WOWEE! What an entertaining event it was at the Latin Festival this past Friday. Lani and I brought some of our dance students to the Big Dance. It was the first time for all of them to dance at the Palladium. We could see in their eyes the excitement of seeing so many dancers on a large scale floor. The Exhibition Dancing and the Mock Competition thrilled them moreso. Did they get to social dance? YES they did! But I think I'm getting a little ahead on this blog. Lani and I got to the Palladium a little before 5PM but we weren't the only ones. There were other dancers waiting in the foyer while the showcase performers and competition dancers were practicing their routine inside the ballroom. Bento was served while we waited to enter the ballroom. Light but not bad for 8 bucks including admission...rice, chicken katsu, hot dog, a piece of daikon, and a mini Okinawan doughnut. Coffee, juice, and water was enough to quench the thirst. I gotta thank the kitchen crew for doing such a good job in distributing the bento and serving those delicious cookies as refreshment from Old Aala Bakery. (Sorry I didn't get a photo of them).
As we entered the ballroom, we were greeted by Ivan John (President), David Mayman (Vice President), Rose Loui (Treasurer), Gayle Kawahakui and Nancy Luckie (Directors) at the Reception Table.
Before I go any further, let me introduce to you some of the members of Hawaii Gardenia Circle that made this event an enjoyable one...the EmCee, the Event Organizer, and the DeeJay.
General Dancing continued from 5:30 to 7:45. Then there was a Horse Shoe Dance before the Exhibition Dancing part of the program. I gotta note here that some of the big names in professional ballroom dancing attended this affair..Geoffrey Fells (Lani and I had a small chat with him. Hope his right leg heals real soon), Christopher Bayot, and Albert Franz.
Richard and Lynn Nakamura opened the Exhibition Dancing with the International Quick Step. These two dancers from Dance Aliamanu always amaze Lani and me with their energy and quickness in their footwork. Running on high octane and they are always a crowd pleaser.
The Night Club Two Step followed immediately by Joshua Manzano and Jill Tengan from Dance Aliamanu. They are the youngest dance instructors for the club and are going places. Very nice showcase moves and technique and very enjoyable to watch.
Concluding this part of the Exhibition Dancing were Dr. Michael and Trudy Uechi who danced an impeccable International Waltz and Foxtrot Medley. Very disciplined posture and footwork as they flowed smoothly throughout the entire ballroom floor.
More General Dancing followed before the Mock Competition. The Mock Competiton consisted of the Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Mambo, Jive, and Paso Doble.
The Parade of Latin Festival competition dancers opened the program in style with introduction of the dancers by the EmCee.
Participating in the mock competition were Robert Schiff, Rosy Schiff, Patrick Stanley, Geraine Luna, Lyn Sodaria, Gene Peles, Karin Peles, Tom Collins, Hana Yin, Daniel Ng, Stephanie Yueg, Calvin Ota, Debra Ota, Joshua Manzano, Jill Tengan, Edwin Bugarin, Charlotte Bugain, Renna Villanueva, Gordon Wong, Sergio Villanueva, Jana Makasobe, Stacie Jo Stanley, and Rosy Thomas.
The Latin mock competition was the best I've seen at the Palladium. It was HOT! HOT! HOT! as the dancers sizzled with every dance. The costumes the contestants wore were striking and added color to the dances. Since Latin dancing is a spot dance and doesn't do much travelling (except maybe the Samba), Lani and I could only see the dancers at our end of the ballroom. Did the dancers dance with passion in the Rumba? Was there a fierce matador in the Paso Doble? Were the dancers enjoying the dance? Did they dance to entertain the audence? Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! We were fortunate to have some of Hawaii's most talented dancers display their ultimate skills in the Ballroom and Latin dancing for one evening. Hopefully these talented dancers will be invited to next year's Latin Festival. This was an evening of fine dancing and extraordinary entertainment organized by Hawaii Gardenia Circle. Bravo!