Sunday, April 29, 2018

FLASHBACK: IBDI 50th Anniversary Showtime

After two straight nights of dancing with my main squeeze at the Pacific Beach and at the Palladium celebrating IBDI 50th Anniversary, Sunday was a blessing for a day of rest. So today the cycle continues and so does the blogging of IBDI Anniversary Showtime featuring professional dancers from Japan. It was a totally marvelous showcase of the International Standards and the International Latin event of this magnitude, I felt that I needed to call in the calvary to assist me in the blogging. Remember that "dynamic small package" that kept the program running smoothly like a well greased wheel? That was the EmCee Kay Yahiku and she consented to share her thoughts and creative script of the whole showcase with me and my Weblog. She kept the program going with a lot of encouragement and enthusiasm that kept the spirits at a high voltage level. I'm very glad that she is sharing her copious notes with "The Dance Connection". So please read on and enjoy Kay's bio of the dance performers from Japan..... 
(Kay's notes are BOLD and my comments are ITALIC)  Left click on photo to zoom in.

Part I - Two Pro-Am numbers:

1) Keiko Kawamata and Marie Miura - Waltz
The Waltz was performed by two lady dancers from Japan and I thought they stole the spotlight with their elegant performance of this popular dance. 

2) Shinobu Matsuura with our own Grace Nohara in a Viennese Waltz/Fox Trot Medley, choreographed by Shinobu, to the tune "Sakura, Sakura", featuring the "Koto", a traiditonal Japanese stringed musical instrument, the national instrument of Japan. Players of the Koto use 3 picks, placed on the thumb, index finger and middle finger to pluck songs on the 13 strings. 
The V. Waltz/Foxtrot Medley was certainly a big treat for dancers here in Hawaii because it showcased our own IBDI dancer and Vice Prez Grace Nohara performing with a visiting professional dancer. Clad in the traditional Japanese formal kimono, it was performed magnificantly with style and grace. 

There was a short break to get everyone off their seats and dancing. Our table was one of few that was preselected to start the "Snowball Dance". It was a good break and it brought nearly everyone unto the dance floor. 

Part II - Professional Show:

1) Paso Doble - Keisuke Okamoto & Ami Tsukakosh
All-Japan Amateur Latin-American Finalists, from Nagoya, Japan. Dancing together for 2 years. Tonight they'll be doing 3 latin numbers, however, they do all 10 international style dances. After they return to Japan, they plan to turn pro, probably in October.
This attractive young couple burst on the dance floor with the fury of a fierce bull. Their interpretation of the matador and the cape was amazing and filled with crisp moves and rich with excitement

2) Slow Fox Trot - Shinobu Matsuura & Yumiko Matsuoka
This couple has been coming to Hawaii since 1995. Until 2008, they competed in the Hawaii Star Ball. The song was "The Longest Day", from the World War II movie of the same name, which featured John Wayne.
I don't remember seeing the movie starring John Wayne but none-the-less the interpretation of an American service man complete with military uniform revealed the passion between a Japanese woman and a soldier in a well orchestrated Slow Foxtrot and very well performed. 

3) Rumba - Keisuke and Ami. They're both 24 years old and have been dancing together for 2 years. The rumba is Keisuke's favorite dance. 
The Rumba being Keisuke's favorite was evident in this performance and I could count that it is Ami's pet dance, too. Sensational, sultry, and sensuous. 

4) Waltz - Shinobu and Yumiko to the theme of the movie, "The Godfather" 
This performance of the Waltz was a softer side of this two professional dancers. It was a flowing number executed with beautiful moves. 

5) Illumination - Rumba and Samba medley by Keiko Kawamata and Misako Ueno. 
The room was pitch dark for this "Illumination" performance of the Rumba/Samba Medley. The only illumination came from the performers who were lighted like a Christmas tree. It was hard to appreciate the dancing because of the nearly darkness. But "Illumination" performance have become a steady addition to dance contests on the tube that we may very well see more in future showcases. Keiko and Masako received a lot of "ooos and ahhhhs" and loud applauses for this performance. 

6) Samba - Keisuke and Ami 
Considered as one of the most dynamic Latin dances, Keisuke and Ami exploded on the dance floor like thunder and lightning. True to the style and tempo of the dance, this couple brought excitement in choreography and rhythm....and a true meaning to "DYNAMIC LATIN". 

7) Standard Medley by Shinobu and Yumiko featuring 3 Japanese instruments: the Shamisen which resembles a banjo, the drum or Taiko and the harp or Koto. 
This performance was a strong and excellent choice to end SHOWTIME PART 2. It displayed the excellence of two professionals dancers....their strengths, skills, techniques, and showmanship in the International Standards. 

Professional Showcase Performers. (missing: Grace Nohara and Marie Miura) 

Matsuura Sensei took the microphone and Kay Yahiku translated. Among other things, he stated that he's been coming to Hawaii for the last 16 years and been here at least 20 times. But Friday night [at the Pacific Beach Hotel] would remain the highlight. He thanked the audience. 

General dancing continued till 11:30PM and an exciting and entertaining evening to celebrate IBDI 50th Year came to an end but will be long remembered. Domo arigato to Kay Yahiku, and Sayonara fo' now! 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Flashback: Dance Magic 808 2nd Anniversary Ball

Dance Magic 808 2nd Anniversary Ball

Heeding the warning that over 400 tickets were sold for the Dance Magic 808 2nd Anniversary Ball and that parking might be limited, my main squeeze Lani and I made every effort to get to the Pacific Beach Hotel before the "Parking Lot Full" sign got posted. Lucky for us, there were parking spaces available on the 4th floor but not many. The foyer on the 7th floor was filled with dancers and ticket holders wall to wall. It was just a little past five o'clock and the short wait gave us a chance to touch bases with old friends from Dance Hawaii and new friends from IBDI, Kauai Ballroom Dance Club, and Dance Magic 808.

(Left click on photos to zoom in)

Greeters at the Reception Table
We were greeted at the Reception Table by Ray and Lolita Nariyoshi, and Diane Nishimura and Sandy Hamasaki. Got our table assigment (#25) which was a front row table at the edge of the dance floor. As it turned out, I was the only guy with an all girl-seatmates at table #25 and they all said that they work with Richard Nakamura.

Table #25

General dancing was in high gear till EmCees Audrey Fu and Dr, Paul Laderta took to the Podium and Welcomed everyone. Each gave a bio of the other before bringing Dance Magic 808 Prez Lynn and VP Richard Nakamura on stage for their Welcome Message.

EmCees for the Evening Event
Highlight of this part of the program was the introduction of the Royal Couple Contestants, Dance Magic 808 Officers, Instructors, Volunteers, Anniversary Ball Committee Members, Presidents of Various Dance Organizations, Professional Dance Teachers, and Special Guests. Music DeeJays Henry and Joann Rimas were also recognized. Their selection of dance music were tops that kept the dancer burning the dance floor .

The Music DeeJays
A Special Award was given to Connie Laderta in recognition of her continuing service to Dance Magic 808.

Invocation was said by IBDI VP Marsha Ninomiya and it was time to hit the buffet line. General dancing continued while our table waited to be called to the buffet line. Gave Lani and me a chance to burn the floor, too.  The ladies at our table were nice but unfortunately they were not dancers.

Marsha Ninomiya
After dinner, there was a short message given by the representative from the Mayor's office, Romeo Garcia of the Neighborhood Commissions Office. Then it was time to announce the winner of the Royal Couples Contest 2013. Although there were a lot of women who were dressed in royal gowns, only three couples entered the contest. And the Winners are the Royal Couple of Susan Hiwa and Sergio Villanueva.

Royal Couples Contest Winners
Part I- Performances opened with Special Guest Melveen Leed belting out Malaguena Salerosa as the dance floor became a hornet's nest of Bolero dancers. Melveen is such a powerful singer and this Latin tune was unresitable for the multitude of dancers who squeezed onto the dance floor.  Her second song "I Am A Singer" brought the house down so to speak. It was so powerful and spellbound. She asked for a volunteer to assist her and IBDI dance instructor Jim Prado came to the rescue.

Guest Singer Melvin Leed
with Jim Prado 

Dance Magic 808 Epic Mash Up choreographed by Roxanne Kaino brought "Da Girls From Magic 808" to the floor for a line dance. Da Girls were Audrey Fu, Elena Hamm, Tandy Alconcel, Adelle Alcaide, Doreen Morimoto, Connie Laderta, Bernice Takushi, Renee Reed, Roxanne Kaino, and Eileen Nakano. Good job, Roxanne.

Epic Mash Dancers
 Then we got a real treat of a Latin Medley performed by youngsters Ikaika Villanueva and Brandee Nakamura. The young dancers from Dance Appeal Dance Studio thrilled the audience with their expertise in  the Rumba, Cha Cha, and Samba.

Latin Medley Dancers

The HBDA Aiea Chapter (Tom Wiederrecht & Roxann Oyler), Mililani Chapter (Andrew & Donna Ng, and Craig & Nadine Abing), Pearl City Chapter (Herbert & ShirleyOta, and Joe & Angie Vendiola), and Pearlridge Chapter (Arnold & Millie Chun, and Pete Madrigal & Mimi Whittle) wowed the audience with the American Cha Cha choreographed by Esmenio & Rose Andres. It was a pleasure to see the American Cha Cha in this showcase and I think Esmenio and Rose did a wonderful job in turning the most basic steps into a high level performance through innovation.

American Cha Cha
 Joshua Manzano from the UNLV and Gayle Kawahakui from Hawaii Gardenia Circle performed a spectecular American Tango. It was a rare treat since not very often the American Style Tango is showcased in local dance exhibitions. It was sleek, snappy, and filled with dramatic moves.

American Tango
 The Gangnam Style Line Dance concluded Part I Performances. Choreographed by Roxanne Kaino, it was billed as Gentlemen's but the dance was dominated by women (and dat's okay). Dancers were Manuel Carreon, Tandy Alconcel, Roxanne Kaino, Annie Nakamura, Cora Nieto, and Eileen Nakano. The audience was invited to join in so the young man in white showed his version of the Gangnam Style. It was fun to watch.
It was Intermission time and General Dancing.
Part II-Performances opened with the International Tango choreographed by Richard and Lynn Nakamura and performed by Dance Magic 808 Members  (Larry Arinaga & Candace Yap, Carlos & Chiye Higashide, Manuel Carreon & Cora Nieto, John & Ann Manuel, Richard & Lynn Nakamura, and James & Anna Arrowood) This performance was the most colorful and displayed the strict discipline and control of the dance...very well done and very well choreographed.
International Tango
   Edwin and Charlotte Bugarin has always thrilled the audience with their dynamic styling in showcase dancing. Their International Cha Cha that followed next was every bit a blockbuster performance.
International Cha Cha
 The International Waltz that was performed by Dr. Michael and Trudy Uechi was artistry in motion. This dancing couple have appeared in many exhibition showcases and have pleased audiences with their smooth rendition of the Waltz.

International Waltz
Hot! Sexy! Exotic! and Seductive! describes the International Rumba that was performed by Sergio and Renna Villanueva from Dance Appeal Dance Studio. It was playful and danced with flavor and passion.

International Rumba
Concluding Part II-Performances was the International Quickstep by Richard and Lynn Nakamura. This was a high octane dance and Richard and Lynn took off with a burst of speed that never let down until the end of the music.  It was a racy and exciting performance with a lot of zip that drew oohs and aahs and heavy applause for Richard and excellent way to end the showcase.

International Quickstep
General Dancing continued till 11:30PM
 It was a successful 2nd Anniversary Ball celebration for Dance Magic 808 with an excellent program featuring Special Guest Singer Melvin Leed, and an impressive array of exhibition dancers from other dance organizations and Dance Magic 808 very own members.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Flashback: Dancing In Paradise The Dragon Ball 2012 Part Two

Dancing In Paradise: The Dragon Ball 2012 Part Two


The Slow Waltz is one of Lani's and my favorite dances. The Slow Waltz performed by Mimi and Lucas was smooth with a light floating quality. A perfect dance to start Act Two.

The Samba Choreographed by Yanna Samkova sure put these Keikis in the lime light. Their performance was high spirited, colorful and fun to watch.

The Tango choreographed by Lucas Jaime was probably the most stylized and dramatic dance of the showcase. It had drama without the head jerking and with a bit of acting to compliment the Tango . It was different and yet slow enough to appreciate the essence of the Tango and the performers. 

If anybody came prepared to steal the spotlight tonight, my money is on Shervelle Bergholz. She had the angles to capture the eyes of the audience. Playing up to the audience as she strut with sex appeal around the dance floor while keeping Lucas waiting to start the Cha Cha. That wowed the crowd. The Cha Cha performance was playful and entertaining to be sure. 

Now you gotta take a shine to Rolando and Gloria for their performance of the Samba. They were magnificent in this dance. From start to finish, their facial expression displayed an aura of enjoyment...they were having fun performing in this racy dance. With all the appreciative applause and whooping during and after their performance it's a sure bet that Rolando and Gloria connected with the audience. 

The Swing choreographed by Lucas Jaime was another fun dance to watch. It had character with all the ingredients of Lindy Hop and Jitterbug. The lifts were amazing and the dance was performed very very well.

The Viennese Waltz performed by Bella Boyer with Lucas Jaime was classic storybook dance which had a touch of cabaret dancing. At times, it was wild with turns, lifts, and spins but it brought excitement to the dance. A terrific performance. 

General dancing to the music and vocals of the Gonzales continued after the last performance of the showcase. This time with Buffy joining in with Jesse and Jesse Jr. 

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)