Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prestats

So the entire blogosphere for January is looking bleak. The rail tragedy is having its effect on the dancing environment. And of course,  Caldwell  is making it worse. It's the bread, Fred. I expected it to get farther than December and  but what do I know? Town Dancer, our number one blog is down to about 180 average hits per day. And I expect to let is cruise downward. I have to work on the others.

Notice the difference between what happens when people say to themselves,
"I have failed three times," and what happens when they says, "I am a failure."
 

Honolulu Dance Guide which was once neck and neck with Oahu And Beyond is now way ahead of OAB at over 150 average hits per day. Whatever they are doing must be right because they are catching up to Town Dancer which is also falling behind.

Those are the top runners for the present. I know what we have lacking and I will do what I can. First we need the Information and Photo Contributors. Hard to find and they should do as they please. They are needed not only for present contributions but also for the possibility of being a Guest Author.

"Sentimental Journey" - Les Brown (Doris Day)

All the rest of the herd is at the bottom and two that are showing promise are Oahu - West and Central Valley. When we get those going, they will help carry the rest of them. But it will be slow going. Like all the others, the differences of opinions and the different favorites in photos will be factors. Hits will go through the roof. Someone has sure missed on the free computer in the side bar. Tough.


The bus calamity is getting worse so I cannot move around the way I use to. And with Caldwell in charge it does not look at all promising. The rail catastrophe comes first and the people be damned. It's the money, Sonny. The big bucks in profits.

"Auld Lang Syne" - Guy Lombardo
 
For us older folks: Good news is that you can increase the density of your brain "forest" (hold back Alzhiemer's weed whacker) at any time in your life. Why? Your brain doesn't know how old you are - and doesn't care. Your brain just wants to be in a stimulating environment and that is something you can do at any age.

Reading, writing, crossword puzzles, playing board or card games, participating in dancing and playing music all may help to keep your mind agile and "dense." Even when you use to be able to take bus rides around the island.

Pub's Side Note: Some of the wheels in the dance community have to be dragged, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I will not do that. If they do not want it they shall not have it. But the sign on the door I leave open still says welcome.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tango Anyone?

Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras of Argentina and Uruguay as well as in other locations around the world. The dance developed in response to many cultural elements, such as the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing.

"They say President Obama has blundered. Perhaps he has, but I notice he
usually blunders forward in spite of the Republican screw ups."

The styles are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow have space between their bodies, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect either chest-to-chest (Argentine tango) or in the upper thigh, hip area (American and International tango).

Different styles of Argentine Tango are:

* Tango Argentino
* Tango Oriental (uruguayo)
* Tango Canyengue
* Tango Liso
* Tango Salon
* Tango Orillero
* Tango Milonguero (Tango Apilado)
* Tango Nuevo
* Show Tango (also known as Fantasia)
* Ballroom Tango
* Finnish Tango
* Filipino Tango

These are danced to several types of music: Does anyone know the difference? Not likely.

"La Media Luz" by Julio Iglesias

* Tango
* Vals (the tango version of waltz)
* Milonga (a related dance that usually has a faster tempo)
* Tango Electronico
* "Alternative Tango," i.e. non-tango music appropriated for use in the dance for ultra modern dancers.

"Jealousy" by Placido Domingo

The "milonguero" style is characterized by a very close embrace, small steps, and syncopated rhythmic footwork. It is based on the petitero or caquero style of the crowded downtown clubs of the '50s.

In contrast, the tango that originated in the family clubs of the suburban neighborhoods (Villa Urquiza/ Devoto/ Avellaneda etc.) emphasizes long elegant steps, and complex figures. In this case the embrace may be allowed to open briefly, to permit execution of the complicated footwork.

The complex figures of this style became the basis for a theatrical performance style of Tango seen in the touring stage shows. For stage purposes, the embrace is often very open, and the complex footwork is augmented with gymnastic lifts, kicks, and drops. This borders much into the exhibition type even on the social dance floor.

"El Choclo" also known as "Kiss Of Fire"

A newer style sometimes called "Tango Nuevo" has been popularized in recent years by a younger generation of dancers. The embrace is often quite open and very elastic, permitting the leader to lead a large variety of very complex figures. This style is often associated with those who enjoy dancing to jazz- and techno-tinged "alternative Tango" music, in addition to traditional Tango compositions.


What we intend to inform the readers, that if you want to Argentine tango it is not easy, and there is much to choose from. There are so many others, to the same old music and many are simply stupendous, really more like da reel teeng.

Blogger's Law #43: Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.

 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Peripherals

In Cultural Dance, a Peripheral is somewhat like the relationships in Computers.  A device or unit that operates separately from the CPU but is connected to it, as a magnetic disk or tape unit or a printer. The main body of dancing in Hawaii is the cultural dancer with perhaps 60% of the action. The peripherals represent the other forty percent. Yes, these are only guesses and you are right. Your guess is as good as mine.

"The grand essentials of life are something to do, something to love, something to hope for."

During the last decade of the last century when the Ballroom decline began in our Dance World, mainly due to the exactness of the Internationals, the Peripherals began to emerge bigger and stronger.

The Swing Dancers were there first from way back. The more they saw Jive as the supposedly "correct" way to Swing, the more they coalesced into a group that enjoyed many of the different versions of Swinging out there. And they were the big developers of the West Coast Swing. When it comes to Swinging, the top one thousand dancers of this group could, without a doubt, out dance the number one Jive dancer at Blackpool.
 
"Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me)" by Jon Thomas

The Argentine Tango was the next Peripheral to coalesce. No one was going to even hint that their way was "incorrect." Even though, in Argentina and the rest of the world, the process was developing into ever more different styles.

What do they dance in Hawaii? I don't know. They could say something to the rest of us but it has become an elite world. There is no doubt about the top 1000 Argentine dancers around the world in comparison to number one at Blackpool.

How about Line Dancing? Also becoming a peripheral to assert their strength even though portions of it are becoming accepted as part and parcel of the cultural dance scene.

The entire scene seems to be controlled by women. Perhaps it has been the men's fault because it is evident that they need more men. So they are splintering into those that are die hard "Line Dancers" and those that dance line dancing as part of the social dance environment. Their best tool, the Playlist.

"The Old Lamp-Lighter" - Sammy Kaye

Of course, Salsa started out as one of the best and many attempts have been made to include them into the cultural dance environment but they remain aloof. As peripherals they are losing it because of the invasion of the other fads. The latest, bachata, - and zouk is right there waiting. In New York City all the big Salsa clubs have been fading and many have closed. And there are some that are opening again as, God Forbid, "Ballroom." Those people have been known to lead the way.


Then the Latin Division has sparks all over the place on Oahu. And many still think of the dance whereas it is in the music. Rumba-Bolero, in my estimation, is the most beautiful rhythm for the music and the dance. Cha-Cha-Cha the second greatest Latin rhythm ever invented. And of course, Latin Waltz, you can do your Samba footwork and you will be fine. That will certainly give us a base for the coming peripheral, "Latin." Add Brazilian Samba, Hawaiian Tango and a little Swing and you have it made in the Shade.


The Internationals are the most elite and difficult, to be accepted in their groups. Perhaps we can someday get a few Guest Authors to present their view point to the cultural dance public. There are many good people there with the right attitude. And of course the Club Dancers which have a bit of all the above including their own which is just beginning to be defined.

"Such A Night" - Elvis Presley

Most of the dancers in these peripherals will be in the bronze, or beginning levels, though twice the normal size. They will be "learning" the easiest, (about 30), most pleasant moves to their music. Moving to their favorite music in a social atmosphere will be their highest priority. The higher levels will be for OP (other people.)

Pub's Side Note: To see the slide show in Dancing in the Dark. You must double click the icon. Then when the entire photos appear, you must click "slideshow" in the upper left hand side. Used to be easier than this before they got the fancy programmers.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Know Then Thyself

As we find ourselves well into the new year, I think this part of the poem by Alexander Pope, written in the 1700s is most appropriate and one of my favorites.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state, A Being, darkly wise and rudely great:

With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride.
He hangs between, in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast;

In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reasoning but to err;
Alike his ignorance, his reason such,
Whether his thinks too little or too much.

Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confused,
Still by himself abused or disabused,
Created half to rise, and half to fall,
Great lord of all things, and yet a prey to all.

Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurtled,
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.

***********************
 
Ecclesiastes  3.
 
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.
 
 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dance Hawaii

Just one month from today on the 23rd of February Anniversary Dance.

 
I believe President Obama sent his regrets, but the entire cabinet may show up.
 
 
I will have to make all efforts to get there right after the dinner, after eight and get a few photos and perhaps a few quotes from key people. If I leave by 10:30 I can make it home by 1:00 AM. And posters are my hobby, I will make another for the Oahu And Beyond blog next week. And if I can get more photos from people that are willing to share with their fellow dancers, a second blog.
 
Pub's Side Note: I am slowly getting there. Where people are realizing that I am not making money  on their good looks, talent, fame and fortune. All I want to do is help. May I help you? And check out Richie Fun blog in Oahu And Beyond blog on some of the Night Club action, interesting.
 
 
 
 

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Do You Mean, Swing?

Janice Galapon, Ewa Beach:

I have come across some surprising information on Swing that covers quite an area. In International dance Style they limit it to "Jive." In American, they limit it to East Coast and Triple Step and some will admit others. In country dancing they specialize more in West Coast Swing. But there certainly is a lot more swinging going on that is of interest to our growing readers.

"Do you love life?  Then do not squander time,  for that is the stuff life is made of."
 
In many scenes inside and outside the United States the term "Swing dancing" is used to refer generically to one or all of the following swing era dances: Lindy Hop, Lindy Charleston, Shag, Balboa and Blues. This group is often extended to include West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Hand Dancing, Jive, Rock and Roll, Modern Jive, and other dances developing in the 1940s and later. In Hawaii, the total among the swing clubs amounts to quite a bit.

"The Best Things in Life Are Free"
by Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson
 
A strong tradition of social and competitive boogie woogie and acrobatic rock'n'roll in Europe add these dances to their local swing dance cultures. In Singapore and other scenes, Latin dances such as salsa, bachata and Tango are often taught and danced within the "Swing scene", and for many scenes, even tap dancing and a range of other jazz dances are considered key, as are hip hop and other contemporary African American street dances. The variations continue, dictated by local dance community interests.

"Spanish Harlem" by  Ben E. King

Many swing dancers today argue that it is important to dance many styles of partner dance to improve technique, but also to reflect the historical relationship between these dances in the swing era of the 1920s and 1930s. In the Savoy Ballroom, for example, bands would often play waltzes, Latin songs and so on, as well as swinging jazz.
 
Dancers were often familiar with a wide range of popular and traditional dances. There seems to be a few Swing Dance Clubs in town, we just never hear about them around here. * * * *

How about this new Swing Dance Club in Ewa Beach?
  

American Smooth in the UK

By Larry Winston, Aina Haina
Adapted from an English article in 1999

Ballroom not exciting enough?
When talking to young people learning to dance in England they often hear that they find Ballroom (International) dancing a little boring due to the restrictions it comes with: the permanent body contact being the main one. For that reason they often prefer Latin dances or even go for disco or jazz instead. There is however an easy way to make Ballroom more exciting for people of all ages - it is the way they dance it in America even if it is losing its terminology.

"A dance is a measured pace, as a verse is a measured speech."

What is American Smooth
American Smooth can be best described as a form of ballroom dancing with an enhanced repertoire of easy to perform, yet exciting steps All basic principles and the technique of ballroom dancing still apply, however partners are not required to maintain a continuous body contact.

Lifting the body contact restriction allows the dancers to perform steps such as: lady under arm turns, spins, side by side positions, parallel turns, dips, drops and other variations that would never be allowed in the traditional International Style dancing. Anyone who has ever learned ballroom dancing will find American Smooth very easy to learn, yet refreshing due to its interesting, rich syllabus.

"(I Wanna) Love My Life Away" -  Gene Pitney
 
The music used for American Smooth, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Foxtrot is basically the same as that used for Ballroom (International) as it is known in Europe, with the exception of quickstep, which is not danced in the American Smooth style. The closest dance you have is the Peabody. In other words, in England, you can surprise your friends by dancing a totally new choreography to almost any ballroom dance music.


Dancesport UK had invited Mr Anderson Moore, himself a former Fred Astaire Rising Star Champion to come to London to train the first generation of American Smooth dance teachers. By the beginning of the century, many schools around the country started to offer classes in American style Ballroom too. Consequently the competitions will follow suit. American Style is also invading Europe. It has it's competition side but it is mainly a social dance.


Pub's Side Note: We all need information about the line dancing groups and our Dance Studios. We need input (information) from the studios of small items and perhaps even a photo. This should give the rest of the readers the everyday news of the existence of the Studios. Specially now that the hits on this blog keep going up. Very few Web sites can come even close this.





 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Club Switching

And Multiple Club Memberships.
by Randy Matsumoto, Renton Village

With the new year coming into better focus, we have some dance clubs that still find it difficult to accept that their members like to try other clubs. Many express anger, pout, scream disloyalty or display some other negative emotion in their attempt to prevent this practice. Usually the biggest clubs with the “de jure” group of rule makers will be the most narrow minded.

"Life is a one way street. No matter how many detours you take,
none of them lead back."

They often try to make people feel guilty. But if people are into dancing long enough, the practice of going to another dance club is inevitable. This has existed whenever there have been choices. This practice should not be taken as personal failure or with feelings that the dancers are ungrateful.

If, however, one is losing members on a more permanent basis, it is imperative that corrective measures take place. In some cases of the “de facto” rule makers, liars and seat controllers (Creative Researchers And Producers) it is very difficult. This does not include punishment for anyone. It does include giving the ordinary everyday dancers more to make the club more attractive.

"You May Be Right" by Billy Joel

Dancers going from club to club should be looked upon as a healthy outgrowth as they gain more confidence, skill and independence in their love of dancing. Rather than becoming upset, the top brass should concentrate on ways to keep their members with them most of the time. If the idea of the revolving door is acknowledged, everyone will benefit as long as new dancers are coming in some door.


Getting more dancers in that door is an area that needs much improvement and is greatly neglected. Look at the clubs now that have no classes for beginners at all. Fortunately, many clubs are including Bolero, Salsa, Bachata, Night Club 2 Step, Mambo and Hustle, all of them, dances excluded in the International curriculum. And the DJs are finding music that is "classic music," not just a metronome. (but you can dance Rumba to it.)

"Once Upon A Time" by  Rochell & the Candles

While fair competition is good there is also much to be gained from cooperation specially among the smaller clubs. This, specially, since there are a few that are holding on by a hair. Whatever, dancers have an absolute right to feel free to go where they please and spend their money and time as they see fit without having to justify this to anyone. They should not have an assumed obligation to support anyone and should not be made to feel guilty or fear criticism.  This includes the night clubbing part of the action too. *  *  *  *






Gold Plated No Less

These beautiful Gold Plated cars by Lamborgini are really nice. As soon as the Rail is confirmed, there will be standing order for two of these.


The cost is about $550.000 each, but a couple of our good wheeler dealers (you know da kine) will get a couple for only one Mil. There is easy money elsewhere besides the rail. They saved 100 thou right on this deal alone. Good thing the entire state can afford these kind of people.


These are the same people that were able to stop the beautiful industrial park in the Ewa Plain. 2000 possible employees, 2000 less cars going to town, 2000 less cars in Honolulu traffic and 2000 less cars going home. The residents in the vicinity? "I coulda been home in 20 minutes." But da rail gotta go through, it's the bread, Fred.

Pub's Side Note: Corruption in the big cities on the mainland happens fairly often. Eventually the people realize what is happening and throw the rascals out. They are just in the process of taking over Honolulu. Caldwell, PRP, Boylan and company were able to tear down the reputation of one of our most honest politicians, with lies. We may be able to do something and stop this administration with all their helpmates. We must get more people interested. Careful with those that are pro rail, they have been had.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Industrial Park in Ewa Plain

This idea of setting land aside through this type of zoning is based on several concepts to be able to concentrate dedicated infrastructure in a delimited area to reduce the per-business expense of that infrastructure. And on the island of Oahu, it would sure help the traffic situation all around.

"The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Big Ben tower in London had been planning
on getting together and having a family. But no go. One didn't have the time
and the other didn't have the inclination."

Such infrastructure includes roadways, high-power electric supplies, high-end communications cables, large-volume and water supplies. They should be able to attract new business by providing an integrated infrastructure in one location.  It would also set aside industrial uses from urban areas to try to reduce the environmental and social impact of the industrial uses.


Tycun Industrial Park, Changtai Zhangzhou, China. The Chinese are making the most extensive studies of city environments. One just like this could be nestled right into
any of the Waianae valleys. Voted down by the Rail People. With 2000 employees,
there would be two thousand less cars on the freeway and there would be 2000
less cars in Honolulu Traffic. And "I coulda been home in 20 minutes."

Just this one Industrial Park and a few Bi-Articulated buses and the freeways would be clear and downtown traffic would be much better. The Rail is superfluous, but yes we know. It's the loot, Klute. And everyone has noticed the increase in prices around town. But you ain't seen nuttin' yet. You voted for it, now you have to pay through the nose. Wait till you get your property tax bill, Wow!


Pub's Side Note: Bogota, Columbia now the most Bi-Articulated (two tandems) bus city in South America and leading the way for the entire world. They have been thoroughly convinced, no rail, but their buses are the berries. The neighbor islands have got some smart people, unfortunately only now have they become aware that they have to  pay for the rail in Honolulu too. They know they got suckered in.


The Stats Astound

Anybody that doesn't have a counter is not interested in any statistics that are drawn up daily all over the internet. But I am very interested even if not of all of them. One that I look into now and then is the hits that we get from outside the US and furnished by Blogger along with a lot of other stuff. The following is the top ten from a part of Town Dancer blog of the last week.

Entry Pageviews for the week

United States 520
France 84
Philippines 70
United Kingdom 60
Russia 41
Germany 34
Ukraine 31
India 28
Italy 28
Poland 18

Where in the hell is the Philippines?

The Ukraine and Poland are very surprising and the fact that nothing from Latin America is in the top ten.

"The day will eventually come, your wealth, fame and temporal power will
shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear."

More people on the Waianae Coast and Kapolei are getting interested in the self driving auto and it would beat the rail or bus easily. Tests have passed the first part. Like getting into your car in the garage and letting it know you want to go to the office in downtown Honolulu.

You will be seated in your recliner in the auto with your coffee and newspaper, you can phone at your leisure or with the TV on. The car will cruise along at the speed of the surrounding traffic and when it gets on the freeway, it will never go past the 50 mile car's speed limit.

When you get to your office, you still have to drive it into the parking space. However they are working on the new addition. You can leave the car where it is convenient for you and the car will then find a parking space by itself. In the evening you can also call it to pick you up, you get in and "Home, James."

No humbug of traffic going to a rail station, lines and paying for a monthly parking permit and going through all the rest of that crap.

"A Tree In The Meadow" - Margaret Whiting
 
 
With one third of the fleet in Articulated buses, Honolulu "coulda been a contendah"
and one tenth the cost of rail. Yes, I know, it's the dough, Flo

Waianae speak, Airs: Mistakes, "Dat shortstop has made two airs
already and dis only the turd inning."
 
We are getting good commentary on the use of Frank's Blogs by 808 Dance Magic. Terrific way to communicate with the reader/dancers and getting well known throughout the Islands. They are way ahead of the other dance clubs in town. They are communicating. Good for them, good for the blogs and most important, good for the reader/dancers. A win-win situation.
 
Pub's Side Note: "Of the dancers, by the dancers and for the dancers" All the dancers?
Of course not, they do not all want to be involved and we must respect.
 
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Cha Cha Cha

It should come as no surprise that in the West we have some of the best Cha Cha dancers on these Islands. I happen to be talking about American style Cha Cha Cha, breaking on the loud noise. How did that happen? Where on earth did it come from?

"You are the sound of the ocean - the breath of fresh air - The brightest light
and the darkest corner - You are a collective of every experience you have
had in your life - You are every single day - and it will end, all too soon."

Many years ago, in the West Indies, there are certain plants that produce seed pods called cha cha or (depending on the island) tcha, tcha. These were used to make a small rattle also known as a cha cha. In Haiti, (French blacks) the typical voodoo drum consists of three drums, a bell and a cha cha. The cha cha is used by the leader as a timing instrument or "metronome" to set the time in secular dancing as well as in religious music or singing. The drums follow as any other instruments.

"Mi Cha Cha Cha" by Rene Touzet

But even during the popularity peak of the mambo, many dancers did not care for it because, they claimed, it seemed to go against the natural rhythm of the music. In particular, many cultural dancers criticized the fast mambos for having the acrobatic character of jitterbug rather than the smooth movements usually associated with Latin dance.

In the early 50s, the Cuban orchestra "America" started playing the time honored Danzon with a new syncopated beat. This sounded like a very slow mambo and Cuban dancers used a chassé on the slow count. They added triple hip undulation too.

Gradually it evolved into a rock step and a chassé and the Cha Cha Cha was born. The Cha Cha Cha was introduced into the US in 1954 and by 1957, it arrived in Hawaii and picked up by Aiea Ballroom Dance Club, islanders going ga ga over it as well as throughout the world.


Most dancers in West Oahu have become more comfortable with the Cha Cha Cha rhythm than with the Mambo or Salsa rhythms and it lends itself very easily to most variations available in Mambo or Salsa. Today almost sixty years after its inception, it remains one of the most popular dances in our island Cultural community. Just needs the right music, that Latin sound.

Pub's Side Note: A dance blog is what all dance websites would like to be, updated on a regular basis, containing content that is of interest to a select or target audience. Information easy to update and change. Our readers are gradually picking up on this action. Whenever you are ready.



Da Moosic

What's there to know about it? "I know what I like and I know what I don't like." There is some truth to it. But many people just don't go far enough.

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

I always like to divide everything into three parts. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." (Wasn't that was a nice movie) So we have the divisions graded from the usual zero to 10. In this case, 0 would be for music that is nothing, but there is always something there so we can skip that. And we know there is no ten because none of it perfect.


"Once In Awhile" by the Chimes

That leaves us with three divisions and each divided into three.

The bottom levels are the kind of the music we are most likely to hear. The billions of tapes that are produced daily. The music in the earphones of millions as they go about their business or that is heard on radios or in Malls. You hear it because it is there but is it really there? When they drop in sales, they are sold at Walmart for a dollar.

The middle levels are songs that have never been really much or have at one time may been consider very nice. They were pushed by the record companies and their advertising media to promote and sell the music and they made millions. When they drop in sales, they are sold in bins at the Kmart for a couple dollars.

"Near You" by the Andrews Sisters

The top levels, some may be worthy of the level. Some may have been there just because of intense promotion and they will eventually fall by the wayside like many of the others. Some (a very few) will emerge as classics. Fortunately many of these classics will be danceable simply because they were nice listening. They will be danced by the Cultural dancers over and over again in sheer joy.

From this top total, there may be only 10 to 20% that can be considered "danceable," and not everyone will automatically know which is which. Most of the time, there is only one way to find out, "dance it." Even then opinions may differ. This has been part of our dance culture for a very long time.

"Share Your Thoughts"

For most people music and dance are an equal partnership and with many it is the music first. In exhibition, theatrical, acrobatic and competition, music is much less important to the dance. The dancing is the important part of the whole. It has to be "heel, toe, toe heel" or maybe its the other way around. The Rootzi Tootzis can dance entire routines "without" any music at all. Simply amazing!


For the Cultural or Traditional dancer, the right music is almost the whole thing, and the movement is just to enhance the pleasure of the music. The dance is definitely of secondary importance. And we define these as the real dancers. The feeling can get to its highest plane with the right music. There is a reason for a "Playlist." It will be coming.

"Al Di La, the famous Italian rumba, that smashed through the Americas of the sixties. We will
be playing it twice during the evening. This is your chance to relive the music and the time."

 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blues Dancing

Blues dancing is a family of historical dances that developed alongside and were danced to blues music, or the contemporary dances that are danced in that aesthetic. Amateur Dancer carried an article entitled "Blues and Rhythm and Blues Dancing" in a July/August 1991 issue.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

Mura Dehn used the term "The Blues" in The Spirit Moves, referencing different dance styles. African-American essayist and novelist Albert Murray used the term "blues-idiom dance" and "blues-idiom dance movement" in his book Stomping the Blues.

History of blues dancing

Early commentators on dance from sub-Saharan Africa consistently commented on the absence of close couple dancing, and such dancing was thought to be immoral in many traditional African societies.

In all the vast riches of sub-Saharan African dance heritage there seems to be no evidence for sustained one-on-one male-female partnering anywhere before the late colonial era, and even then, it was apparently considered in distinctly poor taste.

In the United States the dances of white Americans were being adapted and transformed over time from all over with the large groups of immigrants. As dance evolved, the Afro-American elements became more formal and diluted, the British-European elements more fluid and rhythmic. Dance moves passed down through generations were revised, recombined, and given new flourishes. The cyclical re-emergence of similar elements marks the African-American dance vocabulary.

"Blues In The Night" by Johnny Mercer

During the post Reconstruction period (1875–1900), as Jim Crow Laws were passed in the South, dance steps once linked to ritualistic or religious dancing also acquired a more secular identity. Where by and large, slavery had inhibited the retention of specific African tribal culture, the dances of working-class and lower-class blacks relinquished some of their Euro-American characteristics during this time.

Meanwhile, "dances became more upright and less flat-footed. As dance became more associated with sexuality and the free consumption of pleasure, which in the black community still had some communal ties to group dancing, the partnering relationship became more isolated and individualized. The "sport" and the "good-time gal" were people of the moment. Hip shaking and pelvic innuendo were now more of a statement to one's partner than to one's community.


W. C. Handy, who wrote some of the first published blues songs, documented his earliest experience with what may have been blues, and dancers reaction to it, at a dance c. 1905 in Cleveland, Mississippi. At one point Handy was asked to "play some of our native music". Although "baffled" he had his band played "an old-time Southern melody", after which he was asked if a local band could play a few numbers.


That group consisted of "just three pieces, a battered guitar, a mandolin and a worn-out bass" (Handy described the group as "a Mississippi string band") and played "one of those over-and-over again strains that seem to have no very clear beginning and certainly no ending at all .... Actually Indian type music. It was not really annoying or unpleasant. Perhaps "haunting" is a better word for it ... The dancers went wild. Little did they know that their dancing would eventually splinter into dozens of different dances.