Saturday, July 31, 2010

La Plaza de Toros

Last night was another first time for Lani and me this week. First was the Cupola on Tuesday and now this Friday it was the Honolulu Academy of Arts. We were invited as guests of Susan Tejada, the Academy's Donor Database Manager.

Driving from Hawaii Kai to the Academy was smooth going but parking was at a premium along Beretania St. and along Victoria. Our best bet was to head for the parking lot on Kinau St. It was packed but fortunately my copilot Lani spotted an empty space. The walk wasn't too bad except for a lot of cars zooming by on busy Kinau and the gust of wind did kinda mess up Lani's hair a bit. Luckily, the wind blown hair style is in vogue.

The first friendly face we met as we entered the Academy's grounds was Security Officer Terry. He was beaming with a smile when Lani approached him. He looked a little serious when he saw me and I was thinking he might be asking if I was an undocumented immigrant...after all tonight was La Plaza de Toros...a Latin affair. And can a guy with a Spanish surname get pass the Immigration Law? Okay all kidding aside...Terry is a nice guy.

People were still coming in and the crowd was getting thicker by the minute. There were several BEER and WINE Bars situated at convenient locations throughout the Academy except in the galleries where no refreshments of any kind was allowed.

The DeeJay was spinning mostly Salsa music but no one dared to burn the dance floor yet. We were all waiting for the program with dance exhibitions to start. BTW, there were two areas with DeeJays spinning the crowd's preferred taste of music. Lani and I were in the front lawn like open air amphitheater where DeeJay Curtis "Slant" Hokama played all Latin music...Salsa, Cha Cha, Merengue, Samba, and Rumba. In the back of the Academy was for those who opt for Rocking "To The Rock" music.

The program got underway with a Flamenco dance exhibition, followed by a Bolero, a Paso Doble, and Salsa. There were other dances which were Latin but I couldn't put a finger on the names.

Greg The Salsaman was a standout with his beautiful partner scorching the dance floor with the Salsa (sorry I didn't get her name). Their showcase of Salsa dancing was hot, hot, hot!

The night was still young and Greg gathered a lot of young people on the dance floor to teach them the Merengue....a lot of nice and easy steps to dance. Then came the music and everyone was happily partner dancing the Merengue.

Greg had more mini-lessons in store and next came the "one-two-three-tap" which is the count of the new craze "The Bachata". The guyz and galz were loving it but it was time for me to join Lani and my godbrother Larry and his friend Leona.

The dance floor was about 10' by 10' and a bit crowded but Lani and I were able to squeeze in the Cha Cha and later the Merengue.

We got to meet several dancers we knew and several who said that they were our dance students at the CSAs from sometime back. It was just nice that they came up to us and greeted us.

The place was SRO and still rocking with Latin music in the front and hard rock in the back of the Academy when Lani and I decided to call it a good night and head for home. Our host Susan was very busy coordinating the program but Lani and I got to track her down and bid her adios and mucho gracias for the invite and for making La Plaza de Toros an exciting event for us and everyone who attended.
(Left click on photo to zoom in)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


There's a Dinner and Dance Fundraiser next week Friday (8/6) at the Pacific Beach Hotel for BANTAY BATA. "Bantay Bata is one of the most recognized child protection and welfare organization that provides comprehensive and integrated programs for the benefit of the needy children in the Philippines".
The following is an e-mail that I received from Paul and Marie Laderta that explains the purpose of this worthy fundraiser. Read on........

Bantay Bata Dinner Dance & Fundraiser (Friday, August 6th)

Mark your calendars everyone and get your tickets if you haven't already gotten them!
It's that time of the year again when Jesse and Buffy Gonzales, the family band who plays at the Hale Koa, hosts the Bantay Bata dinner dance fundraiser at the Pacific Beach Hotel Grand Ballroom, on Friday, August 6th! Tickets are $55 each.

The Bantay Bata Hawaii Chapter is comprised of Jesse and Buffy Gonzales, Paz and Raffy Ignacio, and Nita Rozmeski. Although Paul (Bunny) & I are not members, for the past 4 years, because of its worthy cause, we have volunteered to help our friends Buffy and Jesse with this fundraiser.

Once again, as in the past, the August 6th dinner dance at Pacific Beach promises to be an evening of fellowship and dancing, an opportunity to contribute to the protection and welfare of those children in the Philippines who need help the most!

There will be dance exhibitions, general dancing and dinner. Doors will open at 6pm, with the dinner and program to begin at 7pm. Tickets may be purchased from any of the following people:
Buffy Gonzales: 284-2395
Paz Ignacio: 428-3308
Marie Laderta: 222-3721

And now a little history of "Bantay Bata" in case you're wondering what the heck it means. I am told by my most reliable experts in the Filipino language that the words "Bantay Bata" literally means "Child Watch" or the guarding or watching over of children. These words cover it all!

Bantay Bata is one of the most recognized child protection and welfare organization that provides comprehensive and integrated programs for the benefit of the needy children in the Philippines. Its mission is to "create and provide a safe, nurturing and loving environment where children can develop and realize their full potential." (Quoting from their website). The Bantay Bata program began in 1997 on Valentine's Day as a "gift of love" to the Filipino children. What originally began as a hotline and rescue operation has over the years evolved into a holistic system of therapy, care and preventive programs. The programs give emphasis to such family services as training and advocacy against child abuse, rehabilitation of families in crisis, and includes educational scholarships, community outreach, medical & dental missions.

So come join us on August 6th as we Dance for the love of the Children!

Marie & Paul Laderta

Going Dancing In August?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Social Dancing @The Cupola

Last night was Lani and my first stab dancing at the Cupola in the Honolulu Design Center. We were invited as guest of Paul and Marie Laderta who were our gracious host. Marie greeted us with open arms as we entered the spacious Cupola ballroom...a very friendly feeling and a very nice place to hold social events.

It was Divino Ritmo Dance Studio's last Tuesday social event for this month organized by Professional Instructors Lucas Jaime and Yanna Samkova. We finally got to meet them face to face and they are friendly and easy to talk to.

A lot of Latin and Swing rhythm filled the air and they were so enticing that we couldn't resist joining the large crowd of dancers on the floor. If you ever had the chance to dance to the music and vocals by the Gonzales, you know you've danced to the renditions with one of the best vocal duos on Oahu. But tonight Jesse went solo and he was rich with the best arrangements we've heard in a long time. Jesse played the electronic keyboard, operated the synthesizer, and handled the vocals. At times, friends of the Gonzales jumped in to entertain....Baby Handl did some crooning of her own accompanied by Jesse, and a big surprise when Yanna picked up the guitar and started to strum. No sound from the guitar but you got to appreciate her gyration as she mimic like Elvis. That brought cheers and applauses. There were some side entertainments also with Leo Tomas dancing some sensuous movements with Gloria Padasdao....all for fun.

To keep the action going, Yanna called everyone to the dance floor for a mini-lesson on the International Cha Cha step by went real good partner dancing with music.
But it wasn't all partner dancing last night...Jesse turned on a Mambo tune and a large portion of the crowd got turned on to the Mambo line dance.

Lani and I met several dancers besides our hosts..."Uncle" Westley and Sandra, Mike and Lorrie, Leo and Gloria, Baby Handl, Ed and Ceci (who were seated on our table), Ed and Charlotte, Jackson and June, and Debra, a Black Pool competition dancer who I had the pleasure of dancing with.

It was also good feeling dancing with our host Marie who is an ardent showcase dancer with husband Paul.

By this time the white wine, French fries, and quesadillas courtesy of Paul and Marie had reached its peak and my body heat was on high. 10 PM rolled by and it was a good time as any to leave the Cupola and bid our hosts and friends "adios muchachos" and hit the highway back home. It was an extremely fun night with some impromptu entertainments and social dancing.
(left click on photo to zoom in)

Divino Ritmo Dance Studio hosts social dancing at the Cupola the last Tuesday of each month 7-10 PM.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

International Style @Washington Middle School

No dance class at Ali'iolani CSA last night. When Lani and I got to Ali'iolani, the cafeteria was occupied by a political meeting. AUWE! It was crunch time trying to reach all our students with the late notice. Anyway, I think I reached everyone who gave me their phone number. To those I couldn't reach because of out of state numbers or decided to go incognito, my apology if I didn't reach you. But no HUHU! There's a make up class next Monday (8/2)...same time, same place.

Lani and I had a free time, so we decided to visit Dance Honolulu at Washington Middle. Our students Ron and Mariane had the same idea. Reggie Gascon and Gayle Kawahakui of Dance Hawaii were teaching the International Rumba to about twenty students. Reggie was very precise in instructing the movements and Gayle complemented his every move. Lani and I stayed just for a little while but it was enough time to witness a whole lot of the excellent teaching techniques of Reggie and Gayle.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ballroom Dancing @CSA Fall 2010 Session

Aloha Students of Dance,
The Fall Session for Ballroom Dancing at Kaimuki CSA and Kaiser CSA will start in September. Lani and I have decided to offer four dances for each site. If you plan to enroll in any of the classes, please ask the registra at the CSA for a copy of the Course Description. It will give you the list of names for the dance patterns to be taught for each dance at that CSA.

Lani and I will also be teaching Social Waltz and Mambo for Dance Hawaii Kai at Koko Head Elementary School cafeteria starting on Tuesday August 3. Membership to parent organization Dance Hawaii is $5.00 and $10.00 for dance lessons which will run for 8 weeks. Please contact Maurice, Dance Hawaii Prez, at Cell 808-225-0326 for more info.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Where's Nick?

It's been nearly a year since Nick had his last dance class at Liholiho CSA. Caught up with him performing at the Ranch House on Kapahulu Avenue this past Thursday. He decided to leave teaching Ballroom Dancing and pursue his love for singing. He has performed at other gigs for weddings, birthdays, and other clubs. Nick will be performing again at the Ranch House with friend Roy next Thursday at 7PM.

Following closely in Nick's path is his daughter Madisyn who dances for the Iolani School Dance Team. Her age group had taken first place in the dance competition held in Florida this past Spring. She is now taking voice lessons to improve her singing voice. Like Father like Daughter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dance Hawaii Furlough Friday 2

Well, Furlough Friday 2 hosted by Dance Hawaii at Radford HS sure rolled by real quick and it was no sooner for Lani and me to chuck-a-lucka to Salt Lake and once again join in the fun of social dancing.

The dance was in full swing when we got there about a little after 7PM. Paul Lee, this evening's DeeJay was already into his excellent selection of danceable music...with a little Quickstep for the International style dancers and some Merengue and NightClub 2 step for the likes of club dancers. The music was non-stop Ballroom, Latin, and Swing dancing even throughout the potluck grindz time. It was a pure dance DANCE YOUR A** OFF in the making for those in the dance fever mode.

Like at all Dance Hawaii Social Dances, no one goes hungry thanks to all the dancers who brought their special potluck dish for all to feast on. It was a dinner topped with ono desserts and refreshments.

Some of our dance students from Ali'iolani CSA came to practice their dancing skills....Charles & Claudia, Rick & Ann, and Ron & Mariann.

And there were other friends: Tom & Bunnie, and showcase dancers Ed & Charlotte who danced some eye catching Team-Mambo moves.

The Aiea Ballroom Dance Assn., and the Pan Pacific Ballroom Dance Society have always been supporters of Dance Hawaii and some of their officers and members were in attendance. It was nice to see Deanie Bates (Aiea Prez) and Rudy Luat (Pan Pacific Prez) at this social event.

It was also good to see Nobu Oshiro who was Lani's and my Supervisor when we were Standing and sometimes Rotating Dance Instructors for HBDA. And there were a lot of faithful Dance Hawaii members enjoying the time to dance, socialize with other club members as well as the ono potluck dinner.

Social dancing continued on till closing at 10 PM. Last dance was the ever loving traditional Waltz but because too many dancers were enjoying this "last dance", DeeJay Paul played a Rumba music which was a good way to end a good fun evening.
(Left click on photo to zoom in)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dance St. Louis Opens In East Honolulu

Dance Hawaii opened it's new site last night at St. Louis Alumni Clubhouse on Isenberg Street. Lani and I checked out the new location and I gotta admit that the ballroom is a very nice place to hold social dances.....vinyl covered floor, air conditioning, spacious floor, a bar on one side and a restaurant on the other, and lots of parking available. But first you gotta find da place. It's in the same building as "Da Kitchen" restaurant. So if you're cruising on Isenberg and you spark the big "Da Kitchen" colored neon sign, dat's the place.

Lani and I got there a little after 6 PM. A few students but more started to trickle in while the Line Dance taught by Roxanne was in session. Rewind back a little ...Roxanne taught some isolation exercises before going into the footwork of the line dance. I thought that was a smart move to loosen up before going into the heavy stuff. As I mentioned before in previous blogs that I am not crazed about line dancing but will join in for the Electric Slide or Macarena. But Lani, my main squeeze, is adapted to it. Roxanne went through several numbers including the Cha Cha with music and walla 7 PM rolled by real soon.

It was time for Cullen and Cheryl to take over for an hour of NightClub 2 Step. After they showed a short demo on this type of night club dancing, they covered the basics clearly and precise. They taught three syllabi...the basic side steps, lady underarm turn, and grapevine for this first session and everyone of the students were in sync dancing in the LOD with music.

Robert and Vanelle took over at 8 PM for an hour of Argentine Tango. After a mini demo, Robert and Vanelle taught the basics of this dance...the feel of balance, the lead, and the lady's leg cross. It was a bit different feel for Lani and me because we had taught the American style Tango the night before. But through Q & A and reps, we were able to adapt to the three basic movements....the balance, 4 count progressive step, and the 8 count cross leg basics to Argentine music.
I gotta say that Dance Hawaii has scored with these five very good dance instructors for this new site,,,Roxanne Kaino, Cullen and Cheryl Chong, and Robert and Vanelle Hirayasu. Still not too late to join and experience Line Dancing, NightClub 2 Step, and Argentine Tango at Dance St. Louis. Thanks to Maurice who arranged the new site with St. Louis Alumni Clubhouse, and for bringing the refreshments.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Where's Da Dance?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Concert @ IGE'S in Aiea

Lani and I have never been to IGE's in Aiea, so we thought of trekking there a bit early to meet Maurice and some of the Dance Hawaii members. It was smooth riding from Hawaii Kai except for spots of rain showers along the H1. A little drizzle as we walked from the huge parking lot to the entrance of IGE's.

Met long time fellow HBDA dance instructors Roger and Milly Toledo as we waited for the rest of Dance Hawaii members.

The concert featured two bands...WASABI (7:30-9:15) and H2O (9:30-midnight). But for the present, it was grindz time and on the menu were heavy pupus almost like having entries of a full dinner.

WASABI whose specialty is hot music of the 50's and 60's were true to their name. But they spiced it up with venturing into the 1930's music and also into the 70's and 80's.

Who could not leave portions of their dinner and cruise to the dance floor with such high octane dance music with the likes as Country Line Dancing, Latin, Swing, Boogie, and Rock. Talk about crowded dance floors but everybody was enjoying the rhythm and hits. Did a little Twisting, too. You could feel the adrenaline rising.

We got to meet some dancers from Waipahu who are or will be members of Dance Waipahu; one of Dance Hawaii's new addition. Lani and I had recognized a few of them from our stint with HBDA. Friendly people and good rhythm dancers.
WASABI played non-stop with no breaks and Lani and I danced non-stop except for to finish our dinner and to catch our breath. I guess the music just got to us.

We were both peter out when H2O came on stage with their marathon rock. The crowd was starting to thin out and it was time to hit the road back to Hawaii Kai. It was an enjoyable night for Lani and me...meeting new friends, socializing with present friends, and dancing like there was no tomorrow.
(Left click on photo to zoom in)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Update Plaza de Toros

Just got word that there won't be a dance showcase at the Honolulu Academy of Arts "La Plaza de Toros" on the 30th of this month. The committee's search for Flamenco and Paso Doble dancers was not successful. However, there will be social dancing with music by the Academy's DeeJay. See a previous blog for other info.

Monday, July 12, 2010

SHOWBIZ @Ala Moana Centerstage

Every once in a while, Ala Moana Center features a song and dance performance from outside of Hawaii. Today was a treat for the shoppers near Centerstage for they enjoyed watching young people performing song and dance for 45 minutes non-stop. The group is called SHOWBIZ and composed of students (freshman to seniors) from Danville, California.

There were a lot of Broadway in the show consisting of Charlie Brown, a fight scene like in Westside Story, (I think) a bit Camelot, Fame, Michael Jackson's Thriller, and a few others.

A lot of singing and stage dancing Hip Hop or Latin. However there were a few attempts on Swing and Ballroom dancing. But those youngsters came to perform and entertain and entertain they did at their very best. Colorful as their costumes, their face expressions showed that they were enjoying what they do.

I enjoyed most of the tunes they sang,,,the solos, the duets, the trios, and at times the whole ensemble.

I especially liked the performance and singing of "Thriller". The dancing was almost the same as Michael Jackson's but I think if the performers were dressed as ghouls with ghoulish makeup, it might have had more impact on the performance.

All in all, it was a good show put up by young people and with all the loud applauses and whistles during and after the song and dance performance, it was a SHOWBIZ that the audience enjoyed for 45 minutes. I did!
(Left click on photo to zoom in)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Staying Alive!

Well, Lani and I got all duded up for the Saturday night dance and we had three venues to pick....the Palladium, the Aloha Activity Center, or the Radford High School. We were still deciding as we drove along Kalanianaole Highway. We thought why not start with JUST DANCE at the Aloha Activity Center..check it out, then go to Dance Hawaii Social at Radford, and hit Pan Pacific Dance at the Palladium on the way back. You know..just like getting to three places in one night...or is it hitting three birds with one stone? No mattah! We got to Just Dance a little before 7. Not much going couple practicing dancing. Maybe it was too early altho' the action was suppose to start at 6:30.

So here we are back on the road heading for Radford...nice drive with little traffic. As we approached the cafeteria, Andy Pascua's music resonated throughout the dance area. It was hot and the tempo was da kine that lured more dancers to the floor. Lani said that we were there tonight to (pardon the expression) Dance Our A** Off. And dance we did that the time clicked by too fast. Before we knew it, it was 10 PM and too late to hit the Palladium.

It wasn't all Ballroom, Latin, and Swing dancing at the Radford. Lolita spearheaded the Cha Cha Line Dance and after a few smooth and rhythm dancing, Andy and Monica took to the floor and led the Bossa Nova Line Dance.

As with all Dance Hawaii social dances, there's always ono potluck dinner that goes with being there. Not your typical refreshments and bento but real potluck dinner with mouth watering desserts.

After satisfying our palates, Sally Forges demonstrated and taught the Merengue Line Dance. That quickly filled the dance floor.

More social dancing continued till closing but as a good send off to close an enjoyable evening of dancing, Andy taught and led the Staying Alive Line Dance. It was rhythmic with some moves akin to aerobic dancing that could inspire to Dance Your A** Off. Many thanks to Jim Brierly and his committee, DeeJay Andy Pascua, and the guys and gals who brought the ono potluck. Next Dance Hawaii Social at the Radford HS is on Furlough Friday July 23.