18th/19th/20th October 2019

Bal & Shag Festival

For the first time, right in the heart of Edinburgh, the legendary clans of Shag and Balboa will come together for an epic weekend of dancing!

With classes from international instructors, competitions to test your mettle, and social dancing late into the night, this will be one event not to miss! Whether you’re looking for some elegant shag, some extravagant balboa, or just a jaunt around the beautiful city of Edinburgh, this event is for you.

All aboard the BALedonian SHAGspress hype train!

Email us: Tickets: Join the event:


Photo: Jason Swihart

We are delighted to be able to announce our first teaching couple, the incredible Sasha and Yulia! We’re so excited to have them joining us to teach our Balboa tracks this October.

Currently based in London, UK, Yulia and Sasha fell in love with balboa in 2010 while still being a part of a very enthusiastic and competitive Russian swing dance scene. They have ever since been in constant search of the authenticity of the dance and exploration of partners' dynamics both in pure balboa and balswing. In class they are happy to share every piece of knowledge they’ve gained throughout this ongoing adventure, with years of patient work and moments of fascinating insights.

Easily recognised by their zippy yet smooth style, the couple is often spotted in international contest finals. Two times California Balboa Classic winners, they also proudly hold the title of 6-time Pure Balboa Classic champions! Yet it isn't all about trophies; both Yulia and Sasha see competing as the perfect way to showcase what they treasure in Balboa the most: its joyful energy, subtle humour and the precious opportunity to be in the moment with the music and one another.

Photo: Tamara Pinco

Teaching both Balboa and Shag, we are excited to be joined by the ever-elegant Larissa and Heiko from Basel!

Larissa and Heiko have been dancing together for more than a decade and have been teaching as a couple for many years. They love to spread their joy and passion for swing dancing and they are very happy to be teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa and Collegiate Shag in weekly classes and workshops in their dance school “Basel Jitterbugs” in Switzerland, and abroad.

Rather than focusing on one dance style, Larissa and Heiko dance all of the swing dances and mix them based on the tempo and energy of the music. In class, they deliver a learning experience characterised by a well-balanced mix of fun and challenge, and they strive to constantly grow as dancers and teachers themselves. While the topics might vary, they always provide clear instruction and adjust to the actual level and atmosphere of the class. Their goal is to help you grow as a swing dancer and develop your own voice on the dance floor.

Check out some of their beautiful dancing in the clip below!

Photo: Antanas Minkevicius

Our next teaching couple barely needs any introduction - a fixture in Vilnius and across Europe, we are joined by the inimitable Arnas and Egle!

One of the most prominent couples of the Lithuanian Swing Dance scene, partnered up from the very first dance, Arnas & Egle are dancing, performing, teaching and inspiring the community in Vilnius everyday!

Their passion and joy for Lindy Hop & Collegiate Shag gained them a name as international instructors in regular small workshops around Europe, especially in Poland, where along with the swingout.pl community they inspired the Collegiate Shag scene in Warsaw and all over the country. Rich experience in teaching every day classes infuses quality and fun with clear explanation of their material, enabling you to express swing music and yourself within it.

Arnas & Egle are co-founders of What a Jazz Dance Studio in Vilnius and co-organisers of the one and only Balboa & Shag festival in Lithuania – Swing Paradise.

Photo: Brenda Ahearn

And now for our fourth teaching couple, the international sensations, Peter and Lauren! These two are going to be spending most of their time with the Balboa tracks but they’ve got a few extra tricks up their respective sleeves to delight you in our taster classes too!

Peter & Lauren are two dynamic instructors with over thirty years of teaching experience between them. Based in Southern California, they are highly in-demand, sharing their passion for the great classic dances of the Swing Era. Their classes and workshops are noted for their clarity, humor and high spirits!

Peter and Lauren have a worldwide reputation as highly sought-after social dancers and instructors. Today, Peter counts some of the world’s top dancers and instructors as his own former students. Lauren’s degree in vocal music education allows her to bring a unique approach to classes, incorporating Alexander techniques, natural musicality, body efficiency, and other dance skills.


Registrations are now open! To register, visit our Dancecloud page at ebsf.dancecloud.com

Pass prices

Class Pass Social Pass Plus Social Pass
£80 £40 £30
Includes the core Balboa or Shag classes, taster classes, and all the socials Access to our Friday, Saturday and Sunday night socials and the taster classes Access to our Friday, Saturday and Sunday night socials

Student Group Discounts

We want to make it easier for students to attend our event so we are offering a 12.5% discount to student-only groups of 3 or more. If you are interested in bringing a group, nominate a group leader and get them to send us a list of names and university email addresses of group members to edinburghbalandshagfestival@gmail.com. We’ll send your leader a group discount code that each of the members can use in the Dancecloud checkout.


We want this weekend to be enjoyable for everyone, and we hope that you all come away from it feeling like you learned lots and danced your socks off! With people travelling in from all over, it’s going to be nearly impossible to predict how your dance skills will compare to other attendees. That’s why we are holding a level check class on Saturday morning. Our instructors will take you through a short lesson, see you dance, and put you into groups who can work on similar aspects of your dancing so you get the most out of your classes this weekend.

That being said, we don't want anyone to feel stressed about these auditions, so if you’d prefer not to do the level check class, that’s absolutely fine. You can register for an Intermediate level class pass and you’ll be put straight into that group, so won't have to attend the level check. If you are happy to audition, then you should choose the "Audition Me" pass on Dancecloud when you register. Please bear in mind that our instructors are international dancers who want you to have as enjoyable a weekend as possible, and we request you to respect their judgement when assigning you to a level.

The core classes we’ll be offering this weekend are for intermediate level dancers and above. If you’re just getting started in your Balboa/Shag adventures then we’d love to have you join us at the socials and in the taster classes this year, and we hope to be able to offer more for beginners next year.



All of our daytime classes will be happening in the Pleasance complex, situated on the road of the same name. Serving both as a Fringe venue and as the activities hub for the student societies of Edinburgh University, its dance studios are equipped with sound, mirrors and wonderful slidey wooden floors!

Water is readily available via the attached bar, and hungry dancers can find refreshments there or on nearby Nicholson Street.

60 Pleasance,
Edinburgh EH8 9TJ

Lauriston Hall

For the Friday evening, we have Lauriston Hall! Situated near the Meadows and Lothian Road, its spacious and smooth floor is a favourite of Edinburgh's Swing, Bal-Folk and Ceilidh dance societies. The venue is BYOB, so feel free to bring your own drinks!

28 Lauriston St,
Edinburgh EH3 9DJ

South Hall Complex

We are delighted to announce that our venue for the Saturday night party will be the glorious South Hall Complex! They usually use it for fancy weddings and boring conferences, but that silky smooth sprung floor is wasted on them!

This venue does not allow attendees to bring in their own food or alcohol. Fear not though, the bar will be open and we may have a wee surprise to reveal closer to the date!

Pollock Halls,
18 Holyrood Park Rd,
Edinburgh EH16 5AR


For our Sunday dance, we have one of our favourite stomping grounds, Summerhall! Formerly the campus for the Edinburgh University vet school and now an independent arts and technology centre, Summerhall is the location of Edinbop's weekly Lindy Hop classes and socials. This venue is not BYOB, but has an excellent bar that allows you to take their drinks through to the main hall.

1 Summerhall,
Edinburgh EH9 1PL


The Tenement Jazz Band

Playing at our Friday social, the Tenement Jazz band are a traditional jazz band formed in early 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brought together by their shared love of New Orleans music, and comprising musicians from various corners of Edinburgh’s vibrant jazz scene, they are on a journey of exploration back to the roots of the music that they play.

Their aims are to capture the raw energy and excitement of the early jazz recordings, to find and revive lesser-heard songs and cultivate their own interpretations of these, all in order to captivate experienced jazzers, dancing persons, and uninitiated ears alike.

In their brief existence so far they have performed at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow Jazz Festivals, collaborated with various musicians via their own Cellar Session residency, and performed their own hit show at the Edinburgh Fringe telling the story of the ‘Red Hot Roots of Jazz’ from turn of the century New Orleans and beyond.

Check out a sample of their fantastic playing in the clip linked, and grab a copy of their album from tenementjazzband.bandcamp.com!

Viper Swing

For our Saturday night party, we’re delighted to announce the incredible Viper Swing!

Based in Edinburgh, Viper Swing plays hot string jazz: infectious rhythms, joyful improvisations, and gravelly vocals blend to evoke the swing-era spirit of the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Their repertoire includes works of the legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, songs from the Great American Songbook, and original compositions — along with the occasional playful reimagining of pop classics by the likes of Michael Jackson, Abba, and Daft Punk.

They perform regularly in Edinburgh and around the UK. Past performances include Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Kelburn Garden Party, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Northern Roots Festival, Lindisfarne Festival, Callander Jazz Festival, Dundee Jazz Club, Garioch Jazz Club, several TV appearances, and an ongoing Sunday residency at the Edinburgh Sheraton Hotel for the past 4 years.

We’re so excited to have them, and we’re sure that you’ll love their beautiful swinging string groove as much as we do! Check out some of their music below, on their website at https://www.viperswing.com/music.

Ali Affleck and Bedlam Swing

We're delighted to announce our final band, for our Sunday night party, the fantastic Ali Affleck and Bedlam Swing!

Ali Affleck is both a staple of the Edinburgh Jazz and Swing scenes as well as an internationally acclaimed bandleader and vocalist, touring across Europe, America and Japan. She's also the holder of a stack of award wins and nominations and a list of glowing reviews longer than your arm! With Ali leading a host of fantastic local musicians, you're guaranteed a plethora of incredible music to keep you dancing all night long!



All classes will be held at 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ.


Friday 18th

  • 19:30-23:00
  • Lauriston Hall, 28 Lauriston St, EH3 9DJ
  • BYOB, bar not provided
  • Live music with the Tenement Jazz Band

Saturday 19th

  • 19:00-01:00
  • South Hall Complex, Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Rd, EH16 5AR
  • Non-BYOB, bar provided
  • Live music with Viper Swing
  • Balboa and Shag knockout competitions

Sunday 20th

  • 19:00-23:00
  • Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL
  • Non-BYOB, bar provided
  • Live music with Alison Affleck and Bedlam Swing
  • 'Double Trouble' competition!


Edinburgh isn’t that big, but we know every kilometer counts when you’re running to class in the morning! This is our first time getting this event off the ground, so we’re not formally coordinating hosting this year. However, there are lots of really lovely dancers in Edinburgh who will happily host guests, so we have set up a Facebook group where you can request and offer hosting. Join the group here!

Code of Conduct

We expect everyone attending our festival to be respectful of all other attendees, teachers, organisers and volunteers. We will have safe spaces volunteers available throughout the festival to help out with any issue you may have. You can view our code of conduct here.