Monday, December 27, 2010

Preparing for the New Year

Dancing in the Dark seems to be defining itself pretty well, but then it has been the oldest independent printed dance matter on this island. And almost the oldest independent online communication, and at one time the biggest group of reader/dancers on this or any other island. The contributors of information to our blog have not been newcomers. DnD has had its ups and downs but is still in there clicking.

Town Dancer is definitely leaning towards the "upper crust" International, Competition and Exhibition Styles. The two Administrators are both International Stylists. Many of the contributors are very much into the competition and exhibition sectors too and the pageview hits are there. I do not think I should interfere and I should let it roll the way it wants to.

"(They Long to Be) Close to You" by the Carpenters

Town Dancer, being number one in total page views and average daily page views, will become the first independent as soon as we get a couple more steady Information Contributors. With the probability of getting additional Information Contributors and Guest Authors also interested in the "upper crust" of dancing, they will do very well. I personally guarantee it.

They will join the other blogs that have been independent from the beginning. That's Dancing and The Dance Connection, run by Frank Sierra. And Dancing News of the Pacific by Geoffrey Fells.

Dancing in the Dark will be leaning towards, the American and Social style of dance which is becoming a great fusion of eclectic figures and patterns. The Rootzi Tootzis regard it as "confusion" but we hope to roll with the punches. With the right Information Contributors and Guest Authors, Social Dance may eventually be the thing on this Island.

"Everything Is Beautiful" by Ray Stevens

The Western blogs, Moanalua Corridor and the Platinum Horseshoe are all new and perhaps willing to accept the Universal style of dance much easier. Specially that most are into the American style of dance and fortunately they have the best American Style teachers on this island.

The best case of fusion is using the Mambo or Salsa basic and many patterns in a Rumba dance. Looks and feels natural as hell. And what is more it will not be a fad, it is too basic and was danced maybe two or three hundred years back, maybe not exactly but somewhat.

Probably be dancing two or three hundred years in the future too, in sheer joy of moving to the most beautiful Latin music in existence. Then there is the fusion of the Filipino Tango into the American Tango. It will be beautiful. You ain't seen nuttin' yet.

"I Believe" by Frankie Laine

Someone said and we quote, “There is no sure way to success but a sure way to failure is to try to please everyone.” When we can no longer please a club or group that we felt we were helping, we must just quietly drop them and continue looking for those we can help and please. It is working quite well because we have spread ourselves too thin.

The year ahead is looking good for "dancers."

"I used to be indecisive now I don't know."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Received from Frank and Lani a beautiful Christmas Card by email. It is just wonderful what we can do with computers. I am still flabbergasted, dumbfounded, daily with what I do.

Frank has his two blogs covering an awful lot of ground that we cannot. So tune in now and then to see what is cooking.

Of course we can also wish all the reader/dancers of our Hawaii Blogosphere the best of Holidays. This includes Frank's blogs, That's Dancing and The Dance Connection. And we mustn't forget Dance Fever Oahu, which most of us find very useful daily. A very Merry Christmas to Ki.

"Peace On Earth, Goodwill To All"

"To most people, Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world." 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Join Us for New Year's Eve Fun!

Great Bang for your Bucks on New Year's Eve
HBDA New Year's Eve Ball

Monday, December 20, 2010

Preparing for Christmas

However we have a few things coming up shortly after of interest to our reader/dancers. The first coming up is the New Year's Ball by HBDA at the Prince Kuhio Hotel, and at 50 bucks you can't beat that anywhere. The show is always the berries being that the performers are your fellow dancers. We can predict that everyone will be having a ball.

You can welcome the New Year among your many friends from many chapters with good food and cheer and have enough left over for a few drinks. I will certainly try to make it right after the dinner to get the goodies for the blog.

"Peace - Joy - Love - Noel"

Then in January first thing we have Dance Hawaii, Charity Ball on Saturday, January 15th. Terrific for only 65 bucks.
I would to be there right after to dinner to get my blog info. Unless they have someone "instead of."

 "Music, Music, Music" by Theresa Brewer

Then we have Al Franz Showcase coming up in on Sunday, January 16, 2011. And I can take all the photos I want here.

At Al Franz Showcase, you got another bargain extravadanza to attend. Good food, good friends, neighbors and fellow reader/dancers. And the show never fails to please. I hope to make it right after the dinner and get five or six pictures and get a few quotes from some of the photees.

"Peace On Earth, Goodwill to Men."

This should be about the same with the other clients. Also anyone can email me any of your favorite photos for publication in the blog for the benefit of your fellow reader/dancers. If I get enough of them, it might do for another blog. Any comments from anyone will also be welcome and I will note them in the blog. It will be for your friends, neighbors and fellow reader/dancers of the blog.

 "All Hearts Come Home For Christmas"

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Finnish Tango

By Jonathan Sugimoto, Kaneohe

In Finland, since the seventies, tangos have no longer appeared in the sales charts, but the popular tango singers of the 70s and 80s are still much in demand in personal appearances. The tango has become an accepted form of Finnish culture. Even those Finns who personally have other musical preferences feel that the tango has Finnish Citizenship just as much as skiing and the sauna.

"Sex in a dance is in the eye of the beholder." ~ Gwen Verdon

What else explains the continuing popularity of the tango in Finland? A simple explanation is the fact that the tango has become the most popular form of ballroom dancing in Finland. And in the surrounding territories outside of Finland. At almost any dance in Finland you can see how the floor is empty while the band is playing its opening numbers. Then the first tango sounds, and the dance floor is crowded.

Yet this is only a partial explanation. It is the lyrics which are the key to the continuing success of the genre. They have translated the original sad lyrics in Spanish from Argentina very well. In her forthcoming book Tango Nostalgia: The Language of Love and Longing, Dr. Pirjo Kukkonen suggests that tango lyrics reflect “the personality, mentality and identity of the Finnish people in the same way as folk poetry does”.

"El Dia Que Me Quieras" by Carlos Gardel

The central themes of Finnish tango lyrics are love, sorrow, nature and the countryside. Many tangos express a longing for the old homestead, or a distant land of happiness. The changing seasons of Finnish nature are frequently used  metaphors: the spring breaks the hold of the winter, and flowers appear, creating new expectations. Autumn rains and dark evenings are symbols of crushed hopes.

Many critics see (Fairy Tale Land) “Satumaa” as a prototype of the Finnish tango. Satumaa is about a distant land across the wide ocean, where beautiful flowers bloom forever. But only birds can fly to the land of happiness; the wingless man must remain chained to the soil and that is life.

"Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body."
~ Martha Graham

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mandy Moore, Seattle, Washington

From Mandy Moore, Internet:

My name is Mandy.  I didn’t realize when I walked into Spokane Dance Company that it would play such a tremendous role in the story of my life. I’m a farm girl at heart. Before coming here, I never owned a dress or a pair of high heels. I’ve always been passionate about music, and I came to Spokane Dance to find an outlet; one that could release the beauty of music with the visual fluidity of movement.

The day I walked in, I felt welcome. It was not during business hours, but I was greeted warmly by Mr Gee who later became my primary instructor. I soon met the family of “regulars”. These are people who love dance... who live to dance. You don’t have to be around long to know who they are.

Before long I was hooked. I attended every class and every social dance. I danced in my kitchen, sometimes at work (when no one was watching), anywhere I could find a good floor. I am a hopeless dance addict.

"With A Song In My Heart" by Frankie Laine

I’ve learned that dance is a process and is hard work, but it is a labor of love. Through dance, I’ve learned so much more than "steps."  Yes, I’ve learned footwork and technique, but I’ve also learned partnership, dedication, endurance, patience, connection, and respect. I’ve grown as a person through dance. I’ve grown in the relationships in my life. The connection you derive from dance is unlike anything you will ever experience in your lifetime.

I’ve danced at all the studios in Spokane. Spokane Dance Company offers the most solid "group class" structure that you can find. They incorporate technique as well as footwork. They offer the widest varieties of dance. They show you how all steps in all dances are all related and cross over. They provide a friendly atmosphere where you can be yourself and have fun, but they can challenge and motivate you to go as far as you are willing and able to go. You can walk in as a small town farm girl and leave as a passionate ballroom dancer. Spokane Dance Company was, and is, my home away from home.

I’m now leaving Spokane and headed to Seattle to pursue competitive ballroom dancing. This is the direction and the story of my life from here on out. I didn’t know that walking into the ballroom that day would change my life. I am ever thankful and would not hesitate to tell anyone that my dancing was rooted from Spokane Dance Company.

Thank you so much for everything! I will miss you all!

Much Love,
Mandy Moore  - Seattle, Washington

 Last Call and Reminder, see you all there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Divino Ritmo 2nd Annual Grand Ball and Showcase

By: David Easa

The Divino Ritmo 2nd Annual Grand Ball and Showcase held on Friday, December 10th, 2010,  was more like a Broadway musical than a typical Showcase. It was so filled and so complete and so complex that it bewildered the imagination how much time and effort went into the formulation of such a perfectly timed and coordinated spectacle. The event was held at the Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom where the long rear side of the ballroom was dressed with a West Side Story backdrop of the New York skyline, the "brainchild" of Paul Laderta who designed the set, painstakingly built 80% of it by hand, and designed & commissioned the rest for production.

Part of the skyIine was filled with modern looking apartment and commercial buildings and other parts looked older and worn just like in the big apple. I particularly liked the large cardboard model of the New York cabby with a hula girl statue adorning the dashboard. The model of the cab was large enough and tempting enough to cut a hole through the back window, stick your head through from the other side and take a bunch of pictures just like you would in Las Vegas. This urge came almost naturally and became increasingly tempting especially after I filled my own tank with fuel after my dance contribution to the evening’s event. Thankfully I resisted the temptation.

There was abundant social dancing that filled the early part of the evening as well as to fill in between the two showcase student dance sessions and the professional show. The dance floor was large enough to swallow the dancers without choking; as a result, I had little difficulty navigating while dancing along the line of dance and did not worry for a moment about colliding with others.

Dinner was a lovely three course meal that was excellent in quality, interrupted by a tasteful but not too lengthy slide show highlighting the history of the Divino Ritmo dance studio since coming to Hawaii. This was followed by the evening’s entertainment highlighting two sections of student dancing, mostly as pro am events, but also some amateur couples and a few dance formations, as well as one guest dance formation from the Pan Pacific Formation Team.

The MC was a gifted orator, Paul Jack, flown in from Arizona to offer his contribution, and the West Side story narration was performed by Bailey who is young starting actor – acting the part of a janitor providing the background comments that introduced all of the dance performances that followed. I must admit that the narration presentation was a little understated and not theatrical enough, detracting slightly from the excitement of the evening as well as the creative commentary that was creatively written by Lucas expressly for this event. Lights dimmed while dancers took to the floor, followed by spotlights beaming magically on the dancers, slides shown in the background, and the emergence of the music and dance. This was a carefully constructed evening with every ballroom dance represented from international and American foxtrot to bolero, salsa, cha cha, rumba, slow and Viennese waltz, tango, Paso Doble, etc,..

Paul Laderta, Dominic Handl, Marie Laderta, Titin Sakata,
Connie Laderta and Sandy Numazu.

Without attempting to critique each of the dance performances, a few points are worth mentioning. I must qualify these as my biased observations; realizing that others attending may have different views. In any event, knowing most of the students and having seen them perform in the past, they were all prepared and performed to their ability – and did so without any major mistakes.  We are not all equal as dancers, but it was clear that everyone had practiced and came ready to perform.

One has to congratulate both Lucas and Yanna for the astonishing assortment of choreography that was displayed; I am continually in awe of the talent that it takes in this creative venture to capture the essence of the music with well chosen dance routines that are fitted to the level and personal attributes of the student dancers!  Finally, if I have to choose one dance routine to highlight it would be Cole Horibe dancing with Yanna in the Paso Doble.  But it was an evening of more than just Cole, and all of us worked very hard to show off our dance skills and contribute to the evening’s splendor.   And finally, it is important to admit that it was entertaining and just plain fun to watch the assortment of student dancers perform, and they all seemed to share in the excitement and pleasure.

As if this wasn’t enough, the evening was punctuated by a spectacular professional show that was performed by visiting professional world champions Billy Fajardo and Katie Marlow who flew in from Florida for this event …….. and some of their dances were accompanied by our own Yanna and Lucas.  A flow of youth (the DRD Junior Ensemble) dancing a mixture of dances filled in moments between the professional show dancing; the youth executed their routine with flare and precision and served as more than a believable cement between professional dances, but rather to embellish and enhance the professional show.  As usual I was mesmerized when Yanna and Lucas took to the dance floor, a feeling that has not attenuated over time and after many opportunities to witness Yanna’s dance poise and perfection.

Lucas Jaime, Paul and Marie Laderta and Paul Jack

I am now recovering from such an amazing evening.   However, in retrospect, I must admit that I was not all that convinced that the evening would materialize as it did.  We had our final rehearsal only a few hours before Showtime; at that time, everything seemed to be going in the wrong direction.   We were not even allowed into the ballroom on time, and the Sheraton staff seem unprepared for all that was needed to do.   They were scurrying around trying their best but their actions looked more comical than efficient or knowledgeable. I left the afternoon weary with the fear of the evening to come.

When I returned back to the Sheraton, everything seemed to come together magically as if Yanna and Lucas had willed it to be so!  All of my fears were dissolved as I focused on having to perform my dance routines and attending to my guests.  If there were any problems with the coordination of the evening, I could not detect any…the evening seemed to flow naturally and without notice.  Reflecting on this now, a few days later, I am proud on being a part of this event, and amazed at the complexity and number of moving parts in its production.  I don’t think anyone was not involved would understand the extent of the work involved, the skills that it takes to make it happen, how difficult it is particularly to accomplish in Hawaii where every item is charged ala carte, and how risky it is for a fledgling dance studio to commit to such as extraordinary undertaking. 

That being said, I feel that those who did not attend this years’s Divino Ritmo Grand Ball & Showcase have missed a wonderful event.  They will have to wait until December 3, 2011 for the next opportunity to attend.  Maybe this commentary will help inspire such attendance. 

Finally, I want to wish all who read this commentary a wonderful and safe Christmas holiday, and look forward to continue to writing my next commentary sometime early next year…..

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We Win Some and We Lose Some.

Yes, I know, too many people think they are doing it for me, which is true in a different sense. but the truth remains, I am trying to help and I am doing it for them. I have now definitely spread myself too thin so for this coming year I have to drop some groups and they should understand why. Specially because there are so many new ones that need help but they are willing to help too.

Perhaps in a year or so, you may realize that you could use the little bit of the help that I provide. You could phone me or email me the information. Email or snail mail me some photos. It won't cost you a fortune. My door remains open and it still says, "Welcome." Meanwhile we are getting more regular Information Contributors and that is the real meat and potatoes for our reader/dancers.

Our pageview hits are going steadily up so I know somebody is reading our material. If we hit 400 average pageviews per day for our six blogs, that is 12000 per month. That definitely means we are making contact and there is no way to go but up. The eventual spin off of the first independent social media blog should be next year sometime. I will phase myself out of it slowly, but it will be inevitably.

"Sh-Boom (life could be a dream)" by the Crew Cuts

We haven't had anymore obstructions like telling lies about information we publish about our people. We lost one on Maui and one on Kauai that way.  Neither one of them has ever apologized. Let it be. It has made it difficult for contact the neighbor islands. But the truth will eventually come out.

The dance web sites no longer have counters and we cannot blame them. People would then know. We will put up the worst of our blogs against any web site on the Islands. So far according to our investigations, there is one on the Big Island that is the biggest complainer. Apparently they think in terms of "instead of" and not the way it should be, "in addition to."

So we moves ahead for the benefit of the dancers. All of them? Of course not, Some don't want to be a part of this and they have the perfect right to choose and they must go their own way. Meanwhile, there is no stopping us.

 “To love, is to risk not being loved in return. To hope, is to risk pain.
To try, is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because 
the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Year's Coming Attractions

In January we will be lucky enough to witness the Annual Al Franz Showcase. Plenty of buzz around for that and Debra and I came up with a nice poster. Good editing by Debra. I am just the mechanic.

I hope to take some photos and make my usual short write ups for the Dancing in the Dark blog. And I expect Calvin will make one of his usual "great" blogs for the occasion. And of course we invite any of the possible Information Contributors to get their two cents in too.

"The undertaking of a new action brings new strength."

We also received a beautiful poster from Angel Arcangel for the coming 5th Annual Hawaii Salsa Festival. She wanted an Ad in our publication which has now been supplanted with blogs.

We will post it every month on or about the 5th to remind all our reader/dancers that are Salsa fans. We have never had additional help with the publicity, maybe this year we will.

 "Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It's the
rhythm of your life. It's the expression in time and movement,
in happiness, joy, sadness and envy."
~Jaques D'ambroise

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Teaching and Learning

From Jason Li, Kalihi

Teaching by Theodore R. Sizer
I'd like to talk briefly about good teaching. I fear doing this, knowing well how fine teachers differ as their characters and styles differ. Idiosyncrasy is a virtue to the extent that successful teaching rests on character - and I believe it heavily rests there. By describing a generalized view of good teaching, I may unintentionally signal to you an intolerance of idiosyncrasy. I do not wish to do so.

I am also concerned that I may give the impression that I think teaching per se is important. Of course, it isn't; what is only important is what the students learn. By speaking of teaching, I hope I won't muddy the truism that our actions as instructors are a means to an end -- a pupil's knowledge -- rather than an end in themselves.

However, with these reservations expressed, let me proceed. Brilliant teaching, in my view, at its heart reflects scholarship, personal integrity and the ability to communicate with anyone. Fortunately most teachers on this Island have it.

"May we never let the things we can't have, or don't have,
or shouldn't have, spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have
and can have. As we value our happiness, let us not forget it,
for one of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy
without the things we cannot or should not have."

Learning: from the Internet

Observational learning:
The learning process most characteristic of humans is imitation; one's personal repetition of an observed behavior, such as a dance. Humans can copy three types of information simultaneously: the demonstrator's goals, actions and environmental outcomes. Through copying these types of information, most people will tune into their surrounding culture.

"Runaround Sue" by Dion and the Belmonts

Play learning:
Play generally describes behavior which has no particular end in itself, but improves performance in similar situations in the future. This is seen in a wide variety of vertebrates besides humans, but is mostly limited to mammals and birds. Cats are known to play with a ball of string when young, which gives them experience with catching prey. Besides inanimate objects, animals may play with other members of their own species or other animals, such as orcas playing with seals they have caught.

"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly

Play involves a significant cost to animals, such as increased vulnerability to predators and the risk of injury and possibly infection. It also consumes energy, so there must be significant benefits associated with play for it to have evolved. Play is generally seen in younger animals, suggesting a link with learning. However, it may also have other benefits not associated directly with learning, for example improving physical fitness.

So how do we teach and learn?

Pub's Note: Well, we learn too. Very difficult to get "Good People" into Town Dancer blog. Now it is also difficult to get "Good People" into Dancing in the Dark blog. So we learn and don't worry about that anymore. However the West is doing just fine and everything expanding. Meanwhile everyone in town understands, as Walter Cronkite use to say after every broadcast. "And that's the way it is."