Sunday, January 31, 2016

La Milonga

I still find traces of history that insinuate thst Tango was a dance from Europe and Africa. Wrong, wrong, wrong. There is a painting of Negros dancing, that has a date, 1832 and a title that says, "El Tango De Los Negros." Of course, they do not go any further than that. You want some truth, you must go further.

"For dancers, doubt is the incentive to truth and inquiry will lead the way."

There was a native dance (Milonga) that evolved from the ancient Inca civilization, which was a cat dance, mainly to a drum beat, in which you had several walking steps (catlike) and a pounce, and danced by men only. This dance had been developed by the professional dancers of the Inca over many years. Throughout the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s.It spread out to Chile, Argentina and Uruguay and  kept the name and it stayed in the lower classes,

"Old Devil Moon" by Jimmy Borges

Milonga was gradually acquired by the very poor mestizos living near the big city brothels of these countries. And it began to infiltrate into Gaucho country out in the Pampas. Gaucho means "of an unknown father" in the Quechua ethnic Indian language. Most were of mixed parentage, Indian and European and not easily accepted everywhere.

In the 1800s, the Andalusian Tango (which had nothing to do with present day tango) was introduced to the high class people of Argentina by Spanish teachers. The only Negros that saw this dance were the servants at the dances. They learned well and taught it to their fellow Negros. That was the painting that can be seen even today, the Andalasion Tango danced by Negros. But the Milonga was being danced elsewhere by native ethnic groups.

"You Don't Know Me" by Bruddah Iz.

"A Case of Beer" by Don Ho

The Milonga did not get the name changed to Tango until the 1890s and it was decided upon by higher class teachers and musicians, because Milonga had a rowdy reputation. But even for one hundred years after, the "New Tango" has carried around the name Milonga along the way. Because it is not the Andalusian Tango, that became obsolete many years ago.

True:  Beginning dancers prefer to take "intermediate" level classes. - Intermediate dancers prefer to take "advanced" level classes. -
Advanced dancers take private lessons to work on their basics.

Friday, January 29, 2016


This blog seems to be suffering from definition. It did well enough when there were few blogs but the difficulty began when I started to diversify the readership by having too many blogs. But what did I know? Now, from the information contributors we get little but some idea. It is mainly Honolulu and with some neighbor island dance information.

"Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many people know a great
deal, and yet are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great as a knowing fool,
but to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom."

Blogging Hawaii and Dancing Nights are going at it nip and tuck for the upper 20s, in average hits per day. One of them will go over into the 30s next month. And the magic goal is 33 average hits per day which is 1000 hits per month and really not bad for a local dance blog. Most web and blog sites in Hawaii have single digit average hits per day. In our blogosphere, the information contributors will make the difference.

Meanwhile, we are still learning and getting whatever we can in blogging. The last report focused on the abundance of media and how our reader/dancers can access this wealth of information with as little as a click of a mouse, but it didn’t actually call for any drastic recommendations. It did note that traditional media institutes are struggling and that high-quality journalism was hard to find, even in this age of abundance. However, consumers now have a choice, which was something that was strictly limited before.

In Hawaii, our journalism community has been shrinking and will continue to shrink. Some of us will help where we can. The use of computers will increase and the bad forecast is for more crooks on the Web. But our blogging community will increase, specially those blogs with a diverse and current content. Concentrate on one club and you're dead.

"Social Dancing should not be a technique but a way of expression to music that
comes more closely to the inner language of people than any other."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

La Epoca, the documentary

From Ray Pacheco, Chcago

"La Epoca" is a major success in comparison to ALL other documentaries and documentary-films and all other films EVER done on Latin music and the New York Palladium. There have been good efforts made but mostly in quest of income.

"In our dance world, in a time of universal deceit -
telling the truth may be a revolutionary act."

So far, little news on Live Music on Oahu.

There are ONLY 2 other films that have plenty of following - those films are "Buena Vista Social Club," which is a documentary-film. Buenta Vista is a fine film and has its value, however, we find that it only focuses on a small group of musicians and does little to provide history. Which is nice and we could have more of the same kind with all of Latin America.

"Moliendo Cafe" por Azucar Moreno

"Frenesi" by Linda Ronstadt.

The other movie is called "Mambo Kings." But, do you know what's so funny about that? Many of the legends, from the Palladium-era, who we've spoken to, have all made it absolutely clear that Mambo Kings did no justice for Latin-American roots and rhythms and dance - and that it "watered it down." Yes, it was pleasantly showy.

"Sin Sentimientos" por el Grupo Niche

"La Epoca - The Palladium Era" incorporates BOTH Palladium-era Latin music AND dance AND IN ADDITION to this, it incorporates the Palladium-era musicians AND the dancers - so this movie has got it all covered. With it, we go back to the origins - the roots and follow it up to present day. Now that Salsa has peaked and Bachata is making its way in. Anyone interested?

 “Music may work all day long and then at night
we can get it together and dance.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


The dance blogosphere in Hawaii is developing very nicely. I mean all the blogs, not just ours. The increased recognition for what they can do for the public relations of any group in our dance community is evident. Not everyone has counters on their sites but those that do, have seen the hits increase regularly.

A stanza from the song "My Way"
And now, the end is near; And so I face the final curtain.
My friends, I'll say it clear, I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.
I've lived a life that's full. I've traveled each and every highway;
And more, much more than this, I did it my way.

This year is giving us the big question. In all this, how will social media in Hawaii continue to evolve? This is exactly what others on the mainland have sought out to do for the past year. When the effort began it seemed to lean heavily in the direction of saving journalism, namely, struggling media enterprises such as newspapers, but no more.

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

Web and Blog sites are being recognized as an increasing form of social media. People in all walks of life on Oahu are using it for communication to the masses. And Blog sites are heavily favored for being very current in the information they have to share.

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Bruddah Iz

In 2010, the FTC released its “Potential Policy Recommendations to Support the Reinvention of Journalism,” which was received with much criticism. Since then, the FTC has not been involved with the effort. The FCC, however, recently released its own “Future of Media” report called “The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age.” Nice, but it doesn't interest me.

"Dear Hearts And Gentle People" by Bing Crosby

Speaking about the report, Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow with the Technology Policy Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, said the report was a “welcome relief, it shied away from the more extreme types of proposals that we had heard some academics put out there in the past." As far as we are concerned, Blogs are it, just check out Richie Fun in Dancing Nights blog. Dat's da kine.

“Dancing can be creating a nice sculpture that is visible only for the moment.”

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Loving Salsa from Ness in New York

If you do, I'm pretty sure that: A) it was back at some live concert. B) It was performed by an older band or some group you never heard off. C) It was done back in the 80s. I remember many Ray Barretto albums where the average track was 6:00 minutes long. They were filled with spontaneous, moñas, descargas or improvisations.

“We should never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.”

Like Barretto, there were many other artists that showcased the same musical ingenuity and still created and preserved their own musical identity. There was Ismael Quintana, Justo Betancourt, Cheo Feliciano, Adalberto Santiago, Hector Lavoe, Ismael Rivera many others that did their own thing filled with energy and soul, without sounding like each other.

"Yes Ness we know all that - what's the point?"

Well the point is the following - As good as all of these guys were and still are, no one is buying their albums! People both young and old would much rather buy a Marc Anthony, Jerry Rivera, India, Rey Ruiz etc, etc, etc than let us say Willie Rosario, Joe Cuba, Sonora Ponceña or even the mighty Gran Combo. I hear it all the time in record shops, people of all ages claim that today's music is crap compared to what 80s had to offer, meanwhile cds of youthful artists are in their arms and hands. I saw it with my own eyes during the two days festivities of the latest Salsa Festival in The Madison Square Garden.

"Soy Como Soy" por Tierra Seca

The first concert featured: Eddie Palmieri with Ismael Quintana on vocals, Johnny Pacheco with Pete "Conde" Rodriguez, Hector Casanova, El Gran Combo, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, The King and Queen of Mambo and maybe some other guys. With a line up like this you would figure that, all of us who claim "to love" yesterdays music would've showed up in droves right! Wrong!!! The MSG was not even 80 percent full!!! I am sure that Ralph Mercado made his money, but I am also sure that he won't gamble like that again.

"Conciencia" por Gilberto Santa Rosa

Meanwhile, the concert that featured Johnny Rivera, Rey Ruiz, Tito Nieves, India, Marc Anthony Marc Anthony bring the MSG down the next day. etc, etc was packed. Matter of fact It was sold out a month before they performed where as the old timers struggled in sales!!! Where were the so called 80s salsa lovers? Where were they? I know where, they were watching the new guys breaking records at MSG.

Ah, those were the days.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Philippines?

By Seth Mydans: published over ten years ago.

What was former Senator Rene Saguisag doing on the dance floor at the Inter-Continental Hotel, twirling a woman who is not his wife through the rapid paces of a tango?  ''It's exquisite!'' exclaimed the former Senator, once the chief spokesman for Corazon C. Aquino in her improbable rise to the presidency. ''It's good, clean fun and we have lost a lot of weight.''

"A dancer may be someone who has figured out that taking a step backward
after taking a step forward isn't a disaster, it's more like a cha-cha-cha."

His wife, Dulce, like him in her 50's, was not far away, gliding across the floor with a man half her age -- another addict of a craze for ballroom dancing that is sweeping through Asia.

"Dahil Sa Yo" by Rogelio de la Rosa

''My wife loves me a million more times when I take her out dancing,'' Mr. Saguisag said. ''But we rarely dance with each other; we both have excellent dance instructors. My wife is born to dance. Wow!''

"Besame Mucho" by Luis Miguel

No one seems sure just how the current ballroom dancing fad got started, but in the last decade it has adapted itself around the region, taking on the colorations of different national cultures and including everything from the tango to the swing.

"Todo Todo" by Daniela Romo

But nowhere is ballroom dancing bigger than in the Philippines, where ''people power'' and coup attempts are things of the past. Morning, afternoon and evening, in discos, living rooms and stadiums, Filipinos are dancing. They gather under the palm trees in Luneta Park when the born-again Christians are not holding a rally. Can this keep going on?

“Get up and dance, get up and smile, get up and drink to the days that are gone in the shortest while.”

The end of the second world war brought along new hope. New attitudes for a better future were reflected in the dances. Many local music bands rose to popularity as they played the modern Western Music during the past decade, ballroom dancing has seen a strong almost unexplainable following among Filipinos.

"Forever’s Not Enough" by Sarah Geronimo

Practically everyone dances social ballroom dance based on the American Style of dance. Many dancers gained prominence through their suave style and complicated footwork. By the 90s, many rich matronas had made the ballroom their regular hangout. Many of them were chaperoned by their Dance Instructors, fine young men who also shared with them the finer pleasures of dancing. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016


The Famous Side Step by Chito Jimenez, Waimanalo.

Eight thousand years ago, give or take a thousand, the side step was developed by professionals in the Mexican civilizations. Many of those Indians went into the Caribbean. It was danced by anyone, to whatever beat was there. Merengue was first mentioned around the middle of the 19th century and the modern Merengue came from a traditional folk dance that originated in the Dominican Republic and were brought to the U.S. by Dominican musicians in the early 1900s.

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see
is a perspective, not the truth."

Merengue is a type of music and dance which has become one of the most popular genres throughout Latin America and major cities in the United States. In the United States it was first popularized by New York-based groups and bandleaders like Rafael Petiton Guzman, beginning in the 1930s, and Angel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño in the 1950s. These days, Merengue has been influenced by Hip Hop, R&B and Bachata specially on Oahu.

The basic dance step (similar to marching) is quite simple in Merengue. Dancers keep their knees slightly bent and feet in contact with the floor throughout. It's a wonderful dance for beginners and a great way to practice the Cuban motion (hip motion). Merengue is in 2/4 time (1-2-1-2), which gives a marching feel to it. It is lighthearted, festive, casual, social and if you can exaggerate your hip motion a little, you're in.

"Perhaps we should try to dress less classy and dance less cheesy."\

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Latin Beat

Maybe the Shadow knows, but not many others. What is Latin music and dance? Most of us can agree that it is very diverse and easy to go into the specialty class. Salsa and Tango are prime examples. Most of us on Oahu accept the variety available and we like Latin Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Merengue, Samba and Tango. These in American Style, are the standard for social dances and preferred by most social dancers which includes the night clubbers.

"But what is happiness except the simple harmony between people and the life they lead?"

Our blogs are gradually adjusting themselves in the amount of average hits per day. This blog was at one time getting close to Town Dancer but not doing so well at the moment. The information contributors on Oahu will make the difference. We are down to seven blogs and I expect that to be about right. Strangely enough the total hits keep going up even with just SOS.

"I Only Have Eyes For You" by Art Garfunkel

As always, there will be those that are not interested in participating in our endeavors and they will be respectfully excluded. Some are doing very well in Hawaii and that is good for the reader/dancers. They will make the ultimate decision of opting out. No hu hu, because we will have a lot of ground to cover without them.

"Everybody Loves A Lover" by Doris Day 

As most of our reader/dancers know by now, our mantra for all the blogs has been "Of the dancers, for the dancers and by the dancers." But of course this does not include all the dancers, we have allowed them to make the final decision, and silence is great communication.

"Most dancers have found that dance, music, and literature is how they made sense of the world."

Monday, January 18, 2016


By Nestor Rodrigues, New York

Almost 20 years have passed by since the birth of romantic salsa (salsa romantica/erotica) and ever since its conception, salsa has not been the same. Because there are those who say that "today's salsa is too boring" and others that say that "yesterday's salsa is too old", salsa is as controversial as the politics of Washington D.C and The World.

"Truth may be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one may be true."

It all started in the late 80s when (believe it or not) salsa was losing ground in commercial radio airplay to other rhythms, mainly ballads/pop and merengue (notice I said commercial radio play). Regardless of that, salsa was still played in all Latin clubs. From there, a huge amount of hits were spawned. However as big as most of those hits were, none of them became the benchmark of success that Periodico De Ayer", "Agua De Clavelito", "Catalina La O", "Usted Abuso" and "Pedro Navaja" were in the 70s.

"No Es El Momento" por Patricia Gamero

In order to stop this downward spiral; salsa artists, arrangers, and producers picked up on an idea already thought off and executed by the late Louie Ramirez long before Luis Enrique and Eddie Santiago thought of going into salsa. The idea was to arrange and perform popular standard ballads in a salsa rhythm. To make a long story short, the format was an instant success. Radio thought that salsa was tamed and refined enough for radio, and therefore decided to play more of it. As a result this generated more hits and more stars. Unfortunately, today we are faced with the possibility of losing what in the eyes of many is considered good music.

"Quando Quieras, Dejame" por Pandora

It all boils down to this, everyone including today's young generation knows that yesterdays salsa is 100 times better than today's salsa. Many of us have the recordings to prove it. When was the last time you heard a piano solo that was truly a piano solo and not a 15 seconds tease of what is just basic accompaniment without the horns section? When did you last hear a timbal, conga or bongo do a solo that went beyond the 1 minute mark, leaving your body shaking with goose bumps? Where were you when you last heard an extraordinary brass or woodwind solo that left you saying "damn he's got to be the best trumpet, trombone, or sax player in the whole world"? The answer is: You can't remember.

"Cariñito Azucarado" por Angelica Vale

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dancing in the Orient

Apparently there is growing interest in the Western Pacific area from Australia and all the way to Siberia.  It has been there for a couple centuries but only now is it expanding so rapidly. The influence of Europe and the Americas has done much to help.

"In our dance world, every truth may have two sides; it is as well to look at both,
before we commit ourselves to either."

In China, people can be seen hopping from their bicycles on the way to work to do a few dance turns among early-morning practitioners of tai chi in Beijing parks and on the Shanghai Bund. The China Daily recently suggested that dance classes could be a healthy way to channel the interests of young people away from premarital sex.

"Vaya Con Dios" by Les Paul and Mary Ford

Millions dance in Japan, where ballroom dancing has been regimented into a 12-tier ranking system. Many were inspired by "Shall We Dance?" a sentimental Japanese movie about a drab office worker who finds meaning for his life on the dance floor. Much has been done by the government to increase the interest of the potential dancers.

"Fire And Rain" by James Taylor"

Dancing comes with dim sum at Ocean City Restaurant in Hong Kong and draws celebrities to Paul Bishop's Academy of Dance. The only bad there is the tremendous diversity in styles. They even dance American Tango, Argentine Tango and International Tango. All three can dilute the interest in lovers of Tango music.

In Thailand the venue is Lumpini Park in Bangkok, where there is already talk of Olympic medals at the Games in 2020, where ballroom dancing may be a new event. And Rumba and Cha Cha Cha is very prominent.

And in Singapore, the authorities have added ballroom dancing to wine tasting and tennis as an appropriate activity for Government-run matchmaking clubs. The Latin Music and Dance has invaded very nicely.

Of course, the Island of Oahu is getting more interest in all the social dances and there will be more dance clubs in the West and on the North Shore.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Latin Women Singers

The best singers in Latin America have almost always been men since the time when the first illegal aliens arrived in America.  But in the latter part of the last century women have really come into their own. And the entire world has welcome them.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."

María Lucila Beltrán Ruiz (7 March 1932 – 24 March 1996), more commonly known as Lola Beltrán, was a Mexican recording artist, actress, and television presenter. In her native town of Rosario Sinaloa, Beltrán completed secretarial studies while she participated in singing competitions

"La Malaguena and Paloma Negra" by Lola Beltran

She then moved to Mexico City, never to return to Rosario, working as a secretary at Mexico's number-one radio station, XEW, where she was professionally discovered by radio announcer Raul Mendivil. She was married to matador and film actor Alfredo Leal and had two children with him: a daughter, singer María Elena Leal, and son José Leal

She entered the world of film in 1954 in El Tesoro de la Muerte. After appearing in dozens of films, most of them musicals, she obtained a starring role in the telenovela Mi rival with Saby Kamalich. From 1976 to 1984 she also hosted the musical shows Noches Tapatías and El Estudio de Lola Beltrán respectively.

Beltrán is still considered one of the most successful ranchera artists of all time.She was the first ranchera singer to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), the premier opera house and concert hall in Mexico. She also sang in the Olympia Music Hall in Paris, the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and the Conservatory of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) in the former Soviet Union.

"Que Bonito Amor and Amaneci En Tus Brazos" by Lola Beltran

Beltrán was honored in 1995 with her inclusion into a series of commemorative postage stamps, issued by her native Mexico, honoring 'Popular Idols of Radio'. This was done in recognition of her lifetime achievement in the realm of popular music and her success in spreading an appreciation of Mexican culture throughout the world.

“You can be European or South American or what have you, but the functions
of the body and the awareness of the music and the body results in dance
and you become a dancer, not just a human being. ”

The famous Selena and Thalia, Mexican Singers
Selena. Winner of four Grammy Awards, Selena was also one of the 10 best Mexican singers, with a career that rose in the 1990’s. One of her most famous songs is "Dreaming of You," featured in the movie "Selena" which featured her life story.

Thalia. She is an artist that is not just known for her vocals, but also for her acting. She is known as "the queen of soap opera," having starred in several of them such as "Marimar" and "Rosalinda" which were shown worldwide. One of her best-selling albums is "Amor a la Mexicana."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Nordic Tango, Part two

The Finnish Tango went to Sweden, Norway, the Baltics and even to Northwest Russia. Each one changed at least one move and added another. The central themes of Finnish tango lyrics were love, sorrow, nature and the countryside. Many tangos expressed a longing for the old homestead, or a distant land of happiness. The changing seasons of Finnish nature are frequently used metaphors: and spring breaks the hold of past mistakes.

"Many dancers think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration.
But time goes by and what is true is revealed, and what is a lie fades away."

"Mi Buenos Aires Querido" by Placido Domingo

Many critics see (Fairy Tale Land) “Satumaa” as a prototype of the Finnish tango. Satumaa is about a distant land across the wide ocean, where beautiful flowers bloom forever. But only birds can fly to the land of happiness; the wingless man must remain chained to the soil and that is life. I will have another drink to that.

"La Comparsita" by Julio Iglesias

It has become more standardize into something else and now referred to as the Nordic Tango. It is now going into Poland and Germany and may go into all Europe. Especially that they have believed in translating from the beautiful Spanish lyrics more accurately. There is a popular saying in Argentina that states, “In Argentina, everything may change - except for the Tango.“ Not true, of course. Especially because we humans are not clones.

"Dancing can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music,
and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Cha Cha Cha

There are several variations of the origin and it is a dance style that originated in Cuba. The most natural evolution was that it came from the slow Mambo. There was a little extra time in the slow step to stick a chassé instead because of the music. This rhythm was developed from the danzón-mambo. The name of the dance seems to derive from the shuffling sound of the dancers' feet. It became popular in the U.S. in the 50s. Cha-Cha is also a competitive Latin dance style in both American and International ballroom dance competitions.

"By doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth."

Music: Cha-Cha is danced in 4/4 time like the Mambo. It is often counted as "1-2-3-cha-cha"  but the chassé may occur in other counts too. This dance style can be danced to authentic Cuban music as well as Latin Pop and Latin Rock.  With untricate footwork, sharp action, quick spins, flashy, staccato music, it is the berries in Latin Dance.

"Bailamos" por Enrique Iglesias

Steps: The basic consists of a rock step and a chassé step, which is a triple step pattern that goes step-together-step. The chassé step in Cha-Cha makes the dance look more intricate, sharp and stylish. Similar to other Latin dances, in Cha-Cha, dancers keep their feet close to the floor and let their hips move freely throughout.

"Quiero Mi Cha Cha Cha by Rene Touzet

A smash hit in /Cuba, it went to Mexico City and from there throughout the world. Social dancers  do not try to dance better than anyone else. They only try to dance better than their selves."