Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Results show (no kids)

A note from a fellow fan: "If Jason got a cramp, he would have handled it differently. athlete vs actor."
I guess compared to Cheryl, who made her costume flutter when turning, Kristi was not as accomplished, but they were fast and went to a thrilling ending. And are we comparing her to Cheryl?
Jason still bores me - the same poses, and that's what he does best.
Letting Shannon go was fine. I identify with her (not the weeping). She's my height, and I have my gawky times, too. She got in a great tango. Maybe she'll grow into the mambo someday.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Scoring & Accepting

We do wonder at the judges' scores sometimes on DWTS. Joe hates judged athletics - gymnastics, figure skating. Maybe the judges decided ahead of time to low score Kristi to change things up to make it more exciting. I looked again at Kristi's unbelievable turns that Carrie Ann said were wrong somehow and saw no problem. And Cristian was going to be great before he got the cramp, so I'd have gone with 8s. Those pumped arms are a liability?
Anyway, lessons in accepting your scores, therapy perhaps, might be necessary for some athletes to continue to be graceful after the performance. Kristi is a class act all around.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I saw a cicada nymph this week. I don't remember anyone talking about eating them 17 years ago, though the paper this year has a 1902 recipe for cicada and rhubarb pie. The rhubarb is up in time.
Soon enough the air will be full of large buzzing insects. They'll fly around in a mating 'dance', making their own 'music', a small dense population like a city that convenes every 17 years.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mike Dumas

At the Beach House in North Falmouth, and they will be there again May 10 with a full sound: drummer/band leader, girl singer who could dress up a bit more, keyboard with a separate synthesizer, bass, and guitar. The floor is quite decent, being wood and not filled with tables. The young crowd stayed at the bar which was good since they cannot abandon their drinks or purses. We old folks are just not cautious.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I just finished Dunya's book, subtitled, FINDING SPIRIT IN THE FLESH. It will be shelved in the spiritual memoir section, if the bookstore has such a thing, women's literature. I read slowly because it was very poetic. An incident here or there would provide an anchor for the imagination, especially when 'here' was a dance class with Klara Koenig or another piece of Falmouth.
She began her dancing with the mirror and has moved away from it into an awareness of self deep in her bones and organs.
I wonder if her muscles still follow paths from the study of movement she began with. Does this help make her the most interesting person in the room to look at when we are in workshop?
Often, I take dance classes to be able to move with the teacher, following in a formation while I have inspiration before my eyes. The teacher's choice of music and understanding of how to move in harmony allows me to connect in my own way with the world inside and outside myself.
As a Sufi, Dunya connects to the Divine, the Beloved, Allah, or God.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vacation Week

The week slipped by with gardening and a visit by my oldest son and his pregnant wife, the modern dancer/Pilates instructor. She is wonderfully fit, still running at 7 months, though more slowly.
She has determined on a home birth, to the horror of her parents. I was equally determined at her age. I got my home birth for one out of the three. Medical considerations may show up for her as well at the last minute, and they are only 2 blocks from a hospital. If they end up there, the work to avoid the hospital sends a message to the health professionals to limit their interference. The preparations for the home will allow her to leave as soon as possible, as I did.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Televisionwithoutpity is creeped out about the kids.
Would it be better if there were an Olympic event? Then their ambition and hard work would make more sense to people.
I liked the dancers and their costumes. The costumes I see at competitions are too sexy, but these kids are dressed like skaters.
They spoke nicely and understand about getting along with people. They have to dance with each other because they are too little to partner with a professional.
I hope the boy who wants to play baseball player wins, so he will not give up dancing for baseball. Although, my husband points out, he'll make a lot more money if he succeeds as a baseball player.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


For pure fun, I suggest Flamenco, foot stomping in precise rhythms to guitar and Spanish song. I am far from precise, but I'm getting better, Kati says so.
I will practice the Sevillanas now so I can offer them as a course in the summer. I would love to be able to send my students to take the master class with the beautiful dancer. It's worth the price of the workshop just to watch her, plus you get to join in. Her next set of workshops at Cape Cod Dance Center are in early June.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jive etc.

My 5th grade kids love Kristi Yamaguchi ("I did a report on her!")so her fabulous jive will be inspiring to them. I'm inspired, too, but I know better than to start in on kicks, twist crouches and other knee destroying moves. They'll look better on smaller people.
Cristian's admirable foxtrot showed he channels the smooth leading man, not the fast moving excitable party animal.
I still haven't voted this season. Marissa was better.
Marlee was still bad. She's had two of the rhythm dances in a row.
Mario got 9s in spite of acting like a gigolo. Karina always acts like a strumpet.
Jason's cha cha was dull. Has he been hiding behind Edyta?
Shannon was lovely, though hipless. Interesting to see Derek hold back on his hip movement since it would obviously show her up.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Note to the 5th Grade Teacher

(A bit of background to those of you who don't know the kids. Owen is the "icky" boy, short, silly, and likes girls.)
Easy thoughts.
Owen is complaining that he doesn't get a connection from the girls,so I said I would talk with you.
Here goes: I don't think it's serious and he has to think of his own dancing more, just like everybody else who complains about partners.
I will address the whole group with that message: "Your dancing is most important, and it will result in good partnering, maybe not right away."
Did you see they added kids to Dancing with the Stars/Results Show? Tuesdays at 9 PM. Last week they had 10 year olds doing Swing (Jive), so I showed my dancers. They are so funny, picking up on a tiny little flirty move in the dance Oooooooo!
Well, partnering does address a central issue in interpersonal relations, for all of us, young and old, married or single.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring and my Back

I started digging yesterday and got a twinge. As a dance teacher, I have to be careful of my back! I will proceed cautiously. I've come to know my spine after the Pilates study. I wish I knew my knees as well.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Warwick, Rhode Island

A trip to the airport gave me back my husband last night. To break it up and give the drive a bit more meaning, I attended the Dancin' Feelin' Studio Party. Randy Deats and Kathy St. Jean run a nice business in what was probably built as a Knights of Columbus Hall only minutes from the airport.
The crowded Beginner Party featured three little lessons, Foxtrot, Salsa, and Cha cha, taught by three different teachers. A nice little group of teachers worked the crowd. One of them even asked me to show a young Columbian the Swing. I then got a nice salsa with him, all just basic the way the natural dancers will do, enjoying the music, not needing anything more.
I congratulated Randy on making money, and he said, "Oh, this is all free for them." But they join the Studio and are expected to take a set of lessons, a group, a party and a private. I didn't get the breakdown, just the Special Introductory Offer flyer. $95 for 1/2 hour private, a group and the party. I call that pre-paid.
The Mary French Studio is too cheap!

Friday, April 18, 2008


In my adult classes, we can move with eyes closed. For the kids, I had them sit with eyes closed and think of what their feet would be doing while I called out the steps. It was a good review before dancing. Greg, the hyperactive one, seemed to be so busy moving his head around, I wondered if he could think. I didn't say anything, but somebody peeked and there it was: "Look at Greg!"
Anyway, he's gone now. He had a fight with Amanda and didn't want to be there. I kept him anyway for a while, thinking, "Can I afford to lose a boy?" but he was too disruptive. His Judo training (that would have looked so good in Jive kicks) was coming out at random times, which could be dangerous.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rhythm Change

A tool for getting people comfortable with a dance is to keep a steady rhythm that matches the music. Merengue is the easiest, 1,2 basic. Most dances have a set of four counts with the corollary on the opposite foot or eight counts before repeating. Foxtrot and swing add interest by using 6 counts, playing with the four beat of the music. After a while, the strict rhythm can give the dancer a feeling of being stuck.
But then you have to leave your comfort zone.
I'm weaning the Tango class from their T-A-N-G-O almost right away, and hope they will find the dance more rewarding.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Other predictions

This from South Shore Dancers, a couple of weeks ago, it seems.
Adam Corolla 9
Marlee Matlin 8
Marissa Jaret Winokur 7
Pricilla Presley 6
Shannon Elizabeth 5
Mario 4
Cristian de la Fuente 3
Jason Taylor 2
Kristi Yamaguchi 1
So Priscilla that we all thought would do better is gone, and Cristian in "the bottom two." While Shannon who can't move her hips and Marlee who gets lost are still up there.
I don't vote because I see the show so late, I'd have to vote without seeing them dance, which is an option many exercise.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

DWTS 4/14/08

The dancing is improving, naturally, since they are working hard.
Let me first say Kristi Y. is the only dancer (alter ego) I would watch again.
However, Mario's Samba was good. The smarminess was gone.
Louis VanAmstel adores those difficult moves, so he didn't get Priscilla to dance a nice basic before making her do the balancing act.
I loved Cristian's Spanish "El numero del telefono etc."
I guess if Shannon Elizabeth can't move her hips, she should be gone.
The kids on the Results Show make that hour more worthwhile, especially since I have Tuesday nights free for 2 more weeks.
If there's kids' Jive, I'll need to show it to my 5th grade.

Monday, April 14, 2008

DTWS Analyzed in The New Yorker

The Dance Critic of The New Yorker, no less, Joan Acocella, reviewed our show, which she stopped short of calling sexist, simply saying it "believes in gender stereotypes with all its heart."
The men aren't expected to be able to dance, which is "the basis of what is good about the show, its portion of fun and sweetness."
The women have to worry about not being able to dance, witness Marissa's sobbing.
Acocella goes so far as to call it a Greek Tragedy. "The gender drama is even clearer in the human interest department" with "an obsession with disability and overcoming." Heather Mills (prosthetic), Marlee (deaf), Marissa ("not size 2"), Priscilla (age 62).
Joan Acocella won't go on watching the show because it is "a reality show, with all the sadism and sentimentality endemic to the genre."
The eliminations ("must be seen to be believed") are the part I can turn off, but I'll go on watching the rest. I need to be able to discuss the show with my students!
I'm even learning.
As Acocella says, "Contrary to popular belief, the main difference is not in the feet but in the upper body - the neck, the shoulders, the arms, which are stiff in the amateur and relaxed and eloquent in the professional."
Standing up straight and dancing. I'm still working on it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Yesterday was a Cape Cod Workshop in Dance Meditation, led by Woods Hole native, Dunya Diane (Hulburt) McPherson, who has given her life to dance and just published her memoir, SKIN OF GLASS.
Last time I took her class, we worked on what the body feels like from the inside, eyes closed for much of the time. The skill helps to reproduce the body lines we want to use in my type of dance.
Yesterday, she was more specific. We imagined a line to separate the two sides of the body and chose the less dominant one to be in the light and other in shadow as we moved. I know from my work with Network Chiropractic that the left side gets ignored, even though it is controlled by the right side of the brain, which gets more control in my decision making.
Then we divided the body front and back and took the back first, which is always fun.
"The front is more familiar," said Dunya as we switched.
The organs got attention, starting with viscera, moving up through the stomach, noticing the heart and lungs, to the base of the tongue.
We danced and then wrote and then talked, so I heard that the movement through the torso corresponds to the shakras that everyone seems to be talking about.
My knee is very happy with the work I did. I also heard that the point of the intermittent pain is a pressure point. Perhaps acupunture would be helpful.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cultural Center of Cape Cod

It's way down Cape, farther from Falmouth than Betsy's Ballroom, but very nice, and we carpooled.
That was a beautiful bank, and now they've filled it with art. We even went in the vault, past that huge door, to see some very nice seriographs and children's portraits.
Friday night music cafes are indeed set up with candlelit tables, checked tablecloths. BYOB, adults only. The marble floor is as pictured, with the inlaid starburst pattern. 65 by 30 is a good size, and could be bigger without the tables on the floor.
Our band last night was Felonius Funk, guitar, drummer, and girl singer, as we say. She was terrific, always right on the music and notes, channeling Aretha at times.
The regular attendees joined us on the dance floor with their freestyle to "Smooth" "Mustang Sally", and all the rest. Bill Dixon, who lives 2 miles away, asked some of the local ladies to dance.
Seeing us ballroomers, the band even put out a couple of nice foxtrots. "Fly Me to the Moon" was one.
I expect they can keep it afloat with weddings! Great parking, too.

Friday, April 11, 2008

young partners

I am just dying to know how Pierre Dulaine does it. It would cost me thousands of dollars and 2 weeks in NYC to get certified to set up a program like his.
The one hyperactive boy stopped getting along with his partner. I think she was just sick of dealing with him. He wasn't even that good a dancer. Judo kicks is what he's good at. His Judo instructor must surely have the discipline all worked out.
The classroom teacher and I think it will be better to be have one less boy.
The other "icky" boy now begins to look better.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Slight mix-up

The secretary/receptionist was finally back at the Conservatory yesterday. "Oh," she said, "I had you in my computer as starting at 8:00."
That was why Carmina said, "We have the hall until 8." Which she then amended, saying, "But we won't be done by then."
I didn't tell her how upset I was. She's just out of college.
I said "Is that the only calendar?" and it is.
I'll talk to the director, and assign a monetary amount to my distress to be deducted from next month's fee as well as their loss of this month's money.
Then he can tell the girl to print up a calendar for everyone to review.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

2 nights to analyze

Everyone, including him, is relieved that Adam Corolla is gone, though he was occasionally funny, in a "Man Show" kind of way, and the unicycle will be long remembered.
Marisssa has finally settled down to dance. I never saw a woman do the knee crawls in Paso Doble.
Did Jason Taylor deserve tens? His arms are stiff as well as being as long as his partner's legs.
My favorites this week were Christian with his shouts and Shannon looking beautiful.
I like Fabian, and Marlee is doing well.
I found Priscilla boring in spite of the lift.
Maybe I'd like Mario more if I liked Karina.
Question: Is Kristi supposed to win? Did they give Mark the ringer because they yanked the Cheetah girl early last season?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kind words

From my students who came to dance on Saturday.
"Please don't feel bad. Ralph and I had a wonderful time as usual. You handled the situation beautifully. No need for an apology! Thanks for enriching our lives through dance!"
"No apology needed -especially for those of us who routinely get doubled on
everything from conference calls to airlines .
We had a great time! and its all your fault - thank you for helping all us
clod footers."
Today I go to straighten out the situation nicely with Kate, just-out-of-college overworked receptionist/secretary/telephone answering service/all around factotum.
The director, maybe later in the week.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


A shock last night greeted me at the Cape Cod Conservatory, Falmouth. Someone double booked the dance hall. Full of a fundraiser with African and Belly dancers. It took me 15 minutes to even think of my alternative - the Mary French Studio - as a refuge. My home studio is smaller, and the Saturday dances have grown, so we were crowded, but we had a good time. Thank you again, Mary French!
When I talk to the conservatory on Monday, I hope this will get me automatically on some calendar. The previous secretary there had a big wall calendar for the year. Where is it hidden now?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Obbini Tumbao

So we actually went to Cambridge for a show at the Regattabar at the Charles Hotel where Henrietta's Table is fun for polenta cake smothered with mushrooms and caramelized onions.
The 9 piece band had keyboardist, baby bassist(Trinidad), drummer(Venezualan), conga, bongos, 2 trombones, clave/guiro by the Berklee teacher, and a singer from Venezuela. Great sound, and they love dancers.
The Regattabar doesn't love dancers, but few venues do. They gave us a small floor (six salsa couples) with a great view as long as you're not afraid of heights. I'm not, so I liked looking out the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the rainy street from the second floor. We weren't in front of the band. To watch the dancers from my seat, I turned my head since it was too crowded to turn my chair. Dancers were minor anyway.
The musicians' break was filled with a dynamic Costa Rican teacher from Hips on Fire. 50 people crowded behind him in a space that included the dance floor, two little girls in front. I picked up a tip for Bachata.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


My classes got too big, which could be a good sign, but still needs to be addressed, so a combination of my suggestion and the allure of the Tango and West Coast Swing might get some to migrate to a new time. The allure pulls in some that could very well just stay where they were.
Meanwhile, I'm going to add a prayer for the Stars: Adam - please leave! Marissa - fix your smile!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wrong again

The two most annoying dancers are still there. Do they think we will watch to see if they improve? To be sure to vote so they will leave? At least Marissa didn't cry. Tony with the bowed head was a bit much. He doesn't seem as competitive as that matchmaker personality test lady said. I guess he must be since I saw him win America's Ballroom Challenge.
I liked the April Fool's segment. Christian's was cheap since they already had Sea World footage.
Hey did you see in Dancing USA where they said Priscilla was Elvis's daughter? They forgot Lisa Marie's name. I did too. I just had to look it up.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Big Goof?

Adam C., the radio comedian, had a couple of remarks last night on DWTS. In the edited portion, he said Tango was a dance of prostitutes and pimps, "And what does that make you, Julianne?"
After their dance, he said gay guys had dressed her in the dress with minimal cut outs, (gorgeous lace) and a brown short wig, and that that would cost him votes.
In the interview, he talked about learning the Tango from a 19 year old Mormon, then apologized profusely, like he'd said something wrong. Does someone think her family religion would cut off votes? The state of Utah probably votes in a block.
As for the Broadway girl, I fast forwarded in case she started to cry.
I don't get to vote unless I try as soon as I get home from teaching class, without seeing the performances, but my prediction is now officially switched to Adam leaving next week, and what's her name tomorrow.