Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pan Pacific Ballroom Dance Society 36th Inaugural Ball

If you weren't at the Dance Hawaii Furlough Friday Halloween Social Dance at Radford HS this past Friday (10/29), then you must've been at the Pan Pacific Ballroom Dance Society 36th Inaugural Ball. Lani and I got to the Pacific Beach Hotel Grand Ballroom a little early to be assured of finding a parking space. No problem encountered...lots of parking at the upper level. The lovelies at the Reception Table were very friendly as Lani and I checked in for our table assignment. Marie Perreira, who we met some years ago when Lani and I were dance instructors for IBDC (now IBDI) greeted us. It was a classy affair because there were ushers that escorted us to our table which was at front row. It was a vantage location 'cause we got to see who were entering the ballroom.....friends and acquaintances...Paul & Marie Laderta, Calvin & Debra Ota, "Uncle" Wes, Stanley & Annie Nakamura, Yanna Samkova & Lucas Jaime, IBDI Prez Chris & Mrs. Jay, PPBDS Prez Rudy Luat, KI (who posts and shares the monthly Palladium Schedule on Dance Fever Oahu), and members of Dance Hawaii, etc.

I gotta mention that the selections of dance music by the duo DeeJays Lester and Raffy were awesome. The tunes were stringed together so there was no break when one song ended. Lester and Raffy played just about every conceivable dance music one could think of including "Da Twist". I especially liked their great selection of Swing and Latin music which kept Lani and me on the dance floor till we ran out of vim and vigor. AUWE!

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EmCee of the Ball organized by Event Chair Ed Felix was Ms. Ellen Kobayashi who handled the podium with ease. She had a welcome speech of her own and recognized all the Presidents of the various dance clubs who attended this function; professional and non-professional. Prez Rudy Luat took to the mike shortly with a welcome speech and special recognition for Dance Hawaii's efforts in raising monetary funds for the various public schools. Special guest and dance icon Geoffrey Fells was introduced and who gave a wonderful and encouraging advice on the subject of responsibilities to the newly elected officers for the dance club. It was good to see Geoffrey back in the dance ballroom. He was also charged in installing the newly elected officers.

It was Japanese Buffet Dinner and as usual the entries were top notch. Invocation was said by Jim McConnell and nicely delivered.

More general dancing continued before the Dance Exhibition part of the program and again the music was superb.


The Dance Exhibition featured The Tango, The Hustle, The Quickstep, The Cha Cha, and The Waltz.

Ed and Matilda opened the program dancing the INTERNATIONAL TANGO with a lot of bold movements. A truly macho dance with strength and flair. It was a TERRIFIC performance by both dancers.

Now if you're a NightClub buff, you gotta see Fil and Elvie dance the HUSTLE. It must've been more than 5 minutes of continuous intricate moves that they showcased at the Ball. But they didn't seem to be running "out of gas". An excellent and entertaining performance by Fil and Elvie.

Quick as their footwork could move, Larry and Mary danced the entire dance floor with finesse and the glamour of THE QUICKSTEP. Excellent control and very well danced.

THE SAMBA by Ed and Charlotte was electrifying and very entertaining. Both dancers showcased a "explosive performance" that probably tipped the Richter Scale. It was a dynamite interpretation of a Latin dance by two very experienced and skilled dancers.

The Formation Team closed this part of the program with a beautiful WALTZ. I asked Lani what was it that she liked about this performance. She said that the pretty white costumes the ladies wore was really a plus to their smiles, that the Team was relaxed and confident in their movements that it made like the couples were flowing from one pattern to another effortlessly, and she liked the way the dance ended with the guys bending low to the gals almost in a kneeling position on the floor. What else can I say?

General dancing continued till closing about 11:30. Special Thank You to Sawaye Wong for the Inaugural Leis, and to Emi Matsuoka for the Flower Centerpieces (of which I was one of the lucky ones to win and bring home). It was a grand evening of social dancing, ono kine buffet, and a very enjoyable showing of exhibition dancing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Joann Yasuko Presents

This past Saturday (10/23) was probably the first time Lani and I attended Joann Yasuko Dance Extravaganza at the Palladium. We were surprised that a Big Time event such as this one had the use of half of the Ballroom. Big Time events bring in Big Crowds and last night was no exception. An estmated 300 dancers came to celebrate Joann's Annual Dance. There were seven dance exhibitions mostly from the Star Dancers Club. They were well disciplined and entertaining. But first things first. EmCee of the evening was Kay Yahiku (this gal sure gets around. She's been EmCeeing for other dance clubs, too at the Palladium and at the Pacific Beach Hotel Grand Ballroom). Sweet, and diminutive in stature but she's got a lot of punch in her voice. Presidents of the various dance clubs who attended were introduced and welcomed. Joann took over the mike and welcomed everyone with a short speech. She was beautifully dressed and a lot prettier now than when we first met many years ago while Lani and I were doing the exhibition circuit on the same card. The DeeJay for this event was Ron Fitch. He has a good selection of dance music and the abbreviated two minute scores are a plus for any crowded dance floor. During the early part of the evening, the sound system was not up to par...not enough oomps! However, it came to life when the dance exhibitions started and remained on par throughout the evening till closing.

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Wayne Haraga and Katie Nakamura opened this segment of the program with a Medley. A little star-gazing telescope prop added to the story. Nice touch. They also closed the program with a Romantic Rumba that showed passion of the dance. Both dances were performed very well with good measures of lifts and dips.

Lester and Henrietta Marumoto followed with their rendition of a Medley. Now this couple has been on the solo as well as the formation exhibition circuit for as long as Lani and I were doing our stint at HBDA...Lester and Henrietta were there also. It was upbuilding to see them performing in this showcase and looking as good as ever.

James and Annie Kwong danced the Medley. It resembled the Quick Step and it was performed very well with some patterns that I've never seen before in this genre. A wonderful performance by James and Annie.

Derrick and Keiko Oh danced a dramatic Medley. This was entertainment with a touch of eastern martial arts, lifts, and a lot of Tango passion. The performance was an eye-popper from start to finish and it brought a lot of applauses for Derrick and Keiko. A very enjoyable performance with unique moves.

This young couple who Lani and I dubbed Mr. and Mrs Quick Step showed a lot of finesse in the Foxtrot/Tango Medley. Both are excellent showcase performers and can cover a spectrum of dances. They proved this as being the only couple who competed in all 9 dances at the recent USA Dance Mock Competition in September. Always a crowd pleaser.

What can I say about this dynamic couple who have thrilled audiences every time they performed in a showcase. The International Cha Cha they showcased was dynamite with caliente movimiento. Mucho gusto to watch.

It was a enjoyable evening of social dancing, socializing with friends, and a classy showcase of dance exhibition. Oh..I mustn't forget the refreshments. Henrietta Marumoto put together the delicious fresh veggie chicken salad and baked the ono fruit cake squares. With the large serving, I don't think anyone went home hungry.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Hula Dancers @Ala Moana Centerstage

Not one of our regular beats on a Saturday afternoon but a stop at the Ala Moana Makai Court was necessary 'cause my main squeeze was ono for Yummy's BBQ. Okay, me too.

After a hearty meal, the distant cheers and music drew us to the Centerstage. What a treat! Dancing on stage was a group of hula dancers from Japan. The Billboard identified the dancers as Uilani Chei Group. A good testimony that the Hawaiian Hula is well accepted and practiced in far away Japan. The EmCee spoke to the dancers in Japanese and did a good job in announcing the performances in English. There was gonna be a language barrier so I stopped short in getting names. After all, what am I gonna say after "anatano onamaewa"?

The musicians were in tune with the dancers and the dancers were just as in tune with the musicians. Good show! The star of the group was a little hula dancer that performed a solo hula. Very smooth movements for one so young. When the musicians stopped playing, she continued dancing as she sang the lyrics to the song. That just about brought the house down with loud applauses and whistles. There were guys hula dancing, too, which was a good addition to the show.

Hawaii Star Ball 2010

I haven't cyber chatted with Marie Laderta for many moons but quick as a flash she responded with a write-up collaberated with fellow student and competitor Dr. David Easa, with a bunch of photos to go with the article, and a wonderful story about "Uncle" Wes. David has already published a very detailed description of the Hawaii Star Ball on DANCING IN THE DARK blogsite, so I will highlight only the Newest Shining Star Wesley Numazu, Paul & Marie Laderta, The Divino Ritmo Formation Team, and Professional Teachers Yanna Samkova & Lucas Jaime with a big mahalo to Marie Laderta. Please read on Marie's e-mail.......

Hello Frank & Lani!

Yes, long time no cyber-chat with you guys!
Good to hear from you and perfect timing because we just got through the Hawaii Star
Ball, and recently I collaborated with fellow student and competitor Dr. David Easa to do a write-up which I wanted to share with you and your blog. I will email some photos separately should you decide to jazz up the article with some pictures! Leave it up to you entirely of course!

In addition to a bunch of new faces and competitors from our studio (Divino Ritmo)
participating, one thing notable this year and worth mentioning is the participation of Wesley Numazu, fondly known as "Uncle Wes," who competed as a newcomer with his
professional instructor Yanna Samkova at the Star Ball, for the first time in his life! Think about this now, Uncle Wes, a stern & serious retired National Guard complete with 2 artificial knees! Like Geoffrey Fells, he had total knee replacement on both knees within the last 3 years!

Against all odds, and in spite of it all, Uncle Wes, attired in full-on Latin pants and shirt, went on that dance floor at the Star Ball and showed them how to do the rumba, swing and merengue! Too good huh!???

The Organizers, the Judges, the EmCee, and Professional Competitors (above Celebrities photo)

Thank you always for being so kind and generous to provide a venue for our communications with Hawaii's dance community.

Frank's note: Please surf over to Dancing In The Dark blogsite for David Easa and Marie Laderta's article on The Hawaii Star Ball 2010.

Five Tips For A Woman

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Nifty 50's & 60's Oldies Bash 2010

Boy! that must've been a 3 Alarm Fire at the Pacific Beach Hotel Grand Ballroom last night. The music was HOT! HOT! HOT! and the guys and gals were burning the dance floor at jet fuel speed. It was 6 hours of nonstop high octane dancing.....the Bop, the Swing, the Twist, the Monkey, the Swim, the Fish, the Locomotive and just about every no-partner dancing of the 50's and 60's. Talk about dancing your A** off! There were at least 24 Dance Hawaii members braving this Rock and Roll era atmosphere that any clear headed ballroom dancers would hang back to tread. But we needed to test the waters and we were glad that we did.

There were nearly 700 people that attended this gala affair..some dressed in the 50's and 60's know the flair skirts with the little poodle picture, the bobby socks, polka dot dress, and the hot skin tight leather pants..and that's only the gals. (Incidently, a contest was held for the best dressed 50's & 60's outfit. A gal won the prize). The guys had the Fonzy hairdo complete with black leather jackets, white socks, and white T shirts. The atmosphere was like we were flashed back to the era when Rock & Roll and the Twist were the supreme dances at high school proms and soda fountains.

But first, the lovelies at the reception tables...there were two tables with 12 lovelies to handle this sold out funfest. Lani and I checked in and got our table assignment. Then we picked up our name badge (plastic holders) which included tickets for door prizes. It was very well organized.

They even had a blonde Marilyn Monroe greeter at the entrance to the Ballroom and about 4 Fonzy impersonators helping out at the Badge Table.

As Lani and I entered the Ballroom, the place was fully decorated like Happy Days Prom Night. Colorful balloons floating above each table with names of the High Schools in Hawaii (on banners) and as far as Brooklyn and China. Our table sported a Dance Hawaii banner. The Fabulous Woody was the DeeJay for the night and I gotta say..he must have a library filled with Classic Oldies that he preserves for a "Bash" such as this, each year.

The crowd that rocked to the dance floor just did every move conceivable as though the music was hypnotic. Black and white graduation photos were projected on two tall screens that made the whole shibang resemble a high school dance.

Wendell Kwan, a Kalani HS '65 grad, opened the program with a welcome speech and recognition of the hard working Officers and Committe Members that made this "Bash" a reality and successful one. He also thanked those guests who made generous donations to the Hawaii Food Bank, and also to Coca Cola Company, Hawaiian Airlines, Procelain Hawaii, and Ritz Camera for their generous donations and gifts. After the initial appearance, Wendell popped up with some surprises several times during the evening.

The EmCee of this event was Champ, OC16 TV Personality. He was humorous, he was funny, he had all the makings of an effective EmCee that keeps an audience alive with laughters. There was never a dull moment when Champ took over the mike.

Trudy Ching gave the Invocation and it was time for the dinner buffet...the ono ono kind that Pacific Beach Hotel is famous for.

Radio personality of the 50's & 60's era and special guest Uncle Tom Moffatt took over the mike and belted out the names of the tunes and original artist while the Fabulous Woody worked the turntable..OOps! that's the jargon of the 50's and 60's for disc player.

Lucky numbers were called for the door prizes with some added humor by Champ. Good show; everybody was entertained. Then the onslaught of more 50's and 60's tunes resumed and that was enough to burn off the fuel from the dinner buffet. A bit of slow dancing sandwiched in between was a welcome move. After all, products of the 50's & 60's are not Iron Man anymore after 6 decades have passed but some still got da chicara...anyone wakaru?

The Grand Prize Giveaways was a survivor break from the fast pace music. Some people had already gone home when the calling of lucky numbers started after 10 o'clock. But there were lucky winners for the Grand Prizes. To be sure that everyone was a winner, too, each ticket holder got a free CD with 30 musics performed by the artists of the 50's & 60's. That was a very nice gesture by the "Bash" committee.

The nonstop music still played on and dancers were still burning the floor with high energy when Lani and I left the ballroom a little before 11 o'clock. The last dance was to be over at 12 AM.

Rock & Roll had begun to live again and for one night of high octane dancing, it made Lani and me feel the spirit of youth and energy of the 50's and 60's. Yes, we danced our A** off at the "Bash" and I gotta say that we enjoyed every bit of it.
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