Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hawaii Gardenia Circle Anniversary Dance 2013 -Revisited

We're back on....had to pull this blog off the air to make some corrections emailed to me by Gayle.  
HI Frank,
Thank you for the lovely article in your blog ..... and great pictures .... thanks so much. Hope you and Lani had a good time. I am glad you were able to get the names from Rogert Izumigawa but there is an error to the Professional dancers - Jerry Magiera is a student of Gisella West. The Professional that danced with Gisella West the Cha Cha Cha and Bolero was JACOB HIMOTO.... Is there a way a correction be made?! Thank you!!!
Aloha and see you soon,
Thank you, Gayle for the tip. I revisited the blog and made an amendment to identify Jacob Himoto as the professional from the Arthur Murray Dance Center who performed the Cha Cha and Bolero dance exhibition with professional Gisella West.  My sincere apology to Jacob for the misidentification.
SMASHING! JUST SMASHING! That's the British Isle's lingo for a Blockbuster of a program that featured the Hawaii Gardenia Circle Anniversary Dance with talent from the Arthur Murray Dance Center, the Dance Appeal Studio, and individuals from the various dance organizations here on Oahu this past Saturday at the Palladium. It was a terrific event that concluded the three awesome anniversary balls (Dance Magic 808, IBDI , and Hawaii Gardenia Circle) for the month of August.

Lani and I got to the Palladium a little after 6:30
which was the scheduled time that the doors will be open to the ballroom but already the trademark music of Henry Lee and Jane Umeda was booming to the Swing tune and dancers were burning the Ewa end floor. Boy! their selection of danceable music was sweet to the ears and tempting for the dancing feet. We were greeted at the door by Hawaii Gardenia Circle 1st VP David Mayman, and Helene Tombelaine at the Reception Table. A handshake and a cordial smile and Lani and I were off to our favorite seating area but alas some dancers had already kapu the seats. No time to go huhu 'cause the music was tempting to the dancing  feet   ... didn't get to put on my good dancing shoes 'cause my main squeeze was there to dance and I got pulled to the hard wood floor.
Fortunately we found a couple of seats but that was suitable only to take a short breather between dances and during the showcase part of the program.

General dancing continued till about 8 o'clock when EmCee Roger Izumigawa opened the program with a Welcome Message then introduced VP David Mayman who also welcomed everyone. There were several presidents of other dance organizations and professional teachers of private dance studios in attendance. VP Mayman introduced all of them by calling out their names. A special award was given to Annie Ferguson with a flower lei presented by Gayle Kawahakui. Annie has been a dynamo in ticket sales for many dance events at the Palladium and at the Pacific Beach Hotel and has been instrumental in bringing more people to the dances.

The showcase opened with an exciting Cha Cha dance exhibition by Arthur Murray Dance Center professionals Jacob Himoto and Gisella West. Their Cha Cha portrayed some pretty wild moves and if it was meant to tell a story of a jungle princess flirting with danger, Jacob and Gisella put on a good show. It was a dynamic performance that's rarely seen in local showcases. After a quick costume change, Jacob and Gisella continued with the sultry Bolero. It sizzled with enticing moves that were playful and was well perfomed.
Presenting the awards to Jacob and Gisella were Gayle and grandson Jordan Kawahakui.

Okay, dancing is dancing and Hula is no exception. It was a wonderful addition to the showcase. Gardenia Circle brought in Leilani Soon to perform the hula which was danced to Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are". Leilani is a former Narcissus 2nd Princess, Miss Hawaii Chinese Queen, and Miss Hawaii International. She is a professional dancer trained in ballet, and hula. She had grace and good showmanship. Presenting the award to Leilani was Gayle Kawahakui.

Then it was time for the Grand Ball ala Mock Competition. All the dancers were introduced as they entered the ballroom floor by EmCee Roger Izumigawa. There were so many of them that if I missed mentioning a name...my deepest apology. The individual couples were Sydney Chu & Patricia Paliracio, Mike & Lorrie Chun, Ivan John & Nancy Luckie, James & Annie Kwock, Richard & Lynn Nakamura, Ravi Narayan & (daughter) Prita Narayan, and Calvin & Debra Ota. From Dance Appeal Studio were Ikaika Villanueva & Brandee Nakamura, Ted & Lyn Sodaria, Renna Villanueva with Richard Schiff & David Carvalho, and Sergio Villanueva with Barbara Kaneshiro, Susan Hiwa, Eleyne Fia & CoraleeHarai. From the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Hawaii were Rose Lau & Levi Mott, Jessica Dzienkowski & Tony Gantner, Lance Sabado & Rose Lau, Gisella West & Jerry Magiera, and Jacob Himoto with Tessie Cabral, Emily Hackworth, Stella Amion & Yaprak Onat.

The Grand Ball started with the Foxtrot. There were so many variations in this dance but it was easy to pin point the American Style and the International Style, and the fusion of both dances. Although EmCee Roger Izumigawa encouraged the audience to "call out your favorite couples" in the mock competition, it was difficult to choose. Everyone danced like winners.

Then came the Tango. This one was purely International Style and danced with the dramatic moves of the dance. Very well done by all the participants.

No doubt the next dance was the Quickstep. It was racey and performed with breakneck speed and finesse.

The Waltz that followed was unquestionably a potpourri of American Style and International Style with a touch of fusion of both just like the Foxtrot. The blend was enjoyable to watch.

The Viennese Waltz concluded the Grand Ball. It had speed, grace, and beautifully done.

The youngest dancers in the Grand Ball were Prita Narayan who danced with her dad Ravi, and Ikaika Villanueva and Brandee Nakamura. Several "Ironmen" as I refer to them becauce of their vim  and vigor and who danced with more than one lady partners. They were Sergio Villanueva who danced with the ladies from Dance Appeal Studio: Barbara Kaneshiro (Quickstep), Coralee Harai (Foxtrot), Susan Hiwa (Waltz), and Eleyne Fia (Tango); Jacob Himoto who danced with the ladies from Arthur Murray Dance Center: Tessie Cabral (Waltz and Viennese Waltz), Emily Hackworth (Tango), Stella Amion (Foxtrot), and Yaprak Onat (Quickstep). The ladies had some "Wonder Women" also. Renna Villanueva who danced with Robert Schiff (Waltz, Foxtrot, and Qickstep), and David Carvaiho (Tango); and Rose Lau who danced with Levi Mott (Foxtrot), and Lance Sabado (Waltz and Tango)

This year's Hawaii Gardenia Circle Grand Ball had the most colorful costumes and the ladies looked beautiful and elegant. The men were just as suave. The program was well organized and EmCee Roger Izumigawa kept it moving smoothly from beginning to end. Awards were given to all the participants in the Grand Ball as they were individually called to the dance floor for final curtain.

General dancing continued as presale ticket holders filed out of the ballroom for refreshment on the lanai. My sincere thanks to EmCee Roger for sharing his list of names of the dancers who participated in the Grand Ball.

It was an event filled with magnificent showcase entertainment, and good dancing to Henry and Jane's best selection of  dance music. Refreshments were served to presale ticket holder on the lanai. General dancing continued till 9:30 but for Lani and me, it was time to hit the road back home and dig into the ono dim sum refreshment. Dat's all fo' now.

Monday, August 19, 2013

IBDI 52nd Anniversary Ball

The doors were already opened when Lani and I got to the Palladium. The lanai was fully occupied with dancers and guests savoring the onlicious bento that came with the presale tickets. The ballroom was in full swing as dancers trotted, skipped, and locked steps in tune with the Quickstep. The floor got more crowded as more dancers filed into the ballroom.  We found seats available at our favorite spot..the mauka side near the DeeJay....one of the
coolest spots in the Palladium. It's become our
favorite seating area because with a dance partner like my main squeeze whose made it a commitment  to dance my A** off, the cool air is most welcome. DeeJays for the evening were Henry Lee and Jane. Their selection of good dance music kept the floor filled at capacity.

Greeters: Beverly Mau, Eugene Shen,
Robert Diana, Diana Vo, & Dawn Le

I'm gonna rewind a bit here 'cause I mustn't forget the cordial greeters at the door and the smiling faces at the Reception Table when Lani and I entered the ballroom.

Charlene & Chris Jay
My boss Chris Jay (on Monday nights when Lani and I teach American Cha Cha) and his charming wife Charlene were greeting everyone as they entered the ballroom, too and thanking them for coming to the Ball.  (More on Chris Jay later).
Curt Young

Romeo Garcia

General Dancing continued to about 7:40 when EmCee Curt Young took to the podium to open the program. The program was well organized and Curt kept it moving very smoothly. After his "welcome all", he introduced Romeo Aguinaldo Garcia the Deputy Executive Secretary for the Neighborhood Commission Office who represented the Parks and Recreation, and the Mayor. After a short presentation by Mr. Garcia, Curt introduced the Presidents and representatives of the other dance organizations, and the professional dance teachers of private dance studios. And there werre many in attendance tonight. Curt thanked Emi Matsuoka for the flower arrangements, Aala Bakery (Arthur and Joan Oda) for the desserts and their generosity always, and to all who worked hard for this Anniversary event.

IBDI President Chris Jay
Curt then called Chris Jay to the podium and introduced Chris as the Emperor and President of IBDI. That brought some chuckles from the audience but seriously, Chris Jay has held the position of IBDI President for more than eight years. And during his tenure and leadership, IBDI has prosper and continue to be one of the top non-profit dance organizations in Hawaii. The history of IBDI goes back 53 years ago and Chris Jay took the audience on a historical journey from the time IBDC (former name of IBDI) was created and revealed the names of each of the presidents from the first year to the year Chris Jay became President. What a journey into history it has been. Attendance was high for this event with the audience lining the four walls of the ballroom three rows deep each at the mauka and makai sides, and four rows deep each at the Ewa and Diamond Head sides.


After a few moments of General Dancing. the showcase of exhibition dancing opened with a Mambo performed by (Professional) Joe Shorba with Ellen Ostler of Koko Head Dance Studio. I've seen Joe and Ellen perform before at the hotel functions and they are superb exhibition dancers. Their performance tonight was exciting and dynamic

The next performance was a Salsa by a group of dancers from International Salsa Organization and choreographed by (Professional) Yuki Komiyama. This was an entertaining and well choreographed dance. It was playful, colorful, and had a touch of a broadway stage show. Dancers were Alanna James, Emi Matsuoka, Maki Mikami, Veronica Munez, Yuki Komiyama, Edwin Ho, Kevin Laoron, and Alvin Aurelio.

The Flamenco dance that soon followed was performed by (Professional) Vanessa Chong-Kuna. Another dancer, Chiara Logli was to perform in this two part dance back to back but couldn't because of injury. Ms. Chong-Kuna danced both parts covering the entire ballroom floor as she twirled and swirled effortlessness. What a wonderful and skillful performance that portrayed the essense and fire of Flamenco.

The next act was an acrobatic performance that could qualify in America's Got Talent reality TV show. Hong Wang brought a rare talent to this showcase.  It was a big time treat watching her balancing several opened umbrellas with her feet while laying upside down on a chair. It was not only balancing the umbrella on her toes but she had them spinning just as well. It was a good addition to the showcase and truly a remarkable performance and very well done.....da kine that's unforgettable and will be remembered for a long time.

(Professional) Greg "the salsa man" Henry teamed with (Professional) Yuki Komiyama for the Salsa. This performance was on fire from the start. It was blazing fast and furious with a lot of spinning and cross lead that Salsa is famous for. No doubt that Greg is a master at this dance and Yuki was just as good. The performance was electrifying and displayed a lot of tricks of the Salsa.

International Foxtrot
The closing act was the International Foxtrot performed by Ed and Matilda Felix. They danced the entire ballroom floor which gave the audience an eyeful of two disciplined dancers moving gracefully with flawless technique. It was a magnificent and impressive performance that connected well with the audience. 

(International Salsa Organization) Greg Henry, Yuki Komiyama, Alanna James, Emi Matsuoka, Maki Mikami, Veronica Munez, Edwin Ho, Kevin Laoron, and Alvin Aurelio  
Teaching Wild, Wild West
Bottom line, IBDI pulled out of the magic hat an excellent group of performers for the showcase that added to the success of this 52nd Anniversary Ball. During the break before dessert was served, Richard and Lynn Nakamura of Dance Magic 808 called everyone on the floor to learn and dance the Wild, Wild West Line Dance.  That brought a big crowd onto the dance floor and they looked like they were having fun doing the dance. General dancing continued while others filed out of the ballroom for dessert.

Dessert servers Joanne and Candy
Dancing continued till the last dance at 9:30.  A big mahalo to Charlene Jay who provided me with the names of the dancers in the showcase.

(Left click on photo to zoom in)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dance Magic 808 2nd Anniversary Ball

Heeding the warning that over 400 tickets were sold for the Dance Magic 808 2nd Anniversary Ball and that parking might be limited, my main squeeze Lani and I made every effort to get to the Pacific Beach Hotel before the "Parking Lot Full" sign got posted. Lucky for us, there were parking spaces available on the 4th floor but not many. The foyer on the 7th floor was filled with dancers and ticket holders wall to wall. It was just a little past five o'clock and the short wait gave us a chance to touch bases with old friends from Dance Hawaii and new friends from IBDI, Kauai Ballroom Dance Club, and Dance Magic 808.

(Left click on photos to zoom in)

Greeters at the Reception Table
We were greeted at the Reception Table by Ray and Lolita Nariyoshi, and Diane Nishimura and Sandy Hamasaki. Got our table assigment (#25) which was a front row table at the edge of the dance floor. As it turned out, I was the only guy with an all girl-seatmates at table #25 and they all said that they work with Richard Nakamura.

Table #25

General dancing was in high gear till EmCees Audrey Fu and Dr, Paul Laderta took to the Podium and Welcomed everyone. Each gave a bio of the other before bringing Dance Magic 808 Prez Lynn and VP Richard Nakamura on stage for their Welcome Message.

EmCees for the Evening Event
Highlight of this part of the program was the introduction of the Royal Couple Contestants, Dance Magic 808 Officers, Instructors, Volunteers, Anniversary Ball Committee Members, Presidents of Various Dance Organizations, Professional Dance Teachers, and Special Guests. Music DeeJays Henry and Joann Rimas were also recognized. Their selection of dance music were tops that kept the dancer burning the dance floor .

The Music DeeJays
A Special Award was given to Connie Laderta in recognition of her continuing service to Dance Magic 808.

Invocation was said by IBDI VP Marsha Ninomiya and it was time to hit the buffet line. General dancing continued while our table waited to be called to the buffet line. Gave Lani and me a chance to burn the floor, too.  The ladies at our table were nice but unfortunately they were not dancers.

Marsha Ninomiya
After dinner, there was a short message given by the representative from the Mayor's office, Romeo Garcia of the Neighborhood Commissions Office. Then it was time to announce the winner of the Royal Couples Contest 2013. Although there were a lot of women who were dressed in royal gowns, only three couples entered the contest. And the Winners are the Royal Couple of Susan Hiwa and Sergio Villanueva.

Royal Couples Contest Winners
Part I- Performances opened with Special Guest Melveen Leed belting out Malaguena Salerosa as the dance floor became a hornet's nest of Bolero dancers. Melveen is such a powerful singer and this Latin tune was unresitable for the multitude of dancers who squeezed onto the dance floor.  Her second song "I Am A Singer" brought the house down so to speak. It was so powerful and spellbound. She asked for a volunteer to assist her and IBDI dance instructor Jim Prado came to the rescue.

Guest Singer Melvin Leed
with Jim Prado 

Dance Magic 808 Epic Mash Up choreographed by Roxanne Kaino brought "Da Girls From Magic 808" to the floor for a line dance. Da Girls were Audrey Fu, Elena Hamm, Tandy Alconcel, Adelle Alcaide, Doreen Morimoto, Connie Laderta, Bernice Takushi, Renee Reed, Roxanne Kaino, and Eileen Nakano. Good job, Roxanne.

Epic Mash Dancers
 Then we got a real treat of a Latin Medley performed by youngsters Ikaika Villanueva and Brandee Nakamura. The young dancers from Dance Appeal Dance Studio thrilled the audience with their expertise in  the Rumba, Cha Cha, and Samba.

Latin Medley Dancers

The HBDA Aiea Chapter (Tom Wiederrecht & Roxann Oyler), Mililani Chapter (Andrew & Donna Ng, and Craig & Nadine Abing), Pearl City Chapter (Herbert & ShirleyOta, and Joe & Angie Vendiola), and Pearlridge Chapter (Arnold & Millie Chun, and Pete Madrigal & Mimi Whittle) wowed the audience with the American Cha Cha choreographed by Esmenio & Rose Andres. It was a pleasure to see the American Cha Cha in this showcase and I think Esmenio and Rose did a wonderful job in turning the most basic steps into a high level performance through innovation.

American Cha Cha
 Joshua Manzano from the UNLV and Gayle Kawahakui from Hawaii Gardenia Circle performed a spectecular American Tango. It was a rare treat since not very often the American Style Tango is showcased in local dance exhibitions. It was sleek, snappy, and filled with dramatic moves.

American Tango
 The Gangnam Style Line Dance concluded Part I Performances. Choreographed by Roxanne Kaino, it was billed as Gentlemen's but the dance was dominated by women (and dat's okay). Dancers were Manuel Carreon, Tandy Alconcel, Roxanne Kaino, Annie Nakamura, Cora Nieto, and Eileen Nakano. The audience was invited to join in so the young man in white showed his version of the Gangnam Style. It was fun to watch.
It was Intermission time and General Dancing.
Part II-Performances opened with the International Tango choreographed by Richard and Lynn Nakamura and performed by Dance Magic 808 Members  (Larry Arinaga & Candace Yap, Carlos & Chiye Higashide, Manuel Carreon & Cora Nieto, John & Ann Manuel, Richard & Lynn Nakamura, and James & Anna Arrowood) This performance was the most colorful and displayed the strict discipline and control of the dance...very well done and very well choreographed.
International Tango
   Edwin and Charlotte Bugarin has always thrilled the audience with their dynamic styling in showcase dancing. Their International Cha Cha that followed next was every bit a blockbuster performance.
International Cha Cha
 The International Waltz that was performed by Dr. Michael and Trudy Uechi was artistry in motion. This dancing couple have appeared in many exhibition showcases and have pleased audiences with their smooth rendition of the Waltz.

International Waltz
Hot! Sexy! Exotic! and Seductive! describes the International Rumba that was performed by Sergio and Renna Villanueva from Dance Appeal Dance Studio. It was playful and danced with flavor and passion.

International Rumba
Concluding Part II-Performances was the International Quickstep by Richard and Lynn Nakamura. This was a high octane dance and Richard and Lynn took off with a burst of speed that never let down until the end of the music.  It was a racy and exciting performance with a lot of zip that drew oohs and aahs and heavy applause for Richard and Lynn...an excellent way to end the showcase.

International Quickstep
General Dancing continued till 11:30PM
 It was a successful 2nd Anniversary Ball celebration for Dance Magic 808 with an excellent program featuring Special Guest Singer Melvin Leed, and an impressive array of exhibition dancers from other dance organizations and Dance Magic 808 very own members.