Sunday, September 30, 2012

US OPEN Swing Dance Championships

30th Anniversary November 22-25, 2012
Thanksgiving Weekend - Burbank California


The US Open Swing Dance Championships is one of the oldest and largest National Swing Dance competitions of the year. The event is anticipated by dancers who work all year preparing their US Open routines.

 "Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?"

The attendee dancers look forward to the US Open knowing they are going to witness some of the most amazing dance performances that will be seen in one place at one time. There is always excitement and electricity in the air.

With a lot of social dancing scheduled, friendly dancers get to experience hours of dancing with their old and new found friends. This will be the US Open Swing Dance Championships 30th year. We invite you to come and become part of the US Open family.

"With A Song In My Heart"  ...  Frankie Laine

A little history of the US Open Swing Dance Championships - it was founded in 1983 by Jack Bridges. Jack Bridges, now deceased, had a passion for swing dancing. His purpose behind the US Open Swing Dance Championships was to run an "Open" Swing Dance Event. Open to any style of Swing Dancing that is being danced anywhere in the World.

You will witness swing dance styles in West Coast Swing, Lindy, East Coast Swing, Carolina Shag, and Hand Dancing to mention a few. It is held over the United States Thanksgiving weekend. Activities start as early as Wednesday night, along with the Golden Ticket Tour Finale on Thursday, and with an exciting Open Ceremony on Friday.

You will find the exciting competition starting on Friday and carrying on throughout Saturday and Sunday. Jack united the swing dancing community with that passion and purpose in mind. Held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim California for 16 years, Jack, later joined by wife, Mary Ann successfully ran the US Open Swing Dance Championships for 18 years. The Bridges, earning their right to retire, sold the event in 2000.

The WORLD SWING DANCE COUNCIL, organized in 1993, is a service organization designed to further communication and to provide informational services and record keeping for those in the Swing Dance Community.

Pub's Side Note:  The new FAST (Flexible Affordable Smart Transportation) plan instead of the Rail is the best thing to ever come across from the Transportation planners of this Island. Should cost about a fifth of the Rail. And the "party of the rich" don't like it, naturally. They seem to know what they are doing (profits) the others are just going along with the rail cause they think they should. Dumb Dodos.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Competition

By Walter Shintani, Waialae Iki

Competitive dance is a popular, widespread activity in which competitors perform dances in any of several permitted dance styles before a common group of judges.

"Criticism is like fertilizer - the right amount does wonders, but too much is fatal."
 
The competitive dance industry largely consists of competition production companies that conduct regional competitions at stops along their annual, nationwide tours. There's big money in that business and they are due for Hawaii soon.
 
Advanced dance students often compete solo or in small groups (e.g., duo, trio, quad) in addition to competing with their dance class groups. Competitive dancers must be physically fit because even short dances can be physically demanding. Also, dancers must continuously train to maintain and improve their technique, balance skills, strength and flexibility and they consider it part of their fun.

Competitive dancing requires dedication as many months may be spent practicing dance and developing dance routines. International Style of Dance is generally considered the highest form of Ballroom dance art. By whom? The International Style dance community, naturally.

"Wheel Of Fortune"  ... Kay Starr


So now we arrive at the fact that more people are beginning to realize that there are two groups on Oahu that have continually and consistently throughout the years been putting out the best International Style dancers on this island. By the same token, there are two groups that have been consistently at the bottom of the pile. Are we talking about competition? Hey, - that's the name of your game.

I've been a social dancer for almost half a century and I am not going to change now.  *  *  *  *

Pub's Side Note: It is slowly forming all by itself, "Our Group" a new dance force, for Truth, Inclusion and Innovation and made "of the dancers, by the dancers and for the dancers." All the dancers? Of course not, we must respect those that wish to be excluded. Let it roll!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Visit to the Ala Wai

By Sue Comparetto,
Dancing USA, March 1996

My trip to Hawaii was not a dancing vacation, unfortunately, but I manage to sneak in two very different dancing experiences. I first called the local USABDA chapter and got many helpful referrals.

"No great person ever complains about the lack of opportunity."

I arrived in Honolulu, Oahu on Thursday the only weekday that there was not a noon Tea Dance at Ala Wai Golf Course Pavilion. I walked along the canal to check out the 12000 sq ft eucalyptus wood floor I had read about in my National Dance Directory from Dancing USA.

I picked up a monthly schedule of dances (and there were many) and I made my plans to return for the Friday noon dance and maybe peek in at the USABDA dance and show. The Tea Dance crowd was casual and friendly. I soon figured out that I was supposed to get my own folding chair from the back and return it when I left.

It was a happy crowd. I can only figure that was because everyone was retired and enjoying life or on vacation. Once the gentlemen determined that I didn't bite, I got asked quite a bit. I stepped all over Phil's feet during our Fox Trot. He did not ask me again, but he did help me locate local danceable Hawaiian music and bands. I  enjoyed a Cha Cha Cha with Charlie, many half dances with a man just overcoming a heart problem.

The most memorable dance, however, had to be a Hawaiian Waltz with a native Hawaiian in lime green pants, whose name I couldn't pronounce. As we counted the usual 1-2-3 he said to imagine a dolphin rising and falling on the waves of the ocean. That would be the feeling of the Hawaiian Waltz. It was the most fun I had traveling across the dance floor. The floor was like glass, not slippery at all, just smooth, dark and shiny - great wood.

For special occasions they open up the divided room to expose the entire 12000 sq ft floor, so I returned Saturday just to see the floor.  Impressive. The Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse ballroom has Tea Dancing from 12 to 2 PM four days a week and practically every Friday to Sunday evening to recorded music, rarely to live music. This multi purpose facility is used for dancing of all kinds, including Scandinavian, Folk and Japanese. Let me tell you they dance in Hawaii.   *  *  *  *


Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Dance Blog!

A Dance Blog is becoming better defined with time and it has now been almost ten years. They have the peculiarity of being different from each other which is just beautiful. No cookie cutter deals in blogging, though some will carry over remnants from newsletter formats.

"I want to live in a world where a chicken can cross a road
without its motives being questioned."


Dance Blogging starts off as a personal online journal about dancing that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. On Oahu, this has been aided by Information Contributors on dance events from the various dance clubs in our dance scene.
 
"Typo’s aren’t my biggest problem – Thinko’s are."


Then the addition of Guest Authors is what has clinched the transformation of our blogs into Social Media. Our blogs are defined by their format: a series of entries posted to a single page in reverse-chronological order. And blogs generally represent the personality of the original author, the information contributors and that of the Guest Authors. With different Guest Authors in the different blogs we guarantee different blogs and a greater variety of opinion. Worth the weight in diamonds.

"I used to have a drinking problem. Now I love the stuff."


Our dance blogs generally reflect the purpose of the entire dance structure on the Island of Oahu.
Topics include commentary on dance events, dance classes, dance clubs and the differences that exist in our entire dance panorama, brief philosophical musings and other social issues, and links to other sites that the blogger favors, especially those that support a point being made on a post.

"Stranger In Paradise"  ...  Tony Bennett


Then we have had the Micro blogs for ages, Twitter, My Space, Facebook and da kine. They can take care of themselves. Lately, the Mini blog is coming into being and I like that. Dancer - West is a good example. Just a little larger and longer than Facebook or My Space. Short and sweet -  a nice blog.

"Don’t take life too seriously; No one gets out alive."


At the moment we have about a dozen men (no women?) that are publishing their views on the dance scene on Oahu. In our blogosphere we should have at least two dozen Guest Authors. What a diversity of opinion we would published. The aim of getting more Guest Authors is the first step in getting one of the blogs independent with at least four Guest Authors. Then we have  real Social Media and the hits will go through the ceiling. Once they realize the advantage of the Guest Author, Wow!

Pub's Side Note: Guest Author anyone? You can pick your blog.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Hits

The blogosphere is becoming bigger in hits. I start every month clean and average each day.  It fluctuates drastically in the first part of the month perhaps 20 points but by the tenth it is pretty steady between five and ten points. However on the upswing it goes just a little bit higher than before and on the down swing it does not go as low as before. The net result is that from 400 total hits at the beginning of the year, we now have over 500.


The law of diminishing returns is becoming apparent to me in my stats. A successful one person blog can probably achieve 34 average hits per day tops. (1000/month)  A three person blog such as Town Dancer can probably achieve 200 average hits per day, (6000 per month) twice the amount because of the synergism created. Town Dancer at the moment is at over 167 average hits per day, which means it has just a little way to go. To go more, they must have another Guest Author. Simple?


People who find the content of our blogs interesting are letting others know and then the others may get on one site and perhaps end up on another because the links are so handy and the net result is more hits.  The prime use for our blogs remains the passing of information and coloring up the text with photos and graphics, It is what makes our dance blogs in Hawaii.


For our photo and information contributors, it is becoming clearer on what they can submit. We have gone over the suggestion of the photos many times.  However for information there are no real restrictions on their content or on the degree of advertising they include in the article body. However, If blogs are nothing but blatant adverts, they will tend to lower the hits on the blog and may even affect the other blogs.

"Here In My Heart" ... Al Martino

Our blogs also allow comments to be posted by readers, although this is an option used more by spammers than actual readers. It is a good way to allow interaction on our blogsite, and it could evolve into something like a low key forum. Blogs that allow this interaction tend to be more popular than those that do not.

We have a ways to go.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Web site or Blog site?

A website has been from the very beginning a very powerful medium for your dance club message. It even got to the point of being a necessary decoration for your organization. Websites are complicated to edit and add information for the average person, but they are great for graphics once you've uploaded the file to your host. Most dance web sites on Oahu are very beautifully designed.

 "It is amazing how many things you turn on and off during the day -- including people."

However blogs began by consisting of lists of useful and amusing links to other websites. These early blogs could easily be updated. Early on, it became clear that these blogs were a good format for publishing longer articles and leading to be one person formats and attractions.

A market started to be developed for blog software as their popularity started to increase. The hot topic of 1999 and 2000 was blogs. The marketing potential of blogs became apparent to businesses as well. They see a blog as a replacement for newsletters.  A frequently updated blog gives customers a sense of the business and seems to be on a more personal basis. It allows the business to constantly update and constantly sell whatever product they produce.

"Be My Love"... Placido Domingo

Then blogs began to develop into Social Media and the Guest Author evolved adding different opinions to small blogs. You don't need to know anything about what's behind the workings like you do with a website. Updating a blog is as easy as posting to a forum or sending an email. So conventional wisdom has now favored a dance weblog or blog for most people because the hits are going through the ceiling. Which means you can make contact with more dancers with a blog.


Check in on Da Spin Doctor at the Oahu And Beyond blog. We are like most, "I know what I like" but we don't really know much about the music that is produced for us to enjoy. With Da Spin Doctor we are slowly going to learn that only on this blog will we have "Music Appreciation" information. We just get better all the time.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Photos


Photos are looming up to be one of the most important functions for the entrance into blogging. In a regular blog, photographs are used for emphasis, to attract or retain interest, to illustrate or extend a point, to entertain, all this as a addition to the text. Think about relevance. It’s often helpful for images to amplify what the text says. To answer questions or to ask others.
 
"Today is a Happy Day because I say it is."

In a photo blog library like Photobucket et al, you have a little more license to include images which are self-explanatory. For libraries it’s important to be able to add images which convey a message all on their own and there are thousands being submitted every day whether they convey a message or not.

Ah ha, but for us it is different. First we must think of what our blogs by experience require. The photo of five to seven dancers in a dance environment is prime. And you can stretch it, to four or eight, when you have to. But if your post explains a dance scene, or something you saw, you’re probably going to be able to explain the image, either directly or indirectly.


Then quantity makes a difference. One hundred photos submitted to a blog are much different than that one special photo with five of your good dancing friends enjoying an evening. The photees are then the most important. We should make sure they are happy that the photo will appear in the blog where their fellow reader/dancers will see it and appreciate it. And then of course the photographers in knowing that they are doing some good for their dance group.

"The Song From Moulin Rouge" ... Percy Faith

That is not enough of course. there are the reader/dancers that are so important and they increase daily because of their interest in the blogs and naturally the photos of their friends and neighbors. With all this the blog benefits by increasing in hits and everyone knows that the word is going out to more places. It is a win-win situation for everyone around.

Pub's Side Note: "Dancing is the World’s Second Most Popular Indoor Sport."



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The formation and subsequent independence.

Gradually with the help of many, the Town Dancer blog has formed very well. It has not been easy but for me it has been very interesting. This includes the ohanas that have been formed with the addition of two Guest Authors, Calvin and Richard. Social Media has been coming in, but the reader/dancers are slowly being convinced that everyone is welcome, EXCEPT? - That remains to be seen.

"Most of the important things in this world have been accomplished by people
that kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."

But we continue to have no registrations or registration fees, no annual meetings,  no monthly or annual dues and no monthly meetings. Just interest in what we are trying to do and a little kokua now and then. This blog still stands ahead of whatever is in second place in legit hits.

Those that have read the blogs will understand our attempts to help anyone to establish a connection with the dancing interests of the residents on Oahu. If we work together to get a couple more Guest Authors or at least regular photo and information contributors, it would be my pleasure to see it evolve into independence and be on its own. With enough guest authors, they will not need me and they will run up the hits to the high heavens. I am not long for this world and we must prepare.

"How High The Moon" ... Les Paul and Mary Ford


Oahu And Beyond coming up like thunder in hits. Next?

As most everyone knows, there are some that are just not interested and we must respect their wishes. Not only that but we must take special pains to exclude them from our activities. If they want out, we should make every effort not to bother. Let us not waste their time or ours. God knows we have plenty of others to include in our activities.


Getting a little more action lately as we get more dance locations.

At the moment the most difficult thing we need are the photos of five to eight dancers, in a dancing environment with perhaps the first names, the location and the occasion. Not as easy as you think. Maybe impossible. But for me, the most primary need for the blogs. Three good photos, a little commentary and a little fleshing out and you have a nice blog for the reader/dancers. It should be easy to understand the consequences of just that kind of photos.

OK, somebody out there, step up to the plate. A female Guest Author? I will look that up and check. There may be a law against it.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Counter

It's not the perfect answer to a blogger's prayer. The robot hitter spam has been hitting our blogosphere for the last couple months. So the results are somewhat, - more or less, - shall we say incorrect?

"Home is where you are treated the best and grumble the most."

And yet, ask anyone who has a business website and they will tell you that the most important things they do are, monitor visitors to their site and pay attention to stats. Site stats can tell you a lot of things, such as, traffic patterns, marketing reports, visitor path reports, visitor details. To some people some of these stats may not be useful, but if you are using your website to run a business these stats may be invaluable.

Knowing the amount of traffic you are getting to your site, as well as where it’s coming from can help you make some important decisions about where to spend your marketing dollars. Stats allow you to see traffic patterns on your site, if you have a page that you consider to be very important you need to monitor the traffic on that page.

"My Way" ... Frank Sinatra


Without monitoring the traffic to that page you won’t know if you need to make changes in order to get people there. Stats are a very useful and valuable tool in getting your website optimized. They can tell you if changes you make are having a positive or negative effect on traffic. One of the worse mistakes a webmaster can make is to ignore stats and just “fly by the seat of their pants.”

Remember “Anything that can be measured can be improved” but you can’t improve anything unless you measure it. Let us hope that Google and Blogger can give us better measurements than the ones we have been getting.

Pub's Side Note: Through these blogs read the most informed cultural dancers in the Pacific.