Friday, March 30, 2012

Da Plateau

Town Dancer, for this month, has been in the plateau along with the rest of our blogosphere. Still top dog and all other indicators are still good but they just need that one steady information contributor to go on higher. If they wish to remain this tight group of information contributors then they will be pretty close to their "point of diminishing returns."

"Yes, blogging can be entertainment. It is performance.  Each blog post a show, sometimes an opera, sometimes a 30 second commercial.  Like a show, it may start with a bang, lead you along from song to song, have a great climatic moment, then leave the audience wanting more."

The blogs that really need the help are the ones on the bottom and those are way out west. There is still little action there and what there is is not always available for ready publication. Some may be private clubs and they have every right to that, we will respect.

Central Valley which went through a period of downs and ups. I lost it, then regained it and then when losing hits, I thought of deleting it. But then the hits went up again and it is back in now. Richard Sun is Guest Author but he has been blogging in town  lately. However, not much action in the sector yet anyway. About the only place we have so far is Wahiawa. It will get moving again when we get a new steady information contributor.

Oahu - West created lately and which is being held up nicely at the moment by Kapolei Chapter HBDA and the very capable Tim Cubero Jr. Ace Reporter with superb write ups and terrific photos. With them in mind I have a new poster in the side bar inviting any new dance groups without a Web site to try us. There is no cost, zero, zip, nada. This will all take time.

"I'll Never Smile Again" by Frank Sinatra

Moanalua Corridor at the bottom of the pile, with the most heavily populated section on Oahu, next to Waikiki. Again, little going for the public. But we have been making it common knowledge that our blogging may help alleviate some of their problems. Anybody without a web site would be most welcome.

Hopefully, more of the amateur dance instructors will read and want to help their fellow dancers with a few valuable hints here and there. At this moment a dance instructor as Guest Author is most indicated and it would send the hits up through the roof. Who else is better qualified?

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
In a space that is most economical
But the ones that I’ve seen
So seldom are clean
and the clean ones so seldom comical.

Anyway, by next month, Town Dance and Oahu And Beyond may achieve together, the magic 200 average hits per day which is the same as 6000 hits in a 30 day month. Now that is communication.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Town Dancer, Da Blog

Town Dancer blog, in Spanish, it can be referred to as "La Crema de la Crema." This is the top blog in Hawaii, the "King of the Hill." No dancing web or blog site can touch it. This is today, I cannot promise for next year.

"The bottom line is that blogging is like sex. You can’t fake it. You can’t fake passion.
You can’t fake wanting to engage with the public. If you do, it will ultimately be an
unsatisfying experience for both the blogger and their reader/dancers."

Calvin's blogging on Blackpool remains on Blogger records as the max in hits. So, the interest in the "to be seen" categories was established fairly early. And since I can see what is happening out there, the "to be seen" categories are going to need all the help they can get in the near future.

Therefore the information contributors and/or this blog remain a very important factor. Hopefully they will be inclined to the defense of the "to be seen" categories and from there it should be relatively easy to get a Guest Author. With two additional Guest Authors and two established Administrators, (one for back up,) the independence is set and they can make their own rules. I can resign and remain as consultant to help in anything. But I can dedicate myself to the other blogs.

"Julie, Do Ya Love Me" by Bobby Sherman

Oahu And Beyond blog has evolved into somewhat a duplicate and that has been their downfall. In town, yes but as duplicate it cannot do much. Luckily, the differences are becoming more evident. First, of course, is that more area is covered and crucial is our preference for social cultural dancing and that is all coming.

Each style of ballroom dances has a set step of patterns which dance couples freely used in their own style. There are so many styles, and variations of styles coming from various backgrounds, competition standards, and the even coming from the nightclub scene. Let me tell you, we're going to have a lot of fun in these coming times.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Changes - 3

By Reginald Chang, Kaimuki

Our Hawaii Social dance has always been a combination of professional teaching and ordinary street dance. What type of swing was being danced in Hilo on the Big Island in the thirties? Or in Wahiawa on Oahu? Some kind of social dancing has existed on the islands for a long time. And then came WWII. Does anyone remember the Double Blues?

The fact remains that in Hawaii many have been dancing for a long time and the popular term "Ballroom" was accepted very nicely in the late 40s.. This was just before the creation of the first non profit social clubs to teach, what else? Ballroom Dancing.

With it came the introduction to "Latin" dancing which had been closely related to Puerto Rican style of dance. But now it came in the Arthur Murray -  American Style of Latin dance, the Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Mambo, Samba and the Tango.

A lot of this type of dancing found it's way into nightclubs and social events around the Islands. And in the nightclubs, they became improvisational and social in nature encouraging interaction and contact with spectators and the other dancers, real cultural dancing.

"My Way" by Frank Sinatra

If things were slowing down, it did not worry anyone. In the early seventies came the introduction of the new style of dance, meant specifically to be seen. And for a very good reason. This was a competition style of dance and in order to be judged they must have consistent rules. Made sense for everyone even now.

Most new dance clubs were created in the late 70s and early 80s. The International style moved rapidly into what had been "social ballroom" circles. What had been "correct" according to their style of dance, became "correct" period, without any qualifications whatsoever. The term "junk dancer" evolved, and they elevated themselves to the heights of social dancing status.

At the beginning of the Palladium era, the social scene and International style of dancing were at their max and the term "Ala Wai dancer" came in to use in a derogatory manner. Then it came, the growth stopped except for the spectator division. And very slowly, the decline of all dancing began on the island of Oahu. Not many people could see it and it has taken quite a while for people to do something about it.

"I Remember You" by Don Ho

The rise of the Peripherals; Country, Swing, Tango, Salsa, Line and of course, the Night Club dancers were all in protest. They all had their pet aversion, "Ballroom!" And with it the realization that we no longer needed ballrooms requiring acres of space. Our big problem has been in finding the smaller places.

In the 21st century it is beginning to look better for the cultural dancers, the ones that dance for the fun of it. For one thing the night club scene is becoming more prominent and the social dance scene has taken on a newer look. There seems to be a natural amalgamation of the two. And the western part of this island seems to be taking the lead. WIth the new Arthur Murray studio in Kailua, there will be more awakening of the American Style of Dance in East Honolulu.

Very fortunate too, that at this time, the Internationals (they truly believe theirs is an art) have now seized the term "ballroom" as their very own. Lucky that it leaves us, the social dancers, in paradise, "Free at last, thank God almighty, we're free at last." Now please, you ballroom dancers,  just get out of my way and let me dance!

The End, someone else will have to continue the series. Reggie.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blogs Adjusting Very Nicely

Town Dancer blog is going down in hits very slowly. Of course the blogs have been fewer. Meanwhile the other blogs have been in a period of adjustment too. There have been some dance organizations that have not shown much interest in blogging and their views must be respected. I have no interest in wasting my time or theirs without positive results.

"Blogs, social networks, newspapers, any other form of publication – all have social aspects
to them. It is a spectrum really, with social networks at one extreme and a 19th century
novel at the other. But there’s room for all types of social publishing platforms."

Meanwhile we have been working Oahu and Beyond and that blog has come up from the forties in average hits per day to the seventies. A long ways from Town Dancer but it is surging ahead and still in the process of learning. For now the interest is coming from commercial dance entities. And it may be the first independent. I now have a more open mind on the subject.

We help the dance community wherever we can help. And I must try again with the line dancers at Ward Center. They kokua for taking photos but they will not contribute either photos or commentaries. So we must find a steady information contributor in the Town section to help get the dance news to the reader/dancers.

In the West the blog that needs the most help is the newest one, Oahu - West, with barely 34 average hits per day. Over 1000 hits per month, but at the bottom of the pile. That one steady information contributor is the key factor, and we are looking. Any new dance organizations in the area will be more than welcomed. Kapolei Chapter HBDA just had a terrific blog by Tim Cubero Jr. complete with photos and the hits are going through the ceiling. Check it out, just click the name in the side bar.

Then we are also working to get an increase coverage of the Dream To Dance Studio. There will be some rebuilding around the area but when they get their good space, it will be rolling. She has plenty of connections from throughout the years of good work in the dance community. We have also given them a Mini Web site in the Dance Guide blog.

We have had a very good period of adjustment since the beginning of the year but it should settle down by the end of the quarter on March 31st, The ones that have decided to be weeded out can come back any time they figure it would be to their advantage. We humbly thank all the rest. Then we can work to make all the blogs independent where the administrators together with the guest authors can make their own rules.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Viennese Waltz

From old Dancing in the Dark mini zine:

The Austrian music scholar Max Graf has written, "If there exists a form of music that is a direct expression of sensuality, it is the Viennese Waltz. It was a dance of the new Romantic Period after the Napoleonic Wars, and the contemporaries of the first waltzes were highly shocked at the eroticism of this dance in which a lady clung to her partner, closed her eyes as in a happy mood and glided off as if the world had disappeared. The new waltz melodies overflowed with longing, desire and tenderness."

The new waltz melodies could trace their ancestry back to the beer gardens of early 18th century Vienna, and to rural inns and taverns situated on the outskirts of Vienna and on the banks of the Danube River. Traveling orchestras, some of them from the ships and barges that plied the Danube, whetted the Viennese appetite for this new dance, and the waltz craze soon reached epidemic proportions.

Into this dance-mad atmosphere stepped Josef Lanner and Johann Strauss, the elder, both band musicians and both one time members of the same orchestra. In the compositions of these two men the waltz gained sophistication and a distinctly Viennese light hearted spirit.

A contemporary music critic, Eduard Hanslick, wrote that "You cannot imagine the wild enthusiasm that these two men created in Vienna. Newspapers went into raptures over each new waltz and innumerable articles appeared about Lanner and Strauss."

"Til I Waltz Again With You" by Theresa Brewer

Even in 1919, H.L.Mencken wrote, "The waltz never quite goes out of fashion; it is always just around the corner; every now and then it returns with a bang ... It is sneaking, disarming, lovely ... "

Shortly before WWI it began to be surpassed by the new slow Waltz in the more Social circles of the middle classes where it remains today. But, it surfaced as other Waltz dances throughout the world. For Now:
The Ballroom waltz - a slow dance with measured steps that moves around the room in a controlled fashion with lots of figures and which are mostly in the International and American Styles of dance.
The Viennese Waltz - a fast dance with lots of turning, the feet positions are based on ballet though for a correct Viennese Waltz, and also featured in International and American Styles of dance.
The Cultural Waltz - what most people know as waltz, and can be done to various speeds of music as is done in Country, Canadian and Latin styles and even more different in other countries.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Changes - 2

By Reginald Chang, Kaimuki:

Yes, we rehash. The waltz with its modern hold took root in England right after the War of 1812. in 1819 Carl Maria von Weber wrote "Invitation to the Dance," which marked the adoption of the waltz form into the sphere of absolute music.

"A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to
share your bits of information and a photo or two."

The dance was initially met with tremendous opposition due to the semblance of impropriety associated with the closed hold, though the stance gradually softened. It was all right for the lower classes but not for "ballroom dancers."

In the 1840s several new dances made their appearance in the ballroom, including the Polka, Mazurka, and the Schottische. Mostly as fad dances but many remained as a fun dance a century later.

In the meantime a strong tendency emerged to drop all 'decorative' steps such as entrechats and ronds de jambes that had found a place in the Quadrilles and other dances.

That brings us to the entire 19th century, over great parts of the world people were finding the joy of partner dancing and many were realizing that they did not dance the same or even to the same music.

The Blacks.who had been in the Americas for 3 centuries, were now getting their freedom and in the Americas they began to develop their own versions of the local Indian dances and all of the European and Indian music in general. At the beginning of the 20th century, the US specially was ready for its revolution in music and dance. And was having a good start at the beginning of WWI.

"My Way" by Frank Sinatra

What happened after WWI? Big Changes, naturally!
OK, Just one more after this one. The 20th Century.

Pub's Side Note: Town Dancer blog is still getting one third of the hits of our total blogosphere. Most are reader/dancers from the "to be seen" categories, Acrobatic, Cabaret, Competition and Exhibition dancers, and of course the growing spectator division. The information contributors and the Guest Authors will be from these sectors. The blogs are slowly defining themselves and they will all be different - They will be Social Media.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Swing and Live Music

Question to Frankie Manning:
Obviously, there’s been this new swing craze in the last couple years. How does this compare, or does it compare at all to the original swing craze?

Frankie Manning:
The enthusiasm is there. It’s the same as the enthusiasm for the dance when I was coming up because it was something new for them. And now, at this period, it’s something new to these youngsters. It’s just that it’s a different environment altogether. When we were coming up, we danced to live music all the time. There weren’t any tapes and CD’s and all that stuff. We didn’t even know what a disc jockey was.

If we went to somebody’s house, there was someone playing a piano, or some kind of instrument for the rhythm, for us to dance to. If we went to a ballroom… it was unheard of if they just had tapes. So it was always live music, a live band. And by us being able to dance to live music, to musicians, we were able to feed off the music that they gave out and they were able to feed off our energy. So it was an interchange between the dancer and the music and that’s the difference that I see now.

"I Apologize" by Billy Eckstine

Most of the time today, it’s tapes. You can only identify with the music that’s coming over the loudspeaker. Back then we could listen to a record, and we could say, "Oh, that’s so-an-so, that’s Harry James, that’s Gene Krupa, that’s Benny Goodman!" We knew who was playing what, because we listened to these guys impressions so much, we knew how they sounded; we knew what they did.

Now you listen to music coming from the CDs and the tapes and somebody has to tell you who the person is that’s playing. Before we would talk back and forth to these people and we knew them personally. "Hey, how you doin Dizzy?!" And he would holler back, "Hey, Frankie!" That is the difference between now and then. So it’s a different environment.

Guest Authors will make this blog independent.

The enthusiasm is there, but you can’t get the same feeling. These kids nowadays, man; they are something else! I look at these kids, and I say, "Oh man, I sure wish I could dance like that!"

Pub's Side Note: One of  the first things you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful. I failed with this one. Maybe we can spin off Oahu and Beyond. I would like to see one independent. It needs someone that can find something to say, once a month would be fine.