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.