Friday, May 02, 2014

Our Las Vegas Trip 2014

Lani and I hadn't gone dancing since I injured my back several weeks ago. But that didn't stop us from making the trip to Las Vegas for the Dance Magic 808 Las Vegas Showcase. Hobbling around with the cane for over a month really sucks but I needed to get to see if my legs could handle getting to dance on the dance floor without the use of the cane. There were two important reasons for making this journey to Sin City USA. One: to visit our son and daughter-in-law who transplanted to Las Vegas, and two: to attend the Dance Magic 808 Las Vegas Showcase. Oh yeah, a 3rd reason to visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop which is one of our favorite TV shows... PAWN STARS.   But first, we needed to get rolling with trip know like what kine clothes to bring and how many and getting in touch with Roy Hamasaki of Vacations Hawaii for the best package deal. This time, Lani and I wanted to have comfortable seats and not cramp up like sardines in coach fare. So with the extra money saved a year long, we decide to go really classy like flying First Class. There were so many benefits tied in to First Class that it was worth dishing out the extra cash. I heard from a frequent First Class flyer, "Once you fly First Class, you'll never want to go back to Coach".  Being in the ranks of Seniors, I think we can spoil ourselves one time or another.    

The flight from Honolulu to Las Vegas was a long 5 hours and 40 minutes and landed at about nearly 8 PM. After checking in at the California, the first thing to look for is a watering hole in this desert town. The nearest was the Walgreen Pharmacy at the edge of Fremont Experience where we purchased a large bottle of purified water and headed back to the California. It was close to 9:30 and the avenue was crowded with late sleepers. An Elvis impersonator was performing on one stage and a rock group was performing on another stage. There were many street performers including showgirls who showed more skin than costumes (oo-la-la). But a good night sleep is what was in order for us after a sleepless night the night before and the long flight. Las Vegas is huge and most of the days, Lani and I were on the road visiting the outskirts of this huge desert town but then that's another story. The 5 night stay came around pretty fast and it was time to get ready for the Dance Magic 808 Dance Showcase organized by VP Richard and Prez Lynn Nakamura.
Lynn and Richard Nakamura

The Dance Magic 808 Las Vegas Showcase was held in the Ponderosa Room at Sam's Town Hotel and Casino last Sunday. Greeting us at the Reception Table were the smiling faces of Bob and Diane Nishimura, Sandy Hamasaki, and Janey Wong.  The dance exhibition dancers were still practicing on the dance floor, so Lani and I and our guests (our son Rick and daughter-in-law Kathy) decide to explore the two floor casino.

Bill Esposito
General dancing was already in progress when we returned to the Ponderosa Room. Music was provided by DeeJay Bill Esposito. Lani and I hadn't been on the dance floor for months because of my back injury. But the call of the Cha Cha rhythm and her itchy feet got my happy feet moving to the beat of the music. Boy! It felt good after a long absence from the hardwood floor.

Lynn Nakamura

Dance Magic 808 President Lynn Nakamura opened the program with a "Welcome Everybody" Message and thanking everyone for coming to Dance Magic 808 Las Vegas Showcase. It was Dance Magic 808 second annual Las Vegas Showcase since being combined with IBDI in 2012. Invocation was said by Renna Villanueva of Dance Appeal Dance Studio before the buffet dinner. (Renna was in the dance exhibition showcase with husband Sergio).

General dancing continued on throughout dinner until it was time for the Showcase.

Sergio and Renna Villanueva opened the Showcase with an entertaining and all fired-up Samba that brewed with vigor and gusto. The costumed they wore was sexy and had the semblance of the ancient Aztec race but then it could have been from a Moro culture of the Philippines. It was an excellent opening number that displayed mastery, dynamic artistry, passion of the dance, and a lively and colorful source of entertainment.
Sergio and Renna Villanueva

Noli and Wowee Boado who had transplanted to Mainland USA came on next with the American Waltz. Not very often do we see the American style Waltz in exhibition showcases. Noli and Wowee danced a refreshing style of Waltz that was smooth like silk. They were very creative in their arm and hand styling as they floated lightly around the dance floor in closed and open positions.   

Noli and Wowee Boado

The Dance Now dancers who have been appearing in Dance Magic 808 Showcases in Las Vegas and Honolulu performed what appeared a medley of the West Coast Swing and the Foxtrot to the tune of the Pink Panther was superb.  It was entertaining with the gals making like cat burglars and the guys calling out, "Watch your wallet!" The dancers were Jim & Andrea Gutman, Barbara Greenlaw & Bill Steeber, and Frank Trapp & Keiko Isshiki. 
Dance Now Dancers

Another transplant dancer from Hawaii and a Dance Magic 808 dance instructor  is Joshua Manzano. He is a successful dance competitor representing the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Joshua and new dance partner Jenny Lau exploded on the dance floor with the thrilling Samba. Their performance was electrifying and had all the ingredients of professionalism and showed their expertise as competition dancers.
Jenny Lau and Joshua Manzano

Joshua who had won many 1st place in dance competition at the UNLV also showcased the Swing Hustle with Jenny to the delight of the audience. It was fast with a lot intricate moves that kept Jenny spinning almost constantly.

To get the "seat warmers" on the dance floor, Joshua taught a new Line Dance.

As an added attraction a singer came on stage and sang a tune with a WALTZ beat. That brought many dancers to the dance floor. I didn't get her name but hopefully she is known by this photo.

Another successful Dance Magic 808 Dance Showcase came to a close with general dancing till 10:30 PM.

Lani and I really enjoyed our stay in Vegas although it was a bit short. But it was time to go through the routine of packing our suitcases and get ready for the long fl;ight back home. One thing for sure...we'll be back next year for another Dance Magic 808 Dance Showcase or come visit our money. Yeah! What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.

Except for visiting places outside of Downtown Las Vegas and The Strip, our trip would not be complete if we didn't visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. The popular TV show on the History Channel brought many fans and curious observers to the shop. There was a long line of people stretching from the parking lot to the entrance all waiting to get into the pawn shop. It was just as crowded in  the shop when Lani and I were permitted to enter.

We got a good look at the many articles for sale but the only 
disappointment was none of the stars of the TV show were there.  
Well, maybe next time we're in Las Vegas we'll get to see them.
When we left the pawn shop, there were still more fans and curious 
observers lined up from the parking lot to the entrance waiting to get in..

Our 5-night vacation came too swiftly but Lani and I are happy to be back home.
The flight back to Honolulu was long but comfortable flying really classy.