Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance The Filipino Tango

Curiosity got the most of me this week. Got the word that Dance Aliamanu was gonna teach the Filipino Tango at their main hangout...Aliamanu Elementary School. Heard so much about this dance in Pepe's blogs that I had to see first hand what this dance was all about. And like a bad cat, I got Lani to join me in this venture for a new experience. The drive from Hawaii Kai was long but traffic was moving very good for a Tuesday week night. Some how it seemed a lot longer now than when we use to travel the same route many years back when we were teaching dancing at neighboring Aliamanu Middle School for HBDA. Anyway, when we arrived at the school, Richard Nieto and Elsie McGrew were teaching the Rumba to a nice crowd of beginning level dancers. They covered three patterns on this first lesson night. Richard's wife Cora was handling the music. (Photo; Elsie, Richard, and Cora)

During the short recess, Lani and I got to meet Andy and Monica Pascua who were going to teach the Filipino Tango. Of course, Andy and Monica are no strangers to us since we both were former dance instructors for HBDA.

Okay, getting to the meat of it. Filipino Tango is not anything like your International style or American style Tango patterns. Tonight, Andy and Monica taught several patterns which were at first difficult but with continuous practice we were dancing the first block of patterns to the moderate tempo Tango music. I gotta say that Andy and Monica were very patient and kept on demonstrating this first block till we got it. As he put it to the students..we're there to learn. Okay, my description of the dance for this first lesson. The dance hold is the same as the American style Tango. It has many hand changes like the Salsa, there are some movements like in the Rumba and other Latin dances, and the ladies spot turns and underarm turns adds a great deal of spice to the dance. Just from tonight's lesson, I can see some elements of a showcase type dancing in the Filipino Tango. Very showy and may become a big hit in social dancing. More on the Filipino Tango come next week. (Photo: Monica and Andy)

Friday, October 23, 2009

The 4th Week of October That Was

I know! I know! I've been laying low for a while! Hope you all enjoyed reading the terrific blogs by Geoffrey, Calvin, Maile, June, and da Specter.
Okay, Students of Dance, I haven't been idle, though. On Monday my Cha Cha and Swing Jitterbug class resumed after a 3 week stretch of breaks. Lani and I did an extensive review of all the patterns taught prior on both dances. Wasn't too bad in getting the students back to the level they left three weeks ago. Got to squeeze in the SIDE PASS and CUDDLE in the Swing, and the CHA CHA CHASE before calling it a night.

Come Tuesday, Lani and I headed for Dance Aliamanu to pick up some tickets for their 1st Anniversary & Charity Ball from Maurice. The American Ballroom Line Dance was in session with Kevin and Margaret Yee instructing. Good number of students. Got to meet and chat with Maurice's main squeeze Gilda. Friendly and gracious lady. The second class Argentina Tango with instructors Robert and Vanelle Hirayasu started after a short break. Simple patterns but a good introduction to this style of Tango and the intricate patterns to follow.

Wednesday was a big day for Lani and me. Rummage Sale at the Kokohead Seniors Club in the morning and teaching Foxtrot and Tango in the evening. The Rummage Sale got off to a good start with nearly every member bringing in a lot of "white elephants". Only thing they were mostly girly guy stuffs. Lani had this wild idea to spice up the "Sale". She asked me to be like a "gigolo". You with the ladies for 50 cents a song. And dance I did with several ladies...Swing, Cha Cha, Tango, Waltz, and Rumba. Low budget but it was fun. All proceeds went to the Seniors Club along with whatever the Rummage Sale brought in.

Evening came and it was time to head to Kaiser CSA for our Foxtrot and Tango class. Lani suggested that we teach the new steps first and then go back to reviewing the ones we taught previously. The students were all in favor of it. So we got to introduce the RIGHT TURNS pattern in the Foxtrot. Then reviewed all the previous patterns in sequence. We did the same for the Tango by teaching the LA PUERTA (photo: starting count 5 & 6) and then going back to reviewing the previous Tango patterns. It was humid but the students kept plugging along on both dances. Lani and I think they liked the new format.
That's a wrap for this week. Keep on dancing!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Taste of Dance Honolulu

Aloha Students of Dance,
The Fall Recess is finally over and Lani and I are back on the dance circuit. Yesterday was a holiday for most Federal workers but the CSA was closed because of Teacher Institute Day for the DOE. So there was no Monday night dance class for us Special Interest Teachers, too. But we'll be back tomorrow (Wednesday) night at Kaiser CSA for our Social Foxtrot and Tango classes.

All was not a lost Monday though. Lani and I cruised down to DANCE HONOLULU, an offshoot of DANCE ALIAMANU, last night. Actually, our trip was to pick up the tickets for the Dance Aliamanu 1st Anniversary & Charity Ball. As we walked into the Washington Middle School cafeteria, Lynn and Richard (Mr. and Mrs. Quickstep) greeted us. It was good to see and chat with them again. Also, it was nice to see dance teacher Gayle Kawahakui there too. Had a small chat with her. Got to meet Maurice Morita, the main man who organized Dance Aliamanu, Dance Kaneohe, and Dance Honolulu with the help of his faithful followers...akamai kind of guy.
Also got to reacquaint with former HBDA dance instructors, Richard and Cora, who we befriended when Lani and I were teaching for HBDA.

The class was in session with the NightClub Two Step, taught by Cullen and Cheryl Chong. You can spark that they are good dance teachers because the students were having fun learning to dance the Two Step. I had a nice talk with Lynn about Cullen and Cheryl. She had high praises of their ability to teach dancing. I hope to hear more about them for future blogs.

As Lani and I were leaving, Lynn and Richard introduced to us Miss Hawaii 2002 Kehaulani Christian who will be performing in the Celebrities/VIPs Showcase at the Anniversary Ball. (see photo with Lynn and Richard). By the way, Richard and Lynn are teaching Mambo this session.

October 2009 Events @The Palladium

More happenings goin' on at the Palladium this month. Sorry for the delay in posting this sched but no hu-hu, there's still a lot of dancing goin' on till the end of October.
(Left click mouse on graphic to zoom in. Right click mouse to print).

A Worthy Cause by Dance Aliamanu

Aloha Students of Dance,
I received the following e-mail from Lynn Nakamura announcing the Dance Aliamanu 1st Anniversary & Charity Ball. From the info I got from her, it's going to be a BLAST with guest VIPs and a lot of general dancing. Anyway read on and decide real quick if you plan to attend this event. You can contact Lynn at her cell phone number or Gayle at for tickets.

Hi All,
If you are available on Friday, January 15, 2010, please come and support this event. A portion of the ticket price will be donated to the schools where we hold our dance classes.
If you or your friends want to attend this function, please let me know right away to reserve the tickets.
It'll be a really fun event and for those who like to dance, there will be a lot of time for dancing. See the attachment.

We'll have celebrities/vips like Melveen Leed, Aureana Tseu - Miss Hawaii USA 2009, Liana Green-Wright (Mrs. Hawaii 2009), Kim Anderson - Pookela Award Winner and Lead in West Side Story, Michele Choy - Narcissus Pageant & Coronation Coordinator, and a couple of vip men (maybe). We're still working on the men.
Please pass this information on to friends and family. I believe we've already sold over 200 tickets and our maximum is 400 tickets. We just started selling the tickets 2 weeks ago and plan to have all tickets sold before the end of November. Tickets are on a first come basis, so don't miss out, give me call asap if you want to reserve your tickets.
cell 372-2256

(Left click mouse on graphic to zoom in)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Getting Old Is Like Riding A Bicycle.......

Aloha Students of Dance.
This past Wednesday, Lani shared her knowledge of Tai Chi and Yoga physical exercises with the Seniors at the Kokohead Seniors Club. She started with the importance of proper breathing..inhaling all the way down to the abdomen and exhaling by numbers. Then came the Yoga stretching exercises involving the head, neck, arms, body, legs, and feet. Most of the Seniors followed the exercises standing while a few followed sitting in their chairs.

After the Tai Chi and Yoga physical execises, Lani taught the Seniors the Macarena line dance. It was an invigorating morning for the Seniors and they showed their appreciation for the two physical activities. Hopefully they will continue to keep on "peddling so they don't fall". Growing old is one thing and getting old is another.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Flicker Flashback To The Year 1996

Aloha Students of Dance. I hope you didn't hop on the space shuttle back to 2009 yet. Okay by now you gotta know that I'm a Trekkie, with all this space travel talk. Yeah! it use to be "All I really need to know I learned from watching Star Trek."

But now it's Star Gate SG-1. But "Star Gater" doesn't sound as appealing as Trekkie. Just like the Palladium is a very good place to go ballroom dancing but for Exhibition or Competition Dancing, the old gal doesn't have that strong appeal quality. Just like the way Geoffrey Fells mentioned many a times in his blogs. So stick around for a while and imagine the times and thrills when HBDA hosted all the "Balls" at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Feel the excitement and the difference?

Anyway, I was scanning through my archive of videos and sparked the 37th Anniversary Ball that HBDA hosted at the Sheraton. I had forgotten that Lani and I were on the program showcasing the Bolero that Albert Franz choreographed for us. (Talk about Senior Moments. Auwe!).

There were a lot of group routines performed by various chapters and they were good ones for the level of dancers. There were big name performers who danced solo exhibitions. Ed and Matilda Felix were flawless dancing the International Waltz. Lester and Henrietta Muramoto dancing a beautiful upscaled smooth International Foxtrot.

And for the finale, Dance Director Ben and Faith Agbayani had the audience in a frenzy as they burned the floor with an entertaining Eastern Swing. Lani and I felt honored performing among polished dancers that brought entertainment and showmanship for the audience to enjoy that night.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Dancing In The Islands Part 2 Flashback

Okay, students of dance, hop on my time machine and we're headed for the early 1990s. Competition Dancing and Exhibition Dancing were telecasted only on KHET at the time. Previously, the other TV stations featured Arthur Murray Dancers and Harry Kanada's Dancers. But they were more of learning how to dance programs instead of competitive or exhibition.

Anyway, back in the early 90's, KHET decided to feature a followup on the first Dancing In The Islands. The TV station wanted to feature Professional Dancers, Pro-Am Dancers, and Amateur Dancers on the program. How the selection was made, I really don't know.

Lani and I had just completed a one week dance performance with 24 other couples at the University of Hawaii 25th Anniversary. Our names came up to be the Amateur Dancers. Carmelo Baysa and partner (sorry her name escapes me) were selected to be the Pro-Am Dancers, and Albert Franz and Cindy Mead were the Professional Dancers.

The late Big Band Leader Del Courtney and his Orchestra was a big boost to the show. So were our dance teachers Carmelo Baysa and Judy Allen of the University of Hawaii Department of Theater Arts. Albert Franz and Cindy Mead were an even bigger boost as they danced several smooth dances with elegance. (Three years later, Albert Franz choreographed the Bolero for Lani and me.)
Dancing In The Islands Part 2 aired on KHET as the TV station's Spectrum Series. It was an energizing point for Lani and me to continue to perform in other dance showcases.