Updated Sept 27, 2023
Balance and Swim
By Ryan Thomson
I'll start off by saying that I've had more fun dancing at this little summer festival, than any other I've ever attended. The event is the brain child of Rich and Charlotte Cobos, whom I met years ago at Augusta Heritage Center, also in West Virginia. The festival actually takes place on their property, and includes a camping field, portable toilets, showers, a pond for swimming, dance hall, group food preparation, eating area, and lots of good folks.
The live music and calling is excellent, and is contributed by fine dance musicians and callers from all over the US. I've helped out a bit myself, playing some fiddle, piano, accordion, and one year, a snare drum. Much as I like to play dance music though, the dancing itself is top-notch and I find it hard to stay off of the dance floor.
Dance styles include couple dancing, contras, squares, tango, country swing, cajun, tongue in cheek dance contests, and other dance inventions. Dancing is almost continuous, and finally peters out in the wee hours when folks become sleepy. One year I played for the cajun dance which started around 2 am. After playing till about 3, I retired to my camper to rest, and fell asleep to the sound of music being played as more dancers showed up to do other styles of dancing.
Balance and Swim is a weekend event in July with a Friday night potluck dinner, 4 provided meals, everyone chips in with music, calling, food preparation, and clean up. There are also music workshops, open jams, and a night time bonfire.The cost is very modest, $35.00 last year(1995) because everyone helps out. Non-dancing children are free, but pay for food, child care is available with advance notice, pre-registration is necessary.
note from Ryan - This festival is no longer an annual event, but reunions are held from time to time.
Written by Ryan Thomson, 1995