Saturday, March 31, 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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mambo Workshop

Hi folks,

I meant to post this earlier, but got busy at work again. Anyway, this weekend, USA Dance, Honolulu, Chapter is having a Mambo workshop put on by a guest instructor, Joe Shorba, of Kokohead Studios. If you're not familiar with Joe, he has been around in the local dance scene for a while. He's more of an American Style dancer, coming from the Arthur Murray Studios.

Here's a message from Glenn Okazaki, President of USA Dance.
It’s Mambo time!!! Come on and learn this Cubano/Latino dance from Joe Shorba of ‘Koko Head Dance Studio'.

Joe is a rhythm dancer (American Style) and will be sharing his great moves with us on Saturday afternoon, March 31.

Joe is a former Arthur Murray Dance Studio instructor in Honolulu and in 2009 opened his own dance studio here in Hawaii Kai.

Registration begins at 12:30 pm and class starts at 1:00 pm. Cost is $10 for members and $20 for non-members.

Venue is the usual Stage Side of the Palladium. Class is 1 ½ hours long. See attached pdf poster for more information.

Remember March 31 st, Maaammmmbo!

Glenn Okazaki
USA Dance Honolulu
Joe is a really fun dancer. He's been making more public appearances lately, dancing with his many students as well as locally recognized performing artist, Ellen Ostler. We recently saw Joe perform at Doug Kesler's showcase at the Pacific Beach - I'm working on a blog on that event as well. When Joe's students perform with him, they look like they're having fun! Joe and Ellen also performed recently at the Palladium for the Hawaii Gardenia Circle's Latin Festival. Perhaps some of you saw their performance.

Mambo is a dance that you can do anywhere - it's done in competition and, of course, socially in clubs all around the country. It doesn't take a lot of room, it's rhythmical and lots of fun - and very similar to Salsa. If you can keep a beat, you can dance Mambo.

It should be a fun workshop with Joe Shorba. Maybe we'll see you there.

With Aloha,
Calvin & Debra

Sunday, March 25, 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.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Augie @ the SLA tonight

Oops, Sorry for the late blurb.

Though most of Augie's fans know he has the 4th Thursday (for the next few months) at the SLA Hall there are some of you that are not aware of this.

Augie Rey & Bobby King “Music to make your ears smile”
“Back by popular demand” with Special Guests “Kevin Mau” on guitar & “John Loo” on Keyboards Thursday March 22nd . 6:30 to 9:30 pm Located at: 916 Coolidge Street. Lots of free parking.

Actually the Dance Hall is located across from Honolulu stadium park on Isenberg St. next to the First Hawaiian Bank on the corner. In the same building as "Da Kitchen" fronting Isenberg.

St. Louis Alumni Hall, Bar & Cafe. Food/pupus from Maui ’s own “Da Kitchen”, and FREE parking in their lot which is usually full.
There is also free parking available at First Hawaiian Bank next door, (where I park) but you'll need to get a (free) parking ticket from the St. Louis Alumni staff collecting the $5 admission to put into the "park box" for the corresponding stall number.

 Great food by “Da Kitchen” served.

Cover charge only $5.00

If you haven't heard the group with the added dynamic of Kevin Mau you should give it a try. Sweet.

Happy dancin'.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2012 Albert Franz Showcase

On February 19, Al Franz had his annual showcase at the Pacific Beach Hotel. Albert put on a nice classy event with white table cloths and chair covers. It was quite well attended.

Debra & I have been with Albert for six years now, and he has always told us that he likes to promote and encourage amateur couples. This year, he was thrilled to have 8 amateur couples dancing in his showcase. All were his students, except guest performers - Joannie Hsieh, dancing with Tommy Nakamura. Albert also has a number of ladies without dance partners with whom he was more than happy to perform - everyone knows how much Albert loves to dance. A number of people commented that this was Albert's best showcase and that the quality of performances had improved. He must be doing something right. He's certainly not slowing down. Congratulations on another successful showcase.

In case you were wondering how the performances were chosen, when it comes to his showcases, Albert has always been about his students. He lets his students decide which dances they would like to perform. This year there were six Waltz performances and four Tangos. Well before the showcase, some people expressed concern over their choice of dance because others were doing the same dance. He said “Nooooooo! It doesn’t matter. I’ll take care of the lineup, you won’t be dancing yours right next to someone else’s. It’ll be fine.” The only thing he asked was to keep the dancing clean - just good ballroom dancing - nothing fancy. “If you can’t do something well, don’t do it. Even if you do just the most basic progressive movements, if you do them well, you will look good.”. Good advice, except, well . . . . . some of us just can’t resist trying to do something a little (a lot?) over our skill level. However, based on the feedback we got from the audience after the showcase, all-in-all, everyone did a great job.

There were 18 performances altogether, in three Parts, separated by a little general dancing.
Part I of the show started with Theresa Yi Tokin dancing the Waltz with Albert. Theresa has been with Albert for several years now and she is a very dedicated dancer. She takes lots of lessons and practices every weekend at the Palladium. It shows in her performances. She's a nice dancer.

Next up was Ceci Chang Freeman performing a Tango with Albert. Although new to Albert’s lineup, Ceci has been dancing for a while and she loves to dance. She’s quite expressive on the floor and fun to watch. Ceci does have a dance partner, Eddie Rulloda, with whom she would perform a Cha-Cha later in the program. Ceci wanted to do a Standard dance and maybe Eddie didn’t feel ready to perform an International Tango yet - I’m just guessing. Anyway, Ceci did a fine job, holding her posture and keeping in character with the dance.

A long-time student of Albert, Jun Nishioka, took to the floor with her relatively new partner, David Bills. David likes to dance. He’s been around in the social dance scene for quite a while and he’s taken a few lessons along the way. Although Jun is a seasoned performer, I believe this was David’s first public performance as an amateur couple. Jun & David performed the Waltz. As you know, the man takes the lead, and there was a lot riding on David. He looked a bit nervous at times, but who wouldn’t be on their first performance. I think everybody agrees that David did a great job and, of course, Jun looked beautiful. David got through the entire performance, maintaining his posture and composure. Excellent!!

I know I’m babbling a bit here, but I just couldn’t help reflecting back to our first public performances. I know I was so nervous during my first hotel performance that my heart was in my mouth. I had to take deep breaths to calm down and still I blanked out. Heck, Debra & I stopped in the middle of our performance, with Debra telling me that I was doing something wrong. Geoffrey blogged about it. Those were the days. Anyway, back to Albert’s showcase.

We were up next. Debra and I performed a Tango. For us, the “good” thing about doing a performance is that it forces us to focus on a particular dance - especially its technique, character, and musicality. We’ve been competing and performing for six years now and we still have so much to learn. During our Tango lessons leading up to this performance, Albert focused on so many “new”things, it felt like we were just learning the Tango. “Your fallaway whisks are
too rotary - the whisk should be a side motion.” “You have too much flight - you’re skimming across the floor - you need to be more grounded in Tango.” “You have a rise in some of your figures - stay down.” “Debra, don’t flick your head without Calvin leading it.”, etc., etc., etc. . . . We tried.

Tsubaki Lunis next performed a Quickstep with Albert. Tsubaki has been dancing for a while as well. She has performed with amateur dance partners in the past but we haven’t seen her with a partner recently. Anyway, Tsubaki seems to like the livelier dances, with upbeat tempos, so she chose the Quickstep. Albert had a fun choreography for her and her Quickstep was lively and entertaining.

Closing Part I was Joannie Hsieh dancing an International Waltz with Tommy Nakamura. Joannie and Tommy danced as Guest Performers this year. They are not currently Al Franz students, but Albert was happy to have them perform at his showcase. Tommy and Albert go back a long ways (long before Debra & I started dancing). Tommy recently started dancing with Joannie and they did a performance at a function where Theresa and Albert were also performing. Albert thought Joannie was lovely and was happy that she and Tommy added to his amateur couple lineup. I don’t think Joannie has been performing very long, but she did a very lovely Waltz with Tommy. Most of you are familiar with Tommy Nakamura, a former competitive dancer who has had coaching from some of ballroom dancing’s greats. Good job Tommy and Joannie!

General Dancing: I usually take a lot of random shots of the general dancers but, I guess because of our two performances and other distractions, I didn't get as many shots this time. Here are some. Except for a few shots I got very early, these are all shots that I took late in the evening, well after the performances were over.

Part II was June Choong performing a Foxtrot with Jackson Cho. June and Jackson have been with Albert for a while as well. They have gone to quite a few mainland competitions with us, including the USA Dance National Championships in both Baltimore and Los Angeles. Jackson proposed to June during our trip to Seattle for the Northwest Regionals. Jackson is a true student of dance - he takes lessons, he reads books, he studies videos, he practices . . . it seems he does everything he can to achieve excellence. June too, strives for excellence, but in a little more low-key, matter of fact way. As you can see from the pictures, they’re a good looking couple and good dancers as well.

Ceci Chang Freeman performed a Cha-Cha with Eddie Rulloda. As I mentioned before, Ceci and Eddie both love to dance. The Cha-Cha was the perfect dance for them to unleash their inner dancer. They are both very expressive dancers and Eddie put his own “coolness” into his interpretation of the Cha-Cha. Ceci and Eddie are also new to Albert’s lineup, but they took to the floor like they owned it. They were cool, they were musical, and . . . get this . . . the music momentarily stopped during their performance due to a technical glitch, and they kept on dancing and didn’t miss a beat. When the music clicked back on, they were right on the music. Most couples would get flustered and maybe stop dancing. But, not Ceci & Eddie. They felt the rhythm in their bodies and it just kept on going. Great performance!

Jun Nishioka returned to the floor with Albert to perform a Samba. The Samba is one of Jun’s favorite dances . . . probably not David’s, not yet anyway. Maybe one day Jun will get David to perform the Samba with her. :-) Just take a look at the smile on Jun’s face. She was really into the dance and having a good time. What’s the old saying . . . a picture is worth a thousand words? You look good Jun!

Another amateur couple, new to Albert’s lineup - Seiko Abe with Fred Weddle - performed a lovely Waltz. This was their very first performance together. We used to see Fred and Seiko in Albert’s studio during some of his group classes and suddenly, they seemed to disappear. They started taking private lessons with Albert. And, surprise, surprise, they (Fred) committed to dance in the showcase! I only say surprise, surprise, because I’ve known Fred as a more conservative type, sometimes a little self-critical, and he just didn’t seem to be the type that would want to do a public performance. See what having a good dance partner can do? And, look at Fred and Seiko’s lovely contra-check. Fred has a nice confident smile, adding a nice touch to a pretty line. Looking good!

Next up were long-time Al Franz students, Miriam & Romeo Quemado performing a Quickstep. We’ve known Miriam and Romeo, casually, for quite some time. They are a really nice couple, modest and fun. We’ve seen them in Albert’s studio many times when they have their lessons before or after ours. We’ve seen Albert scolding them about some technique and they would giggle and smile and try to do it right. With this couple, you can’t tell if they’re nervous, angry, or upset, because they’re always smiling. How can you not like them. Last year, they performed a Tango. This year, they took on the livelier challenge of the Quickstep. They had some fancy choreography and even did a runaround and they looked like they were having a great time. Taking the words of Carrie Ann Inaba - watching them dance can take you to a happy place.

Closing Part II was Tsubaki Lunis performing a Cha-Cha with Albert. Like Jun Nishioka, Tsubaki enjoys dancing both Standard and Latin. She’s been with Albert for as long as we can remember, although not as consistently in the past as we have seen recently. She loves to perform in Albert’s showcase and has new outfits for each performance. Albert came up with a cute choreography for Tsubaki’s Cha-Cha. It was an energetic and fun performance.

General Dancing: At Albert's showcase, Jackson Cho had his camera with a new fish-eye lense. He and June were having fun taking picture of friends and guests. He actually got some pretty cool shots with some interesting and amusing effects. Since I don't have a lot of general dancing shots, I thought I'd paste together some of Jackson's photos and share them with you here. Yea, there are a lot of images of the same people, but there are also images of the table settings and the pretty butterfly centerpieces. You can see Debra holding up one of the centerpieces. Interesting shots.

Theresa and Albert opened
Part III with a Foxtrot. Theresa came out with another beautiful gown with a nice soft pastel color that really fit her dance. The Foxtrot is one of Albert’s favorite dances, but is it Theresa’s? She does a lovely Foxtrot, but it’s hard to tell if it’s her favorite because she dances the Waltz and Tango with equal enthusiasm. Theresa is another true student of dance. Like Jackson, she takes her dancing and technique seriously. She talks about how important the core is, the separation of top and bottom, use of the rib cage and spine, breathing, proper use of the parts of your foot, head weight, etc. You might think - how can you dance with all that going through your mind. Well, Theresa wants to get it right - and it shows in her dance. Lovely performance.

Next up was Toyoko Hattori performing a Waltz with Albert. Ms. Hattori (Ms. Hattori, because I don’t know her well enough to call her Toyoko - Japanese courtesy) also takes her dancing seriously. We don’t run into Ms. Hattori too often in the studio because we’re on different time schedules. But, we do know that she, like Theresa, takes quite a few lessons from Albert. Ms. Hattori is a lovely dancer and I remember Debra commenting the last time we saw her in the studio - “Wow, she’s getting good!”

Debra & I always do a Standard and a Latin and, this year, we did the Jive for our Latin performance. Up to about a month prior to the showcase, we had been practicing a new Samba routine, with new choreography. We were going to dance it to the tune of “I’m going Bananas” by Madonna (from the Dick Tracy movie). We delayed showing it to Albert because we wanted to have the choreography half way mastered so he could work on our technique. As soon as Albert saw it, he said: “No. You two are not ready to perform that. It looks like a cartoon. That’s not going to be ready in a month.” To which I replied - it’ll just be another funny comical dance that the Ota’s are doing - we already have a reputation for doing some funny things on the floor. Albert didn’t like that. He said - “Why don’t you do something you can do. You’re Jive is pretty good, why don’t you do that.” He didn’t say we could not do the Samba at his showcase. He said we could do it if we wanted to, but shook his head. We took Albert’s advice.

Next up were Lorrie & Mike Chun, performing the Tango. We’ve gotten to know Lorrie & Mike quite well over the past couple of years. They started taking lessons from Albert to improve their Standard technique. They too have a very logical approach. They don’t just pick their best dance for the showcase. They pick a dance that they want to improve. Last year, it was the Foxtrot and, this year, the Tango. They’re not competitive dancers, although Debra’s been trying to convince them to enter the Nationals with us in 2013. They just want to improve their dancing and have fun doing it. Fun?? I’m sure they can tell you, as can we, it’s not all fun getting from point A to point B. But, when you get to point B, most times, the journey was worth taking. Hey, Mike & Lorrie - good job on the Tango, you certainly captured the character of the dance. Take a look at these shots - unmistakably Tango!!

Michiko O’Connell, another long-time student of Albert, took the floor with Albert for an International Waltz. It came as a bit of a surprise to us because we’ve always pictured Michiko as more of a Latin dancer. She’s been dancing for a while. She was competing at the Hawaii Star Ball when we started dancing. I guess we picture her more as a Latin dancer because, for the last few years, she’s been taking lessons from and dancing with Carlos Chang and she has been doing quite well. And, here we see her performing a Waltz with Albert. It was nice to see her dancing with Albert. I guess she has been taking a lot of Standard lessons from Albert. She did a nice job. A lovely Waltz performance.

The final performance of the evening was Theresa Yi Tokin performing a Tango with Albert. Another gorgeous gown, carefully chosen to enhance her Tango performance. As beautiful as the gown may be, as they say, the gown doesn’t make the dancer. You still must to be able to dance well to look good. Nice dancing, Theresa, in all of your performances. Your gowns were beautiful and you danced wonderfully.

Although I mentioned Theresa’s gowns, go back and look at all the pictures. Everyone had beautiful ball gowns. The showcase was a display of one beautiful gown after another. I think that too was a crowd pleaser because we did hear a lot of positive comments about the costuming.

That was it for the showcase performances. The general dancing continued on, close to midnight. After the performances were over, I was ready to head home to get some rest. We had entered the Great Aloha Run, which was the following morning. Well, Debra loves to dance. Jackson and June had entered the Aloha Run as well and they were still dancing. What the heck, it’s only a 10K and it doesn’t start till 7:00 a.m. We danced to the end. And, we all finished the Aloha Run the next day.

With Aloha,
Calvin & Debra

Tuesday, March 20, 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.

Saturday, March 17, 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.

Wednesday, March 14, 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.


Friday, March 9, 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.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wasabi @ SLA, Spin Dr. and CW pau ...again.

Aloha all,

I am an avid follower of Wasabi and check their site regularly. I noticed that March didn't have SLA listed. As luck would have it I ran into Doreen and Milton @ Sams a few days ago and asked, "So wat, how cum no mo SLA on da site?" Turns out it was an oversight.  The good news is that Wasabi will be at the Saint Louis Alumni Hall this Thursday 3/8/12 from 7-10 PM for their monthly gig there.

'nuff said
They have been packing 'em in at the SLA Hall and Gary Moore has been a regular wowing the gang. Nice thing about the SLA Hall is that there is plenty of room to dance.

Wasabi will be Dot's on Saturday for those of you that miss the SLA.

FYI for you newbies:

Saint Louis Alumni Hall=  916 Coolidge Street Honolulu: is the address for the clubhouse.

Actually the Dance Hall is located across from Honolulu stadium park on Isenberg St. next to the First Hawaiian Bank on the corner. In the same building as "Da Kitchen" fronting Isenberg.

St. Louis Alumni Hall, Bar & Cafe. Food/pupus from Maui ’s own “Da Kitchen”, and FREE parking in their lot which is usually full.
There is also free parking available at First Hawaiian Bank next door, (where I park) but you'll need to get a (free) parking ticket from the St. Louis Alumni staff collecting the $5 admission to put into the "park box" for the corresponding stall number.

Dr. Bob AKA da spin Dr. is having his 1st Tuesday of the month dance at the Fleet Lounge tomorrow 6-9 PM. Nice group of people and well worth attending. $5 donation would be nice to pay for gas. There are pupus offered for whatever you care to contribute and the drinks are ridiculously cheap. How can you lose?

So now I hear from reliable sources that Coconut Willy's @ the old Hard Rock is no more. This is very sad news for myself (fortunately all sharp objects and pieces of rope have been hidden from me...) I had attended @ least 4 times and it was great. If I hear that they get it together I'll post the
good news.

The World renowned Dots in Wahiawa
Friends in town have been asking about the Dot's March Calendar. For those of you that might feel like slumming @ the best live music/dance venue going here it is. All the groups this month are great!!! Mark your calendars. What are you waiting for?

"Dot's Restaurant" 130 Mango St. Wahiawa, HI 96786  (808) 622-4115
MARCH 2012  Live Music Line up!
Weekend Dance Music  7:30-10:30pm 
 Saturday 10
Friday 16
Saturday 17
Friday 23
Saturday 31st
2nd & 4th Wednesdays of each month 6:30-9:30pm
Open to anyone who enjoys the pleasure of sharing their gift of music!

Dance your okole off. This is a good thing 'cause if you do then you'll have no place to sit so you'll have to keep dancin'!


Saturday, March 3, 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.