First of all, I don't get paid or receive any benefits for writing this blog post. This article represents my personal opinion. 😉
A highly intensive Balboa workshop
Quote from the website:
The Experiment is a highly intensive Balboa workshop built around the model of small, select groups of participants spending a week together with top dancers of our generation in an extraordinary live+work+play environment.
My first contact with The Experiment
It was back in Summer 2008, I was attending the Studio Hop Summer Camp, when I heard the first time about The Experiment. Mastermind David Rehm, who was teaching there, was handing out flyers about the event. He was painfully mysterious about the event. When we asked him what The Experiment is, he always redirected us to the website.
As a matter of fact, the first Experiment in 2009 was very exclusive. Only one week, only 24 students. You can imagine the high competition between the appliers to get a spot.
I was hooked from the beginning. In that year, I knew I can't apply because of my dance level but I also knew that I wanna go there as soon as possible.
One year later, the event was advertised again, and this time with 2 weeks with 24 students each. I applied and to my big surprise I got accepted. I was excited and terrified at the same moment!
In this year (2012), I attended The Experiment already for the third time. The event has meanwhile grown to three weeks with 28 students each.
What didn't change over the years is the fascination and the concept of the event.
What Is So Unique About The Experiment?
I have already written about this last year in «A Day At The Balboa Experiment«. Let me summarize one more time, what distinguishes The Experiment from all the other camps and workshops:
Sessions instead of lessons/classes
Usually, there is a morning session and an afternoon session. Some of these sessions have specific topics, chosen by the staff, and some are open (without a topic) and free to use. Examples of sessions are: watching old clips and try to copy what you see, Ask & Tell, feedback session after competition, etc.
Instructors act as coaches and mentors
Some sessions are created and led by specific instructors but mainly they are coaching and mentoring. As a student you have to be pro-active, though. In other words, you have to ask them for feedback.
Driven by the students
The primary goal is, that the participants teach, inspire and give feedback to each other. The students are all high level dancers (advanced/advanced plus/masters). It's simply amazing how much knowledge and experience comes together in such a place. It would be a big waste, if there wouldn't be a possibility to share and exchange that knowledge.
Combination of practicing, living, socializing, playing, …
You know that from your own experience. You spend hours with the same people again and again at workshops and events but basically, you don't know that much about them unless your common passion for the dance.
Here, everything is happening at the same place, means: in the Experiment House. Sleeping, eating, working, playing, hanging out, social dancing, etc.
There is plenty of time to get to know your peers better and in a different way.
I don't know any other place where I get honest feedback about my dancing from my peers. This fact helped me the most in the last few years to grow and to become a better dancer – and also a better dance teacher!
You Should Apply As Well
If one or more of these points resonate with you, then you should apply for the next Experiment.
Even if you're not an advanced dancer so far and you are interested in such a learning environment, apply! Who knows the future, maybe there will be a Balboa Experiment with 4 weeks!?