares deeply about the history and legacy of the original dancers, and pairs that with a focus on understanding connection and movement in a way that makes the dance approachable and expressive for both roles.


Jen Hodge Band

Jen Hodge

Jen Hodge – a busy BC-bred / NYC-based bass player, vocalist, bandleader, and arranger – is a versatile musician who can be found playing with a wide variety of artists all over the world. Jen’s playing is characterized by hard swinging grooves, an expressive and energetic playing style, and an evident, infectious love for making music. Her steadfast bass playing and consummate professionalism have taken her to stages all over Canada, the USA, China, Spain, France, the UK, Sweden, and the Caribbean.

In February 2018, Jen released her most recent Jen Hodge All Stars album, “All’s Fair in Love and Jazz”, which peaked at #2 on the !earshot National Jazz Chart in Canada, cracked the JazzWeek top 100, and spent a week as the highest charting self-released title on the North American College & Community Radio jazz charts, where it peaked at #20.

Greg Ruby Band


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 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.

DJ Travis Whetman


Travis began a relationship with swing music very early in his life growing up listening to the big band music that his parents would play on records and cassette tapes. Years later Travis started attending local swing dances and would always ask the DJs the names and artists of the songs he liked and started taking notes and buying CDs. Based out of Seattle, Washington, Travis DJs regularly in the Seattle area and has been a featured or Head DJ at events like Camp Jitterbug, Camp Hollywood, All Balboa Weekend, Herrang Dance Camp among others. Travis plays a variety of music from Lindy Hop to Balboa to Blues but his first love will always be the hard-swinging music of the 1930s and 1940s and he's happiest when he sees a floor full of people dancing and having fun.


Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

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!

Code of Conduct

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.

Code of Conduct

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.

Help Make NWBF More Enjoyable

The following guidelines will help ensure the event is enjoyable for everyone.

Contact us for Assistance

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.