Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Changing Of The Guards

Not really like the military big hoopaloo but just to keep you boys and girls in the loop. The maestro, Pepe, who created this popular DnD blogsite has decided to abdicate and turn over the reigns to me as sole Administrator. So DnD is back to Square One and the hit counter has been reset to numero uno. Hopefully, Pepe will reconsider to remain as Guest Author before bowing out completely at the end of this month. As of now, the light at the end of the tunnel is dim because he has four other blogsites to maintain plus the publishing of the DWO mini-zine which keeps him very busy. We shall see when the time comes.

If you haven't logged in to Town Dancer, please do so. Calvin Ota has shared his views and photos of the Hawaii Gardenia Circle Ball. He'll whisk you into the behind-the-scene makings of a successful dance program and Gayle's tremendous effort to keep the whole event running smoothly. Calvin's akamai articles on dancing make for good reading whether the event is here in the Islands or abroad. You might want to check it out and see for yourself. I did!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ending The Week at The Hawaii Gardenia Circle Anniversary Ball

Being American style social ballroom and Latin dancers, Lani and I weren't sure what to expect going to an International style dance club function. We've gone to other clubs' functions of this sort before and came away less than satisfied because although the smooth dancing music played was there, the full range of Latin dancing was lacking. I can understand that because most International style dance clubs do not teach Mambo, Salsa, Merengue, and Bolero, or West Coast Swing. But tonight, the music man was Henry Lee and he played the best all-around dance music for smooth and Latin dancing. Even including Hustle. Now how can any dancers sit throughout each upbeat music unless they ran out of gas?

Lani and I got to the Palladium a little after 7. We met Reggie Gascon and Gayle Kawahakui who greeted us on the stairway and thanked us for coming to their dance. Met Edith, an old friend from our IBDC days at the door. Our presale tickets were waiting for us at the reception desk. Met some acquaintances from our HBDA days and Al Franz, who taught us the Bolero many moons ago, as Lani and I got on the dance floor for the Rumba. The International Rumba music has a slow tempo, too slow for dancing the American style Rumba, so Lani and I danced the Bolero.....and the Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, Waltz, (up tempo) Rumba, and the Merengue. We had to pace ourselves because we did a lot of non-stop dancing the night before at the Rockin' 50's Concert. However, I did participate in the Horseshoe ice breaker dance because they were short of men. Other friends...Richard and Lynn Nakamura, Tom and Bunny Yoneyama, Teruko and her partner (his name escapes me for the moment) stopped by to say hello. Jessie from the musical Gonzales Combo and his partner Nona sat with us.

Refreshments at the intermission was onolicious seasoned noodles with two good size pork hash, and hot beverage, juice, or water. Just enough to satisfy any senior age dancer. Got to have a conversation with Lester and Henrietta Muramoto before going back to dancing.

Now for the show part. There were two exhibition dancing and the mock competition featured dancers showing their skills in the five standard dances. (Hopefully, Calvin Ota will share his views and photos of the dancers in Town Dancer). They were all topnotch dancers...everyone of them...but one couple stood out among the other competitors because they brought showcase entertainment that wowed the audience along with their skillful dancing. Found out their names are Sergio and Renna and with the loud applauses they got, we should be seeing more of Sergio and Renna in the near future. (see photo)

We chatted with Joe Martel a little before leaving the Palladium. Hope you got your ice cubes, Pepe! Anyway, it turned out to be a fun week for Lani and me...Shooting Stars at the Diamond Head Theater, dancing at the Rockin' 50's Concert, and lastly finding a new venue for dancing and entertainment at the Hawaii Gardenia Circle events.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Revisitin' Rockin' & Rollin' In Da 50's

Last night (Friday), Lani and I were invited to the Rockin' 50's Concert at the Hawaii Convention Center by our good old-time friends Calvin and Linda Lee. The concert was at the conclusion of the "Commemorate 50 Years of Statehood" convention. The concert was in the 3rd floor ballroom and BOY! was it filled when all four of us got there. We found seats way on the side and a little far from the stage but our luck held out because we were very near to one of the two dance floors. Lucky for us 'cause we (and a large number of dancers) got to burn the floor with some of the rhythmic music of the Rock & Roll era.

Okay! What did a 50 bucks per person admission get us in return? Special beverages (brought in from Chicago especially for this event), hard booze and fine wines, Primo Beer, hot dog in Buns (with condiments), assorted candies, pop corn, peanuts, bottled water, and yes many mahalos from the HCC staff and Tom Moffet, who organized the show. But hold on. I'm just building up to the main event.

When we got seated, The Coasters were performing on stage with their best 50's music. You know da kine music that makes you tap with your feet and then you want to just jump up, grab your partner and rock and roll on the dance floor. Some dancers did that without a partner but then that's how it was in the 50's. The Coasters were darn good and you could tell 'cause they got standing ovations after every rendition. They entertained the appreciative audience for 45 minutes.

Next up was The Platters, my friends Calvin and Linda's favorite. They are a smooth type music group. You know da kine slow dancing music where you hold your partner cheek to cheek. That's when Lani and I got on the dance floor to dance. There were a few songs which I could interpret as Cha Cha but most were slow dancing. Calvin and Linda like The Platters and their type of music so they were on the dance floor, too. The Platters were good 'cause they got the audience to sing along with them.

When The Drifters came on stage next, I was already feeling the effects of the small amount of fine wine and ready to light up my after-burners and jet off on every song they played.....Swing Jitterbug, Jive, The Twist, Rock & Roll, Cha Cha, and some had the flavor of the Merengue beat. Lani only had the soft drink but she had the burst of energy to match mine and more. Dat's what tantalizing music does to us. And NO! we did not dance the full 45 minutes (at least not me). Lani danced with Calvin the rest of the time.

It was a great and entertaining performance by three of the popular singing groups in the Rock & Roll era and we came away very satisfied with the Rockin' 50's Concert. Thank you, Linda and Calvin.

Friday, August 21, 2009

More on Shooting Stars

Please click on the link at right for TOWN DANCER.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hawaii's Got Talent!

Wow! what an evening of excellent performances by some of Hawaii's young talents at the Diamond Head Theater. Former dance students Ravi and Synthia invited Lani and me to take in the Broadway performance by the Shooting Stars 2009 this past Tuesday evening. Shooting Stars are comprised of young boys and girls (with the whole hearted support from their parents) who perform yearly but last night was the only one such performance.

The program opened with a Hula and Chant, followed by surmountable vocals and dancing...Tap, Jive, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Chorus Line. There were some cartoon scripts that kept the show humorous and moving. A big treat was having a couple of ShowKidz alumni belt out some tunes with their dynamic golden throat. Most of the dances were choreographed by professional dance teachers but a few were choreographed by the performers themselves. The show lasted a full two hours with a 15 minutes intermission between Act I and Act II.

Lani and I met and talked to some grandparents, parents and friends of the performers and they had high praises of the talents of the singers and dancers of the Shooting Stars program. Little people with dynamic singing range and dancers dancing in complete's no wonder the Diamond Head Theater was filled to capacity and the show was SRO.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teach Me Tonight Da Hot Cha Cha

The Foxtrot, the Tango, the Swing Jitterbug. All good to know dances whether you're doing some nightclub hopping, or cruising on the big big swimming pools we call oceans, or at the Palladium, or even at family get-togethers. I mean all kinds of get-togethers...birthdays, weddings, or backyard B-B-Q (the older Filipino generations in the plantation camps had dances at funerals, too). Talk about a happy sendoff.....but then that's another story for later.

Dancing the Cha Cha is one of Lani and my favorite Latin dances. The dance has a flavor so hot that you can actually inject your personality into it. You've seen the dancers do it on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, and now Dance Your Ass Off. HOW ABOUT YOU?

Here's a short spill on the Cha Cha from partner dancing. The Cha Cha is really a spinoff of the Mambo, which is itself a derivative of the Rumba. When the Mambo evolved from the Rumba in the 1940's, many Americans and Europeans vacationing in Havana had a hard time trying to dance to the racy tempo and off-beat rhythm. To accommodate the dancers, Latin-American bands slowed down the Mambo tempo from 50 to 30 bars per minute, but kept the triple Mambo staccato rhythm. In this slower version, the dances took two slow steps on the beat, followed by three steps in quick succession. Musicians would call out "cha-cha-cha" on the quickies. The heavy hip wiggles were modified to a subtle sway, and the whole affair became much more manageable for ballroom dancers. The Cha Cha has enjoyed popularity from the 1950's right up to the present. This dance shares patterns and styling with its cousins the Rumba and Mambo. The footwork is small, flat, and close to the floor, and the knees are relaxed and a little bent, allowing the hips to move freely, but without exaggeration. You may find this dance easier than the Mambo because you're dancing on the beat. (As I said earlier, the Cha Cha is a hot that you can feel free to innovate and create a few of your own Cha Cha patterns. As Mikey on TV said, "Try might like it!)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Ending The Week Dancing At The Elks

What a week that was the week of August 2nd. Got some spare time to go holo holo and check out some of the dance clubs in East Honolulu. Tuesday was a good time to catch "Parents Without Partners" Line Dancers at the Ward Warehouse Stage. Lani and I figured that bettah grab some Chinese chow while we watched the line dancers. Found a nice table east of the stage. Good view and the music and dancers were doing just fine following the instructors. As Pepe keep on mentioning..."not enough men". But not bad turnout for a Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning, I went to the Palladium to pick up the schedule for August. Couldn't find any on the clipboard. But a friendly guy who saw that I wanted one, got it for me. Appears that he has some kine of connection with the person who distributes the schedules. Anyway, I got lucky. While I was there, I looked in on the Kilauea Senior Dance Club. June, the dance instructor was teaching the International Samba to about eight couples and four men without partners. Now that's calling it "not enough ladies". Not a good time to interrupt a class in session.

Friday night, Lani and I got an invite to the pre-Grand Opening of Bishop Museum Hawaiian Hall. Big, big crowd but we managed to find a parking space and got in for the 7:30 showing. Yep! they had the big whale dancing high above the ceiling with some sharks, stingrays, some fishes that look about five feet long, a couple of giant turtles, and some albatross. Anyway it was an awesome sight wih a lot of rare Hawaiian artifacts. Gotta add that the light refreshments was onolicious.

Completing the week, Lani and I were invited to dance at the Elks Club in Waikiki by a new friend. Augie Rey and his combo was playing some hot tunes and the dance floor was crowded with rhythm dancers of all sorts. I thought I'd try Pepe's "nectar of the gods" (rum and coke) before getting on the dance floor. Wow! it was like rocket fuel....I couldn't stop dancing until Lani said, "you bettah cool off!" The music and vocals were sweet to the taste for any dancer. Lani got to dance the Cha Cha with Augie and I got to join Augie in starting the "Electric Slide".

Waltz, Foxtrot, a lot of Swing, Rumba, Cha Cha, Tango, Mambo Salsa, and even the energetic floor burner as the Electric Slide brought nearly every non-ballroom dancer on the floor.

Great night with a lot of fun dancing. Then it was 10PM and a good time to leave as I ran out of rocket fuel.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Put Some FUN In Your Life!

Okay, kids! (I say that without sounding like an Oldy but Goody). I've seen a lot of groovy dancing but Swing Dancing has gotta be da COOLEST! And so is Salsa Merengue! But everyone loves to dance the Swing be it Jitterbug, EastCoast Swing, Jive, or even WestCoast Swing. If you are the product of the 50's and Bee Bopping and Rock 'n' Rolling with your main squeeze was your favorite hottee pasttime, then check out what started the whole craze. So we gotta go way back before I was born or maybe you guys and ladies, too....Hmmmm!

When Charles Lindbergh flew solo over the Atlantic in 1927, people commemorated the event by naming all sorts of things after him, including a wild novelty and popular dance that was christened the "Lindy Hop". In the 30's, the steps were revised slighty to synchronize with Swing music played by the big bands. By the late 1930's, the Lindy became known as the "Swing", and everyone was struck with Swing fever. Across the country, each neighborhood had its own style of swinging. Teens particularly went Swing crazy, and some wilder spinoffs such as the Crazy Shag and the Jitterbug began to develop. (The Jitterbug is reported to have come out of Harlem in the 30's and embraces a wilder and more exhibitionlike style with some improvised steps). The "closed" and "break" positions with aerial lifts and jumps, and the furious footwork made the dancers resemble a bunch of "jittery bugs"; hence the name "Jitterbug". ......(excerpts from partner dances). Pau fo' now....

Friday, August 07, 2009

Tango... The Dance of Love and Hate

Tomorrow (Saturday 8/08/09) is the first day for registration at Kaiser CSA and Kaimuki CSA for the Fall 2009 Session. If you're thinking Tempestuous Tango, here's the spill from partner dances.

When the Tango was introduced from Buenos Aires at the end of the nineteenth century, it was considered exotic and suggestive. It didn't become a rage until it was modified and standardized so that it could be "respectably" danced in the casino ballrooms of the early 1900. By 1915, "Tango Clubs" had proliferated. Restaurants with dance floors had small Argentine Tango orchestras providing live accompaniment for the tea dancers in the "clubs". The original Tango underwent numerous changes over the years, and was finally standardized in its present form in the twenties.

Of all ballroom dances, this one is probably the most stylized, and dramatic. (It has love, hate, anger, dismay, strength, and passion). There's no bouncing around in the Tango; the steps are long, smooth, and sleek. with the feet kept close to the floor. Each dance phrase is punctuated by a pregnant, poised pause, and begins with a quick head jerk that adds to the dramatic style. You can't carry off the Tango with stooped posture, so straighten up, lift your head high, point your nose into the future, and think sleek.

Like the Foxy Trot, the rhythm patterns of the slows and quicks in the Tango may be varied, as long as the dance phrase ends on the eighth count.

As the saying goes..."It takes Two To Tango". Dat's why a partner is highly recommended for this dance of love and hate.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

DnD Blogsite Going, Going, Gone

Hey, everybody! Here's a headsup on the fate of Dancing In The Dark blogsite ( The Owner and Administrator of the long running popular blogsite has given a graveside date to put the DnD blogsite in its final resting place. So mark it on your calendar... after August 31 DnD will be no more. There are other blogsites where you can pick up some news of the dancing community in Hawaii and at lands beyond......Dance West Oahu, Dancing In The Islands, Dancing The Pacific Rim, Town Dancer, and my own American Social Ballroom & Latin Dancing.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

August Happenings @The Palladiun

Hey, guys and gals of Social Ballroom, Latin, and Swing Dancing. There's big goin'ons at the Palladium this month. Take you pick at any of the weekend events scheduled at this popular waterhole for dancers and go have some fun.
(left click mouse on graphic to zoom in)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Will Da Real Harry Fox Please Stand Up!

Okay, students of social ballroom dancing, it's about a month before we start with the Fox Trot lessons at the Ali'iolani CSA and Kaiser CSA. Good to know where Harry Fox fits in and how the Fox Trot came to be...just like goin' back to school fo' history 101. So here's the scoop as written in partner dances.

Stories about the origins of this dance center around the name Harry Fox. Some identify him as a Ziefeld Follies performer who, in a 1914 performance, introduced a kind of jerky, trotting sequence of steps to ragtime music. The public, captivated by his movements, began to perform them in popular ballrooms. Supposedly the original twelve energetic steps were drastically modified, slowed, and smoothed out over the next few years to the three-step and four-step versions we know today.

Other stories refer to Harry Fox as a bandleader in 1914 in New York, who modified ragtime music. The dancers responded by combining the One-Step and Two-Step and calling the mixture the Fox Trot.

Whatever the exact origin, the medium-to-slow version of the Fox Trot is still the perennial standby of ballroom dances. What we now call "slow dancing" is really the Fox Trot, a dance so simple that you, too, will be Hot To Trot!

The two most common rhythm patterns are the "one-slow-step" (not to be confused with the dance the "One-Step"), and the "two-slow-step" patterns. But now, I'm getting ahead of myself, so..............