Friday, November 06, 2015


Hi Frank,
Here it is. Photos to follow - some photos from my camera, some from Jackson Cho with his permission to post on your blog.

Marie and Paul Laderta
Aloha Ball 2015
The weekend of our neighbor island escape finally came after weeks and months of anticipation. We were all abuzz at Divino Ritmo dance studio for  Friday dress rehearsal, readying ourselves for this one-day competition in our Kona backyard.
Jackson Cho with Ally
In my mind, I was psyching myself up for a test of endurance on the dance floor. I told myself, I had to keep calm, focused & collected. Do what I can, and enjoy the moment. I competed all Pro-am at this comp and was thankful to have my teacher Lucas Jaime there to hold  my hand.
October 25th marked the second year of ballroom legends, Ron Montez & Tony Meredith's Aloha Ball at Kona's Sheraton Keauhou Hotel.
Lauren LaPointe
& Marie Laderta
Nestled among lava rocks running along the ocean's edge where Manta Rays make their home, the Sheraton Keauhou was the perfect getaway spot to house this one-day ballroom competition.
Aloha Ball is part of the Paradise Dancesport Tour series.  On its website, Paradise Dancesport Tour introduces its mission and purpose with the following description: The Paradise Dancesport Tour was started by an amateur dance student who recognizes the hard work and dedication it takes not only for the professionals but also the amateurs who spend countless of hours not only on the competitive dance floor but in the studios. Each Dancesport Competition on the Paradise Tour recognizes this and wants to provide you an escape to paradise.  Returning to Aloha Ball to kick off its 2nd year, was none other than the energetic and charismatic organizer, ambassador & patron of the Paradise Dancesport Tour, Lauren LaPointe.

For more information about the Paradise Dancesport Tour series, visit
DRD "Gang" @ the Great Lawn
Converging at the great lawn by the Manta Ray look-out, Aloha Ball kicked off its competition with a magical sunset reception including island themed drinks of mai tais & chi chi,  ono pupus and of course, no party can be complete without our Hawaiian music and hula.
We were there with our Divino Ritmo teachers, Lucas & Yanna, and the rest of our dance Ohana, playing tourists at the kick-off party, being reminded that we are so lucky to be living in Paradise. This was more than a ballroom comp for us, it was a studio outing, a neighbor island getaway, and holoholo-ing with our dance ohana, a little mini vacation combined with a fun dance experience... What more can us eager ballroom fanatics ask for.... We were giddy with pleasure at the great lawn, hobnobbing with Ron and Tony,  judges,  and fellow competitors....adrenaline was high and in full swing....
Victor Fung & Anastasia
The major attraction this year was undoubtedly the professional showcase featuring mega ballroom stars Victor Fung and Anastasia, world class competitors and Blackpool contenders. It was incredible and a rarity to have Professionals of Victor & Anastasia's caliber perform right in front of our eyes!  Dancing International Standard, with impeccable technique and showmanship, they took our breathe away not just once, but twice, on Oct 24th & 25th as they took the Tango, Foxtrot, Slow Waltz, Viennese, & Quickstep to new heights! Wow wow wee this was what most of us can only dream of, but just witnessing the possibilities was inspiring!
On to the competition floor at the stroke of 8 on Sunday morning. I had arranged for a wake-up call at 5 in the morning, with a half hour extra to snooze...then it was shower, make-up, room service breakfast, hair, and dressing...all in that order. Getting ready takes a good 2 hours, even for hubby Paul without the hair &, make-up...
General Dancing
The 20+ of us competing from Divino Ritmo ranged from first time competitors to more seasoned dancers. Ages ran the gamut, from 14 to 74, and we put out our all. First time competitors held their own, return competitors continued to meet the challenge. Our goal was to dance within our means and challenge ourselves. Our teachers were gratified that we did that.
Some rounds later, coming up for air and still energized for the evening heats, we looked around, gratified to see familiar faces sharing the floor and in the audience. Our customary handful of local amateur dancers from Honolulu
joined us on the floor.
Lucas Jaime & his Students
While Divino Ritmo Pro-am competitors saturated the floor, other local Pro-am contenders included dancers from Arthur Murray Honolulu.
Local presence clearly dominated the competition landscape, with Divino Ritmo taking center stage, making a broad sweep of the Top Awards including Top Teachers, Top Studio and Top Students. We busted okole for this, and distinctly felt the comraderie and joint effort of achievement as a studio.
Like winning any other kind of recreational tournament, it was both exhilarating and humbling to win. A well deserved "pat on the back," "addaboy you done good," never hurt, and is always a good feeling. Certainly Paradise Dancesport Tour Ambassador Lauren LaPointe would agree that all the hard work, from studio to competition floor deserve a good pat on the back!
Awards and trophies this year  featured handcrafted wood plaques designed by Tony Meredith's sister and world
Aloha Ball Awards & Trophies
renowned artist, Regina Antoinette Meredith, using wood from trees grown on their family's plantation in Samoa.
You think it's over with the awards.. Heck no! The day after the comp (Monday) was a day of workshops and coaching. Hubby Paul and I, together with fellow students and competitors, participated in workshops by Tony Meredith, Victor Fung, and Giacomo Steccaglia.  After the workshops, Paul & I went on for some private one-to-one coaching with various Pros.
To top off this "complete" weekend experience, were group photos, a Polynesian show, and a luau fit for sure felt good to be treated like Royalty, AND, to stop to appreciate the rich culture of a unique Paradise we call home. 
Amidst the ashes and lava, we danced....and found Paradise.
With Much Aloha & Mahalo,
Marie Laderta

Marie, Tony Meredith,
Yanna, & Paul Laderta

Charlotte & Ed Bugarin,
and Debra & Calvin Ota

ProAM Paul Laderta with Yanna

Marie Laderta with Teacher Lucas

DRD (Divino Ritmo Dance) Formation Team
Debra Ota, Lorrie & Mike Chun

Debra & Calvin Ota

At Tony Meredith's
Formation Workshop

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dance Magic 808 Halloween Ball

Halloween night turned out to be better than expected. Muggy but no rain at least not at the site of the Palladium. Dance Magic 808 had their Halloween Ball last night at the Palladium. A small crowd when Lani and I arrived there at 6:30 but it was no surprise that more dancers started to fill the empty seats in a short time. We've been away from Dance Magic 808 for over a year and last night was a good time to see and renew old friendship. Greeted us at the door was the friendly face of DM808 Prez Lynn Nakamura with a hug, and VP Richard Nakamura who was in custume as a hippee.

The music DeeJays were Mike and Diane Chinen whose choice of
dance tunes were reminiscent of the 50's and 60's era....a lot of Rug Cutting Swing along with a sweet selection of the Tea Dance Waltz, Foxy Foxtrot, Hot Cha Cha, Racy Rumba, Jumbo Mambo, Samba. Qstep, and Tango. Anyone can tell when the music is excellent for dancing when they see the DeeJays get on the floor and dance to their music and that's what Mike and Diane did.

Lady EmCee for the event was Audrey Fu who kept the program moving smoothly...introducing each contestant in the costume contest by name and what their costume signified. Audrey was also in costume
which I thought was as a Charleston Dancer or maybe a Queen of Sheba. Anyway she looked like a person with full authority.

The costume contest got underway at about 8 PM with all contestants lined up near the stage side. I didn't get all their names and the description of their costumes but I'm hoping that someone will recognize them and tell them that they did good. Here are snapshots of most of those who entered the Halloween Costume Contest. (Left click on photo to zoom in)

The contestants walked around the ballroom at least twice with some animating the character they were portraying. The judges huddled with Chief Judge Diane Chinen and they came up with five finalists. All were impressive in their costumes and each one deserve to win first prize but in any contest there's got to be a first place winner. (There were winners in 5th to 2nd place, too.) Here are your winners in Dance Magic 808 Halloween Costume Contest.
5th and 4th Place Winners

5th Place Winner

5th and 3rd Place Winners

2nd Place Winners

1st Place Winners of Dance Magic 808 Halloween Costume Contest
General dancing continued till closing at 9:30. Onolicious Brownie pastry snack with a lollipop was served on the lanai. Yes, it turned out to be a better night than expected. Lani and I enjoyed the music, the dancing, meeting old friends, and the program which was well organized by the Prez and VP of Dance Magic 808 and the helping hands of its members.

Dance Magic 808 Prez Lynn and VP Richard Nakamura