Monday, March 31, 2008


Every discipline has its own definitions and catch words, but ballroom dance has sub-categories of meanings of the same words, depending on which style of teaching. International has codified a number of terms: pivot, for instance, that students will use to describe how they understand a number of turns, is a specific action with two sides for the halves of the partnership.
In Waltz, Weaves are progressive parallel twinkles at the Mary French Studio Or quarter turns right and left facing the wall in International Or a grapevine at some studios that teach country dance.
Standing up straight has slightly different meanings depending on the dance.
No wonder it's so difficult writing down choreography.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


So we finally went to see the remodel of Harry's.
For something completely different, first we went a play at The Barnstable Comedy Club, "2 Across", crosswords and romance, very clever. We were free by 9:30 to hit the music club (not dance club).
Harry's doubled the size of the dance floor and improved the acoustics, but they left the carpet on. The bouncer/door man said it was for liability purposes. When people spill their drinks on the dance floor, it gets slippery. "We'd have to get everybody off the floor and dry it off."
I never thought of that. I certainly thought of making people leave their drinks off the dance floor, but that seems to be impossible.
Anyway, the first few numbers were not terribly crowded, so we danced a bit before giving the floor up to people who don't mind bumping into each other. It's a music club where a few people can dance.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dancing with the Falmouth Stars

You heard it here first.
Preliminary plans have me teaching Mindy Todd from WCAI-NAN radio talk show along with Dr. Robert Wilsterman for a Swing Dance benefit Memorial Day Weekend at Highfield Hall.
The floor is a bit small for dancers, but a short performance piece will be okay. 90 seconds, like the TV Stars would be best. Then everybody can bump around happily.
Now we have to get to work.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Handicapping the Winners

With all the NCAA betting going on, we could have our own little pool.
A square? Or odds calculated by some math genius?
One avid watcher has it figured this way:
1) Adam and Julianne next
2) The Gute and Anna
3) Shannon and Derek
4) Marissa and Tony
5) Christian and Cheryl
6) Priscilla and Louie
7) Jason and Edyta
8) Mario and Karina
9) Marlee and Fabian
And the winner is Kristi and Mark!
I am superstitious and cynical at the same time, which makes me unable to make choices, but I'll try, based on my theory that the ABC/Disney execs have a finger in the pie.
Next: 1.Adam & Julianne (I hope)
2.Marissa & Tony
3.Shannon & Derek
4.Guttenberg & Anna
5.Mario & Karina
6.Marilee & Fabian
7.Priscilla & Louie
8.Christian & Cheryl
9.Jason & Edyta
For the winner: Christi Yamaguchi and her professional partner Mark Ballas

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Well, I forgot to watch the results show, not because Tom Bergeron didn't remind me enough. The repetition failed to overcome my apathy when faced with red light tackiness.
I watched a few of the highlights on Gymnastics!!(boy band) Jason's Mambo! He's Christi's competition in my eyes. also has dance lessons with Carrie Ann, not as good as the lessons Len Goodman put on last year.
Julianne probably got all the votes for Adam. I hope she can make him look at least passable next week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

DWTS 3/24/08

Sixth Season, gotta start dating these DWTS entries.
That was a long show last night. When you're tired, hearing them repeat their standard lines gets old fast. "Welcome back to blah blah! 2 stars go home tomorrow!"
I wonder if the costume guys are getting tired of their work. Could they go back to a real ball gown instead of those cut up skirts all the time? And in the Latin, the Mambo ruffles were stiff.
The dancers showed improvement except Christi and Priscilla who were obscured by the voluminous detailing on their costumes and seemed less comfortable in the Latin.

Monday, March 24, 2008

red suspenders

Red suspenders, pink t shirts, and lavender skirts. The girls liked the $5 skirts I found, better than the black circle skirt I made up. I like the sequins. Maybe I can dye some of them over to a blue and have different shades for more color.
Anyway, it's getting more real every time. Another teacher took photos for me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Vase

I had a class for teachers, and the word of the day for me was the Vase. Should I say Vaes or Vahz? Vahz sounds fancier, and it's a fancy looking shape to make. It means I could allow my head to extend up and back. Never just tilted back as that looks dumb and can hurt vertabrae. Takes some getting used to, but maybe I'm ready to try since I have been working on strengthening the back of my neck for several years now.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dance to the music?

What I loved about Marilee Matlin was what she said about dancing to her heartbeat, an inner music. She is a communicator, very expressive.
The dancing was impressive in that she is deaf, so an achievement in overcoming a disability, a greater disability than being under 5 feet (Broadway star) or over 62 (Priscilla Presley). I agreed with the judges that points are not given for hardship. this is not "Queen for a Day."
The things to overcome, as usual, are in your mind like little Miss Marissa's inability to stop giggling or Monica Seles' obvious discomfort with the whole deal.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Star Women

Okay, so an Olympic gold medalist is on a different plane. That's part of what we call star material. I'm not sure why Christi Yamaguchi got only 8s. The delicacy and musicality blew me away.

Priscilla Presley was also excellent. I'd be happy if I could do a dance like that. If I had the dress and the partner, maybe I'd even like being on stage.

I would have thought a tennis star would be able to translate the competitive spirit to the new venue, but Monica Seles just looked uncomfortable. She also seemed to say, "It's okay if I leave the show now. I got my prom dress."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Our show

I consider "Dancing with the Stars" required viewing, a way for me to understand what my students see in ballroom dancing, a connection for us, a sharing of information. So it isn't just escapist fantasy. I keep seeing the Disney aspect though.
As far as the premiere went, I never want to see Adam the radio comedian dance again. I notice he suggested their 15 points were "her" points, going on to ask for points for himself. Is this an acknowledgment that last time men voted for Julianne Hough while the women did not vote for the Maksim who has the irritating personality? People vote for their favorite pros even though the amateur stars are the ones being judged. This may have affected the last result, that the most talented dancer, Mel, did not win.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Teacher styles

Some generalizations:
International style teachers have learned to teach by the book.
American style teachers have learned to teach by the students.
International style can be judged because there are the rules to be followed.
American social dancing is more fun.

In either style, with fewer figures, you can learn easier how good dancing feels.
My challenge is to keep it fun with fewer figures done nicely.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


A used VCR, an extra TV, no cable box right there. All I needed was a remote control and I don't have to commandeer the living room TV.
A question by my student has set me onto another track for the summer. How about a dance "camp"? Parents looking for a little structure/time off might want to entrust them to me for a few hours a day for a week or two. Set up time is now.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dance opportunity

I sponsored my young friend from Morse Pond School. I hope the boy's parents think Hip-hop at Turning Pointe Studio is good enough, and that they can get him there. He refused to do ballet. I also hope he likes the class if he can go and that he is actually talented and hardworking since I described him as such to the studio owner while asking if he could get a reduced rate. His performance in my little swing classes is inconsistent. Talented but getting into the goofing off.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


In the morning in our part of the country, the second week of March is still dark at 6 AM. Makes it harder to wake up. The poor high school students, already behind in their work after most of a year of school, are really tired. I shouldn't complain that I don't seem to be able to get my morning exercises in.
On the radio, I heard that cows do not like the time change at all. I'm wondering why the farmers put them through it. Holding onto the milk for an extra hour can be bad for a cow's health, but I suppose there are delivery schedules.

Monday, March 10, 2008

instep pads

I am very pleased with the little rubbery instep pads available at CVS. Dr. Scholl has them and another cheaper brand was very good as well. I especially loved them in my strappy sandal style shoe with the stretched out straps because the shoe now fit. However, the buzz in the dance world is to take care of that part of your foot, and it makes sense - it's the power spot. Women in heels, if they fit into the shoe, wear them!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cloud Nine

At the end of class at the Waldorf School, Will said, "Oh, well, time to come off Cloud Nine." He's 12 years old, so he really meant it. He calls dance class Cloud Nine. I don't know why I was surprised. I know how dancing makes me feel. But I am very happy. I need to find more dance for my other fellow dance addict, the 5th grade boy from Jamaica - doesn't have to be all partnered.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Why is it hard to take one step instead of three?
Swing dancers get married to their triple step and end up trying too hard on fast music, and Waltzers continue with the three steps so that they cannot do the hesitation.
Slowing down is hard because it takes control.
My fifth grade have been teaching me that. Let's just barrel through something fast and it won't matter if we're with the music.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Warm up

Warm up exercises in Waltz seemed to work wonderfully last night. I believe that was how we got to a place where I could see success in the advanced left turn for the first time ever. I feel like I have found a great new teaching tool, one that I always wanted to use, one that I believe in. It does my heart good.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Flicks 'n' Kicks

All I notice lately when the competitors do Jive is the bouncy kicks. Some of them get very high off the floor, kids mostly. The shorter you are, the easier it is. Also, you need good knees, so I may only be able to demonstrate one side today when I see the 5th grade. It's raining, so they'll be keyed up after no outdoor recess. You'd think the extra energy would be good, but they don't channel it well.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Electronics have been put in the world to drive us crazy! They promise to do everything you want and then they break, need different connections, or go out of style and consequently cannot be used any more. Any hour now I will get my video production copied so that it can be viewed all over the Cape.
Gotta go try something else!

Monday, March 3, 2008


Talking to an elementary school teacher, I realized why it would be best to have a Swing dance program in the schools, under the athletics department. Swing is a favorite among kids because of those (dangerous)acrobatic tricks they love. Not more dangerous than the football program! and covered by the same insurance. So instead of not allowing any lifts, I could teach them properly. The Sunday paper featured The Dangerous Book for Boys and its counterpoint, The Daring Book for Girls, bestsellers, so parents are open to something more active than video games.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

More TV

6 times this week, the TV show I made will be aired on at the same time as it is aired on Falmouth's channel 13. Mashpee, Bourne, Sandwich, and Barnstable residents, if you can't wait until I get copies to your stations, look at the little screen.
Monday 12:30, Tuesday 12:30, Wednesday 3:55 and 9 PM, and Friday 3:25.
Next week the schedule will be available online here and at

Meanwhile the word about the Havana Nights, Mike Garvan's band next weekend at Cotuit Center is Not Good for dancing. The band won't try to stop you if you are moved to move to their music, but you mustn't detract from the band as the show. Dance off to the side or in the back. Free class in Latin Dance before, but you don't have to dance.
Also, the band refused to be filmed as production levels at local access cable stations would not meet their standards.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


In Jensen Beach, Florida, the radio stations are either God or Country: Religious or Down Home. Both have some good music, but one that offered another choice of music would be a possible business venture. I don't think we're enterprising enough.
Anyway, on the way to the airport, the Latino stations start to come in, so I get happy. Ricky Martin was good, and Marco Antonio Solis had one that the station very kindly broadcast the name "Antes de Vayas" or "Before You Go", Regional Mexican according to Itunes, gorgeous Rumba according to me. I asked some Mexican CD dealers at the flea market if they had one I hear from the Providence radio station with a refrain I sang for them, "No quiero porque te quieres" but no luck. It's Bachata. Somebody in Boston or Providence knows.