Monday, December 29, 2014

IBDI 2015 First Term Dance Classes

IBDI 2015 First Term starts on Monday January 5 about 6 PM with Registration for dance class(es), Free Open Dance, and Dance Demonstrations by First Term instructors. Lani and I will be demonstrating the MAMBO with a touch of Club style. See the poster for other dances and instructors on the schedule.

(Left click to zoom in)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Riding The "Gray Line Close To The "Big 90"

Joe "Pepe" Martel and Frank Sierra
It has been many moons since "Pepe" decided to go paperless from the long paper publishing of his "Dancing In The Dark" mini-magazine. Wow! It may have been eons when I look back and remember how much this pioneer has promoted social dancing in the islands through his mini-magazine for many years before I came on the scene to contribute some articles on ballroom dancing. Roger Izumigawa and Ruth Morgan were already on board and their articles were inspiring to me especially Roger's monthly "Tips For The Beginning Dancer". For me, writing an article and submitting a photo was not a heavy task. The heavy task was borne by "Pepe" since he had to compose the written articles and photos page by page for publication, take them to the publication facility (by bicycle), pick them up, staple the printed pages into mini-magazine, and distribute them at no cost to anybody but his own. I believe that he wanted to inspire people, through social media, to turn to ballroom dancing as a means of a healthy and fun recreation.

"Dancing In The Dark" mini-magazine changed hands from "Pepe" to me for a while and then back to "Pepe" when I decided to go on my own and open "The Dance Connection" and "That's Dancing". "Dancing In The Dark" on the Internet continued to survive until "Pepe" changed it to "Town Dancer" which drew more readers till today. Some of his contributing authors on dancing are good social dancers and awesome exhibition as well as competitive dancers. 

Keep up the good work, Pepe! Riding the "gray line close to the Big 90" even with your handicap hasn't slowed you down. Wishing you "Da Best" throughout this holiday season and Hau'oli Makahiki Hou! from Lani and me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The 6th Annual Divino Ritmo Dance Grand Ball

The ride from Hawaii Kai wasn't too bad except for the bumpy stretch on Kalanianaole Hwy from Hawaii Kai Drive to Aina Haina. But we got to the Sheraton Waikiki in good enough time. Outside the Ballroom, merchants of dance clothing and wares were present. And so were the presence of armed Gangsters on guard at the Ballroom entrance.  
 We were greeted by two guys with guns at the door to the Ballroom. They looked pretty tough with the heavy armaments but they were friendly enough to get a photo shot with them.

The lovely Dolls at the Reception Table checked Lani and me in and gave us our assigned table. They were heavily guarded by a couple of Gangsters.

Inside the Ballroom, the tables were beautifully decorated with a large bouquet of flowers as centerpiece, fine-tasting cookies in red bags, and little boxes of chocolate balls. What was eye-catching was the colorful "Speakeasy" deco on center stage.

Susan, Jenn, and Kris
Lani and I would like to thank our gracious hosts Paul and Marie Laderta for inviting us as their guests. We enjoyed the company of the people sitting at our table and the ono snacks Paul and Marie provided our table before dinner.

 Sitting at our table were:

Missing was Wes Numazu (getting ready for
the Showcase)

Bert and Candace
Sandy, Milette, and Rickie

The Music Player was Nick from StarPointe Productions. It was a crowded floor with every tune that he played. His fabulous collection of the Waltz, Foxtrot, Rumba, Swing, Cha Cha, Samba, Bolero, Tango, and Merengue kept the dance floor filled to capacity.
Master of Ceremony was the dynamic Justin Cruz from KHON2 TV. This was his 4th successful year as EmCee for Divino Ritmo Dance Annual Grand Ball & Showcase.  He kept the program running smoothly and I gotta say that he is a good motivator to get people to get off their seat and dance. I think he got everyone to raise their right hand and promise "to dance at least one dance tonight".

I was fortunate to get a closeup shot of Divino Ritmo Dance professional guests Artem Plakhotnyi and Inna Bertizyeva. They are the United Kingdom Open Intr. Standard Champions, USA Open Intr. Standard Finalists, and Blackpool Intr. Standard RS Champions & many more.
They performed three exciting dances in the Professional Show in Act 3.

Some of the cast members of the showcase went table-hopping in colorful Gangsters and Dolls fashion before the show.

More cast members went on stage to add to the 1920's "Speakeasy" deco. (You gotta left click on the photo to get a clear view of them).
Social dancing continued on, non-stop until it it was time for the Showcase of Dance performances. There were three Acts that comprised 24 performances including the Professional Show featuring Lucas Jaime & Yanna Samkova , and World Famous Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva. There were additional performances by the cast of Keiki Dance Troupe, Teen Dancesport Team, DRD Formation Team, and DRD Novice Ensemble.

Stay tuned in for Acts 1, 2, and 3. As they say in Gangster Talk: "Stick around, kid, if you wanna see a blast!"

Act One opened with a "mouthpiece" accompanied by two gunmen. The "mouthpiece" spoke the Prelude in "gangster talk" and he sure sounded like the actors James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson of the 20's and 30's big screen movies.  
Mitzi Gold with Lucas Jaime performed the Night Club Two Step to "What A Wonderful World" This was her first time exhibition in a Divino Ritmo Dance Showcase.

Andy Jambaro with Yanna Samkova danced the Samba/Quickstep Medley to "Tico Tico". This was Andy's first Pro/Am solo and first time appearance in a Divino Ritmo Dance Showcase.
Connie Yi with Lucas Jaime performed Flamenco/Paso Doble to "La False Moneda".

Appearing in his 3rd Showcase with Divino Ritmo Dance was Edward Nishimura with Yanna Samkova. They performed the International /American Waltz to "Godfather". 

Mary D.Tom with Lucas Jaime danced the American Foxtrot/Swing Medley to "Sitting On Top Of The World". It was her 3rd showcase performance with Divino Ritmo Studio.

This was Wesley Numazu 4th solo performance with Divino Ritmo Dance. He danced the Quickstep with his teacher, Yanna Samkova to "Sunday".. 

Stacie Yoshinaga with Lucas Jaime danced the Waltz/Tango Medley to "Are You Lonesome Tonight".  It was her first time solo routine with her teacher, Mr. Jaime. 

Tom Tsurutani with Yanna Samkova performed the International Foxtrot/Jive Medley to ""The Silencers". It was Tom's first appearance in a Divino Ritmo Dance Showcase.

Edwin and Remy Brion had performed in the last four Divino Ritmo Dance Showcases. In this 5th appearance, these seasoned performers danced the Cha Cha to "Hey Daddy".

Former Beauty Queen Maria Handl with Lucas Jaime performed a "Charlie Chapin Medley"  that pictured some of the antics of the late comedian. It was an entertaining ending to ACT ONE.

It was INTERMISSION and time for more SOCIAL DANCING.

Please stay tuned for ACT TWO.

Act Two opened with "Little Gangsters and Dolls" performed firstly by the Keiki Dance Troupe and then by the Teen Dancesport Team. Then it was followed by the Troupe and Team performing together. 

 The dancers of Keiki Dance Troupe are: Madison Divers, Brooklyn Divers, Bella Boyer, Kayleigh Banrag, Daniel Cabla, William Wolfsen, and Tristan Racpan  

The dancers of Teen Dancesport Team are: Soho Divers, Prita Sumukti, Riana Sakamaki, and Rommel Del Rio. 


The Divino Ritmo Dance Formation Team performed to "The Great Gatsby" choreographed and coached by Yanna Samkova.. The dancers are Paul and Marie Laderta, Rolando and Gloria Padasdao, Tom Collins and Beverly Mau, Edward Nishimura and Tessie Cabral, Patrick Norman and Lori Zia. 

Shervelle Bergholz with Lucas Jaime danced Theatrical Argentine Tango to "What Lola Wants".
Tomo Sasakawa with Yanna Samkova performed International Cha Cha to "Listen To My Rhythm"

Noreen Ho with Lucas Jaime danced International/American Foxtrot to "Fever".

Rommel Del Rio with Yanna Samkova danced International Cha Cha to ""Swagger".
Bella Boyer with Lucas Jaime performed Swing/Cha Cha Medley to "Shirl;ey Temple".

David Easa with Yanna Samkova performed Foxtrot Medley to "Razzle Dazzle".

Maria Handl with Lucas Jaime danced Theatrical Bolero to "Smile".
Rolando and Gloria Padasdao danced International Latin Medley to Bonnie and Clyde".

Paul and Marie Laderta with Lucas Jaime and Yanna Samkova performed a foursome Peabody/Foxtrot medley to "Don't Bring Lulu".

 Stay tuned for the Professional Show by Lucas Jaime and Yanna Samkova accompanied by DRD Novice Ensemble and featuring World Famous Guests Artists Artem Plakhotnyi and Inna Berlizyeva


Cast members with Lucas Jaime and Yanna Samkova
Mitzi Gold

Andy Jambaro

Connie Yi

Edward Nishimura

Mary D, Tom

Tom Tsurutani

Stacie Yashinaga

Edwin and Remy Brion

Wesley Numazu

Tomo Sasakawa

Bella Boyer
Rommel Del Rio

Shervelle Bergholz

Noreen Ho

Gloria and Rolando Padasdao

David Easa

Maria Handl

Marie Laderta

Paul Laderta
Divino Ritmo Dance Formation Team

Divino Ritmo Dance Teen Dancesport Team

Divino Ritmo Dance Keiki Dance Troupe
 ACT THREE: The Professional Show

After the Awards Ceremony and a spell of social dancing, the DRD Novice Ensemble came on the dance floor like gangbusters with an arsenal of dance routines.

                       Professional Performance Showcase

Lucas Jaime and Yanna Samkova dance a spectacular Theatrical Medley

Artem Plakhotnyi and Inna Berlizyeva danced the International Samba that had so much class and speed.

The DRD Novice Ensemble took the dance floor with more dance routines including their rendition of the Village People to the tune "YMCA". 

Artem Plakhotnyi and Inna Berlizyeva second dance was the beautiful International Waltz.

Their third dance was the striking International Tango.
DRD Novice Ensemble: Robert Hotsen, Gary Hsu, Jones Valenzuela, Tomo Sasakawa, Sam Teves, Scott Higgins, Michael Tipton, Joshua Sevelino, Victor Dias, and Chas Kenessey.

DRD Novice Ensemble: Soho Divers, Gwendolyn Arbaugh, Stacie Yoshinaga, Shannon Deweese, Yumi Hl, Taylor Witter, Tiera Ashley, Malia Wong, and Karin Bugarin.

Lucas Jaime, Inna Berlizyeva, Artem Plakhotnyi, and Yanna Samkova.
Thus ended the journey back to the era of the Roaring 20's; the "Crazy Years" of social, artistic and culture dynamism, glamour, music and beauty of dance. 

All pau fo' now but as my main squeeze Lani mentioned earlier, "if you want to catch a piece of all the action, you can order a DVD at or phone 808-200-5540".