Saturday, September 30, 2017

West Coast Swing

Simply because it evolved in the Western part of the US, it acquired the name Western Swing prior to WWII. "West Coast swing" as a synonym for "Western swing" appears in a 1961 dance book, and was used in an advertisement by Skippy Blair in 1962 but wasn't incorporated into mainstream swing circles until the late 1960s Western Swing did not lose it all until the late 70s. And West Coast Swing became a slotted dance.

"Beginners go to many concerts and listen to a lot of good music. They love the
experience, but they don't dance, they just jig up and down like everybody else."

The slot is an imaginary area, long and thin, eight or nine feet long if danced at a very slow Tempo, but shorter if the music is at a faster tempo. The follower travels back and forth in the slot dancing straight through the lead. The leader consistently moves a minimum amount (at mid-way point) to his sides, barely out of her way. She lightly brushes against him each time she passes him. Socially, it is considered good etiquette (particularly on a crowded floor) to use a fixed slot, in order to allow dancing without incident.

"Fly Me To The Moon" by Jimmy Borges

Received from Roscel Garcia

Having danced the slot repeatedly, the couple "has a claim" on the area, and other couples usually cooperate and establish their own slot parallel with the dancers. If the dance floor is not crowded and the couple is afforded more space, such as during a competitive event, the dancers may move the slot around the floor more liberally.

“Social Dancers know that there is a vitality, a life force, an energy,
that may translate into moving to music and because there is
only one of you in all time, this expression is unique."

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Still Defining

I do get around a little on my walker and with the help of the Handi Van. I am meeting more people with open minds on the definition of social dance. I don't know the answers but I listen. Many of the seasoned dancers in the West have their own ideas of social dance without the constraints of the big dance associations. Their own is forming from what is being danced at present in our dance environment. Sounds good to me. Waltz, Foxtrot, Rumba and Cha Cha Cha and Swing are the primary dances of the social classes. More? Of course.

"Social Dancers may not dance your dance or speak your language.
But they will try to help and be a blessing to somebody."

Secondary are the Mambo, Samba, Hustle, NC 2 step and Tango. There are terrific disk jockeys in the West playing these including Salsa and Bachata. If a new "social dance club" is constructed it would be a natural to begin with these and include them in the class schedules. Ballroom dancers are sticklers for music that's appropriate for each different type of dance. And Line dancing on Oahu is becoming part and parcel of our social dance scene.

"Here's To Life" by Jimmy Borges

Note that classifications are often subjective, they are still in process. Some songs lend themselves to more than one kind of step (for example, cha cha and triple swing.) Line dancing is practiced and learned in country-western dance bars, social clubs, dance clubs and ballrooms worldwide. It avoids the problem of imbalance of male/female partners that plagues ballroom/swing/salsa dancing clubs/ And Line dancing has even reached Europe and Asia. Just gotta get a few more good men and make the dance floor look better.

"Social Dancers know that it isn't hard to find injustice in our dance circles,
but we must not let injustice smear the good deeds that do occur everyday."

Monday, September 25, 2017

Line Dancing

Yes, many people think line dancing began just recently. They have no idea that it may have been danced in Mexico and/or in the Caucasus some time after agriculture evolved. (ten millenniums ago?) The absence of a physical connection between dancers is, however, a distinguishing feature of most line dances in comparison with partner dancing. And it has had its pros and cons along the way. Many early line dances in the 70s and 80s were adaptations of disco line dances.

"Social dancers make mistakes, life doesn't come with detailed instructions.
They still try to dance the best they can."

Billy Ray Cyrus' 1992 hit "Achy Breaky Heart" helped catapult western line dancing into the mainstream public consciousness. In this mid 1990s period country western music was influenced by the popularity of line dancing. Line dancing was fun for everyone and it didn't require a partner. It was great exercise, increased stamina and it was cheap. Line dance in Hawaii is now part and parcel of traditional ballroom dance to non country music and it fits in very nicely in any night club dancing program.

From the song "Electric Boogie" by Marcia Griffiths and Bunny Wailer

Though it is still going through an ebb and flow cycle. The 18 step variation of the Electric Slide went viral in 1989 and for ten years was listed by Line dancer Magazine as the number one dance in the world. It is still the most used on Oahu because everyone can join in, no fancy dudes needed. Line dancers dance to most styles of music: country as well as modern pop and Latin just to name a few. And the extra attraction that more than a few men have discovered, is learning to dance and move to all the music that is danced to in night clubs and the social scene. From there, it is a hop, skip and a jump into partner dancing.

"It doesn’t matter to someone who is not well versed on the concept of blogging,
it’s just a new, easy way for a person to publish content on the internet
and that’s all you need to know."

Friday, September 22, 2017

Makua Alii Dancers

Not too bad a day, my depression very low though I am still living in a prison of my own making. I am desperately trying to find another place - any place. I lived in Paradise for ten years when I live in Nanakuli, subsidized housing for Seniors. Today I decided not to get the Handi Van and instead got the #53 bus at 5:12 pm going to Town and I got to Ala Moana Shopping Center by six.

"Social Dancers know that it may be a physical and mental workout. Once you
get your body moving to your music, you'll feel a difference.

Stopped by Walmart and bought a camera to give to the right person one of these days. The right person that can help me get some photos when I visit the club and make a social dance blog. For all practical purposes, the camera is theirs, but all ask for is a little help now and then. I can flesh the rest of the blog with text. And I am working on getting some help on that too.

"Heart Aching Blues" by Willie K

The session began with Tad's nice music floating over the dance floor. And the dance class began with Tad and Kathy, instructors in Mambo at 7 pm for just a half hour. Then the entire gang with Electric Slide and dancing began. Not too many people, as it happens often, not enough men. You get five more men and you will get six or seven women, Perhaps the dance news in our blogs will help. Got to work on that and perhaps we can get a larger happier group.

"Social Dancers know that people who dance often are likely to have
a higher esteem and a more positive outlook on life."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dance Appeal Studio

Received some nice photos from Marie. I made a collage and took the opportunity to make this into Marie's blog. Hopefully, I can get some additional opinions from Paul, Sergio and/or Renna,  This is social media, anybody is welcomed.

From Marie's Notes:
The notables. Lutong Filipino...the Mighty Chefs fit for Malacanang - On the Jeepney to da Fiesta - Da Fiesta Band - Fil Padilla on Ukelele, and vocals by Elvie Pascacio & Patrick Norman - The Prince of Malacanang, Sergio Villanueva in an elegant Barong Tagalog. - Dance Appeal's Keiki true Fiesta style - The "Lovebirds," Amy & Neal Okamoto, warming up the floor.

I still insist that for the social dancer this the best possible of all venues. Halfway between a Night Club that has a small dance floor and a Ballroom which is all dance floor. You sit on chairs around a table, drink and talk story in your group. Greet others as they are coming in or just passing by. And if you wanna dance, the good music is playing and the awesome dance floor is there, just waiting for you. Dine and Dance, this is it. And they are already getting a reputation for solid grinds. They open at six and kau kau is at seven and the dance floor is jumping by eight. So you still have almost 2 hours of listening to good music, dancing and talking story with good friends. Enjoy yourselves.

Great idea Pepe. This is what Paul & I have to say:
"If you think sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven't danced in the rain,
and you certainly haven't danced at Dance Appeal."  ~Marie

Friday, September 15, 2017

Arrogant? Snob?

Fortunately we have little of this problem among social dancers on Oahu but it may be different in the upper echelons of "Ballroom Dancing." It can be very hard to stay calm when you meet an arrogant dancer. Their “I’ve got this” and “I’m awesome” mentality can be grating for partners. Very often, arrogant dancers get confused with dance snobs but the two are different. Whereas snobs are consumed by how crappy everyone else is, arrogant dancers are generally preoccupied with how great they are.

"Social Dancers believe that life is better when you dance."

The dance snob tends to focus on where everyone else sucks. They may roll their eyes at beginners, accuse others of not working hard enough, and more. Their focus is on how no one is good enough for them. In contrast, the arrogant dancer tends to be most occupied with their own reputation. They desire to look good, feel good, and be good. There’s also a desire to mask any flaws or weaknesses, and present themselves as the ‘perfect’ dancer.

"Tiny Bubbles" by Don Ho

The dance snob may blame all mistakes in a workshop on their partner. The arrogant dancer will pretend that they made a mistake simply because they weren’t paying attention. But, the focus that arrogant dancers place on their own perfection sometimes hints at a possible hidden fear. For all their posturing, many ‘arrogant’ dancers are incredibly scared of being imperfect. It can be a crippling source of anxiety. Behind the ‘perfect’ facade, many arrogant dancers suffer from the same anxiety problems as dancers with low self confidence.

"Social Dancers believe that too much ego may kill your natural talent."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


By John Fuentes, Kalihi
When the first illegals arrived in the Caribbean, the natives had similar dances all over. The names were all different, so that sailors that went from Island to Island were the ones that tied the different dances together. The centers for the new dances and music evolved in the seaports. When mentioning the dance someone would mention another name and the answer was always the same, "Por ese Rumbo." In that direction or neighborhood, Da Kine.

"Social Dancers believe that you can be creative in anything -
in music or in painting or in dance."

La Danza (the dance) is a feminine name in Spanish and the name change occurred just naturally to "La Rumba." It was applied to many different dances much as Salsa was originally applied to many dances. Now Salsa is only one, the fast, modern type mambo style. But then the original "Rumba" was danced at about mambo speeds. This morphed into a new Spanish word "rumbear" which means to party, have a good time.

"Adoro" por Graciela Susana

And the dance was generally regarded as the bottom of the pile, danced by the Indians, some blacks and the lower class Europeans in seaports. The names changes were prominent according to the language spoken on the island. English to Calypso and French to Beguine. Almost all of the dances had the rock step and a slow step. And from this very bottom of social life, within two centuries, (by 1700s) Rumba began to emerge into more. It went into the countrysides where most of the people lived.

"Fly Me To The Moon" by Jimmy Borges

Pub's Side Note: I wish to publicly thank Frank for his nice write up in his blog "The Dance Connection." Actually he started blogging before my time, and I thought it was pretty nice and I learned much from him. He also has another, "That's Dancing" and both blogs have much dance information not available to me. Check them out.

"Social Dancers think that to dance is to be out of themselves. This is power
and glory on earth and it is theirs for the taking."

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bobby Gonzales

Come and Dance with Bobby!
Salsa Seminar: September 11th, 2017 = 7:30 PM - 8:15 PM
Limited Spaces Available for Coachings
September 11th & September 12th

Call 808-944-0606 for available time slots.
Please Come Join Us in Meeting Bobby Gonzales here at our Honolulu Studio

Hope to see you there!
Salsa Seminar Class: $40 - Coaching with Bobby: $185

"There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance. Or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers flourish."


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Line dancing and Round

By Mary Chung, Pupukea
Line dancing has a quieter sister called round dancing, and the guys kind of like her more. The two differ in one key way. In ballroom dancing, the male dancer makes up a routine as he goes and conveys it to his partner, but in round dancing, a "cuer" is the lead, reading the steps, or cues, aloud with the music. The steps are choreographed by the cuer and are designed to move the couples slowly in a circle – hence the name round dancing. It's so much easier for men when some one else decides.

"Life is better when you dance."

Some couples have tried ballroom dancing classes a few years back but still felt like idiots for not being able to dance at weddings. But ballroom dancing just left them convinced that there was something in their DNA that made them unable to pick up the dance as quickly as others. Some men, just couldn't handle trying to choose the next step and trying to convey it to their partner, without words, all at once. Some women have described their experiences with ballroom dancing as "boring," because they'd have to plan in advance what step to do.

"The Tennessee Waltz" by Patti Page

Many couples stumbled upon round dancing at square-dancing events that feature breaks with round dancing. They love it and it has been more appealing than square dancing, because a mistake by one pair in the latter messes up the whole group. In round dancing, a couple can make mistakes without affecting other dancers. So it has been concurred that round dancing is easier for the men. The men still lead, but it's easier and the women can aggressively follow. Women usually wear skirts or slacks, and men wear long sleeves. Outfits tend to get fancier as skill rises, with advanced dancers often in tuxedos and dresses.

“Social Dancers learn some and think some and sing and
dance and play every day some.”