Tuesday, April 10, 2018

PHOTO FLASHBACK The Dragon Ball 2012 Part One

Dancing In Paradise: The Dragon Ball 2012 Part One

This blog on Bantay Bata's Dragon Ball at the Pacific Beach Grand Ballroom on August 24 is not gonna be an easy task. There were many volunteers involved in this annual event in making it a successful one. So please stay cool while I unrevel the threads of Dancing In Paradise as I can remember. After all, my main squeeze had squeezed nearly all of my energy by her merciless drive to dance my A**Off that night.

Lani and I got to the Pacific Grand Ballroom mighty early. No one was at the reception table but there were guests milling around the ballroom. Cammy of Dancewares Hawaii was at the entrance of the ballroom with her dance boutique with 10% discount for Bantay Bata ticket holders. Soon, Buffy came to the reception table and checked us in. Inside the ballroom, Sergio Villanueva greeted Lani and me while Calvin Ota was surveying the dance floor to measure the available space for the exhibition Waltz dance that he and Debra were gonna perform in the showcase. The ballroom was half as large as last year's. Another Filipino group occupied the other half and both ballrooms were filled to the brim.

It wasn't quiet 6PM but there was no holding back the sweet music coming from the stage by the Dee Jay Jesse Gonzales. Jesse has a rare talent of mixing canned music with his vocal chords and that made the dance music more extraordinary and appealing to dancing. Of course that got my main squeeze all hyped to start dancing before the floor got too crowded.

Before I move on any further, I gotta thank Paul and Marie Laderta for inviting Lani and me as their guests to this event. Paul and Marie have been prominent mainstays at Bantay Bata events as far as I can remember. They are good and inspiring people for this charity event and have brought their friends from Divino Ritmo Dance Studio to give an exciting showcase performance this year again. Paul and Marie are part of the Directors/Counselors for the Project for Bantay Bata. Paul also holds the distinction of  the Ballroom Creative Designer. The table centerpieces and the colorful Chinese ornaments that decked the inside and outside the ballroom were his creations. In keeping in tune with The Dragon Ball, both were dressed in Chinese costumes.

Okay, I gotta cut to the chase otherwise this blog is gonna take me to Christmas to get it all done. The preshow program opened with welcome remarks by EmCee Eric Barsatan. Representatives from various dance organizations, and Professional dance teachers were introduced.

Bantay Bata is a social welfare program that was first established in 1996 in the Philippines. Since 1996, it has become one of Asia's best child protection and welfare organizations, providing a multitude of integrated programs and services. Its initial intention was to help Filipino children who were victims of abuse. In its continued growth, it became a charitable organization for victimized children in the Philippines on many levels. Its mission is simple: to create and provide a safe, nurturing and loving environment where underprivileged, abused, medically ill, and undeserved children of the Philippines can develop and realize their full potential.

Followed by the welcome remarks was a Hula dance by Marcie Wong. Invocation was said by Iwalani Walsh-Tseu. It was filled with passion for the "project" and appreciation for those who support it. Then the Star Spangled Banner was sung by Anna Davide. Such a lovely and strong voice that echoed throughout the ballroom. The Philippine National Anthem was sung by Deputy Consul General of the Philippines Paul Cortes. A great and strong voice, too. There was a Chinese Lion Dance complete with heavy drumming, a Chinese Lion, and a following of Chinese Kung Fu club members to guide the "Lion" as it moved among the crowd of guests.

The dinner buffet soon followed while general dancing continued. The buffet included some Filipino delicacies. It sure complimented the atmosphere and the other entries.

The Showcase Program was EmCeed by Paul Laderta who did a terrific job introducing each performance with a brief bio of the performers.


Our friends Calvin and Debra Ota opened the show with the International Waltz...but was billed as Slow Waltz. Lani and I felt that it was gonna be a treat for us as well as for the audience 'cause we watched Calvin and Debra more times dancing the Viennese Waltz or the Quickstep at full throttle. I gotta say that the slowdown really showed that they have finesse and absolute control with impeccable technique.

It was a breath of fresh air just watching Ikaika Villanueva, the grandson of Sergio and Renna, and Brandee Nakamura come on the scene lighting up the fire with the Jive. Almost like watching their teachers Sergio and Renna dancing the Jive. It was fast and furious and combined with some hot flashes of spins, dips, and lifts. Ikaika and Brandee are a hot item to watch in future events. 

This 10 year old Hip Hop dancer came from the Philippines and my guess is that he performed in last year's Bantay Bata, also. Pretty cool moves coming from one so young. Noah along with his dad (Jim) and mom (April) sat at the same dinner table with Lani and me. Got to learn that Noah was raised in an orphanage in the Philippines and was later adopted by Jim and April when they visited the orphanage.
Who said that Swing dancing was only for the kids? Ed and Remy came on all fired up with the East Coast Swing and kept the heat on all through the dance. It was good to see these two senior teenagers burn the floor without any hint of fizzling out.
Tango Cha Cha Medley was performed by Mercedes Johnson and Professional Lucas Jaime. And it was entertaining, vigorous, and in the illustrious manner that Lucas reveals a story in this performance There was passion of love and hate in the Tango, and much fun in the Cha Cha.

With the end of Act One, General Dancing continued for 15 minutes with Jesse and son Jesse Jr. playing and singing hot swing and romantic Latin music. The dance floor got plenty crowded and everyone were having fun dancing to the music.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

FLASHBACK: So You Think You Can Dance The Filipino Tango

So You Think You Can Dance The Filipino Tango

Curiosity got the most of me this week. Got the word that Andy and Monica were gonna teach the Filipino Tango at their main hangout...Aliamanu Elementary School. Heard so much about this dance in Pepe's blogs that I had to see first hand what this dance was all about. And like a bad cat, I got Lani to join me in this venture for a new experience. The drive from Hawaii Kai was long but traffic was moving very good for a Tuesday week night. Some how it seemed a lot longer now than when we use to travel the same route many years back when we were teaching dancing at neighboring Aliamanu Middle School for HBDA. Anyway, when we arrived at the school, Richard Nieto and Elsie McGrew were teaching the Rumba to a nice crowd of beginning level dancers. They covered three patterns on this first lesson night. Richard's wife Cora was handling the music. (Photo; Elsie, Richard, and Cora)

During the short recess, Lani and I got to meet Andy and Monica Pascua who were going to teach the Filipino Tango. Of course, Andy and Monica are no strangers to us since we both were former dance instructors for HBDA.

Okay, getting to the meat of it. Filipino Tango is not anything like your International style or American style Tango patterns. Tonight, Andy and Monica taught several patterns which were at first difficult but with continuous practice we were dancing the first block of patterns to the moderate tempo Tango music. I gotta say that Andy and Monica were very patient and kept on demonstrating this first block till we got it. As he put it to the students..we're there to learn. Okay, my description of the dance for this first lesson. The dance hold is the same as the American style Tango. It has many hand changes like the Salsa, there are some movements like in the Rumba and other Latin dances, and the ladies spot turns and underarm turns adds a great deal of spice to the dance. Just from tonight's lesson, I can see some elements of a showcase type dancing in the Filipino Tango. Very showy and may become a big hit in social dancing. (Photo: Monica and Andy)

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Flicker Flashback To The Year 1996

Aloha Students of Dance. 

I hope you didn't hop on the space shuttle back to 2009 yet. Okay by now you gotta know that I'm a Trekkie, with all this space travel talk. Yeah! it use to be "All I really need to know I learned from watching Star Trek." 

But now it's Star Gate SG-1. But "Star Gater" doesn't sound as appealing as Trekkie. Just like the Palladium is a very good place to go ballroom dancing but for Exhibition or Competition Dancing, the old gal doesn't have that strong appeal quality. Just like the way Geoffrey Fells mentioned many a times in his blogs. So stick around for a while and imagine the times and thrills when HBDA hosted all the "Balls" at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Feel the excitement and the difference?

Anyway, I was scanning through my archive of videos and sparked the 37th Anniversary Ball that HBDA hosted at the Sheraton. I had forgotten that Lani and I were on the program showcasing the Bolero that Albert Franz choreographed for us. (Talk about Senior Moments. Auwe!).

There were a lot of group routines performed by various chapters and they were good ones for the level of dancers. There were big name performers who danced solo exhibitions. Ed and Matilda Felix were flawless dancing the International Waltz. Lester and Henrietta Muramoto dancing a beautiful upscaled smooth International Foxtrot.

And for the finale, Dance Director Ben and Faith Agbayani had the audience in a frenzy as they burned the floor with an entertaining Eastern Swing. Lani and I felt honored performing among polished dancers that brought entertainment and showmanship for the audience to enjoy that night.

Friday, March 23, 2018

"Teach Me Tonight" Da Hot Cha Cha

The Foxtrot, the Tango, the Swing Jitterbug. All good to know dances whether you're doing some nightclub hopping, or cruising on the big big swimming pools we call oceans, or at the Palladium, or even at family get-togethers. I mean all kinds of get-togethers...birthdays, weddings, or backyard B-B-Q (the older Filipino generations in the plantation camps had dances at funerals, too). Talk about a happy sendoff.....but then that's another story for later.

Dancing the Cha Cha is one of Lani and my favorite Latin dances. The dance has a flavor so hot that you can actually inject your personality into it. You've seen the dancers do it on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, and now Dance Your Ass Off. HOW ABOUT YOU?

Here's a short spill on the Cha Cha from partner dancing. The Cha Cha is really a spinoff of the Mambo, which is itself a derivative of the Rumba. When the Mambo evolved from the Rumba in the 1940's, many Americans and Europeans vacationing in Havana had a hard time trying to dance to the racy tempo and off-beat rhythm. To accommodate the dancers, Latin-American bands slowed down the Mambo tempo from 50 to 30 bars per minute, but kept the triple Mambo staccato rhythm. In this slower version, the dances took two slow steps on the beat, followed by three steps in quick succession. Musicians would call out "cha-cha-cha" on the quickies. The heavy hip wiggles were modified to a subtle sway, and the whole affair became much more manageable for ballroom dancers. The Cha Cha has enjoyed popularity from the 1950's right up to the present. This dance shares patterns and styling with its cousins the Rumba and Mambo. The footwork is small, flat, and close to the floor, and the knees are relaxed and a little bent, allowing the hips to move freely, but without exaggeration. You may find this dance easier than the Mambo because you're dancing on the beat. (As I said earlier, the Cha Cha is a hotsy....so hot that you can feel free to innovate and create a few of your own Cha Cha patterns. As Mikey on TV said, "Try it..you might like it!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pro Dancers on Gordon Wong's Facebook

See more Professional Dance Performances on Gordon Wong Facebook.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Happy Chinese New Year

Thursday, February 01, 2018

SQ & RD Trail Out Dance

Message from Snow Jade.

Aloha SQ & RD dancers & friends: Grand march is on Friday evening! I will be there at 6 pm..

What a fun Trail In dance we had! I want to thank most of you for showing up to show your support for the SQ dancing in Hawaii... I really appreciated for your effort! Big mahalo for all of you and give yourself a pat on your back for the wonderful night of dancing!

Since our club only has one dance in Feb 2018.. it's the Trail Out dance this coming Sunday 02/04.. Let's make it a Pre Valentine Dance and let's wear red color for the fun of it! Just come dance with us and it's FREE for the local dancers. This Sunday, I will be at the Palladium 5:30 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIDxWbC9ZQQ I uploaded 8 videos tonight. I hope you can see all!

Photo and Video links courtesy Snow Jade

Sharing The Sweetness of "Thinking Young"

February 2018 is now here and you can expect two major things to happen this month... Valentine Day Dance Parties, and Chinese New Year events. So if you're wondering about those venues and other happening for this month, kindly surf over to my "That's Dancing" blog. Happy Valentine Day dancing!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Just So You Know