For an explanation of the application process, first see Becoming a Participant.

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Admission Timeline

2017 September 5 Applications open
September 21 Early application deadline
October 6 Final application deadline
October & November Acceptance letters sent in waves
First payment due
December 15 Cancellation deadline
(No refunds after this date)
2018 January Remaining applicants notified
Room assignments published
January 19 Second/final payment due
March 18-25 Balboa Week 1
March 25-April 1 Balboa Week 2
April 1-8 Balboa Week 3
April 8-15 Balboa Week 4
(April 15-May 6) (Blues Weeks 1-3)

Early Applications

Candidates are encouraged to aim for the early application deadline rather than wait until the last few days before the final deadline to apply. This helps prevent candidates from missing the application window altogether due to last-minute technical or other issues (such as problems filming or uploading video) and also greatly helps The Experiment by spreading out the work required to process applications. As a small incentive and thanks, those who apply by the early deadline and get accepted will receive $5 worth of vouchers to the in-house “store”.

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Admission Costs

The Experiment is priced similarly to other week-long swing dance camps in the US and Europe after factoring in costs such as lodging, meals, and airport ground transportation (all of which The Experiment provides).

Base Tuition US $565 Due within two weeks of acceptance in October or November to secure enrollment. Of this amount, $250 is nonrefundable from the outset. (See below for the full Cancellation/Refund Policy.)
Accommodations
& Meals
US $485-585 Due in January after room assignments are published.

Payment Plans

Alternate payment plans are available upon request. These typically require just a $250 nonrefundable deposit within two weeks of acceptance (instead of full Base Tuition) to secure enrollment, followed by one of several possible payment schedules which can extend well into the subsequent year. (Ultimately, if you are committed to participating, The Experiment is committed to working out a feasible payment plan with you.)

Cancellation/Refund Policy

The cancellation deadline for partial refunds (minus $250 which is nonrefundable from the outset) is December 15. After this date there are no cancellations/refunds for any reason, and those who confirmed enrollment accept responsibility for payment of their spot in full.

This policy is necessary due to the structure of the camp which makes resolving cancellations exceedingly difficult, as doing so often requires shuffling other participants between weeks in a cascading series of changes in addition to filling the final vacancy.

 
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FAQ

Do I need to be a super advanced dancer?
Do I need to be a teacher or competitor?
Do I need a partner?

No, no, and no! See Becoming a Participant for details.

What is the schedule like?

Each week consists of six days/seven nights starting on a Sunday evening and ending the following Sunday morning.

The basic daily schedule begins with a late breakfast at 10 am, morning session at 11 am (90 minutes-2 hours), and lunch at 1 pm, followed by several hours of afternoon free time. The second half of the day resumes with a late afternoon session at 4 pm (90 minutes-3 hours), dinner at 7 pm, and the rest of the evening free with open social dancing starting around 9 pm.

This routine is broken up each week by two formal nights (one of which includes a formal dinner), a range of optional electives and non-dance activities, and a morning off towards the second half of the week.

Which week is which?
How can I pick a week?

Candidates apply to the program and are grouped/placed into a specific week as part of the acceptance process. It is not possible to apply for a specific week and in fact the arrangement of the weeks is not predetermined and can change from year to year.

How are applications processed?

Processing Balboa applications involves a panel of approximately eight to ten judges plus consultations with outside advisors, and can take upwards of 60 man-hours each year.

How can I improve my application?

Above all, if you do not have sample video or your video is not optimal for any reason (not current, hard to see, etc) then by far the best thing you can do is find or record new video to submit, following the directions on the application.

One other suggestion for those who might have applied previously and were not accepted is to try to show some initiative since the last attempt. What have you been working on? Is this visible in your video? (It is important to understand that this is not necessarily required in order to get accepted–The Experiment certainly does accept and can offer a potential solution to help those who might have “plateaued” or gotten “stuck” in their dancing. The point is rather that demonstrating this kind of initiative and taking responsibility for one’s own learning process is a great way to stand out as a particularly worthy candidate.)

What about music?

Each week features a Head DJ who coordinates music together with participants who volunteer to DJ. Volunteering is very relaxed and informal with a chance to talk to the Head DJ in person about your range of experience and comfort before being given any DJ slots (normally just 30-60 minutes at a time).
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Is there an alcohol policy?

Yes (revised for 2018). Participants who wish to bring alcohol may do so on the condition that its consumption must be limited to a set window of time around dinner, from 7-9 pm. Outside of these hours The Experiment is a “dry campus”.

Can we bring a child?

Yes! The Experiment is committed to helping to enable parents to participate, with an increasing number of participants having brought children the past several years. If this is something you are curious about or considering, please do not hesitate to contact info@TheBalboaExperiment.com with any questions or concerns.

Can my flight arrive close to/after 4 pm and can the bus wait?

No! The charter bus departs promptly at 4 pm each Sunday and cannot wait for you. Those who are flying should aim to arrive before 3 pm or risk having to make the very expensive trip by taxi. (The cost of a taxi from Norfolk airport to Corolla, NC is around $175 + tip.)

Can I volunteer?
How does volunteering work?

Each week has several dedicated support staff positions (for things like daily maintenance and interfacing with the catering company), in addition to/apart from the set of thirty participants for that week.

These are highly sought-after, full-time volunteer positions which offer another opportunity to support and be a part of The Experiment, including staying in the same house with everyone and social dancing in the evenings; however unlike a participant, support staff cannot directly participate in sessions (although they can often audit/listen in on portions of them).

Conversely, as an unfortunate consequence of the format, The Experiment is unable to offer work-trade opportunities–i.e. volunteering in exchange for a discount–as each week requires the complete set of thirty fully-paying participants to operate.

If interested, please complete the prospective support staff survey. Note that support staff are not usually determined until sometime in November or December (after enrollment has been determined).

Have you considered creating a ____ Experiment?

Actually, The Experiment is now formally accepting inquiries into the possibility of expanding to additional dances as well as entirely different (non-dance) hobbies/activities/interests. For details and how you can help, see the formal announcement.