Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rail by John Pritchett

Available in book online and in most book stores. Terrific cartoon analysis.

Buy it now for the best commentary on Rail in the entire Pacific Region.


Roseland Ballroom

New York City’s famed Roseland Ballroom will close its doors in April, next year, according to an internal e-mail obtained by Billboard, though no official announcement has been made.

"Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."

The venerable venue, owned by developer Larry Ginsberg and booked by Live Nation, opened at its 52nd street location, a converted skating rink, in 1958 and has been a sentimental favorite for many bands. The history of the venue in New York dates back to 1919, when it was located at 51st and Broadway, and prior to that in Philadelphia.

Evolving from the ballroom dancing era of the ‘20s to popular music, Roseland has for years been known world wide and a favored New York play for a wide range of bands from the early days of rock, through disco, grunge, modern rock, jam, pop, urban and EDM.

"Heart Full Of Soul" by the Yardbirds

The Palladium on Oahu was planned and built by people that had enjoyed the era of the big bands and the large ballrooms. In West Oahu, one quarter the size would have been a god send, cancelled now to pay for the Rail Fiasco. Would have been perfection for the type of dance groups we have now, which tend to be towards the "private mode." And not the old fashion "public mode."

Still, Roseland remained a busy room, and one that artists and agents preferred in many cases, so the move to close is likely related more to property values than the venue’s bottom line. Whatever, the closing of Roseland will be “a huge loss for concerts in New York City,” says Ken Fermaglich at the Agency Group, who was surprised to hear the venue would shutter.

The Ideal Dance Pavilion for the West would be in Waipio well out of the way of the Rail Fiasco. A place where we could dance. A nice healthful pastime for the good citizens of this Island. Bad enough they all gotta pay for the Rail Disaster. Yes we all know, it's the cash, Nash.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fit And Fat

The young have always made the distinction even as far back as my younger days. "Don't trust anyone over 30" and most accept it. Since it is a division they have themselves made, it could be used as the Junior bracket. Around thirty you are no longer in it. The young will always go for the fads. There is no changing that and we must all take it with a grain of salt. They will take them and then they will leave them.

"Que Sera, Sera" by Doris Day

That leaves the middles to do as they please and the good dancers will be able to do both. They can have dances for their groups as it has been in the past but every body is welcome to attend, And that will include the young as well as the old. Somewhat like the socials we have now, no looking down at anyone.

As they grow older they will gravitate towards the older type dances and gradually find themselves quite comfortable in their age bracket. That new step where you throw the lady over your shoulder, you bend over and grab her hands from between your legs and drag her up will not be learned.

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."

For the old timers, the ballroom dance disciplines, specially in the American Style of dance, have done a very good job of establishing some standards. Most can be accepted by the Seniors. We could start with the most accepted Ballroom dances we have now. These will very likely change, but by whom? The dancers should and will be the ultimate judges.
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" by the Rolling Stones

Some will stay in the young group until their forties. Others will go into the elder group in their fifties. There have never been any social divisions set up by anyone. The disciplines will continue to dance the same dances in all three categories. But we are social dancers and most of these things apply to all of us.

There may one thousand Latino dances that are danced regularly
in Latin America. Which ones could be danced socially,
for a social occasion, as in Night Club?
The original decisions will be made by the Night Club owners in conjunction with their DJs. But that will not be final. If you want to do business you have to listen to the dancers and "they" will and should make the final decisions. This should apply to the music too. This new fancy kine are nice, but nuttin' like the oldies but goodies.
"To believe you cannot do it, makes it impossible."

If they play a paso doble at a night club and only two people are dancing it, it should be quite understandable for management. If you play a Rumba and the floor is packed. Then you know, and management must know, what the dancers will dance. If they are not dancing you got the wrong kind of music. Should be pretty easy for a good bean counter.

And also, incessant music without a stop is counter productive for the real Latin dance environment. A little time to take the lady back to her table, a little social conversation at your own table and a couple of sips and you are ready to go for the next memorable dance. And, of course, they become memorable.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What's Doin' in Kona?

Commentary from the Internet - Reviewed October 9, 2013
Nice Kona atmosphere

My group came for dinner our last night on the big island and all had an enjoyable experience. Large selection of draft beers and tasty entrees. There was a bit of a crowd at 4:00 pm but we were seated quickly and the service was spot on. The upstairs balcony seating overlooking the water and bustling street crowd added to the Kailua-Kona atmosphere.

"Tiny Bubbles" by Don Ho

It was the one day every month that part of Alii Drive is closed off to traffic to create a street fair feel. Sort of big city throng meets small town environment. Out on the bay there was a barge-like craft resembling a mini island (see pic). A local told us it was a dock for the company that rents out the jet skis in the area and every once in a while the owner takes it off shore. We would definitely go back."

"You can never use up creativity. 
The more you use, the more you have."
Humpy's is in Alaska too. Seems hard to handle two places so far apart. And Augie T is a local Makaha resident.

"Mi Buenos Aires Querido" by Placido Domingo

The long vacant lot adjacent to flagship Huggo’s restaurant became available for purchase and they jumped at the opportunity to create a more casual, toes-in-the-sand restaurant and bar that also showcases some of the most talented musicians from around the island.

"Morning Dew" by Melveen Leed

The menu focuses on more casual dining options with an emphasis on island fresh foods, refreshing tropical libations; the vibe is fun and relaxed – a place for good friends and families to create memories together.
"Dancing is the World’s Second Most Popular Indoor Sport"

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rail by John Pritchett

Available in book online and in most book stores. Terrific cartoon analysis.

Buy it now for the best commentary on Rail in the entire Pacific Region.

Jargon 16

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

We have been getting our point across. However if these blogs are for the dancers it can and should include other points of view. If fact I have, on various occasions, brought up the great value in the different opinions from our reader/dancers. But too many have been accustomed to the Creative Researchers And Producers way of communicating. Whispering is not our way of communicating.

Blogger's Law #34C: "Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups."

In a blog site or even a Web site it could be shared with a much bigger dance group and perhaps get a more positive feedback. And with more sources available for the public, the better the results will be. The total will evolve into a more cohesive kuleana and it will be decided by all of us.

At any rate, we proceed with the Jargon:

Locomotor Movements: The third of Rudolf Laban's basic dance movements that move the dancer from one location to another. Walk, Leap, Jump, Hop, Gallop, Slide and Skip.

Loop Turn: A turn to the left for the lady or to the right for the man, either individually or together.

Lounge Lizard: A term from the last century and applied to some men only. Now has different terminology, Play for Pay Partners, Dally for Dough Daddies etc. (Semi-Pros.)

Maracas: A tuned pair of rattles made from the gourds filled with pebbles or seeds. A skilled maraca player plays a subtle role in the Latin polyrythmic counterpoint. Used by the Indian civilizations in Mexico for Millenniums.
"Siboney" by Rene Touzet

Merengue: A carefree Caribbean even one step dance, influenced by the old Danza and popularized on the Island of Hispaniola. "Merenguearse" evolved in the Spanish to mean "dancing with wild abandon."

Measure: A division of music separated by the "one" counts. A regularly recurring accent and also referred to as tempo. May be expressed as MPM (measures per minute) or BPM (Beats per minute.)

Melody: The simple arrangements of tones in a pleasing sequence to express a musical idea. A tune that identifies the dance. This along with the Harmony, and the Vocals are of no interest in the beginning dance classes. Later they become some of the prime reasons for moving to music.

Pub's Side Note: A dance blog is what all "dance websites would like to be" updated on a regular basis, containing various points of view that are of interest to a select or target audience, before and after the occasion.. Information easy to update and change. Our reader/dancers are gradually picking up on this action.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Reorganization Continues

It is becoming quite evident that we should put people and organizations in their proper slots. We still must organize our possible readers into three separate categories. The Good, the Bad and the, well, there is a third.

“Nine out of ten people who change their minds are wrong
the second time too.”

The best of course are the ones that kokua, and try to help us help and share with our fellow dancers. They have convinced us that they are "pro" us. We will continue to carry on our obligation of giving all of these people and their friends the best of public relations. Fortunately, they are increasing, and there are many ways to establish their intent.

"Imagine" by John Lennon

The second group is not exactly with us. They merely accept us as perhaps another necessary evil in the dancing environment. There are many that have communicated that there are plenty of newsletters, web sites and even blog sites out there. Some have prior commitments with others like Twitter or Facebook. Some want a particular advantage for their club and we just help all those reader/dancers that will accept it.

"To do more for the world than the world does for you,
that is success."

Then many think they have done very well in the last forty years without our help. "Why do we need you now?" They can come up with quite a few reasons, valid or not and some can sound reasonable. But they do furnish information and pose readily for photos etc. So we must accept them for as long as we can share the information with our readers.

"I Am ... I Said" by Neil Diamond

Then there is the third kind. They definitely do not like this kind of thing. It is foreign to them and they make no pretense in liking it. They can communicate by very easily by ignoring us and sometimes the silence can be deafening. And I use it in making my decisions. If you choose to ignore me, may I in turn ignore you? It should be quite simple and understandable. No hu hu. I have lots to do and I must be on my way.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Oldsters

This blog has now existed not only as my personal blog but also for the fact that there are an awful lot of Latin dance aficionados without having to be Latin. For the prior blog, I couldn't find enough people interested in using the Spanish language and specializing in Latin music and dance.

 "Live for today, Dream for tomorrow and learn from Yesterday."

So now, a new purpose, to develop a more standardized form of the Latin dance taking into consideration the age differentials that are just naturally out there. Yes, we try to include everyone into "our" dancing but it doesn't work that easily.

We have at least three groups of dancers worldwide divided by ages. And for our particular group, we must strive to see that our dancers can easily dance the Latin dances to Latin music, with each other in a social environment, from Kaena Point to Makapuu Point and from Barber's Point to Turtle Bay, the island where we live.

"Green Eyes" by Jimmy Dorsey

In the more civilized countries, it is 60 and over, which are the "Oldsters," the social security and the retired - a natural division. On this island this growing number of very good experienced dancers still consider themselves "not old." And yet needless to say they are not interested in learning that new acrobatic step pattern where you throw the lady over your shoulder. For some of us that are still dancing in our eighties we also consider them quite young.

"La Media Luz" by Julio Iglesias

These oldsters are very good in dancing the recreational style of social dance that we dance on this Island A style in search of the right terminology. Once the Internationals have established their kuleana, and the Night Clubbers establish theirs, then this great group of us that have been eliminated will be able to move as a more cohesive unit. It's coming.

Pub's Side Note: "Of the dancers, by the dancers and for the dancers" All the dancers? Of course not, they do not all want to be involved and we must respect.

Japan is Dancing

LET'S DANCE: Young and Old Take to the Floor

Japan is enjoying its biggest dance boom ever. The twist and go-go of the 1950s and 1960s and the discos and clubs of the 1970s and 1980s were exclusively the preserve of young people, but this time, men and women of all ages are getting up on their feet and dancing.

"The choice to have a great attitude is something nobody
or no circumstance can ever take from you."
Sparked by a Movie
Credit for igniting this boom probably goes to the popular 1996 Japanese movie Shall We Dance?, which depicts how an ordinary middle-aged man is gradually drawn into the world of dance after first visiting a ballroom dance studio to meet the beautiful instructor he had seen through the window. Thanks to this box-office hit, not only those of the protagonist's generation but also young people have taken to ballroom dancing, and the number of studios and competitors have dramatically increased. The film helped bring dance closer to the general public.

Ballroom dance, (including American Style) has become more prominent on television, too. Competitions are sometimes aired on TV, and one program follows the trials and tribulations of a band of comedians who have seriously taken up the activity. Parents even enroll their children in ballroom dance classes now.

"Strawberry Fields Forever" by the Beatles

Ballet is also highly popular. Tamiyo Kusakari, one of Japan's leading prima ballerinas, leapt to stardom after appearing in the above-mentioned Shall We Dance? in the role of the young and attractive dance instructor. Performances by Tetsuya Kumakawa, until recently a principal male dancer at Britain's Royal Ballet, have been attracting attention from far and wide. And major ballet companies are coming in droves to perform in Japan. Those touring the country in 1999 include the Paris Opera Ballet, Pina Bausch with the Wuppertal Dance Theatre, and the American Ballet Theater.

Dancing the Recession Away
Many women in their twenties and thirties are even going beyond what they see as rigidly stylized genres to freer and more passionate forms, such as flamenco and tango; studios offering lessons in them are fully booked everywhere.

It has been found that Japanese people, unlikely as it may seem, can possess an impressive amount of "Latin energy." Nearly 1,000 people flocked to a Brazilian concert held in Shibuya (a central neighborhood in Tokyo), for example, and danced to the spirited rhythm of the guitar and percussion. Almost any event related to Latin music, such as dance shows and bandonion (South American accordion) concerts, can expect a good turnout.

The appearance this spring of a children's song set to a tango rhythm, "Dango Sankyodai" (Three Dumpling Brothers), has further fueled the Latin fever. First appearing on an NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) children's program in January 1999, the song was released as a CD single in March and subsequently took the country by storm--so much so that it became one of the best-selling singles ever in Japan.

Without going out for lessons, people can still enjoy dancing with computer games, available both in arcades and on game machines at home. Children and adults across Japan are grooving to the music, stepping out in the directions indicated by arrows that appear on the screen one after another. The fewer mistakes you make and the more accurately you stay on rhythm, the higher your score will be in those games.

The widespread dance boom is partially due to people's recognition that dancing benefits their health. There are also some experts who profess that Latin music and dance become popular during times of economic recession, because the cheerful rhythm clears away the dark clouds hanging over people's minds at such times.

Blogger's Law No 23B: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

San Francisco Tragedy

An out-of-service Bay Area Rapid Transit train struck and killed two workers on a section of track northeast of San Francisco on Saturday afternoon, (October 19) the transit authority said. The employees were making track inspections near the Walnut Creek station, BART said in a statement. One was an employee and the other a contractor. Their names were not immediately released.

"The truth shall set you free."

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the two workers who've just been killed on the BART tracks," BART General Manager Grace Crunican said. She said the accident is under investigation. Paul Oversier, BART's head of operations, told reporters that the two workers were looking into a possible slight dip in the rail when they were hit.

The four-car train was on a routine maintenance run with an experienced operator at the controls, but at the time of the incident, it was being run in automatic mode under computer control, BART said. The cars were being moved back to a train yard after having been cleaned of graffiti, Oversier said. There were a number of other personnel on the train at the time, but officials have not had an opportunity to speak with them, Oversier said. All train cabs are equipped with video cameras.
Victims were experienced employees, BART says
The victims had extensive experience working around moving trains, the transit authority said. The procedures involved in track maintenance require one employee to inspect the track and the other employee to act as a lookout for any oncoming traffic, it said. They were supposed to stay clear of the track and be able to clear the operating area within 15 seconds of a train reaching them, Oversier said.

Pub's Side Note: We cannot do what one person tells us to do. But we can certainly hear what many of you say and then we must move accordingly.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The three divisions

In most everything we categorize into three levels just to facilitate the understanding of the entire enchilada. We have small, medium and large. Not difficult. We have tall, short and medium sized. We have skinny, fat and regular. The same thing happens in our dance environment.

"It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Keep on and do all you can with it,
and make it the life you want to live."

And we can slice this boloney in many different ways. How about young, old and in the middle. The young have from ages ago distinguished themselves as under 30. They have picked that division and most of us concur. The old used to be over 60 and now it is over 70. We have structured divisions by the disciplines - Bronze, Silver and Gold, and not many argue with that.

What has happened and had been overdue was the separation by styles of dance. And the first ones to make that distinction were the Internationals. In the beginning they merely said it was "correct" according to their style, but in the 90s, they omitted the qualification and the implication was there. If you are not dancing it "correctly", then by default you were dancing incorrectly. I have heard many advised by their teachers to refrain from dancing with those that to not adhere to their methods. "You can pick up some bad habits." And I have been convinced that it is true.

We can all live with that, but then the back lash first occurred in the night clubs. They resented the superior attitudes and decided that their way, much less structured, was the only way to dance, without all these requirements to dance competitively. They accepted publicly the American Style of Dance. However, they lumped all those that were not night clubbers in one division, "Ballroom." Then when the internationals seized the name "Ballroom" for themselves, that clinched it for all those that did not consider themselves "International."

That left the remainder, us in the dance environment on Oahu, and which are more dancers than the other two combined. For sure we are all descendants of American Style of Dance. It has been taught on this Island for 90 years. And as people are likely to do, there have been many offshoots from what was taught in Ballroom Dance Studios. How many remember the "Double Blues?"  One of the best I have ever seen.

"Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones

Now that we are beginning to understand the entire enchilada, we will eventually settle down to an accepted terminology for our type of recreational dance. We need it, those of us in the various dance clubs on this Island learning the American Style of Dance and dancing socially in our dance environment. We are a very unique group.

Wot's Doin'?

Blogging isn't a short-term trend - it is here to stay. The evolution of blogging has spawned in Hawaii and many are latching on. The simplicity and ability to post frequently are what attract most to the concept, the reader/dancers feel up to date. In our dance environment we expect much faster adoption and mainstream penetration than blogging in general. We are ready and waiting for you.

"When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives
a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that person is crazy."

In this century, our dance groups are getting bigger and more diversified. People are getting more independent and want to dance their way. Our group is the biggest and still based on the American Style of Dance. We certainly are fortunate to have so many good teachers of the American Style on this Island. And some dancers have noticed that there may be differences in the teaching.

"Green Eyes" by Jimmy Dorsey

This, of course, is what our type of dancers are looking for. The change of teachers becomes imperative, and perhaps HBDA does the best job of having rotating instructors. The students can take their pick as to how they want to dance. And as long as the movement is easily led, it will be danced.

Many of the students learn basic moves such as the rock step that is used in about 5000 dances. Or the chassé which is used in about 10000 dances. Don't ask me where I got the numbers, all I know is that there are a whole slew of them and no one has a patent on anyone of these beautiful basic dance moves.

"Save The Last Dance For Me" by Englebert Humperdinck

Famous John Pritchett cartoon.

Most of these very good instructors learned the teaching methods which evolved from the last century and the new type of dancer is evolving somewhat different from the newer results to teaching just basic moves. Most are very good at teaching the left turn (for the man) but not very much interested in teaching the right turn. They are very good at teaching the cross body lead (but only in certain dances) and they almost never teach the reverse cross body lead. And so on for at least 50 other moves.

For sure, our dancing is becoming more interesting as we find more enjoyment in the diversification of using the basic moves. We can leave the LAGS to the real ballroom dancers.

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time,
but you can not fool all the people all of the time." ~ Abraham Lincoln


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Samba in the Philippines

Everyone in La Carlota can Samba by Ayvi Nicolas

If you hear faint drum beating in the distance, that is the call of La Carlota. Around this time (MAY), the Drum beating City of beauty and Dance of the Philippines celebrates the Pasalamat Festival and it isn't a surprise if the samba beat is being felt by the whole country right now.

"Brasil" by Placido Domingo

During the Pasalamat Thanksgiving Festival, La Carlota is transformed into one beating heart with the rhythm of the drums of its many tribes, the samba steps on its crowded streets and the united vision and dreams of its people.

La Carlota City is roughly 45 kilometers or approximately an hour's drive from Bacolod City. It's sweet success is largely attributed to its sugar cane plantations. In fact, La Carlota is among the major sugar bowls of the country.

La Carlota has a long, illustrious history from its early settlers to its more recent political and cultural figures. Among them is Nonoy Jalondoni Jr., a major political figure and celebrated percussionist. He was the man who started what can be one of the most original fiestas in the Philippines.

Meant to be a show of gratitude for an abundant harvest, the Pasalamat Festival started as a lone drummer's call to unite his people. From a simple public performance on a makeshift stage in front of the City Hall, Nonoy Jalandoni Jr.'s gift of music to his beloved city became its greatest expression of gratitude to the Giver of ALL Things.

First of all, the Pasalamat Festival is a thanks-giving to God but it is also La Carlota's grand festival of talents. One of the most coveted achievements during the festival is the grand prize in the Bahandi ni Nonoy Jalandoni Rhythm Competition. Tribus, or drumbeaters of every barangay both young and old, congregate at the heart of the city with their carabao-skin drums, congas and cowbells to face off and be recognized as the true culture bearers of the Drumbeating City.

"Siboney" by Rene Touzet

The most important day of the Pasalamat Festival is May 1. The morning kicks off with a Grand Parade of floats, street dancers, drumbeaters and beauty queens. After that the entire city gathers at the plaza for the Street dancing Competition and the Pawasak. Garbed in elaborate and colorful costumes, dancers of the Tribus of La Carlota face off in a display of skill, creativity and unity.

The Pawasak, on the other hand, is the merriest moment during the festival. Music and drum beating would seem to go on forever and the dancing on the streets would seem to shake the entire Island of Negros. La Carlota's Pasalamat Festival is the true Mardi Gras celebration in the Philippines and if you plan to join the amazing people of La Carlota, paint your face, wear a colorful costume and get ready to samba. During the Pasalamat Festival, everyone's moves to the rhythm of the La Carloteño drum.

Last year, La Carloteños celebrated the Silver Anniversary of the Pasalamat Thanksgiving Festival through an elaborate showcase of its drum-beaters, dancers, homegrown talents, beauty queens, and sportsmen. But more than individual achievements, the festival was a grand display of the La Carloteño passion and creativity.

Such an original festivity could only spring from a singular experience, one which the entire city shares. And that experience is the joy of music and dancing.

"God never puts a person in a space too small to grow in."


Friday, October 18, 2013

Entire Blogosphere

The total hits for "our" blogosphere has been going up from a low of 250 at the beginning of the month to 288 average hits per day which is still quite amazing. Almost 9000 hits per month. Of course I am going for ten. I have deleted, Facebook and Friend Feed. I need information going the Hawaiian Islands and not so much International. I still have Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. And then I discovered that I could move to the music and I was elevated to much greater heights."

In town, the Creative Researchers And Producers have been gradually receding into the distance. They seem to realize it but it is really too late. They made their bed now they must sleep in it. So many good smart people newly arriving to join the dance community. They will make the difference and we will get the Two-Centers or the Guest Authors. They will evolve it into real Social Media.

Highly recommended is to be a Two-Center, willing to contribute your two cents for the benefit of all our reader/dancers. And you are completely in control. You email the information once a week, once a month or once a year. Your decision. From there all the others are just a skip and a jump and always your decision.

"Some of these days" by Sophie Tucker

Because I didn't know anything about blogging I have experimented with many types of content and SEO help in getting hits. This was overdone, we are not selling bananas. They didn’t do much for me and just wasted my time to finding it out. The content remains pretty much the same, however, I have come to the conclusion that to build up an extensive reader/dancing public is to evolve the blog into Social Media and that requires different opinions.

Pub's Side Note: "In Hawaii, dance blogs are enabling hundreds of dancers to express their opinions with reduced political risk simply because of the sheer number of like-minded opinions online. Facing these independent voices, the old clique machine starts to crumble."