Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Another thought from the latest dance movie I saw, "Every Little Step." They said at one point that growing up dancing in front of a mirror means the dancer needs that mirror or an audience to feel as if they are in the moment.
Whereas, we social dancers focus on our partners and the group we are with.
I couldn't watch myself in the mirror for many years.
There's the social stigma of the narcissism as well as the harsh self criticism.
Now I am used to it and find the use as a teaching tool.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Ron and I went through the various Foxtrot variations.
Society Foxtrot was new to me. Fast tempo, bright feeling, small steps , crowded floor, otherwise, do whatever you can get away with. Not quickstep because that flies around. Not like One-step with the slow music, but similar for the maneuverability. Two-step tempo and mix of slows and quicks, but mostly always closed hold.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wedding dances

How nice for Susan to think of my adding a wedding picture to my website. and they are beauties. To the left is her in a spin. I'll leave that there for a while. Good advertising, though I did not coach her natural grace.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Argentine Tango

It was just like Ron said. Argentine teaches you everything.
Christopher, in Provincetown for a week, emailed that he needed a dance fix, and he came to the Sons of Italy even though he really just does West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango. He said he dreaded the Foxtrot, but since Argentine teaches you all about connection, all he had to relearn from 5 years ago was the basic step.
I spotted him as the only possible West Coast dancer, and we stayed up on the floor for a Rumba as well - great fun.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Impromptu Theater

I was requested to form a part in a Solstice Celebration as a dancer. My part was Mammi, Sumerian Mother of the Gods, so I figured, why not? A pot-luck picnic starts the evening, and that's other people making dinner and cleaning up.
In my costume trunk were two long green dresses. I picked the crinkled muu-muu type, though the snaky satin one would have done, and added scarves so I'd have something to work with on the uneven ground of the outdoor performance. Kicks, leaps, and turns were out of the question.
Sunday, the true solstice, was dismal, so it was put off, and last night felt like the beginning of summer at last. The show went off very well, and the food was good too.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


What's with African/American women? They must not be trying out for the show.
Interesting tie-in to that dance movie I just saw. Tyce did not make the final cut for "A Chorus Line" though he danced fabulously. Too much ego, they said. His comments after audition were, "I did well and that's all that counts. It's for me." Not part of the story with characters who show their vulnerability throughout.
Anyway, Tyce did 'Broadway' choreography for SYTYCD last night, so he moved on up.
Another thought about the final cuts in that movie. The 'gypsy' character went to a gorgeous African/American woman, singing "Everything's Beautiful at the Ballet," which seemed to have resonance for our times.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mary French Memorial Dance

So far, it's set up: the date=October 10, the hall=Sons of Italy, the band=Trilogy, the line dances= Family Waltz & Kenny Rogers, the silent auction, the pass through account for the scholarship money. CC Ballroom Dancers to administer the award. Showcase hopefully by Ron Gursky & (cross your fingers) Allyn Garvin, the partner he won competitions with.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Every Little Step

New documentary movie. I was the only one there last night to see the young dancers auditioning for 8 months for the revival of "A Chorus Line".
Neurophysiology studies show parts of our brains have neurons that fire in sympathy when watching other people. Autism sufferers' brains don't. Mine sees the young people dancing so beautifully just to get a job on stage and I don't even have enough neurons to appreciate all they do.
As for the rest of their lives, we just get a brief glimpse of Jacques D'Ambroise's daughter who gets the Cassie role and the nobody from New Jersey who lands Val.
Historical footage shows how the show was written - workshop style, based on a tape of dancers pouring out their heart in a group session. "Everything's beautiful at the ballet." "Dance 10, Looks 3" has the line, "Tits and ass," describing the necessity of plastic surgery for some.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bike Path

The extension of the Shining Sea Bike Path runs through the marshes of West Falmouth now. Gorgeous. That was quite a train ride back in the day. Bikes are an improvement. Some of the folk must be contemplating fencing for their back yards, built since the trains stopped.
I am wondering about getting at least a bike lane for Brick Kiln Road so cross-town traffic can connect to that excellent route to downtown.
The project makes me proud of our town.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Town Dance 09

The Town Dance was part of Arts Alive 2009 last night. Stage Door Canteen again, with a premier sound, and the dance space was much larger.
So what if the floor was the street? Dancing in the street. The tent made it all possible, and that's expensive enough. Besides, last year's floor had its problems; the metal rims to the parquet sections would catch your heels.
I knew at least half the people, many my students and former students, and everyone enjoying the music, the clear comfortable night, and the chance to move with the sounds.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer break

Just had my last night school until October. Stupid TV/VCR wouldn't work. Light turn out on a rainy evening, but that meant we could do whatever, and they wanted cha cha. It's easy, really, once you get past the 1,2 hurdle, and the 2,3 rock step is very rewarding, musically.
It's the first summer I've been able to hold regular classes. I never wanted to compete with Mary French, so I gave students had the choice of her or a long break. This time they get to try out the studio and see if the price differential is worth it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I picked up an Employee Assistance Program newsletter at the high school last month. I'm more of a subcontractor, but I liked the writing.

"Hidden motivators for exercise: seeing it as as form of recreation, a way to apply work-life balance, and a means of achieving a goal of finding mental relaxation."

"Financial incentives to lose weight: A University of Pennsylvania study used a financial award that had 50 percent of participants losing 16 pounds in 16 weeks. Motivation might be boosted if you plan an award for yourself if you succeed or a financial penalty if you don't. The figure that worked: about $300."

The one I liked best for dancers-
"Success almost always requires stepping out of your comfort zone. Remember that it's natural to feel unfit for a task as first. Expect to fumble a bit until you get your footing. Living up to your potential doesn't include firm instructions or a 'paint-by-numbers' approach. False starts and dead ends happen. Follow this rule: You know more than you think you do, The key is applying old experiences to new situations, getting feedback, and making adjustments until you excel.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Night School

The last of the night school classes until October was a great group.
I remember Mary saying night school and studio people weren't the same. I note from her papers that she continued to teach Wellesley Recreation Department long after she opened her Wellesley studio, so the competition may be just the right amount, the kind that feeds the trend towards dancing.
I even get some crossover, and I'm really pleased. The best dancers find they need to keep going.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Papers & Memoribilia

Studio papers. I had preparation for this at my mother's house. What to keep and what to recycle.
I found programs from the competition Mary ran, a precursor to Yankee Classic. I found a program from the competition won by the lady who runs the Yankee classic, Judi Hatton. Unfortunately, none of it is very colorful, standings and black and white photos, but some can be exhibited at the Mary French Memorial.
Mostly I found notes on clever choreography. Swing Scissors, titled "Scizzors", a presentation form Tina LaFlam. Those will take me a year to go through.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Studio Papers

From the Mary French Studio papers, I now have a box of ballroom variations, some mimeographed, others printed or xeroxed. I'm hoping I like them better than videos of dance steps. Written choreography is notoriously difficult. The line dances can just get filed, separate from the country line dances that she sorted in a special alphabetical box. The memorabilia will be nice for the memorial dance.
I just keep cleaning up so the studio can get painted.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Alex Torres Salsa Band @ White's

Lavada Studley, music teacher at the junior high, my ballroom student, gave me flyers for the appearance of the Alex Torres Salsa Band, appearing at White's of Westport as a benefit for the New Bedford Public Schools, 7 to 11 last night. We figured if we got there at 9:00, we'd get plenty of dancing and not have to pay the full $25. Sure enough, we paid $10. The other price was was for parents whose kids got to play with the band in the opening numbers.
I wanted to see White's of Westport, and though it's almost an hour away, it's an easy ride on Rte 195, 5 minutes off exit 10, just past New Bedford.
Our room had a raised stage with an inset for the 11 piece band and the wings for dancing, spaces as big as most hotel dance floors. Not crowded, empty round tables. One Latina couple, a few other salsa dancers of some ability.
Good musicians, though they played fast and faster. Maybe the slow numbers were all used up on the collaboration with the kids?
Then I walked through the other rooms, and the one I'd heard of had a terrific long wood floor, three times the Sons of Italy, though it was all the way at the end of a huge room that seats 500, no tables on the sides of the floor.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pink Martini

Opening night was a bit chilly , but it was the best concert I've ever seen at the Melody Tent.
Not too loud. Earplugs have been necessary before.
Personable performers who connected to the audience, joking as well.
A well behaved crowd kept the ambient noise down.
Plus the Pink Martini music, genre bending sound, includes my favorite beats.
There's no dance floor, but I didn't need to dance because the 12 players kept my attention. I can play their music at my parties.
Melody Tent concessions are feeble. Pizza and beer in plastic cups. I was surprised to be searched for food. I'd have preferred to have some notice that no snacks could be brought it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Young dancers

Partnered for the first time, those hardworking beauties danced their hearts out on So You Think YCD. I came in a bit late, but I adored the ones I saw. And the third judge is the nice one, I guess, because he had only good things to say. Mary was screamier than ever. Nigel had a few points, but I disagreed. I actually voted for the ones I saw, except the Samba which was nothing new for me, and another Russian American, born in Moscow. I don't get to see much Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, or Bollywood. Two women are more mature, one married and one all of 29 years old, but as strong as the younger ones and very expressive.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jazz Band in the Lobby

I thought I had the Conservatory for Tuesdays in the summer, but it seems a jazz band will be practicing in the lobby 6 to 9 on Tuesday evenings. Several horns would drown me right out. Space at the studio in Cataumet is not oriented around ballroom any more, but let's hope it all works out for the best.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ron's class

Little Red Schoolhouse was how Ron characterized the West Coast Swing class. We need more publicity; however, it was fine to have the oh-so-talented young couple who will be having their baby in a couple of months or so, the guy who has been out of it for a while, a woman with some skills, and her friend, cheerfully lost, shepherded by me. Next week will be completely different.

Monday, June 8, 2009

09 Wianno

A chance to dress up, a floor crowded with dancers, showcases, film clips, and better snacks. Plus the full moon was rising red through some clouds as I danced the teacher's tribute to Lillian line dance. I looked out the window because I couldn't look at the people or I'd have lost my place in the sequence. I put the smile on my face and missed one step, had to recover and re-smile. Later, the clouds had won. No more moon. I didn't realize the Wianno club faces east.
The trouble with a dance is you never really have time to talk. You see the important people who get things done in the dance world, but then you have to make the effort the next day.
I did say hello to students, and talked to the band about a fall date.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Kati is back, hopefully regularly. This time it was Bulerias which she explained was one of the hardest of the rhythms of 12. Either 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 OR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Then we did an extremely complicated bit which would be typical of the FUN a Flamenco dancer might have just playing with that rhythm.

Friday, June 5, 2009


The island just to our south has a certain mystique, unfortunately Joe is not affected, so he doesn't really care about the property he acquired in Vineyard Haven few years back, at the top of the market. We went to see it Saturday, and he just got depressed at its albatross qualities.
My African-American sister-in-law is enamored. Her doctor sister is in with the summer elite, unfortunately Oak Bluffs locale.
I have a connection with some ballroom types, Sundays.
Modern dance has a community, too, so an August visit could happen when my son Sam, his wife Ali, the modern choreographer, and our baby Sloane are here for the month.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

new card

I ran out of business cards and the old ones said Mary French Studio. I was waiting, thinking of putting Cape Cod Dance Center on them, but I didn't have to wait. My new ones are simpler, just me, my website and email.
So You think You Can Dance has begun. My daughter-in-law and I have to rebuff our husbands' scorn. There we were last night. I was re-making my other daughter-in-law's bracelet. He was falling asleep in front of baseball and the tennis channel and finally he says, "I have to get up early." As he leaves he says, "At least I didn't have to watch that dance show." What! I didn't even realize! I got the last 10 minutes, previews of the solos that I'll see tomorrow. I'll get my projects done nicely for these next weeks of SYTYCD.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 1

A nicely cleaned studio greeted us last night. The Cape Cod Dance Center has moved in, and we began with the first ballroom group class, three faithful couples. Advertising should bring in a new crop for the summer program.
Ron starts Sunday. Will more Argentine tangueros show up?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Last May Weekend

Good showing at Sons of Italy, especially for no advertising! I enjoyed talking to Holly. They now rent, and perhaps the p;ace will sell. Perhaps not. A Mary French Memorial in October.
Johnny Hoy at Grumpy's filled up. He did almost all new songs. One classic rock, but he doesn't repeat his old originals.
The studio is all cleared out. Eveline found a group that deals with the yard sale leftovers - good cause, military families.
A decent turn out to practice a Tribute to Lillian Line Dance, organized by Debbie.