Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 USA DANCE National DanceSport Championships


It's been a while since we posted a blog.  As many of you know, the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships were held in Baltimore, Maryland a few weekends ago.  The Hawaii competitors this year included Glenn Okazaki and Anne Ho, Charlotte and Edwin Bugarin, Lorrie and Mike Chun and, yours truly, Debra and Calvin Ota.

Edwin & Charlotte Bugarin, new Senior III National Amateur Latin Champs!

As was posted on Geoffrey Fells' blog, and as spread through most of the local dance community, this year Hawaii had it's first ballroom Amateur National Champions.  Charlotte and Edwin Bugarin took 1st Place in the Amateur Senior III International Latin Championships.  So, they are now the reigning USA Dance National Champs in that category.

Glenn Okazaki & Anne Ho
Glenn Okazaki and Anne Ho were Medalists in both Senior II and Senior III International Standard Championships.  If you're a local ballroom dancer, you probably know Glenn and Anne.  Glenn Okazaki is the President of the Honolulu Chapter of USA Dance.

Mike & Lorrie Chun in the heat of competition.
Lorrie and Mike Chun competed in both International Standard and Latin in both the Senior II and Senior III categories, at the Syllabus Level.  They did well in Standard and were Finalists in International Latin, just missing the Third Place Medal.  They've only been competing a couple of years so they're doing great!

Calvin & Debra Ota
Debra and Calvin - we did OK too.  We competed in only two events - Senior III Championship Standard and Senior III Championship Latin.  Usually we do two age categories and two proficiency levels in both Standard and Latin but Debra was nursing an injured back and we were moving house, so we didn't practice much in the months leading up to the competition.  Debra just didn't want to push it with her low back injury.  We still managed to make it out of the Quarter Finals and into the Semi-Finals in Championship Standard and were Finalists in Championship Latin.

Team Hawaii with National President Yang Chen and Carlos Chang
We're sure most of you have already heard this news, probably more than once, so we'll keep it short.  We just wanted to share some photos with you.  As you see in the group photo, here, with the new USA Dance National President, Yang Chen (in the middle), Carlos Chang (on the right) was also with us in Baltimore.  Carlos was there to cheer on Charlotte and Edwin, and boy was he happy and proud when they took 1st Place.  As you may know Carlos is Edwin and Charlotte's coach.  You may have also seen him on So You Think You Can Dance, and Burn The Floor.

Thomas and Yuko Yu
We also wanted to include a picture of our friends, Tom and Yuko Yu.  They don't represent Hawaii, but many of you know Yuko from the days when she lived here in Hawaii and took lessons from Albert Franz.  She and her husband Tom are also Championship level dancers, placing in the Finals in Senior II International Standard.  They have been great supporters of the Hawaii Team, coming to cheer us on during our heats and even holding up our "Go Team Hawaii !!!" banner during competition heats.

Missing this year's Nationals were Jackson Cho and June Choong, who have competed with us at many National Championships and Regional competitions.  We missed having them with us.  Ravi Narayan and Synthia Sumukti  also qualified for the National Championships in the Senior I Bronze and Silver Standard and Senior II Bronze Standard categories.  Unfortunately, they too were unable to make the Nationals at the last minute.  Another couple who qualified at the Regionals is Miguel Hiraclio and Rieko Ota.  Hopefully, they will all be with us next year at the National Championships.

If any of you would like to take a shot at competitive ballroom dancing, International or American, come see any of us.  We have a great support team and would love to have you with us at the next competition.

With Aloha,
Calvin & Debra

p.s.  Click on the picture to see it enlarged

Monday, April 14, 2014


Zouk or zouk b├ęton is a fast tempo jump up carnival style of music originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and began its popularity in the 1980's. Its originator French Antilles Kassav' is the only band that included it in its repertoire to a lesser extent.

 "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

It was too fast and the style lost ground in the 90s due to the strong presence of Kadans or
Compas music, the main music of the French Antilles. And you let the dancers do as they wish.

Today, Zouk seems to be a fusion with Compas music and has been rapidly gaining ground. It is still fast so it is very suitable for the young and it is taking a foot hold in the Salsa venues along with the new Bachata. And yes we know, Reggaeton came and went. Surprising that Mambo is still being enjoyed by so many, everywhere. Nice beat, I like it.

For the young that like fads, this is it. Don't miss this chance to learn this awesome and passionate dance!!! Many will tell that not anyone can dance this, you gotta be a dancer. But what do I know?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Social Media

Social media is now definitely the most popular online activity on Oahu, so it makes perfect sense for dance groups to want to tap into that audience to try to increase interest in their dance activity. Right now, more than 75 percent of our dance organizations use social media in one form or another. Newsletters, Blogs and mostly in routine Web sites, which is nice, they do the job.

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."

But, simply opening a Web site and sending out some tweets is not enough to make social media platforms a viable and efficient part of a marketing strategy. There are  many that do not utilize images or use the wrong amount of images or in inefficient locations. The proper mix of text and image is what makes the perfect blog. You can have too much of one or the other.

Visual stimulation helps drive engagement on social networks. In fact, most people respond better to visual information than plain text. On average, photos get 50 percent more impressions than any other post type on the Internet, while also gathering more likes and comments. The net results have been in the hits. Ten average hits per day is ho-hum nowadays. 100 hits a day is possible but not easy to get there. But if you arrive there, then you are sure, you are not just beating your gums.

Links are becoming more important. When you put a link in a blog, the social networking site automatically creates a clickable image of other blogs. Because of this, blogs don’t need to include the URL in the post. This is becoming very important in all of our blogs. We did not know much 20 years ago, but we have come a long ways, baby.

"Young At Heart" by Frank Sinatra

The final secret is in this blog. The Guest Authors. When we get more, there will be independence and if not this blog it will be Blogging Hawaii, except that they are far back of Town Dancer. Patience.

"There will always be conflict, but it is up to us to be civil about it and decide
to have respectful encounters instead of hostile confrontations."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


By Xman, Hilo,

I do not know what tango I learned to dance when very young. But I had not danced it for some 30 years when I got to Hawaii Island. I looked at a lot of them and settled on the American Tango because it was the most easily accessible and most of my new friends were dancing it.

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
~Aldous Huxley

After a few years and no big success at it, I discovered many other tangos that could be danced as Tangos and also the big difference between social tangos and Exhibition Tangos on Maui and Oahu. I even saw Ballroom competitors attempt a little Argentine flavored footwork in their show pieces.

There are even videos claiming to be Argentine Tango that end up looking like fancy Argentine moves done to the American Tango. So I tried Argentine Tango and that really screwed things up for me. As any true tanguero would say, "to really do the Argentine Tango you must start with the salon. Everything else from, the seemingly impossible entangled footwork to the big stage moves, arise from there."

Nostalgia by Placido Domingo

Then I left tango alone for a few more years. And I was having a ball dancing everything else. Eventually this was followed by the International Tango. I learned it fairly well except for my lack of precision in doing it as "prescribed." And also the fact that I couldn't get my partners to "phrase." Apparently phrasing is not taught in Hawaii, I don't know.

I became convinced that International was just not my cup of tea. I have seen the cutting edge of Latin dancing in Night Club Salsa as I watch them blending old Latin moves with the new, though I am not a partisan of arm entanglements.

I have come to the conclusion that many ballroom studios and competitions are very successful in LAGS when it comes to the Latin dances. Not the way Latin people dance it which is a lot simpler. I believe the market will eventually evolve into a Latin dance peripheral such as the Swing, Tango, Salsa, Line. If it happens it will be on Oahu first.

"They know enough who know how to learn."

Whatever happens, in this nice big beautiful dance world we have in Hawaii, my path is clear. I must try to go as much of the way into the authentic Latin Style of all the dances and I know I am not alone.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What Snew?

Everything rolling along peaceful and calm. No great jumps forward or backwards. The dance blogs are in a plateau and our top blog remains Town Dancer averaging 150 hits per day. It pretty much has had to cover a large territory but much of it is now being covered by other blogs.

"How much you know is not as important as what you do
with what you know."

The results of the competitions on the Mainland were covered very nicely in another blog and their hits went through the roof. For us it is coming down to local town doings and a few outside competitions. But we still consider all blogs not "instead of" but "in addition to," to whatever you have now. The advantage our blogs have is the recency and currency of the published information.

"Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult

And we can also expect some kind of competition to evolve but it can be healthy for the reader/dancers to have a variety of viewpoints available. The counters on my blogs have been kept hidden because Blogger includes the scam, spam robot hits. So the actual legit hits are much less. Perhaps in another year they will be able to furnish real stats to use as a tool in blog promotion.

Failure is the mother of all creativity.

Some people will go so far as to advise that anyone who wants to get creative should get into something is that is likely to fail. You can fail in a lot of things in life, and even hope you will fail in a lot more. I don't agree because I fail enough already, I don't need to look for it.

Most people are afraid to fail, but once you have done it, fully realize it and accept, it is not so terrible.There is a sense of freedom that you get from taking chances. From the words of a song. "Freedom is just another word for nothing to lose."

Q: Which dance will a chicken not do? - A: The foxtrot!

From some of the complicated stuff I come across:
Biomechanical analysis has allowed the amplitude, speed, duration and variability of body movements to be calculated. Analysis has been concentrated on three body regions: legs (ankle, knee and hip), arms (shoulder, elbow and wrist) and the central body (neck and trunk). I think they know what they are talking about, but I would rather not get into it.

Monday, March 31, 2014


From the latest studies, but can only be understood by the rootzi tootzis, is that there are ornaments worn today that are not present in all mammalian species. Some authors have suggested that females may evaluate males largely on the quality of their movements, especially those movements that contain elements of vigor and/or skill, because these are most likely to indicate health and genetic quality. Dancing?

"For many, if they were to begin life again, would devote it to music and dance
for those are the only cheap and unpunished raptures upon earth."

We are receiving some beautiful posters from all over, informing us
in our dance world, that we don't have a monopoly on dancing.
Everybody all over this planet is having a ball just dancing.

Evidence from birds, ungulates and crustaceans demonstrates that females detect subtle variations in male motor performance during ritualized courtship displays, and base subsequent reproductive decisions upon such differences.In humans, dance is a set of intentional, rhythmic, culturally influenced, non-verbal body movements that are considered to be an important aspect of sexuality and courtship attraction; indeed, dancing often forms part of courtship and marriage celebrations.

We have evolved dancing to other ramifications, and we cannot say anyone of them is bad. The Internationals disapprove of dancing with other types of dancers because they may pick up bad habits. And they have good reason because they are in a true discipline and they will be judged accordingly. Whereas we dance anyway we like just as long as we enjoy moving to our favorite music.

"My Sharona" by The Knack

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It couldn't happen again!

Design Flaws Cited in Deadly Train Crash in China

BEIJING — Chinese investigators delivered a long-awaited report on Wednesday on the deadly July 23 high-speed train crash in the eastern coastal city of Wenzhou, citing a string of blunders, including serious design flaws in crucial signaling equipment. Workers cleared the wreckage after a train accident in Wenzhou that killed 40 people and injured 191.

 "Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters
cannot be trusted in large ones either."

Two former top officials of the Railway Ministry — who had been removed from their posts months before the crash over alleged corruption — were singled out for blame. It was a serious setback to China’s hopes to turn high-speed rail into a symbol of the nation’s technological and industrial progress, and led to an online wave of public outrage that died down only after government authorities muzzled the domestic media.

The crash investigators found sloppy development of the signaling equipment, bidding irregularities in the contract to provide it and lapses by safety inspectors who were supposed to ensure its quality. When lightning struck the Wenzhou line, the wrong signals appeared, sending one high-speed train smashing into the rear end of another on a viaduct.

Investigators put the bulk of the responsibility on the former railway minister, Liu Zhijun, and the Railway Ministry’s deputy chief engineer, Zhang Shuguang. It had been guaranteed that it couldn't happen again. Before Mr. Liu’s arrest on corruption charges in February, he led the endeavor to build nearly 5,000 miles of high-speed rail in seven years, one of China’s most dramatically ambitious initiatives.

Fortunately the Present Rail Party guarantees that it cannot happen on Oahu. Would fall on a lot of people. And fortunately too is that China is finding other means of avoiding long distance commutes.

A beautiful Industrial Park in China. The residents can get home in 20 minutes. Thousands of automobiles missing from the highways to and from town. Thousands missing from the horrible downtown traffic. Maybe the Chinese are on to something?

But in Honolulu? How much will the minimum wage be for the workers in the construction of the Rail Disaster in Honolulu? Even the rich would be surprised. ($50/hour?) Property Taxes will double, but most of us already know, It's not for the people, it's for the dough, Moe. Rapid Transit? Would be a laugh if it wasn't such a serious "Lie."