The Experiment is a radically unique dance workshop spanning multiple weeks, levels, and dances. Now in its sixth year, the Balboa portion alone has grown to four separate weeks accommodating a total of 120 participants, from intermediate through masters. Key features include:
In the end, the question “What is The Experiment?” has many answers. It is a unique opportunity to meet and spend a week being challenged and inspired by peers from around the world. It is the premiere workshop for dance geeks, by dance geeks (once described as a cross between MIT and Wonka’s factory, but for Balboa). It is the luxury swing dance camp, yet priced similarly to other week-long camps. It may or may not be home to an inflatable pink unicorn. Ultimately, it is the world’s most intimate and intensive Balboa workshop.
Each week features four to six of the below faculty members (not including DJ), as well as one to three Guest Mentors, for a target of seven dance staff per week.
Head DJ Kyle Smith
Now that The Experiment can accommodate as many as 120 Balboa dancers across four weeks, there has never been a better chance to become a participant.
Participants are selected and grouped into weeks through an online application process. This serves much like a workshop level test with a few main differences. First, the selection process has to be done months in advance and therefore online, without the benefit of having all candidates in the same room. Second, building successful small groups for this kind of environment requires balancing a much wider range of considerations, including interests and personalities, in addition to overall level.
Ideal candidates are simply those who, through a combination of their dancing and attitude, inspire others to want to participate with them in the same week (both on and off the dance floor). General traits the panel of judges look for include self-awareness, self-motivation, and the ability to cooperate and treat others respectfully. Beyond these basic traits there is no required personality type–candidates may be more introverted, extroverted, analytical, creative, etc.
Applying is free and includes a range of questions about an applicant’s background and interests along with the opportunity to submit sample video. Just like during a level test, dancing in the video does not have to be flashy or impressive and is used simply to observe core mechanics and overall quality of motion. (Many applicants film themselves at a social dance or in their living room and upload it privately, or one may use non-choreographed contest/exhibition footage.) While not strictly required, submitted video can often be a determining factor in the evaluation process and is strongly recommended for anyone below masters level.
Finally, it is important to understand that The Experiment receives many more qualified applications than can be accommodated in a single year. This means that not being accepted does not necessarily indicate or imply an applicant is unqualified. Often applicants must be turned away simply due to the sheer number and distribution of applications for a given year (including relative levels, lead-follow balance, spectrum of interests, etc). Over time, both through the addition of weeks and as dancers naturally progress through the scene, The Experiment continues to offer new dancers the chance to participate while keeping the same intimate format.