Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Tale of Dancing In The Light and Out Of The Box

WOW! 2013 has been a whirlwind year with all the dance events and showcases played at the Palladium, the Sheraton Hotel, and the Pacific Beach Hotel. The shows were spectacular, colorful, and some had that magic touch of entertainment which made them more enjoyable to watch. Which brings me back to a tale imagined many moons ago. It was way back at the dawn of dance. There was no Palladium nor any fancy hotels to put up a show and dance event.....just a nice open area in the deep forest. Some akamai chief of a native tribe decided to have a dance showcase after watching his people jump with Jive, Hip Hop with Break Dancing, and Partner Dancing with Smooth and Rhythm drum tunes. He was awfully proud of them. So he turned the warriors' playground into a Palladium-like-ballroom and sent runners throughout the kingdom to invite the neighboring Chiefs and their tribe to come to his showcase. Now this Chief was no rookie...he made sure that there was an admission fee at the entrance to his forest kingdom showcase. There was a feasting before the show and anyone who paid the runner for prepaid admission got a nice plate of bento. During those early dawn of dance, there was no such thing as money....payments were made with livestocks and fruits and vegetables. No one paid more and no one paid less. Everyone was treated at an equal level. There was no such thing as a chair so accomodations were the bare ground covered with soft leaves but it was open to everyone who paid to get in. It was pretty good going until some natives decide to make some good sitting spots reserved for special friends. Then all of a sudden there were leaves with the scribbled word "KAPU" on those reserved spots. The powers-to-be saw what was happening but turned a blind eye. So now not all paid guests were at an equal level. There was now a higher level of guests called VIPs and a lower level of guests called the spectators.  The chief who was putting on the show made sure that there were lighted torches around the Palladium-like-ballroom since the showcase was gonna be held during the night. He had his followers install torches all over the Palladium-like-ballroom and when that was done, he was satisfied. Show time came and all the torches were lighted. All the Chief's male dance performers were handsomely attired in colorful costumes and the women were just as beautifully dressed in costumes that made the ladies of the visiting tribes envious. Just as ACT ONE got under way, a strong wind came over the forest and blew out the flames of the torches that were hanging in the middle and south side of the Palladium-like-ballroom. That made it the darkside of the Palladium-like-ballroom but still the show had to go on. Most of the performers were akamai. When they noticed the darkside, they danced where there were more lights. That was a real treat for the guests and more important it displayed the talents of the dancers and their skills in floorcraft. As for the others, they blindly or unconsciously performed in the darkside which masked their talent and skills. AUWE! However the Chief was so proud of his showcase performers that it never occurred to him to light the blownout torches again. As it went in ACT TWO and ACT THREE, the akamai performers danced in the lighted area and the not-so-akamai performers continued to dance in the darkside. AUWE! And the practice of the akamai dancers and not-so-akamai dancers continued for centuries and some who danced in the darkside even made it a point to perform facing only the VIPs. AUWE! As the pages of time continued to flip each passing year there came a light at the end of the tunnel. It was nearing the close of year 2013, when the International Ballroom Dance Inc. put on a Holiday Celebration featuring Divino Ritmo Dance Formation Team and Junior Pro/Am, and Dance Appeal Group Segue, some noticeable small changes were made.....like performing facing a larger audience of spectators (not a small group of VIPs) and performing mainly in the bright lighted areas of the Palladium. As this tale of Dancing In The Light and Out of The Box comes to an end, the Moral of this story is: To have some value of entertainment and if you want to show your talents in Dance Performance and Skill in Floorcraft, you gotta "Dance In The Light and Out Of The Box". Pau fo' now! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

IBDI Holiday Celebration 2013

Well it's Saturday morning and the big question of our "free" day is "What You Gonna Do?" Got all the heavy jobs all done with....weed-wacking and mowing the lawn yesterday. So Lani asks again "What You Gonna Do?" Well there was a few errands to do around town but we gotta be back in time to get ready for the IBDI Holiday Celebration at the Palladium...at least get there in enough time to pick up our prepaid bento. The "joint was jumping" as the saying goes when we arrived at the Palladium. At the Reception Table were the familiar friendly faces (Dana, Delia, and Jimmy). There were friendly greeters at the door, also, passing out tickets for door prizes. 
The dance floor was just as jam-pack as the weekend before at the Pan Pacific Christmas Dance. I could tell that it was a full house 'cause there were only a few chairs left on the rack and more guests were trickling into the ballroom. Henry Lee and Jane Umeda were the DeeJays for this event and no mistaken that their selection of good dance music were calling more dancers onto the hardwood floor.


Come about 8 o'clock, EmCee Arnold Lee welcomed everyone to IBDI Holiday Celebration. After a few encouraging words he handed the mike to IBDI Prez Chris Jay.
Prez Chris Jay had just arrived from another event and he apologized for not being attired for the occasion. His "welcome message" and appreciation for all that came to the dance included introducing the presidents and representatives of the various dance organizations and the professional teachers/owners of the private dance studios, and Emi Matsuoka, a familiar personality in the dance world. His gratitude extended to those who worked hard behind the scenes to make this Holiday Celebration a successful one, to New Aala Bakery that provided the cookies for refreshment, and to Divino Ritmo Dance, and to Dance Appeal Dance Studio...the two professional dance studios participating in the  exhibition showcase for IBDI. It was also Chris Jay's "swan song" as he leaves the position as IBDI President which he held for many years. IBDI has thrived under Chris' capable leadership during his tenure.     

General dancing and the call for door prize winners soon followed before the dance exhibition showcase started. Calling out numbers for door prizes was EmCee Arnold Lee and assisted by the new 2014 IBDI Prez Marsha Ninomiya.

 The Showcase started with the Divino Ritmo Dance Formation Team performing "Black and White"...a tribute to Michael Jackson and choreographed by Ms. Yanna Samkova. It was only the second time "Black and White" was performed by the DRD Formation Team. The first time was at the DRD 5th Annual Grand Ball and Showcase World of Music at the Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom last month.
Dancers representing Dance Appeal Dance Studio performed a Group Christmas Segue. Now, I'm not gonna second guess what is Segue (pronounced Segway) but for the performance, it suggested a medley of dance scores performed by different couples.  First couple was Ikaika Villanueva and Brandee Nakamura who danced a fast paced Samba. 

Next to perform was the couple of David Matsumoto and Renna Villanueva dancing the Cha Cha that was choreographed and coached by Mr. Geoffrey Fells. It was David's first-time exhibition performance. 

Galloping onto the dance floor at high speed was the couple of Sergio Villanueva and his student Barbara Kaneshiro dancing the Quickstep. 

Concluding the Segue was the couple of Lopaka and Michelle Burgess who gang-bustered onto the dance floor with the Jive. 

Closing the showcase was the DRD Junior Pro/Am performace by Tristan Racpan with Yanna Samkova dancing the Jive choreographed by Ms. Samkova. Coached by Yanna, this talented youngster is one of Hawaii Dancespot, Inc. scholarship recipients. He loves to dance and to perform and is a member of DRD Keiki Dance Troupe. Besides ballroom dancing, he has ballet and hip hop under his belt and hopes to become a professional dancer one day. During last night's performance of the Jive, he showed his talent in the hip hop with a touch of break dancing.  
To the keep the hype going, Richard and Lynn Nakamura led a line dance called "Wild, Wild West". That got nearly everyone off their seats and dancing on the dance floor.  

It was refreshment time and most everyone headed for the long line outside on the lanai. Delicious cookies from New Aala Bakery were served by the friendly and smiling faces of..... 

These cuties were in line for the cookies, also. Because I said that I was gonna submit this photo to PlayBoy Magazine, their names have been left out. 
(Just kidding).

It was good to see Mr. Fells at this Holiday Celebration and see his student David Matsumoto perform the Cha Cha with Renna in the showcase.
Mr. Geoffrey Fells
From Happy and Smiling Santa Sergio and Beautiful Renna...they wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas. Me too!
More lucky numbers were called for door prizes, and general dancing continued till the call of "last dance".  Many thanks to EmCee Arnold Lee for sharing his program notes with me. It was an enjoyable evening for Lani and me....dancing, socializing with friends and watching a showcase that was short and sweet and colorful with the sparkle of entertainment.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seasons Greetings

My main squeeze Lani and I want to extend a "Big Mahalo" to all our Friends and Readers of our Blogs (The Dance Connection, and That's Dancing).
We hope you have enjoyed reading about our experiences in the dance world and about the people that make dancing an enjoyable dancesport that's a physical exercise that doesn't feel like exercise.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pan Pacific Ballroom Dance Society Christmas Ball 2013

Lani and I had a late start getting to the Palladium for Pan Pacific's Christmas Ball but enough time to pick up our prepaid bento. The parking lot was filled with cars and because of the late hour, I figured it is gonna be a bigger crowd than usual in the ballroom. Sure enough, the ballroom was jammed with guests. There were hardly any seats available on the dance floor or on the chair racks. That speaks loudly for the number of guests at this Christmas Ball.

After getting chairs for Lani and myself off the  rack, we had to find a spot to sit. Fortunately, we found a place near the DeeJay.

The music was going on continuously and the floor was jam-packed with dancers. Music DeeJay for the evening was George Suetsugu and with his selection of good danceable music it's no wonder why.

The program started with EmCee Eric Brienzo (VP of Pan Pacific Ballroom Dance Society) taking the mike
with a "good evening" and welcoming all Pan Pacific Ballroom Dance Society Members and Special Guests. Than the mike was passed to Pan Pacific  Prez Rudy Luat who gave his welcome message and thanking everyone for helping celebrate Pan Pacific Christmas Ball. Prez Luat has held the helm of Pan Pacific for a good number of years and his welcome message was a passionate one. Then VP Brienzo acknowleged the presence of the Special Guests (Dance Professionals, and Dance Club Presidents), and a short schedule of coming dance events. Door prizes for lucky ticket holders soon followed and then General Dancing continued.

 The tickets had Chrismas stickers of various ornaments stuck in back of the tickets. I thought that was an innovative idea and that eliminated the calling of numbers. The ticket holders who held stickers of Candy Canes received beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts.

THE DANCE EXIHIBITION  of the program opened with a group of young dancers ages 8-12 from Dance Force 24/7 Next Generation dancing the Hip Hop. The performers were Tayer Aril, Mailani Aurelio, Kaitlen Camora-Ah Yu, Kamaka'i Dickson-Kim, Tamryn Goo, David Kila, Noah McConnell, Jenny Lynn Nishioka, and Nikki Umeda.

The International Waltz was next and performed by Ravi and Synthia Narayan. According to VP Brienzo, this couple have performed at many special dance events and for Pan Pacific in recent years.

Following was the Filipino Tango performed by Romeo and Tessie Cabras. Romeo and Tessie had showcased the Filipino Tango at the 35th Anniversary Ball.

Ed and Matilda Felix performed the International Foxtrot. They are students of Akiyoshi Sugino (Founder of Pan Pacific BDS). Ed (the Dance Director of PPBDS) and Matilda are Dance Teachers who have taught many dance classes for Pan Pacific and other dance organizations.

Concluding the exhibition part of the program was the youth group from Dance Force 24/7 Next Generation performing a Jazz routine.

There was a "curtain call" and that gave me a chance to get a photo shot of the exhibition performers.

A "Snowball" dance came soon after and led by the dance exhibition performers, and Pan Pacific Ballroom Dance Society Officers and Directors to the tune of a smooth waltz. That gave Lani and me a welcomed chance to dance with some of our former dance students.

Santa's Elves: Candy, Ed, Greg, Robert, and Wally passed out candies while some guests headed out to the lanai for refreshments.

A second call for door prizes for ticket holders of Christmas Trees, and Bells stickers brought more lucky winners to the floor for Christmas gifts, and Poinsettia potted plants.

The last dance was at 9:30. Special Thanks go to the DeeJay George Suesugu for spinning the dance music, Joan and Arthur Oda of New Aala Bakery for the ono cookies, Marie Perreira for the beautiful leis and door prize donation, Prez Rudy, Lucy, Amy, and Robert for their generous door prize donations, Meryl Suetsugu for lovely flower arangements, Stephanie and Monday Verzon for the beautiful stage decor, and to the Pan Pacific Officers and Directors for all their hard work to make this event a successful Christmas Ball.

My personal thanks to VP Eric Brienzo for sharing the program menu with me and for giving Lani his Poinsettia potted plant. That sure brightened the evening for my main squeeze.

It was an enjoyable evening for Lani and me...dancing, the exhibition showcase, and socializing with friends and former students. But it was time to put away our chairs and head home and chow down the delicious bento. Dat's it fo' now.
(Left click on photo to zoom in)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

IBDI CPR Workshop

Several weeks ago when IBDI Prez Chris Jay asked Lani and me if we wanted to participate in the CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) Workshop, I told him that we would like to attend as spectators instead of participating.  Some years ago, I had participated in the CPR course as a required course for all Air Traffic Control Specialist in the FAA. It was a full day course during those days with mouth to mouth and hands-on chest compression. So I thought the CPR Workshop would be just a refresher for me and Lani since she went through the course while working as a volunteer at the Kapiolani Women & Children Medical Center.

Well the evening of the CPR Workshop finally came this past Monday at the Palladium. The workshop was held in the Diamond Head side while the Ewa ballroom was opened to IBDI members who didn't sign up for the workshop.

There were at least 30 guys and gals in the workshop...all participants and not as spectators.
Dummy model with AED attached.
Everyone sat on the floor next to a dummy model of a human. Fireman K. Ching was at the mike giving a short but educational explaination of the course while Fireman M. Jones worked the Audio Visuals. The video clips of what to do incase someone collapsed because of a cardio attack surely embedded in our minds. Two versions of CPR was shown on the screen....the European version and the American version to the tune of "Staying Alive". Both were nearly the same but I found that the European version was more entertaining and easier to relate to. After the video clips, Fireman Ching posed some questions about what we had seen. "What is the first thing to do when someone falls and is unconscious? What's the next thing and so on.  There were three things to do and later as we went deep into the course there were four. There were questions abound coming from the participants as well as from Fireman Ching....all with satifactory answers about the course.
Applying Chest Compression.
This was a hands-on CPR course as Fireman Ching iterated..no mouth to mouth. So now Lani and I are no long spectators but participants. We all worked on the dummy model to 100 beats to a minute in time with "Staying Alive".

Chest compression using upper
body weight and straight arm.
 Fireman Ching tested our endurance by asking us to perform the hands on chest compression on the dummy model for two minutes. It was tiresome for some of the participants but in an actual situation, it might take as long as 6 to 8 minutes (the estimated time for EMT or Fire Department to get to the scene).

Applying Chest Compression
with fingers interwined.
As we went deeper into the course, Fireman Ching and Fireman Jones explained the use of the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator). There was a Q & A session. Then it was time to apply hands-on from what we had learned.

There were about 30 participants; so we were broken up into 8 teams of 4 each and some with three. Our team consisted of Charlene, Marsha, Lani, and myself.  There were about six Firemen in the workshop who actively supervised the teams. Our supervisor was Fireman Jones who made sure that we followed the steps exactly as we were instructed, especially when using the AED.
Applying Chest Compression
with AED attached but turned off.
The CPR Workshop concluded with a Disco line dance to the tune of "Staying Alive". It was a lively workshop,  and very educational....one that can save a person's life if the occasion comes your way.

Many thanks to Prez Chris Jay who arranged this CPR Workshop for IBDI members, and to the Honolulu Fire Department for providing the vital information and application of CPR.

Here's a short summary of CPR.
Chest Compressions:
Someone giving CPR (the rescuer) will probably use both hands, one placed over the other, to press on the person's chest many times in a row to move blood out of the heart that has stopped beating.

These are called chest compressions and they help move oxygen-carrying blood to the body's vital organs — especially the all-important brain. A person who goes too long without oxygen reaching the brain will die.

In between each compression the hands are lifted off the chest to let the chest go back to where it was. This allows blood to flow back toward the heart. In this way, the rescuer can keep the person alive by continuing to supply blood and oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body, until emergency help — like the paramedics or firemen — arrives to take the person to a hospital.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

DRD World of Music Photo Snips

I hope you all have enjoyed the photos and reading the previous blog on DRD World Of Music. Thanks to the informative and colorful cover program magazine/ flyer by Marie Laderta, I was able to get the names of showcase dancers. A big Mahalo to Marie and also to my main squeeze Lani for proof-reading the blog before publication.  I think my little point and shoot camera worked overtime that Saturday night at DRD 5th Annual Grand Ball & Showcase. Like some shutterbugs, I usually snap a few more shots hoping that at least one will turn out to be satisfactory for the blog. Evidently, most came out better than I had hoped for. So here are more photo snips of the spectacular World Of Music.  (Left click on photo to zoom in)
Bella Boyer with Lucas Jaime

                        DRD Formation Team

Lucas Jaime, Lori Zia, and Yanna Samkova

Lucas Jaime, Tom Collins, and Yanna Samkova

Lucas Jaime, Cammy Divers, and Yanna Samkova

                        Edwin and Remy Brion

                         Ballroom Dancers

               Dr, David Easa with Yanna Samkova

                        Keiki Dance Troupe

               Laila Spina-Valenta with Lucas Jaime

                          Lani and Tsubaki

               Yanna Samkova and Lucas Jaime

                       Lucas Jaime twirling cape

                  Marie Laderta with Lucas Jaime

DRD Novice Ensemble

                        Paul and Marie Laderta

         Yanna Samkova  and Dr. Paul Laderta

         Andrei Kazlouski and Asta Sigvaldadottir

             Yanna Samkova and Rommel Del Rio

            Yanna Samkova and Tomo Sasakawa


Now it wouldn't be kosher if I left this photo  of the colorful stage out.  It's to give recognition to the clever designers of the stage props, and the ballroom decorations: Dr. Paul Laderta, Jeffery Laderta, and Phil Padilla; and also to Maria Handl for flowers and table centerpieces.