Monday, December 30, 2013

What's Doin'/

Wow, Downtown Honolulu really get things going for New Year's Eve. Parties all over the place. Got another one here.

Got pieces all over the place. Sounds like a good trip to make.

Nevah been thar, may just try it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Latin Connection

The social recreational dancer on Oahu became very aware of Latin Dancing in the year 2013. Especially those that witnessed the decline of Salsa and emergence of Bachata.

"Time has no divisions to mark its passage. There is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins, it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols."

The kids and their fad dances have existed forever. Since 1913 there have been over one thousand fad dances in the US. The "animal" dances lasted to the middle twenties. The disco variations exist to this day. Even the diehard Tango dancers that insist on theirs being the real thing. Which one? Many do not know that in Argentina there at least 10 different Tangos taught.

I myself prefer to see the Finnish (now called the Nordic) Tango. Can I see the real differences in the other Tangos? Not really, but what do I know? But we really do seem to have the preferred solid "Latin Dances." The Latin Waltz, Rumba and Cha Cha Cha are very basic to our type of Latin Dance. The Brazilian Samba and the American Tango are a must. And also being accepted as part of the Rhythm dances, the Swing. We like the Music.

Those are very basic and there are enough variations in the types of music in those dances that we enjoy. And we have our favorites, that is, the distinct song we like to dance the particular dance to. DJs have difficulty understanding this because they are not dancing it, and for them it is old hat.  For the dancers it is definitely it. Then with a 30 second break between each song, you have a beautiful evening. I believe Warwick Sargent is the only one that took that opportunity to announce the song and by whom. He may have been before his time, but everyone appreciated that.

"Happiness is too many things these days for anyone to wish ill on anyone lightly.
So let's just wish each other a bileless New Year and leave it at that."
Happy New Year.


2014 shaping up nicely

The entire island dance outlook seems to be changing but the challenges are still tough and the status quo has many protectors. Fortunately the entrenched cliques are losing their grasp for many have realized the damage they have done. And we are getting more good people.

"For the New Year, we will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

New blood (the under 60) is helping us set meaningful targets in terms of measurable goals achieved by some of our local dance groups. With the introduction of intense competition dancing, some parts of our dance world have become indifferent to tradition and past reputations, unforgiving of frailty and ignorant of custom or practice. Our group is slowly defining its type of dancing.

"How High The Moon" by Les Paul and Mary Ford

Success will go to those individuals, and organizations which are swift to adapt, slow to complain and open to change. There will be an increase in clubs for next few years, in the non International and non Night Club areas. A few may become more democratically inclined and increase their membership. The rest, as we have seen already, will go by the wayside one by one.

The good changes on the Mainland remind us of what is possible in education. And the task for the top people in charge is to ensure that their members and education systems rise to this challenge. In our blogs, a few regular contributors and a couple of Guest Authors will introduce us to Social Media and the hits will go through the roof. If we are missing anyone, please let us know. We want to help all dancers and organizations and they must realize they are getting free public relations.
"May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions!"

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Another Derailment Africa

(CNN) -- A cargo train derailed and crashed into homes Sunday, December 22nd in a sprawling Kenyan slum, the Red Cross said. Rescue efforts are under way to free residents trapped in damaged homes in the capital city of Nairobi, the agency said.

At least fifteen people were transported to a local hospital, Red Cross said on its Twitter page. Kibera -- one of Africa's largest slums is home to an estimated quarter of a million people. -- is filled with rows of homes made from a mixture of mud, tin, wood and concrete. A railway passes through the neighborhood. The search goes on for injured.

People of Kibera, due to the time of year and the time of day, many people were not home, and so casualties may be lower than initially feared. Many of those whose homes were destroyed by the train wreck had either left for church or gone back to their villages for the Christmas holidays. I can't understand it. When it happened 15 years ago they guaranteed that it couldn't happen again.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Jargon 24

From The Bonehead's Guide to Ballroom Dancing Jargon, revised.

As most of the dancers begin to enjoy moving to music, they become aware that they are able to lead and follow most of the Bronze level moves and other basic movements very well, with few mishaps and errors. Dancing with many different partners certainly helps since everyone is different. They can learn to identify no more than 30 to 40 moves that can be led and followed easily in sheer joy over and over again to their favorite music. They remain a respectful distance from LAGS.

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on,
with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."

Then arises the opportunity to dance in a group folk dance in one of the social dance clubs. Formation dancing can be fun, the teamwork, the costumes, the learning of LAGS routines. All enhance the social aspects of recreational dancing. Terrific for all concerned, the dancers and the audience. Follow up photos in the Newsletters, Web and Blog sites, lead to very good social commentary.

The Jargon continues:

Syncopation: A variation or enhancement of the regular occurrence of the accented beats within the framework of a basic rhythm pattern. That jazzy sound and feel.

Tangero; A fanatic on Tango and usually applied to those with preferences in the Argentine Tango and Milonga.

Tap Step: The free foot taps the floor and remains free.

Tempo: The speed of the music, expressed in measures per minute (MPM) or beats per minute (BPM.) The tempos differ in most dances and even the same dance under different sponsors.

"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by Bruce Springsteen

Theatrical Dancing: Exhibition type dancing done in Musicals, is also Cabaret Dancing when done in Night Clubs.

Timekeeper: A fairly good dancer who has learned many step patterns in classes and has fairly good timing but utilizes only one style of dance. Usually a foxtrot.

Timing: The blending together of the dance movements to the beatof the music as a unit.

Ton: Unit of weight of the woman with whom you will perform a lift.

Tone: the conditions of the arm and hand resistance in in the partners while dancing.

Trick Step: LAGS and/or Novelty Steps. Nice for exhibitions. Some are carried over to the social dance floor. Be careful.

Triple: Three steps to two beats of music. A chassé which can also be danced to three counts of music.

Pub's Side Note: Fortunately, I am meeting more people that have good speakers on their computers. With some good speakers you can play music that may sound better than your high class stereos. Or a good set of Earphones. I can give them some of my music.


Water Bike

Anything but the Rail Monstrosity.

Reduced bike lanes in Honolulu in order to force you to take the Rail Disaster. No problem. Judah Schiller of San Francisco made a splash Thursday as the first person to ride a bike across the Hudson river - not over a bridge but inches from the water itself, on a contraption appropriately dubbed a "water bike." Schiller embarked from Pier 13 Boating Club in Hoboken just after 11 a.m. and reached Manhattan's Pier 66 in approximately 15 minutes.

Schiller's own road bike attaches to a raft with a small propeller mechanism, allowing him to propel the raft forward with pedaling. Schiller has been introducing water biking to the public by pedaling his bike-raft hybrid around the San Francisco bay. Last week he biked across the entire body of water from Oakland to the city of San Francisco. He founded the BayCycle Project to bring attention to water biking, which he envisions as a rising sport with group rides, races and other events.

Schiller, 41, says water biking is no crazier an idea than mountain biking was decades ago. "Road bikers laughed at people taking their Schwinns to the top of mountains," he told the Daily News. "This is water biking. The planet is two-thirds covered with water, so this is a great opportunity to combine the two."

He hopes it could eventually present city dwellers with a brand-new commuting option. Judah Schiller approaches Pier 66 after starting from the Hoboken side of the Hudson river. The ride took him 15 minutes. "You're out on the water, you don't have all of the exhaust from the cars. It's a lot more serene," Schiller said.

You can bike it from Ewa Beach to Honolulu when the waters are nice because we know what the Rail Mess is going to be like. Auwe.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

DeRailed in Africa

A luxury tourist train has derailed near the South African capital, Pretoria on Wednesday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 25 more. The dead include a woman and her baby, who was born moments after the derailment, reports AFP news agency.

"The road to truth is long, and lined the entire way with annoying liars."

The train is run by Rovos Rail, which offers "unique train safaris" in its wood-panelled carriages, some of which have hot showers and air conditioning. The last derailment was more than 20 years ago and they guaranteed that it couldn't happen again. The nationalities of the casualties are not known.

 "We are dealing with a mixture of foreigners and South Africans," said Johan Pieterse, spokesperson for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), reports South Africa's Business Day. A spokesperson for Rovos Rail told AFP that most of its customers were from Europe and the US. Line closed. "It's absolute carnage," emergency worker Chris Botha told AFP. Some of the railway coaches are lying on top of each other and absolute wreckages.

"They had to use hydraulic rescue equipment to cut some of the people free," he said. The train was carrying 55 passengers and had come from Cape Town. The Blue Train is another luxury tourist train which runs between Cape Town and Pretoria, but only Rovos Rail uses restored antique trains. The part of the line affected by the accident has been closed until further notice.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Spanish in the Philippines

The Spanish influence in the Philippines brought about many dances that use a Maria Clara dress (a character in Noli Me Tangere) and an embroidered long-sleeve shirt made from pineapple fibers for their costumes.

The Filipinos adapted these Spanish dances by using bamboo castanets and Asian fans. Carinosa, which means lovable or affectionate, is a dance that is known all through the Philippines. The dancers "flirt" using a handkerchief or fan, by playing hide and seek with them.

Part of a wedding ritual, the sabalan lulay, is a dance that begins with a man dancing around a woman (his partner) until she consents to dance with him.

For most of us, this is just gingerbread, an introduction. We will have more than 99% Universal type dancing coverage in future blogs.

The Jabbawockeez are at it again, as the California-based hip-hop dance crew of masked dancers are traveling across the world for a series of shows in the Philippines. The Jabbawockeez have had lots of exposure on TV since their debut two years ago.

Q: What do cows like to line dance to ?
A: Any kind of moosic will do!

"Dancing Queen" by Abba

Social media refers to interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Newsletters, Web sites, newspapers, radio and TV are information "to whom it may concern," and most of ours remains the same too.

Social Media has been defined as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content." I have proven to my satisfaction that the success of these blogs will be in the Guest Authors.

Furthermore, social media depends on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. They introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals. We have a ways to go.



So much mythology on the Tango that it is no surprise that there are so many versions danced all over the world. I read something from a Korean publication stating that they got the Tango from the Chinese and it was from a city named Tan Goh. Ha!
"Yes, this is my life and I fully realize that it is ending one minute at a time."

It is much simpler than that, it was originally called Milonga, a cat dance by single men, in which they almost ran about six to eight steps and then made a pounce like movement like a cat. The Fox Trot by Harry Fox has something like that, a running eight step and then a stop. In the US, it evolved into the Fox Trot (slow) and the Peabody (fast.)

In Argentina, during the first hundred years the poorest of the Spaniards would drink with the Indians and learned to feel happy moving to the incessant beat of the Milonga. And the Indians had never seen horses before the arrival of the illegals. They were ignorant but certainly not stupid. In the 1500s, a few Spaniards who were good horsemen came to live with the Indians and that was all that was needed. The work Gaucho comes from the Guarani Indians, a derogatory word meaning without a known father (hijo e' puta.)

On the Great Pampas, the Indians were hard to catch and even harder to hold. Then with the increase in the Mestizo (the mix) the Spanish were forced to develop political, social and economic characteristics far different that with other mestizo groups in the big cities.

"Nostalgias" por Placido Domingo

The Milonga music with its Indian roots for centuries was now changing. With the influence of the developing Spanish Guitar and Violin, the music became increasingly Andalusian (Southern Spain) with Moorish overtones. In two centuries, the ancient Milonga slowly evolved into this new happy music.

The Spanish also brought cattle and developed big herds. But due to laxity, many became strays and wild cattle and horses were in abundance and seemed limitless. By the 1800s, this pasture and wild animals had produced a race of mounted nomads and hunters that resembled the Mongols of Asia or the Plains Indians of North America. This abundance of grass plains created the existence of a free and undisciplined people. And they danced the Milonga.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wine, Wine

Is Wine the increasing choice of drink for dancers? You just sip, sip and sip. Many seem to know the different classes of wine and even the differences in smell.
"I got started dancing because I knew that was one way to meet girls."
~ Gene Kelly (1912-1996) American dancer

Wine has a long history dating back about 8,000 years (along with agriculture) and is thought to have originated in present day Georgia (Russia) or Iran. It took about 1500 years to get to Europe. It became very common in classical Greece and Rome. In early Greece, 20000 Greek men and wine in the afternoon, evolved the entire Western concept of ethics that we know today.

Wine has also played an important role in religion since ancient times. The Greek God Dionysos and the Roman God Bacchus represented wine. Wine has played an important role in ceremonies in the Christian religion such as mass. And wine was drunk at the Last Supper.

Thirty years ago, I could see empty hard liquor bottle at some of the social dances. And always a few beer cans but no evidence of wine. Now. not many drinkers at the socials but it has become apparent in Night Clubs and Da Big Shows in Waikiki. There must be other reasons why wine is becoming "acceptable.'
From the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam, one millennium ago.
Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter - and the Bird is on the Wing.
Good News from California that I must share:
"May their marriage be filled with love and delight.
May they have great happiness day and night.
May their life be filled with much laughter.
May they both live a long life and happily ever after." 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Salsa at the Granada in Alhambra

Lifts, Dips & Drops Policy By Enio Cordoba
This past Saturday night, someone asked me if I missed the "hotshot dancers who were not coming to the Granada because we had instituted a "No Dips, Drops or Lifts" policy. My answer was unequivocally "No!" For those of you coming on Saturday, you may have noticed that we are enforcing the no lifts, dips or drops rule. Some people have been surprised and have argued that what they are doing is not a ...(dip, drop or lift.)

"You and I both know I’m a phenomenal dancer!" Salsa Club Dancer

So I will take a moment to explain our reasoning and thoughts. With 500 people it is way too crowded to be doing these performance level tricks. Secondly while (MOST) pros do tricks easily and comfortably, they learned them from other professionals with someone spotting to prevent injury. Students invariably copy these moves without proper training. How often have you seen one beginner teaching another beginner what they just learned by watching from a video.

Over the years we have heard countless stories of girls being injured by guys who did it rough, too strongly, or just plain wrong. Of course none of the guys thought they did it wrong. Whenever we ask of our advanced girls whether they want to be dipped or dropped the answer is always 100% UNANIMOUS against it.

"Mambo Tropical" por Los Chicos

If you had 1 billion dollars and spent $1,000 a day, it would take you 2,749 years to spend it all. The estimates on the Rail Fiasco are now up to Ten billion Dollars. The Present Rail Party just drooling at the prospects of all those profits. Easy Money.

"Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures,
costs nothing, and conveys much."

Good News from California:

Life is like a camera  - Focus on the important things - Capture the good times -
Delete the Negative - Learn to Develop. And if things don't turn out,
then take anoher shot.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Competitions Anyone?

Bye-bye, ballroom: It's time to cancel "Dancing With the Stars." The glitz, sequins and the mirror-ball trophy still sparkle, but "Dancing With the Stars" has lost a lot of its shine over the past few seasons. In fact, this might just be the right time to bid farewell to the long-running ballroom bash.

Sure, after 17 seasons, the celebrity dance competition is a TV staple, but longevity isn't enough to earn it a permanent spot in the prime-time lineup. "Dancing With the Stars" has seen a fairly steady decline in ratings in recent years, hitting a low on Nov. 11 (12.5 million) after peaking with 24 million viewers in 2010's season 10 premiere

It's clear that despite a rotation of fresh stars and seasonal shake-ups, the ballroom bash isn't offering fans the show they deserve anymore. Just look at some of the show's missteps: Change, but the problems stay the same Each season brings something new to the ballroom, and change is good. It's exactly what viewers have been clamoring for: Bring back fan-favorite pros! Ditch the ringers! Infuse some new life into the judges panel! Replace co-host Brooke Burke with someone — anyone — more suited to the task of live Q&As!

But those aren't the changes the powers-that-be have rolled out. A big makeover in season 13 saw the addition of a lighted, orchestra pit-spanning staircase that splits in two — an unlikely item on any fan's wish list. And when season 17 kicked off, in addition to the elimination of the Tuesday-night results show, the judges' table was moved from stage left to stage right with much fanfare — another change no one really cared about and the show certainly didn't need.

“DWTS” has had one of the better judging panels on reality TV, because former dance pros Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba know their stuff and entertain. But after 17 seasons, viewers also know these judges — and their biases and weaknesses — a little too well. Put a hunky athlete on the dance floor, and Inaba will go gaga regardless of his dance ability. Choreograph something a little too modern? Sticky-wicket head judge Goodman will get annoyed.

Not only that, longtime fans have learned enough to know when a dance lacks the proper moves — and even worse, to notice when the judges don’t call out infractions and the scores are totally predictable (not to mention confusingly high). The show did a smart thing this season by bringing in some guest judges — especially former pros Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Julianne Hough — to shake things up. But unless the stand-ins bring strong opinions along with them (ahem, Cher), there's not much point to it.

One of the biggest boo-boos was not bringing Maks back as a pro dancer for the last two seasons. The bad boy of the ballroom was fiery, passionate and rarely held his tongue when he disagreed with the judges. Sure, his comments often generated drama, but his love for dance just added to the fun of the show. And his passion for his work was obvious, as he's choreographed some of the show's best routines. (Maks and Mel B.'s spicy paso doble, anyone?) During the all-stars season in 2012, the contenders acknowledged this fact by choosing to perform three of his past dances for "Iconic Dance Night." Beyond that, if the show's going to have a golden boy (Derek Hough, who has now won five mirror balls), it needs its bad boy to balance things out.

The case against the glam-filled reality TV competition seems like a solid one, but the truth is, there's still hope. Even with the overall ratings dive — which has actually inched up ever so slightly in recent weeks —and the other ongoing woes, "Dancing" still gets an impressive share of viewers thanks to the part of the original formula that still works: taking celebrities out of their comfort zone and making them seem a little more like the rest of us as they stumble through new challenges — and sometimes, they even succeed.

Well, there's that and host Tom Bergeron, who continues to be a boon for the ballroom. But it's going to take something more to turn the "Dancing" trajectory around. What the show really needs is another makeover, one that addresses fans' complaints, before cancellation chatter goes from mere suggestion to reality.

Is it time to cancel Dancing With the Stars?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Jargon 23

From The Bonehead's Guide to Ballroom Dancing Jargon, revised.

The experienced dancers that we have in our group, which includes many of our amateur instructors, have a good repertoire of standard step patterns. They are also well aware that they may have learned too many fancy moves and are limited with whom they can dance. They are usually very good in at least ten different styles of dance. They are somewhat more knowledgeable in the character of the different dances and can accept their lack of styling, the sameness in their dances and make an effort to better themselves.

"Considering that they jump higher than NBA players and lift women over
their head on a regular basis, the male exhibition dancer consistently
delivers performances that rival any profession athlete."

Most are able to lead and follow a complete dance without too many missteps and errors. In exhibitions they can learn their routines and present very nice dances. On our dances floors, it shows the rest of the spectators that they can all learn steps. In show business you have to smile and they learn that too. They are good representatives of a large part of our group of social, recreational dancers with the base of the American Style of Dance.

The Jargon Continues:

Stepper: The opposite of a Slider. A person that prefers to lift their feet and not keep them too close to the floor. Part of each one's styling. Also is applied to a person who thinks that the quantity of known dance patterns is what make a good dancer. Wrong?

Stepping: The second part of Rudolf Laban's basic dance movements. The simple transfer of weight from one support to another.

Style: The particular characteristics of each dance and all have different styles. Also the quality based on both the appearance and technique in dancing. Very important for intermediates and higher.

Stylist: One who discovers that the secret to a good exhibition dance is Style not the steps. Those that realize that the steps are necessary movements but it's the Style that gets the audience.

"The Tennessee Waltz" by Patti Page

Street Dancer: Old term that had usually been used in a derogatory sense. But now much more acceptable as the learning on the dance floors, whether in Malls, Gas Stations, School Cafeterias, District Parks or Community Centers. Even in Night Clubs. And few learn it 100% on the "Street." Usually standardized in the Studios and Dance Clubs.

Sway: To lean or incline the whole body to one side from the feet upward as opposed to bending at the waist. Used in all turns generally towards the center.

Swivel: A twisting motion on the ball of one or both feet. Or it can be the turning on the ball of one foot while the free foot is brought to a new position.

Syllabi: Plural of Syllabus, a summary or outline containing the standard steps accepted by a Dance Society and each Style has their own. Not strictly adhered to in recreational dancing.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holly Jolly Trolley Ride

Last Call, Everybody Onboard. Christmas Lights, dancing and the works.

I am going to try to attend in some way. But I don't think I can. More and more I want, the photos that others want. The peoples choices. That is still a work in process for next year. The dancer must know what I want and if they agree. What a presentation.