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.