Monday, December 31, 2007

We made it

By "we", I mean Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers, with an article in the national magazine. Our big event in September, nicely written up, with pictures, was part of the local chapters section in the latest American Dancer. The young dancer whose picture is featured, Allen Rudman, is the one to watch, Mary French says. She has seen some of the present big names dancing as children.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Weather coming up. When it can't decide if it's rain or snow, we call it Oobleck, after the Dr. Seuss story, "Bartholomew and the Oobleck." The moral of that story is, "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!"
What I tell single ladies looking for a dance partner is that there might be more men on such a night. Massachusetts macho.
We'll see what New Year's Eve brings. We're only going a short way.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Over Christmas with my big family, we had some nice sessions with the new board game "Apples to Apples".
My favorite game, group dancing, was too difficult. No matter how big a person's house is, it can be filled up. My mother's is a place where we have to create space.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year

A big night for dancing. This year we will be at the Sons of Italy hopefully with tons of dancers.
My dance resolutions do not include Dance Revolution II, the foot/eye/beat coordination video game that comes with a dance pad and a juke box of not my songs, though Justin Timberlake's was decent.
Maybe they'll do a version for us, call it Dance Revolution Boomer, sell it in Florida.
Better yet, let us put in our own songs.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

The holiday party season has been going well. We dancers know how to have fun without drinking.
The blog goes on vacation while I do the family party stuff.
It's not over yet! We'll be at the Sons of Italy New Year's Eve. They have a new dance floor! $25 is cheap for a New Years party.
I'll teach something. Hopefully someone else will, too.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas on Tuesday

Hey, I think this really fits in with the American lifestyle. Christmas on Tuesday gives everyone the long weekend to prepare and have a great Christmas party before the serious family stuff begins. I used to want the kids out early so we could do crafts together. They never really got into the baking with me - because they're all boys? (I must say they can cook.)
The live music scene is great. We went to see Flipside at Liam's Thursday. They have a bunch of Thursdays there this winter. Minimal dance space.
Johnny Hoy was last night at Grumpy's, not too crowded or loud, and they sweep the floor there these days. Tonight they have Cajun, Buzzards Bayou.
We have to really watch in Falmouth because the schedules are erratic. I know Harry's in Hyannis is reliable, but the rest of the Cape may also be catch-as-catch-can.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dance is the Poetry of the Foot

John Dryden, 17th century English poet, said the above.
Trained Ballroom dancers are as specific as ballet dancers in how to use the foot. We should do the strengthening exercises as they do in ballet training classes, but just some awareness of your feet can start anywhere.
Slip your feet out of those shoes to wiggle them around, point and flex, find the power point in the ball of the foot, and just realize that moving across space depends on these, your fabulous tools.
Next time you're dancing, you may remember to feel how well they can work.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dance Movies

OK. another discussion topic, very popular: movies
My Favorite dance movie of all time: "Mad Hot Ballroom"
Most Influential: "Saturday Night Fever"
Most Foreign: Japanese "Shall We Dance"
Most recent: American "Shall We Dance"
Wackiest: "Strictly Ballroom"
Most often on TV: "Dirty Dancing"
Most disappointing: "Dirty Dancing:Havana Nights"
Most forgotten: "Dance with Me"
All have good soundtracks.
Isn't it time for another one?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas music

A friend tells me blogs should have give and take input, comments, replies, etc.
So here's my question: Which Christmas music is the best and for what purpose.
For me: "King Wenseslaus" has the best words.
"Oh Holy Night" has the best melody.
"Happy Christmas (The War is Over)" is Joe's favorite.
"What Child is This (Greensleeves)" is the best Waltz.
"Jingle Bell Rock" is the best Swing dance.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Photo Cards

I have a non-dancing wedding photo. Dave and Marie-eve in Montreal. The summer celebration is supposed to have the dancing.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I loved the dancing elves at
(OfficeMax did a nice job)

Sunday, December 16, 2007


When the weather begins to take over the outdoors, I tell myself this is why we have Christmas. I bake cookies. This year there will be the usual: chocolate biscotti, tiny spheres of mocha nut butter, layered bars of caramel pecans and chocolate on top of a crust, cut out cranberry shortbread, and something new with the latest sensation, cocoa nibs. I will post my photo card. And I will sing the old songs. Singers love the old songs, so if we can hear them live, they come alive again in spite of the endless recordings that have deadened our ears.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My New Title

Well, I started the blog as a way to reach more people on the web. I'm pretty sure I have only a few readers, and that a random web search does not bring me up for those lost and looking for dancing on Cape Cod. so the old title, "Social Dancing on Cape Cod," began to seem presumptuous. That's what Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers are all about (
Then, stuff I want to talk about ranges from Florida to Montreal. Even farther afield sometimes. How far away is TV dancing? There's a philosophical question.
Anyway, there we are, and if I decide to take a Modern or Flamenco class, see a local ballet performance, it all relates.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

You Tube wedding dancers

Shall we waste some time checking out what the wedding couples are up to?
There are endless dance videos, but sitting and watching doesn't compare to moving.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Music

We can all have so much music at our fingertips these days that the point more than ever is what you do with it. Old favorites. The new stuff - will it work as well? Will I be able to find it at a moment's notice? Should I buy singles or a whole album? Which one? Maybe I can preview in the library system. All this as I decide to hit the store instead of Itunes for Christmas presents. Wonderful as it can be, a burned CD is not quite a present.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wang Chung

I got a birthday card with pictures of dancers and "Everybody Wang Chung tonight" singing when it was opened, so I looked up Wang Chung (a dance I missed?) The song is a Hustle, but the ancient eighties video, still available through YouTube, features simple, jerky switching of frames. Another song fits ballroom dancers to their music, so I enjoyed that until they did frame switching. I wonder if they were being ironic?

Monday, December 10, 2007

An excellent bunch

Every month, it seems to me that the perfect amount of people came to my Conservatory dance.
It's such a big room, there's always space. If more people come, we get to practice our skills in avoiding bumping. This time, I got students I hadn't seen in a year, and they were still good.
With smaller crowd, I get more time to see everyone.
If teenagers come, we're all happy to see the beautiful young faces, and the regulars don't mind that I spend all my time helping them.
The only time the numbers were wrong was Hurricane Noel, the last minute cancellation.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Victorian afternoon?

Yesterday, at the Riverview School in Sandwich, I taught the Waltz which was a new and scandalous dance in Victorian times. The experience of dance hold was new and scandalous still, to some.
It didn't seem Victorian at all in the modern gym with the kids in blue jeans and t-shirts. We changed partners with the Family Waltz, and then I let them dance more freely with Merengue.
Maybe they noticed the difference when I put on a full length skirt to review the Waltz box.
I would be interested to see how the Victorian Tea works out next week. Can they approximate the milieu that influenced everyone's behavior?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Stage Door Canteen

We saw that excellent band again last night, in the small version. Six pieces was very nice for a party. Their "Mustang Sally" featured great scat singing while it kept everyone dancing. They appear regularly at Liam McGuire's where they just did a Pearl Harbor Day tribute. Though known as a swing band, their Rumbas were very nice, and I've heard good Cha cha and Waltz as well. During breaks, I was the DJ to coax dancers to the floor and as well as helping my regular students, and the band was very responsive to all of it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

holiday season

We're into it now. The second weekend in December. Even I plan to feature a Christmas song. Jingle Bell Rock is eminently danceable and appropriate. More would irritate some people.
At Christmas parties, dance is a welcome alternative to ubiquitous food and drink.
Many of us welcome the chance to dress up.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Still in Miami in my mind

Tap Eire was in a Miami art theater with the world's fastest dancer (38 taps per second in the Guinness Book.) James Devine used to dance for Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance, and put together a lively show with an electric harp, virtuoso violin, and percussion.
At times, history was projected on a screen while the musicians played, or a simulcast video showed the dancing master's tapping feet.
Broken up into 22 segments, the show took only a little more than an hour, so we were never bored or overstimulated.
The Challenge segments featured the dancer and musicians testing each other, playing with rhythms. I would have liked another dancer, but the budget must be pretty tight.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cubans in Miami

Coral Gables holds Tropical Park where a monthly free dance is held for the Cuban community. The State Senator, Javier Something, set it up and attended, to the delight of the photographers.
We loved the band, Habana Soul Orchestra, because they did all the old stuff that we love from Buena Vista Social Club, "El Quarto de Tula", "Son de la Loma", and some Cha cha that the locals don't seem to recognize as anything different from their Mambo. They noticed our style and came up later to settle their arguments as to whether we were Cuban. One even asked if we gave lessons in our style!
The photographer with the big camera took our picture. Maybe we made the Coral Gables Daily News, if they were tired of showing the senator or the band.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Not only was I out of town, but didn't seem to be cooperating.
South Florida is not Cape Cod, especially with these gale force winds at 32 degrees!
But I love my home. I'll bring back what I can to enrich the dancing here.
Crystal Ballroom near Jensen Beach seems to always serve a meal. It was pizza last time, pot luck this time, so we won't bother to eat ahead. Montreal was the same, so "dinner" dance is the tradition that works, even if it's just little tables and fried chicken. Eat and dance.
We went on with the crowd to the band at the Ramada, but that floor was way too small, and there was a musty smell.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mel, Helio, Marie

DWTS Final.
For first place, I'm rooting for a woman for a change, and Helio is not as strong at Mel, so it would be fair.
That one trick of Mel's where she jumped over and around him to end up held up in front was perfect and I've never seen it before.
There are those cheering for Helio because Julianne is so cute. He is good, though not as good as Apolo, Joey Fatone, Emmet or Mario of past seasons. Maybe Drew. I've forgotten how he danced.
Marie shouldn't even have been in the final, but maybe all of Utah is voting for her. Plus her doll buyers. I thought it was a cute routine, though I've seen it done before and better.
I guess the lifts got to be too much, too many for the judges. A dance routine should have one or two lifts, not a dozen just because they could.
Will we watch "Carrie vs Bruno" in January?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Company/Dance Class

Sometimes it's fun just to say "See ya!" to all those people camped out at your house for a repeat of the Thanksgiving dinner. Seriously, they were very good guests who brought tons of food and did most of the clean up, so I had no qualms about leaving the kitchen in their hands.
Our class the Friday of Thanksgiving was a success. People are ready for something good, and Heather Osman's invitational class was something special.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Brain Waves

I'd love to hear a study on dancers' brain waves. The Alpha, relaxed reflection, may be the follower's state while the Beta, working with the brain, the leader's. I don't think the Theta state, daydreaming, fits in so well.
I'm sure the leaders use the left side of the brain to go step by step, while followers are using the right side, spatial relationships.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Semi final

Well, the Vague Chance of Recording AKA VCR did its merry best again, leaving me without the end of the show. I know it was my fault. I wanted to keep a bit of the old show because Jennie was so beautiful in her Rumba, but that was too far into the tape. so I had to wait to watch the end of the show until got it loaded onto the website. I watched another beautiful performance from Jennie, just before she was eliminated. Marie is better after all her study, but I still would not choose to watch her. On the results show, I was looking forward to seeing Sabrina & Mark again, but did not love all the lifts they indulged in. Lifts are not my favorite.
Our recent fortune cookie said "Humans invented language so they would be able to complain."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Habana CD release party in South Yarmouth

Well, we went - and left!
The Cultural Center of Cape Cod is in the old Bass River Savings Bank on Main Street just off Route 28 in South Yarmouth. They were holding DJ events with dance and the floor looked nice online, but we didn't get there.
The Saturday event looked good, 9 musicians. I always have doubts about Latin fusion because it can be really loud jazz, but I called up and they said there would certainly be dancing, so I thought some of the music would be danceable. And Joe had a soccer officials dinner right around the corner, so I could go pick him up and save him from the awards and speeches. And hit Trader Joe's before Thanksgiving.
However, the space was full of chairs. They sold the dance floor space, sold out and then some. We looked in and I told the lady I didn't want to have to sit. The music was also as I had feared, the cacophonous sort, not romantic smooth or steady beat.
We had another invitation, so the evening was not a waste, and my Prius did not eat as much gas as the old Malibu would have done.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gail Rundlett

Dance Teachers Club of Boston brought in a local teacher to spin a bunch of combinations, lots of toys, as I call them. Some months, we get all technique: this time, we moved around a lot. The steps are like that Schmuzzle puzzle, a jigsaw that every piece can fit with every other piece. Dance teachers help you make your own picture.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fitness Directions

I already knew Jana as the wife of a soccer player, so I was excited to see she opened a Pilates Studio in Falmouth. After class yesterday, I felt great, so how can I fault the lack of music? My daughter-in-law the dancer doesn't use music for her Pilates classes either.
The single class price is high at $20, but there were only four of us, so we all got attention to be sure we didn't hurt ourselves. Jana demonstrated the exercises, and then just watched. Also, I wanted to try it out with no commitment. A set of ten classes is only $89.
It's even time to try out the classic Pilates machine, the Reformer, with a personal training session. Fitness Directions is on Worcester Court, 495-6500.
Last year, I felt worse after Pilates at Balanced Health in a class of at least 20. My stretch class at Turning Pointe has fun music, but the emphasis is on the legs, and I am growing fond of core work. Both do well with my back and neck exercises.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cultural Center of Cape Cod

I may have heard of this place, a former Bass River bank, and here they're having a Latin dance tonight. Judith Repucci sent me the notice last night.
"HAVANA NIGHTS” CD Preview Concert. The Mike Garvan Group
Original Latin jazz infused with Brazilian, Cuban & Caribbean styles & rhythms. November 17th, 8:00 pm. $15 at the door. Cultural Center of Cape Cod, 307 Old Main St., South Yarmouth. Featuring: Mike Garvan, piano & synthesizers; Bruce Abbott, saxophone; Scott DeOgburn, trumpet; Paul Good, guitar; Natalie Dietrich, vibraphone; Rich Hill, bass; Steve Silverstein, drums; Vinnie Conga, percussion; Cheryl Kain, vocals."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Maple Leaf Dance

The last of the pink orange maple leaves are dancing in front of a gray sky,
Their brilliance floating on invisible branches, tossed as far as they can go,
Turning their pale undersides, then torn away.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Montreal Wedding

Our son David and the lovely Marie-eve

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

8th Round

As they say on TV, the semifinals are next week. With Sabrina gone, only 2 of them looked like winners this week, Helio and Mel.
I forgot to record this week what with a weekend in Canada for my son David's wedding, so I watched it on the computer. Sometimes the digital doesn't quite focus quickly, but the judges' comments showed me I wasn't just not interested because the quality of the picture was poor. Mostly they weren't interesting. So if, as Tom B. said, the grades are the highest ever, there is probably grade inflation, a common problem.
He also mentioned the "lovebirds" Sabrina and Mark, so maybe romance has blossomed. If their relationship can survive the pressure cooker of show business is another story.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Do Re Mi

We got to the smooth spacious dance floor above the bingo hall in Montreal. Also above a dance studio where they seem to specialize in the Waltz. The Waltz dancers were most beautiful.
The line dances were fun. All new to me, of course. I never studied line dances.
A live Latin band was good, but the dancers were not as comfortable with anything but the Cha cha and the Rumba. The Salsa, Mambo, Bachata and Merengue numbers had a fairly empty floor.
Naturally, the non-Latin numbers were during the band's break.
The food was pretty bad, but we'd been well fed at the Cluny Art Bar where we had tapas for hours with our family and our son's Montreal friends and new family.
Lots of Latinos in Montreal. The French speaking part of Canada has a different immigration policy than the rest of Canada. Asians are given preference throughout English speaking Canada, but Quebec decided the Spanish speakers would assimilate better.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Montreal weekend

Our first cold weather trip to Canada will be a great occasion, the marriage of our middle son, David, to his sweet, lively, beautiful Marie-eve.
I'm printing up the stats on the ballroom club Do Re Mi, "glitzy if not very ritzy", but I doubt we'll get there this time.
We're bringing them a system that will play the iPod, so I can provide dance music if asked. It's all very casual and last minute, the way we put things together when I was young.
You'll know when I get back because I'll post again.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Now that all the competitors look so good, I am content to watch how the show goes and admire them. Now I'm thinking of how much I could improve with daily private lessons for a couple of months. Plus they get paid. I heard $100,000 plus $10,000 for every week they stay. But the stage fright would be awful.
I don't have to bother thinking about voting since my favorite is gone. They pretend like we should be motivated by the elimination.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish

Before my power went out, I was going to write up Friday night at Grumpy's because this time Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish were not mobbed. There was room to dance to this great band. I forgot my earplugs, so we didn't stay for the whole show. It was just as well. I needed my sleep that night to prepare for the storm.
So it just goes to show you, you never know what the crowd is going to be.
December 21 they're back at Grumpy's, if you're ready for a break from Xmas prep.

Monday, November 5, 2007


I wished I were at the dance Saturday. The roads were unsafe, so I tried to call whoever I could remember, though I was in a tizzy. The smelly, leaky noisy generator gave me a headache. No possibility of emailing. That generator does power in surges which would probably have ruined the computer.
It reminded me of Hurricane Bob when I had 3 small boys and that generator for a week.
Electricity is our most valued servant.
We're getting a better generator.
And the first Saturday in December, the first day of December, will be here in a few weeks.
This weekend Swingin' New England is at the Seacrest with a gorgeous show Saturday night of free form West Coast Swing dancers, and a great shoe shop in the lobby. We'll be in Canada for the wedding of our second son.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Another place to see dance video

Youtube. That site has the dances from my favorite show, much easier to see than on which stretched the video sideways and has the rest of the show when all some of us care about is the one and a half minute performance. Maybe a bit of Shirley Ballas at the training spot.
And for a conspiracy theory, how about this one? Cheetah Girls are aimed at girls aged 6 to 10, and Disney and ABC are one company, so they may have decided that their Cheetah Girl brand was not getting the publicity they wanted, especially with Tom Bergeron's remark, "Get a room!"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dance Seasons

For dancing, we are in the middle of the fall season that rolls nicely into the holiday parties. My November dance is this Saturday, and next weekend is Swingin' New England at the Seacrest in North Falmouth. Cape Cod has settled into regular lessons, and the CCBD Holiday Dance is going to sell out again.
If you have any time to spare, think about fitting in some kind of body conditioning. I love Laura Faria's class at Turning Pointe Studio. Yoga classes are readily available, Pilates as well. An injury can really set you back, and this type of awareness is the best prevention.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kids hip hop

I got a hip hop teacher for the 5th grade yesterday. Tons of steps. Doesn't matter if they're done nicely or not. I don't teach that way, but I said I'd re-do it with them next time, so I'm depressed.
And on DWTS, Sabrina is gone! She had even slimmed down, and I loved her dance. The judges were too severe. Cameron wasn't even in the bottom 2, so his soap opera base is persistent, unlike me who gives up after 20 busy signals. I guess if you vote as soon as the show goes on, or before seeing them dance, you can get through. So You Think You Can Dance doesn't get you vote until after the show is done.
I got my computer to show me the episode, so I agree that Mel had to stay.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

1/3 DWTS

So the VCR thought it was daylight savings time and started the recording an hour late.
I got to see the end of Marie Osmond's dance as a bull. Then the fascination of Julianne Hough's costume made me happy. She was wrapped in something shiny that moved like a jellyfish. I'm ready to just have a whole hour on the costume people. The group dance was excellent, and now I get to find a computer that will show me the rest.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Event Plan

I got an evite from a swing group in Boston.
The plan seems straightforward, something to copy if I had the space.
Each guest is asked to contribute a beverage, a dish, or an entertainment act.
6-7 Wine Tasting
7-8 Dinner - vote for your favorite dish! (Encourage the cooks.)
8-10:30 Cabaret with songs, jokes, poetry and whatever. (A stage?)
10:30 Cake, champagne, dancing (a dance floor)
Dress: Up!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Planning Events

Since becoming a dance teacher, I've seen events from inside and out. It's good to remember to cover your basics so people aren't disappointed.
The tent last night shorted us on several accounts.
An expensive tent with lighting calls for a class of food - which can be provided by participants, but should not be chips. Dancers need a certain volume of music and a steady beat - speakers and connections must be tested ahead. The dance floor was large enough, and plywood is okay unless it gets wet. Alcohol can be pleasant if properly taken care of.
Scheduling might present difficulties, especially these days with so many activities offered. (Who knew the World Series with the Red Sox would be on the Saturday before Halloween?)

Saturday, October 27, 2007


A Masquerade implies disguise. Last year, I put on a green slinky dress and a green hood and called myself a snake, but nobody recognized the costume. I needed at least a 30 foot tail, too long for dancing. Joe looked better as an Indian snake charmer.
Make up and a mask will help, but I can't hide my height unless I stoop, again, no good for dancing.

Friday, October 26, 2007

World Series

Halloween weekend is popular with New England dancers because it's a chance to dress up. And Saturday night is dress up night. However, the World Series featuring the Boston Red Sox, Game 3, is Saturday night. This could put a crimp on some of the venues. If there is a TV, Sox fans will be more likely to attend.
Saturday afternoon would be a nice time to stage a baseball game, leaving the evening as a night out.
Or Friday night, which this week has a good blues band at Grumpy's, a bar with TVs.
Happily, we can quote Red Sox star, Manny Ramirez, who shocked some sportscasters worrying about whether the Sox might lose. He said, "It's not like it's the end of the world or somethin'."
That said, I enjoy sitting with my husband and sons while their team is winning baseball. The athletic spectacle does not require men to knock each other down.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


A friend reminds me that rapid weight loss can also change a person's system, such as Marie Osmond. We often think dropping the pounds is all good, but then one might need to do a carbohydrate load before running a race or dancing a Samba on national TV. I haven't seen any mention of personal trainers for these stars. Dance teachers are not usually trained to watch for the same things. I doubt Maksim Smerkovsky would care.
The moral of the story is to take care of yourself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I had to go to a friend's computer to see the beginning of the show. I couldn't miss Shirley Ballas, even for the one minute.
Then there was the drama of Marie Osmond's fainting. She did say that she forgot how to breathe under stress, and we could hear her hyperventilating. The stress part I can see, but that's why you and I are not on the show. Performers already know how to deal with stress.
Breathing lessons are part of a lot of fitness programs. Pilates and a Network Chiropractor gave me my most recent training to augment the Yoga work I did long ago.
Ballroom Dance teachers usually just remind their students to breathe, but aspiration can aid the lift in the Waltz particularly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

part of DWTS

I'm hoping to watch the full episode on my computer since I missed the first 40 minutes, i.e. Sabrina & Mark and his mother, my favorite Latin pro ever, Shirley Ballas. Also Jane Seymour, my age. I've seen an episode online. Whether my computer will do it is another question. so far hasn't uploaded last night, and the old episodes are coming in weird.
I saw Helio unable to act sexy with a pro onstage. Cameron's partner is Edyta (3 pairs false eyelashes) who does the endless leg lifts Len and I are tired of. Jennie's Samba was well done considering she's such a good girl. Mel B did very well. I was hoping for a little more of the other Spice Girls, but they must be under contract.
I just looked at the Cheetah girls website to see why Sabrina isn't showing any cleavage. Totally preteen.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kids' Classes

My 5th grade class is doing well, so far. More boys than girls come because of their other choice of Chorus or Band.
We promised them Hip Hop, but that teacher has been busy, so they did Salsa line dance, my choice of easy steps, and then on Friday, progressed to partners, their choice, meaning same sex friends. The classroom teacher and myself got a couple of brave boys.
The funny thing was that, as they were leaving, one of the other boys asked if they would get to dance with girls soon. Having also promised the teacher Swing dance, that will happen. I hope we have enough brave girls.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Joy of finding things! My son has found his old broken video camera that was the same as mine and has a battery and electrical cord. It's like having a parts car only doesn't take up as much room in your yard. Capturing dance on film is one of my jobs.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pilates & Ballroom Dance

I'm watching, waiting and promoting Pilates for ballroom dancers, because the Pilates series of exercises is the best I have found for posture and strength. The latest pilatesstyle magazine article says, "Ballroom dancing requires strong, flexible feet, elegant carriage, and good balance. Pilates helps with all three."
Most of the article refers to the machines that Pilates instructors use to make the exercises easier. I'll check out the equipment so I can recommend to those of you who belong to a gym and adapt the instructions for mat work as well.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bands in R.I.

I think the Cavalcade of Bands at the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, Cranston, would be really worthwhile, if I weren't teaching. Love the space, and 9 bands must have some talent. Live music to the 9th degree. Tickets at the door $15, and get on the mailing list so you can buy advance tickets earlier. Providence Federation of Musicians. Organized musicians!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

East and West Coast Swing

Really the two can blend. Don't take my word for it. At the upcoming Swingin' New England, they are repeating a popular lecture from last year, "Swing Dancing" cooperatively taught by a Westie and a Lindy hopper. It's not like switching from German to Spanish, though it is like Italian to Spanish - if you re-set your brain to be receptive, the two styles can be used in the same dance.
Actually I've heard of a dance called Swango, blending Tango and Swing, though the Tango is Argentine.
I will say that you have to be able to dance both styles so that one is not too dominant.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


If a dancer wants to make cloth move, she needs something to work with, usually a skirt. For men, a cape does nicely. I think the costumers on DWTS are fabulous, and I loved Jennie's skirts, doubled up in red and black.
Now I get to think of a costume for the Masquerade of Halloween. Gypsies have skirts and shawls, vampires have capes, belly dancers have veils. Silk chiffon floats. Crepe de Chine drapes. Satin shines. Shantung shimmers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Our TV Show

On opposite the (losing) Red Sox, the women rocked again on Dancing with the Stars. Sabrina deserved her perfect score for showing new depth in her Paso.
I'm falling for Jennie who has gotten over the dancing with a very young guy. I wonder if the costume guys like her best. She had the best skirt.
Jane Seymour can stay for her lovely Viennese, though Paso could have been her downfall.
We have to keep Mel B at least a week so the Spice Girls can tease Max.
For the men, I felt like the judges overscored Helio to keep him and see if he would get back to his nice dancing. He looked tense last night.
Wasn't there some childhood leg disorder for Cameron? He's up to excellent form.
The one I don't want to watch any more is the little boxer. Or Marie, though she is the household name.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Red Beans & Rice

For a complete change of pace from the elegant evening, we went to Grumpy's for a Louisiana band on their way to the Wellfleet Oyster Fest. Together longer than the Grateful Dead, these guys have a huge repertoire with Cajun and Blues at the heart.
Yes, they were loud. Yes, the Red Sox got cheers in the middle of the song, for that second rally that put them ahead. Many dancers were there, more than enough for the floor, but a $10 entrance, collected by the band, meant some of the usual people didn't come.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

acoustic evening

Lower case letters for lack of amplification.
The atmosphere at the Schubertiade took us back more than a century with the classical music evening in the mansion. Many of the men had tuxes, and the ladies found something decorative to wear.
Viennese Waltz to Robert Wyatt's piano came first, probably too early in the evening for an essentially non-dancing crowd. A contra dance pair were enthusiastic, and others took their ladies around the floor.
Later, after a few more drinks and foolishness (Tableaux Vivant), Landler dancers filled the floor. A mix of set steps to be done in unison kept the interest the way a line dance will.
Next time, a performance might be better for the earlier dance time. Perhaps a Minuet or some short ballet.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I'm so glad most of the dances do not involve hopping. Polka does and the Jive has a distinct bounce, "bouncy baby". Researching the ecossaise, all I found was that it is NOT the Schottische. So I looked in on that dance, and it's another hoppy one, with leg flicks as well. My knees are better, but why push things?
Besides, dancers "in the wild" do a hop with nothing else, and I feel like I'm at an arcade game and should bop them.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I'm wondering if I should rename my blog. My social dancing on Cape Cod doesn't go any farther than Yarmouth!
Anyway, tomorrow is the acoustic evening at Highfield Hall. We will be transported to a hundred years ago with parlor games and only live music. Plenty of dressing up, as we saw in the photo that made the paper. The food is very popular, as is the drink. Singers will entertain, and the dancing will be only a small part of the evening.
There will be plenty of time for visiting, which doesn't happen as well at a dance.
Anyway, Landler as a circle dance. Viennese Waltz as a couples dance.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Costumes & Customs

Joe is on a committee with a woman who does not allow her 11 year old daughter to watch DWTS because of the costumes the women wear. So I'm wondering if the glitter and glitz of the show does not always help. There was more of what we can relate to in "Mad Hot Ballroom", Pierre Dulaine's work in several cities, saying, "We hope to inspire children through dance to do well, to respect one another, to be proud."
DWTS teaches celebrities to do a routine, not to dance. Also, the teachers could maybe step back a bit. They don't need to call attention to themselves. I'm getting tired of Max and of Edyta's costumes. Mark Ballas didn't need to do his tricks to improve Sabrina's routine. I was surprised that Jennie's Tango was my favorite. I watch it on tape, so I didn't get a chance to vote for it before the lines closed. I voted for Jane Seymour on principle.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Columbus Day Weekend

A brunch in Boston kept me from the workshops held by CCBD, but I am glad we made the dance. I was okay even with the extra driving.
Steve and DeeDee's Shall We Dance crew in Montreal meant a lighter showing of dancers, but that translates to room on the dance floor, and a number of exotics gave us new people to look at. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and England were represented. When you see trained English dancers, you can see the school figures performed exactly.
Kathy St. Jean does a great mix of dance class favorites, with some great West Coast Swing. Ballroom bands seem to be incapable of the style.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


The arrival of eight teens was a happy addition to my dance last night. Most of them I had seen before, one I have known the parents forever. I love being there for whenever people are ready. My sweet 90 year old sculptor was very patient with them. Keep coming! New tunes added to my Ipod all the time. (And subtracted.)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Moliere says

"When someone blunders, we say he makes a misstep. Is it then not clear that all the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill our history books, all the political blunders and all the failures of the leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill in dancing?" Moliere 1622
Vince Kraft found the quote and put it in our Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers Newsletter.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fancy Footwork

It's not often that I teach a step with fancy footwork. Body position and foot precision in the basic steps take forever as it is.
But people love footwork - witness line dancing, so we jazzed up a sailor shuffle last night.
The fancier the footwork, the more you need to be prepared to be able to lock into a specific set of steps. I'll add a new beginning to "Shooting Gallery" for my advanced dancers.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


The vibrant Wandra Harmsen and I began a program for some kids in the 5th Grade, Line Dancing, Hip Hop, and Swing.
Our biggest problem is the partnering. What else is new?
Our first session had a huge number of kids for Salsa Line Dance, and I got through a side to side, crossovers and back crossovers in the 45 minutes. Our final song was Mambo #5.
For the next session, I have a Hip Hop teacher as the carrot, and then they have to do some Swing cooperating with the opposite sex, at arm's length, changing partners.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I will hold myself to one DWTS entry per week.
On the radio, I heard Joey Lawrence(second season)with Elena Grinenko. He said, "Dancing is a good ride to go on." She told a story of her grandfather the Communist who disapproved of her doing this type of dancing because it was representative of Capitalism. That was like a strict religion.
As for the present show, I am hoping for a woman, so Sabrina has what it takes. Some progression visible to viewers might be if she lost a little weight like Joey Fatone. Mel B, Spice Girl, can give her a run for her money, but she has to deal with Max, my least favorite teacher.
Jane Seymour is a personal favorite for her age and elegance. I'm glad she got Tony.
I love Helio, Brazilian race car driver! I'm surprised at the lack of talent in the men. Mark Cuban was fun to watch at least.

Monday, October 1, 2007


My dance training has come into good use on Joe's new boat.
To keep from getting dizzy on turns, dancers use focus and a quick head flip so the inner ear doesn't experience any change.
On the hunt for striped bass, we went out for a beautiful calm evening. To keep my head on level, I worked my knees as the boat rocked in the gentle waves. The moon came up the color and shape of an egg yolk. I was fine until I looked for constellations. Bending my head back changed the fluid in my inner ears, and I started to feel dizzy.
The next day, my inner ear was still sensitive, and I couldn't practice turns.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jamaican Night

We finally made it to Friday's Jamaican Night at Coonamesset Farm, the last one until next summer. A perfect night, cooler than the tropics, but plenty warm enough for dancing to the singer with a steel drum and the ever-present back-up machine. In the summer, Wednesday Jamaican Nights are just as crowded, but I am always at the Mary French Studio on Wednesdays.
The farm operates with grants, so the big pavilion is very well built. I hear people don't always dance, but last night, there was only room on the floor when a huge Conga line took off to snake between tables.
The $18 entrance paid for a buffet with plantains, sweet potato pudding, corn, and much more. Pork and chicken are grilled while you wait and served with Jerk sauce. Ginger beer, ice tea, coffee and tea can be supplemented by your own beer or wine.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


More adventures in Boston. Joe's mother, returning from a trip, lives very close to Moseley's in Dedham, so we went up for the night. Meltones were the band, so we were greeted by Rick Medieros, who calls me Helen. I liked the line dancing, with variations on the Kenny Rogers Waltz, and on the Sex on the Beach Mambo. I don't know the Bossa Nova line well enough to spot any changes.
What a beautiful floor! Maple is so smooth, and the pillars add style to the edge.
We were not the youngest there because a young woman was there with her grandfather. We weren't even the showiest or the tallest, but we were up there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dance vs Gym

Fitness doesn't have to be pursued at a gym. Looking at the floppy, "deceptively weak" model on DWTS, I remember that I get my strength without machinery.
My fellow ballroom dancers didn't seem to catch my enthusiasm, and the summer experiment, Body Conditioning for Ballroom Dancers, is over.
The stretch class at Turning Pointe Studio is back putting dance and fitness together for me.
Pilates is the answer for people who need posture improvement.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Having gone off Cape Friday, we picked the closest and easiest place for live music and dance, Grumpy's in Falmouth.
Buzzards Bayou features the husband and wife team of Amy and Jonathan Larkin on fiddle and accordion, onetime ballroom dance students. Dedicated musicians, they were joined by a drummer, a guitar, and Glenway Fripp on bass to put out a great sound.
Dancers I ususally see doing ballroom dances were nice to look at. One couple spent some time in New Orleans and another attends local Cajun nights with lessons.
Joe always sneaks in Salsa anytime the beat goes quick quick slow, and a blues song makes Swing legal even though Cajunized.
Boy, that cement floor was a sad contrast to Swingstep, especially when Joe leads the quick turns, and I have to walk them around.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blues Cafe at Springstep, Medford

Great space! Very conveniently just off 93 in Medford. Smooth sprung floor, great for ballroom dancing.
Blues Cafe was a young crowd mostly, but some of us older folks scattered in, dance lovers all. The music by the Solomon Douglas Trio and the recorded music was not Blues, but Swing music with a lot of Foxtrot that they all danced Swing to, so Foxtrot was impossible to navigate. More Lindy dancers than West Coast. A few Argentine Tango people who use the space on other days, doing their Argentine Tango to anything. During a break, what must have been the formation team did some sweet Charleston in a circle. We squeezed in a Cha cha.
A few little tables more for looks. Most people just stood or danced the whole time. Free MandMs, peanuts and jellybeans. Refillable water bottles. There should have been some teens there since it was alcohol free.
An easy hour and a half, if traffic is okay, which it was on Friday evening. That's a long drive, so my plan was to stay at his mother's, but Joe gets bored with just Swing, no alcohol, and that style of music, so he talked me into leaving early and drove us home.

Friday, September 21, 2007

3rd Friday choices

Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers are back in the Hyannis Senior Center with Steve and DeeDee teaching Mambo.
Joe and I will go to Springstep in Medford. This new (2003) arts building supports the dance community with a Blues Cafe for swing dance. I love to look at how people set things up.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Elbow macaroni! Ladies! Have you been accused of spaghetti arms? It's mostly your elbow that allows the arm to flop around, so I thought of extending the metaphor. However, elbow macaroni actually holds its shape even when cooked.
Too bad there isn't arm shaped pasta, all the way to the wrist. The delicacy of dry spaghetti could also be a hint those with too strong an arm. Gentlemen, don't break the light hold she keeps on herself.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Our ephemeral art form captured. I'm actually not that fond of being camera man. I see things better outside the square. But I did a lot of filming this weekend and now the machines that allow me to share are showing their quirks.
The VCR used to be Vague Chance of Recording. Now what's the DVD-R?
No, really I did a fine job. Volunteer work can be a learning time. I sent copies to the performers, and a montage will be on local access cable channels all over Cape Cod in February after I finish filming for the year.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dance Teachers Club of Boston

The International competitor Rita Gekhman had us in the palm of her hand yesterday. Style first and foremost. She had very specific instructions as to achieving the look for the dances she covered. The figures were quite simple, but we left exhausted from the effort of maintaining the stance for an hour at a time in Samba, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Cha cha. Some stayed in the area for the MASSABDA National Ballroom Dance Week celebration at Moseley's, but I have yet to process the film from our own night.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

National Ballroom Week 2007

Another set of terrific showcases arranged by Steve and DeeDee Burke. As official videographer of the event, I got thanks all around. They will get DVDs of the performance, and I hope they will be as happy as we were. I know any time I look at video of myself, I am appalled.
The senior competitors we saw were Linda and Skip Ronan. The youth competitors we saw were Allen Rudman and Michelle Tuzman, and Sasha Keych and Mike Shaponick.
Michael's grandmother is our beloved local dancer, Anne O'Brien. My only regret of the evening is I did not catch the young performer in a Waltz with his grandmother.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Obbini Tumbao

At our urban connection, Boston, Obbini Tumbao is going to be a destination. After hearing them on the radio, we would like to go the Regatta Bar tomorrow, but its the same date as our local National Ballroom Dance Week Celebration at Betsy's Ballroom. Sometime, we will see this salsa band play for dancers. The band leaders are inspired by dancing; they became musicians in order to encourage people to dance.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I keep trying to bring in the youth. Our activity is perfect for them, but they need their own group, and it's not us. I had a nice couple of teens on Saturday. They said they'd be back, but I've heard that before. The school didn't find the time this year so far, but I'll keep on plugging.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pinehills Concert

We were glad we made it to the Jazz and Blues concert at Pinehills in Plymouth. Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish were the draw for us, and he was in fine form. We bought his CD with that great ballad "Sloop John B."
Then Katherine Russell was terrific, really connected to the crowd with jazz standards and blues. We ate up "Kitchen Man".
Coco Montoya was not familiar to me, though he was the headliner and used to play with Clapton.I was thinking Latin Jazz, but it was rockin' blues, and by then we danced.
The people were bouncing in their seats, but mostly too self conscious to stand up. Maybe if there were a dance floor. I've contacted the organizers.
The Sagamore flyover did nothing for the Cape side traffic on a cloudy Sunday. If we'd just taken the Bourne Bridge, traffic would have been minimal.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Clayton Fuller is 90 years young, an accomplished sculptor and a music and dance lover.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Grumpy's, Falmouth

We might go to Grumpy's after the Conservatory. Here's what it looks like.

Friday, September 7, 2007


I'm slotted to teach Bolero this evening in West Yarmouth. The slowest Latin dance, this one still belongs to the Americas; the Brits and Russians have not taken it over, yet, but it has changed in traveling from its origins in Cuba. I'll throw in as much style as possible because what else is there?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fabulous Fall

This new season has brought people out of their shells. The phone is ringing, and the email is humming. I'm teaching every day this week. Finally.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Salsa Night Band

The excellent musicians known as Salsa Night Band have a leader here, living in Centerville. We were honored to be invited to his Labor Day party, and those guys played beautifully. I guess he was only kidding when he said, "Bring your dancing shoes," because the set up was on a grassy hill under trees. Then a neighbor decided the music was too loud, which it was not, and invoked the law about live music after dusk. It's been a dream of ours to promote the Latin music, but it's not easy.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Time and tasks

The Celebration is sold out two weeks early. I won't be able to promote the beautiful, young, hardworking Russians' show. I have to film, which reminds me: I owe a copy to the Paris Academy people. I'm pretty sure I did one for Peter and Mila. Time stretches out to allow me to do a lot of activities in the winter, but the time to get it done might have slipped by, the task snagged on equipment failure.

Friday, August 31, 2007


A change is in the air. The calendars say different things, but the beginning of the school year is a new year for most of us. The Jewish calendar puts the new year this month, on the new moon. The fall season starts with the 21st of the month. Astrologers mark the change to Libra at the same time.
Ballroom dancers will celebrate National Ballroom Dance Week. Cape Cod's event will be at Betsy's Ballroom September 14. MASSABDA will be at Moseley's on the 16th. Both feature Russian performers, specialists in Latin dances.
Do they inspire social dancers, or do they just entertain? Their level is beyond my aspiration.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Learning how to learn

Learning how to learn is a phrase of Mary French's. Worry or distraction, whatever is happening at home or work, a sense of self worth, and many other factors change a person and how a class works for them. In this way, mood has a lot to do with whether a person can pay attention. The right state of mind isn't always automatic, even with adults, even in class they have signed up for. It can sometimes be triggered by paying more money, making private ballroom dance lessons more valuable for both parties.
If just being with the teacher can trigger that state of mind, then a person has truly learned to learn.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Home Grown Tomatoes

Rivaling ballroom dance for a great sensation, my tomatoes are in.
Dozens of gorgeous, red, sweet potential dinners.
The Moosewood Cookbook gave me a potato/tomato salad.
I was too full for the fancy hors d'oeuvres at the Cape Cod Conservatory where I met the new director, Jeff Myers, and his wife, Debbie, who claims to have no sense of rhythm.(Darn!)
I discussed the floor with the custodian. That dance room has such wonderful acoustics, light, and mirrors that I fell in love with it again.
My old friend Betsy Reney will be an asset to the new team there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Looking at a couple working on their wedding dance, I was thinking over the ballroom dance maxim, "The gentleman shows off the lady, and the lady shows off the partnership," so I extended it in my mind to what the man is saying with his dance to the audience, "Isn't she beautiful?" She says, "Doesn't he take good care of me?"
It works especially well with the smooth dances, and expresses a nice sentiment for a wedding.
I went on to think of the other message we send when we dance, our happiness to be moving to music together, sharing our joy.
They worked for hours to make it look like they were just playing. Like most women today, she struggles to give up the lead. We wish them all the best and many years of joy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Salsa Harbor Cruise Boston

It was touch and go until we got over the bridge, but we made it to a lovely evening.
In the heat of the afternoon, before 3 PM, we had to make our decision - or else pay $5 more per person. Luckily, I had another lady who wanted to go, and not just a lady but Ali, my dancer daughter-in-law.
Off Cape traffic on a Sunday afternoon was tripled with the Air Show, so we went the most back road possible, County Road, Bourne.
Visiting the aging grandmother is always good.
I hate to jinx it, but the Big Dig seems to be working. Getting there was easy with the map from the website. Fanciest parking ever, 75 State Street, marble lobby, for only $12, plus we could have had our ticket validated for an extra $2 off if we'd remembered.
The harbor is easy enough to find. Look around - Buildings? no. Sky? yes.
Plenty of other cruises leave from the same wharf. I didn't check the price for say "Godzilla" speed boat, but ours was only $19.50.
The food looked very good for only $10 if we hadn't eaten with aforementioned aging g-ma. Next to the food and the bar, in an enclosed space, was the merengue/bachata/raggaeton room overly amplified with colored lights - your typical Latin club and dating bar.
Upstairs, salsa music played in the open air. Thin plywood (luan)was duct taped to the non-skid floor. Gorgeous young people did multiple turns next to older couples with wonderful musical sense. We were in between. Sam and Ali, who learned for their wedding, took a piece of luan off the main dance space to remember their moves.
Meanwhile, Boston is beautiful at night. We recognized many of the sights, people fishing off the Aquarium, Old Ironsides, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Customs House, the Zacum Bridge, and on and on. 3 airplanes on their way to land at Logan almost took off the observation deck.
Back at 10:30, we were offered free tickets to continue the party at Mojitos, but we preferred to be home by midnight.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fall Falmouth Night School

Falmouth Night School has me for Thursdays, starting the last week in September. The Basics are at 6:30 and Ballroom II, Latin is at 7:30; that is an intermediate ballroom dance class covering the Latin dances. Latin dances include Salsa as the faster version of the "diamond pattern" that Cha cha is part of. What we'll cover is whatever I can get the class to do, so it depends on who shows up. We'll start with Rumba and see how it goes.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Summer is going

"And she's gone..." Stevie Wonder sings.
Saying good-bye to summer is a lesson for us.
Time slips away no matter how we try to hold on.
We let go by recognizing our good choices, good times, good people.
The new season will bring new dancers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Choices

I should ask an astrologer about tonight. A Thursday with a bunch of dance things I would like to do, all free, and one that trumps them all.
4 Guys in Tuxes in Buzzards Bay at the gazebo by the railroad bridge.
James Montgomery at the barge in Boston Harbor.
An offer to usher for the dance performance on Martha's Vineyard.
Trump!A Klara Koenig memorial dance class at the Mary French Studio.
None are ballroom dance, but all would be active participation in my treasured art form. Klara died in December, and we have hardly had an opportunity to mourn. We hope this will be small and joyous.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gift certificates

Do you know most gift certificates are not redeemed? I'll give one for a free dance lesson to the Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers for the September National Ballroom Dance Week, but I bet I won't see it again. I won't be giving gift certificates as presents either!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Writing about Dance

Any and all published writing should be carefully read for errors.
Specifically, the USA Dance magazine contains mistakes that make the meaning of the sentences unclear. We can be forgiving, like a "nice" English teacher, but since ballroom dancing is important to us, we want to understand.
"Rainer Ng, president of the ballroom team's president.." makes no sense. As a former English teacher, I know a careless rewrite when I see one.
In "A Judge's Perspective", several comma errors stopped me from a smooth read of an otherwise very good article.
As presentation is important in a routine, so grammar is important in a magazine. Copy editors are cheap.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Let's see, we've got the Sons of Italy and Betsy's Ballroom going head to head tonight. Meltones vs Doug and Kimberly McHugh. Well, there is the travel part. Two ends of the Cape, and summer is no time to be fighting traffic here. We are not used to city type traffic.
People talk about getting a calendar set that everybody could consult and not conflict. A nice idea. I wish it could work. Julie's email notices are probably the most effective communication I know, but they are about to end with her resignation from the board of Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers.(Hope she misses us.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Hey, I'm on the nominating committee for Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers Association. Expect to hear from us for several vacancies on the Board of Directors. The club has been growing. Martin Traywick, previous president, did a great job, and most recently, Vince and Julie Kraft have been working as a team. Love those email reminders! Speeches whenever needed!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

So You Think 2007

The finale tonight, I think.
I'm impressed with how much ballroom dance there is. Well, they do insist on partnering, and ballroom is all about partnering.
Danny Tidwell, formerly of American Ballet Theater, the "Prince among Paupers", as the NY Times suggested? I didn't mind that Pasha went. I've seen so many Russian ballroom dancers that the others looked really fresher to me.
Of course I love how, when eliminated, they all say it was a wonderful experience.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Beach Party at Sons of Italy

Kudos to Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers: Fran, Vince and Julie, for making up a summer event in the middle of what is traditionally a time to shut down volunteer activity. Our dancing friends include some summer people. The Mel-Tones were in good form.
I took film in the low light and hope it is good enough for the TV show. We need show the Sons of Italy.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Blues Music Concerts

A hall set up for a dance will probably have enough room, but a concert setting is just an exercise in frustration. Moved, but unable to express myself, I often leave my seat for the back of the hall.
Dancers more often complain about another problem with live music, that musicians are not be familiar with their favorite rhythms.
Collaboration is another art.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dancing Under the Stars

July 20, 2007, last night, turned out to be a really terrific dance night in Marion.  The tent had stars painted on it. The floor was bare plywood, so it wasn't slippery when wet. The evening was free, by invitation, so the slope was just the price of dancing outdoors.
Diane O'Day of Paris Academy in Raynham mixed music like the pro she is. Barry Lawton, also of Paris Academy, was a consummate dance host. The amateur dance hosts of the evening, Joe Brodsky, Chuck Duncan, and Rob Wheeler, also enjoyed keeping the floor moving.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I think about fitness all the time, for myself and loved ones who include my students, but body awareness is a personal thing, so even getting people to stand up straight can be too much for some. Like teenagers. My sons are beyond slouching, thank goodness.
Even ballroom dance publications include articles about staying in shape that I read for my next goal, to help people with exercise and stretches.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dance, the Brain and Society

Neuroscience articles suggest dance is the physical activity that most benefits the brain. I obsessed about that for a while after my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Although both my parents were self-conscious, he seems to have forgotten that part of his personality, but only in the family group. My mother will still barely let her picture be taken, so social dance is out of the question.
My ambition is to add dance to our society at large so we can use throughout our lives.
I work on the grass roots level mostly, but also am on the nominating committee for Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers for the upcoming elections. Members will hear from us soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Just to plug the dance people forget. If a quickstep comes on, walking around to the fast music can be great fun, and can happen with very little formal instruction.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

social dancing

Thought after running a social party: If dancers, especially beginners, let the music rule the moment, they can relax into an easy time. You don't need a lot of steps to become a part of the musical evening. Dancers playing with rhythms are expressing an art.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Seacrest 2007

I hesitate to tell everyone because the floor is so small, but the Seacrest on the ocean in North Falmouth has a dance floor and music almost all the time in their lounge. Last night the singer went off key often, but the rhythm was steady, so our group was satisfied. There was even another group of ballroom dancers who must have been staying there. Usually, it's a DJ and the floor is empty, or watch out for the twenty-somethings and their drinks.

Friday, July 6, 2007

newsletter etc.

Nice newsletter at My article is longer than I feared. I'm on the search committee for more board members, out of whom president et al will be chosen.
Coming up tomorrow - Dance with Ellen!
I will teach a stretch class at 10 AM.
From 7 to 10, I'll host the monthly social dance with basic lessons.
Time to make some cookies!

Monday, July 2, 2007


I wonder about readers. Isn't that the way with authors? Who are you? What do you think? Why am I bothering you, isn't it enough that you're reading at all? "Do I have to provide feedback? Are you an English teacher or something?"
Yes! I am certified to teach English at the high school level, besides teaching ballroom dance. The college study at age 40 helped, especially in making me able to stand up in front of people.
My Ballroom Dance training continues with Mary French and Ron Gursky, as well as workshops and seminars. I also studied Modern with Klara Koenig, and try the different dance forms as they come up. Flamenco is a favorite, especially the partnered Sevillanas. I am becoming certified in Pilates because I love a good stretch class.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A trip to Montreal happened last weekend. Our son and lovely girlfriend are moving to a great section of town, two blocks from Cactus, a small Salsa nightclub. Beautiful dancers, 2 floors, nice music. When we got there at midnight, merengues were still playing which was good for Dave and Marie-eve. The bachatas were good, too. I was thrilled to hear one of my favorite cha chas, and then it was all salsa and they were just sitting, so we left at 1:30.
That coffee at 9 PM worked a charm, and after the whole day of activity, we could even sleep.
Next time, we'll plan better and do DoReMi, the ballroom place.

Friday, June 22, 2007

So You Think

I keep thinking of that gorgeous Viennese from the TV show. As the judge pointed out, the young man's hands moved into shapes that finished the action. Those young people bring a fresh look.
Dancers all from the same studio, all from the same Russian community, as at Yankee Classic, are too much the same.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Calories burned ballroom dancing

An article I have lists the calories burned per hour for 4 types of dance:
Body weight 100 150 200

Disco/Hustle 200 240 280
Polka 430 510 600
Square 330 400 470
Waltz 200 240 280

Interesting that Disco and Waltz take the same.
Comparable activities are walking, bicycling, golf, and gardening, all with levels of effort within the chart.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Right Brain, Left Brain

Remember how the left brain handles sequences, rote learning, and analysis? (Like algebra.)
And the right side of the brain works through larger patterns and how things works all at once? (Like geometry.)
Well, in Ballroom Dancing, men, who usually use the left side of their brains, get to be in charge of steps.
Ladies, your following can feel like you have blanked out your mind, but it's just the left side of the brain you stop using. Then you can react to the impressions you get, allowing your response to fit even if you might not already know his sequence.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Daniel's Tango

something my brother wrote about Tango:
They cock their heads
They extend their arms
Mirror images in black and white
Sidelong across the floor
To the tragi-comic wheezings of the bellows-driven keyboard.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach

A book review: Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
This memoir, published in 2000 by Random House includes a marvelous chapter on ballroom dancing in Oxford, England, the author's first formal lessons after free dancing as a teen. On pages 179 to 185, we see what fun she has, all while maintaining a clear, realistic view of her experience. She eventually forgets to worry and goes from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

June 10 2007

The Day of Portugal in Falmouth included some very nice social dancing at the Portuguese American club with Pro Mix, a band from New Bedford. The floor is small but in very good shape. Dancers happy. Lots of one-step, slow and fast, some triples that looked like polka on some dancers and salsa on others. The twist, but we did swing.
A folkloric group from Cambridge just barely fit and did triples with hops and turns side by side. Hot and tiring when they had us try. The men played castanets accompanied by 2 guitars, a concertina, drum, tambourine and taka-taka, sort of a washboard or guiro.
The club schedule has dinner dances again October 27 and November 17.