Wednesday, December 29, 2010


My sister had a new theory to expound about over Christmas: ketosis, which has a bad reputation, is more truly a natural phenomenon where the body uses its stores of fat instead of ingested carbs to produce alternate and better brain food.
Diabetics are aware of ketosis because it is a symptom of their inability to process carbs.
Through dietary ketosis, some epileptics obtain relief from seizures.
In our family, we are looking at (our father's) Alzheimer's disease. Perhaps ketosois could help, but he is getting feeble and very strongly opposed to exercise. Our mother was particularly taken with a link to coconut oil, a medium chain triglyceride which seems to have some of the same effects as the ketones to nourish the brain, and some sources claim the effects begin the same day.
For ourselves, my sister and I tried out the extension of the overnight fast into early morning exercise.
For Dad, I cooked a lot with coconut oil - delicious. Mom is less of a cook.
Coconut oil detractors cite saturated fat and a strain on the heart over the years. At his age of 87, we guess it's going to be the heart or the brain.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Year's Eve

Some good choices: Rhodes on the Pawtuxcet, CCBD at Betsy's, local bands.
Ideal for me is not a sit-down dinner.
I want Cheap, Local, Good dancing.
So I'm trying out a dancers' party in Falmouth.
Guest list: my students, past and present.
It's late to be planning, but that's the way it happens sometimes.
OKAY 8-11 PM Cape Cod Conservatory BYO food $7.50

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Music, Rhythm and Dance

I love it when I get more tips on how the music and dance interact.
My Flamenco teacher began explaining the rhythm of Bulerias, a dance of fun and foolishness. The rhythm of 12 is divided into 4 triples or 2 sixes - or 2 triples and 3 twos. Begin the dance on the count of 12. End it on the count of 10.

Really I prefer something simpler - Swing. The downbeat, or first beat (called "down" because the conductor's baton goes down at that point - Time to Start!) is less important in swing. The upbeat, coming before the downbeat, leading up to it is also fun but not where swing dancers put the emphasis. The backbeat You can't lose it!), or the even count, is more important.

Phrasing is another factor to pay attention to. Robert Royston, West Coast Swing teacher, suggested noticing the Tonic chords that can signal changes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Swing Workshop

Ron's steps look harder than they are, I think.
If I analyze them while doing, I get confused.
Analyze ahead then attack!
Last night, his philosophy of timing came out. "Add a couple steps, who cares!"
In swing, you keep the feet moving for an extra 1,2. It fits!
This is similar to the Argentine Tango rule - he can stop any time in that close hold.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Johhny Hoy and the Bluefish were fabulous last night - not all that crowded at Grumpy's, thankfully since remodeling is gong on in the side area - couch type booths going in, they said. I said, "While you're at it, how about a floor?!!"
"It's an historic floor," said the owner. "Put in by Helen Keller." He means the guy must have been blind.
I said, "I've had an historic dream for twenty years that you would put a floor in."
Crazy. When I asked Harry's, "Why carpet?", they said, "To soak up spilled drinks." Yeah.
Anyway, there was Lance with shag, west coast, and swing, plus he seemed to have a new funk style he may have made up himself, barely followable.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Verbal Overshadowing

I missed this scientific result from the 90s - and now it's being held in question.
The accepted wisdom always was if you described something, it helped you remember.
Then Jonathan Schooler used the scientific method to test it and found the opposite effect.
However,a fascinating New Yorker article called "The Truth Wears Off" reports that replicating results, the gold standard of the scientific method has shown a decline effect. Not just for this verbal overshadowing (good name) but also for a theory of the sexual appeal of symmetry, and tons of other scientific findings.
Jonathan Schooler joked, "it was like the cosmos was habituating to my ideas."
Anyway, you don't know what to believe any more, if you ever did.
So my question is: How helpful are dance notes for remembering choreography?
I write them out for people, but maybe just a few clues are best, and then people need to tap into muscle memory or something, if verbal overshadowing is true...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Instant Relief by Peggy Brill P.T.

I really enjoyed this book I found at Joe's sister's house. I also got a couple of novels and mysteries. She's a librarian and has her aches and pains, but the approach must not have been what she wanted. It looks brand new.
Most of the content is excellent stretches, my favorite, so I borrowed The Core Program from the library to study Ms. Brill's other ideas, looking for ab exercises that aren't done on the mat (my older, out of shape ladies cannot do mat work). She defines the core as the entire torso, and I found only one non-mat ab exercise.
The idea must be to get into good enough shape with the stretches so that you can do the mat work.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Heard a radio description of some iPhone and iPad art and its ephemeral nature, only existing on the device, only there as long as the technology is supported.
Still endures longer than a dance.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Success has to be measured in increments.
At my dance Saturday, a young couple came in, and he made it clear it was all her idea. He had been trying to play guitar for 4 months, he said, with no rhythm.
We coaxed him into counting to four in slow dancing. We allowed as how he probably wouldn't get Swing, so no pressure. Then I set up Merengue, and he actually seemed to be enjoying it in spite of himself.
I am surprised that there so few of this style practice party except by the chain studios.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dancers on Parade

The Christmas Parade, Falmouth
Falmouth Dance Academy looked like they had almost a hundred kids dancing along the street in costume or at least FDA warm-ups, with the director alongside rolling the cart with the music boom box, a can the size of a chair. One wave of dancers "marched", one wave had a double circle formation, the next bunch did something else.
Wow. (Though nobody did Samba, the ultimate parade dance.)
The Shriners brought in a semi-trailer of clown props and performers, 10 clown cars, the Aleppo Oriental Band featuring men in Arab robes with baggy shiny pants and musical instruments.
The local clowns, the Suspenders, had maybe a dozen jugglers and unicyclists, a homey, friendly, non-glitzy group.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Boston ballroom kids

Here we see part of what it takes: "To excel at this level, according to their Newton teacher, takes a rare combination of complementary talents and personalities, the financial means to train and travel extensively, and a ferocious work ethic."
Where is our ferocious work ethic?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas cards

So Twentieth Century, even if it's a card you made yourself (ten years ago)!
I am a traditionalist, I guess, so I can send a photo.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ballroom dance business

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Hanover gave up its franchise, but not its web address.
I congratulate Christine Harvey and Douglas Banks for going into independent status, but I wonder if they can get away with the photos of Fred Astaire on the website and the FADS address now standing for Finesse Academy of DanceSport. Maybe the DanceSport lawyers are ready to go to bat for them. That's the upcoming, tons of videos, franchise, and must be less expensive.
I note Tony Dovolani is listed as a visiting teacher. That could be fun!
On Cape Cod, Ballroom Bliss was advertising their teaching of a specific syllabus, DVIDA, and I wondered if they were taking the seminars in Las Vegas. Lately there is no mention of DVIDA, so probably not.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dance Aspirations

As long as we aspire to be better than what we are, breathing in and lifting our heads high, philosophers are pleased.
When ambition comes in, the dirty desire to be better than our fellows comes in, ringed round by the fear we might be worse, followed by the knowledge that we will be worse as we age.
I don't think I want to see "Black Swan": Natalie Portman having starved herself thin enough and tortured her feet in pointe, portraying the nightmare life of a ballerina.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bands coming up in December

Stage Door Canteen December 9 Liam's, Falmouth
George Gritzbach December 10 House of Bud Hyannis
Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish December 11 Grumpy's Falmouth
Dave Burbank CCBD Dance December 19 Betsy's Yarmouth

Monday, November 29, 2010

more Pink Martini

Here is a "Ladino" Hanukkah song by Pink Martini. "Ocho Candelikas" or "Eight Candles". They do Chacha very well.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Terrible boat accident

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Season End of DWTS, Finally

For several people, DWTS has shown itself to be grossly unfair and therefore not to be watched on principle. I consider it required viewing for my profession and will continue to watch even though last night's show was downright dull - repetitive and predictable. They get a few dramatic moments that we've seen a dozen times already and throw them at us again. The only surprises were when better dancers got kicked off the show so Bristol Palin could talk about how haters need to hate. I have a mute button on my remote.
Anyway, Jennifer did dance beautifully. Second place Kyle really put out. Third place Bristol was almost worth watching.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Losing a Friend

A wonderful dancer is gone. Willie Thorns was a graceful sight on the Cape Cod dance floors. His smooth, quiet style seemed effortless as he and Jan would slide between the other couples. I would invoke the image to encourage my students to step out a bit more, take charge of their dancing and enjoy the space as he did.
As a sailor, he knew the ocean can be a cruel mistress, but we did not think his luck would run out so soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I've been out of town - all the way to the Big City, where the current Broadway show Fela, choreography by Bill T. Jones, rocks the house with Patti LaBelle as Fela's mother.
People take theater seriously on Broadway.
As usual, dancers themselves get little recognition, but the lead, Kevin Mambo,from Zimbabwe via Canada, does a ton of dancing, plays the saxophone, and already has an Emmy for "Guiding Light", daytime TV(!)
We got a little 'dance lesson'. Asked to stand, we then were asked to imagine a clock and move the hips to each number, finally taking on 3,9,3,9,3,9,3,9 in time to the pulsing Afro-beat.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TOTALLY frivolously wrong result

The subject line of Pierre Dulaine's email to his instructors on hearing the results of DWTS. My hero, directer of Dancing Classrooms in NYC, prime mover for "Mad Hot Ballroom" says Bristol Palin in the finals is too incredible.
Joe tells me it's on the morning news, still, two days after the event.
Well, I have to be cynical. Publicity is what the show wants, and they have that excuse - America voted. Demand a recount! Election fraud!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I voted for Brandy, and I know she really wanted to win - maybe too much- so she did well not to say anything when she was bumped.
I was afraid of that when she and Maks were asked to repeat their Argentine tango.
Len said she would be back to dance her freestyle.
Is this a note to producers - get people who aren't really star material, or even the usual star wannabes?
Anyway, the Monday night show was great with lots of tens handed out, finally, even for Kyle. Bristol got none. She hopes to get one this coming week. I'd have commented yesterday, but I was struck down with the 24 hour stomach flu.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Swing World

Seemingly, the Swing World welcomed Salsa into their midst on Saturday, though I didn't see much evidence. I did meet Javier Arroyo leaving the Marriott in Newton. At my three Sunday morning WCS workshops, the only hint of salsa was a move we see in Chacha.
On their schedule, West Coast and Lindy workshops were throughout the weekend. Salsa was Friday and Saturday to get those Westies ready for the band. Next year for sure I've got to go see how it works.
Yesterday, I had seven hours of dancing, so it was just as well that I missed the Saturday dance.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Grumpy's got rid of the woodstove.
Also the raised seating.
Adds space in one section.
If they refigure the place, might they put in a wood floor???????

Friday, November 12, 2010


Happily, there have been no stars that have left DWTS this season due to injuries.
However, we keep hearing about Jennifer's injuries. Then she shows no sign of pain in performance. Makes me think she must be getting serious drugs - steroids and painkillers? Why she seems goofy in interviews? Could result in a serious let down when it's all over.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

December 18

Records show that no classes should be held after December 18 until after the New Year.
Since that date is a Saturday this year, let it be December 15 this year.
Then we decide how big of a break to take until starting up again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Week 8 DWTS

Seemingly, the "Instant Dance" was not scary after all. Liberating, perhaps, I would think. After all, that's the way we all dance naturally. The music comes on and we move with what we know.
The dancers left are moving more naturally since they have been practicing hard and are the ones who took to the regime in the first place.
Scoring was very high. Personally, Jennifer has been leaving me cold. That balance in a split - Len had a special name for it - looked forced, like Derek was ready to catch her, which is probably the case.
Whereas Brandy looks beautifully at ease and happy, like she has bloomed. I actually voted this week. I went for her and for Kyle, thinking he has a better chance of beating out Bristol. The producers will surely want one man in the final.
Now we have to wait a week to see how our favorites are doing. I always miss them on Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

West Coast Swing

Interesting class last night. Three people added themselves in in spite of my lack of encouragement and without telling me ahead of time, which was nerve wracking, but seemed to work out okay. I mostly had to ignore them while they tried to fall into the dance. They have no East Coast Swing, so there aren't any wires getting crossed.

Anyway, maybe I should be doing something about the marked lack of West Coast Swing on Cape. I know people get frustrated. I'm sure Doug & Kim and Debbie Israel have seen that. Steve & DeeDee don't even dance it themselves.

Lately, I haven't offered it to any but the advanced class, and now they're getting pretty good.
Need to feed in another batch. Fridays in the winter?

Monday, November 8, 2010


My husband has an observation from his years playing sports.
If you go into your game thinking you're better than you really are, you end up playing worse than you really can.
I remember getting my come-uppance at a dance camp for amateurs back in the 90s. I'd been teaching for a few years then and thought I must be getting on to Advanced, not realizing how hard the high level amateurs work.
Back to beginners!
Self awareness and humility can help you improve, and
pride goes before a fall.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


A big group of non-ballroomers showed up last night, and we appreciated their energy. The excitement of the new is infectious, and it's all new to them.
I love that format at the Conservatory that invites all levels to participate and keeps it simple enough that they are comfortable. Then they leave early, giving us the whole floor to fill up with whatever we're interested in.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


On their last night party, I showed my night school a tape of DWTS Best 10 dances out of 200 shows, a feature I would buy on DVD, but I was not that pleased with the effect on the students.
Neither inspirational or instructional.
The amateur competition video I usually show is unpolished dancers strutting their stuff, off time, getting dropped, etc. showing imperfect but fun times, which is what beginners aspire to.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bent vs. Flexed Knees in Tango

Len Goodman made a good point that I was ready to present to students last night.
The video personnel caught Kurt Warner's choppy movement for us, and he was bummed out. He and Anna, who I like, got to bicker on camera about whose fault it was. As she recalled, he was having a hard time keeping his knees from straightening, so she didn't go into the difference between "bent" and "flexed" which is a matter of ease. Dancing should look easy and graceful.
A look of confidence should be conveyed by an upright head, not a hunched protect-the-neck position as is useful on the football field, as Emmet Smith pointed out.
I do like how that program ends up relating the dance to life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What, missed the show again?

I even checked ahead of time to see the time, and noticed it was one and a half hours which turned out to be because of election coverage sandwiched in. But I didn't notice it started an hour earlier than usual. I could have made a tape of Team Apolo's Chacha and enjoyed it more than the jerky transmission. Kurt looked even better.
Got home from the last Tuesday night school class - the party - and turned on to see dapper Tom talking about Taylor Swift who has been on before and stands pigeon-toed as she sings: the anime/manga look? After that it was just the results and Rick Fox went, which was okay if not my choice.
Watching online I found the Most Dramatic Moment Award very entertaining, including Marie Osmond's acceptance onstage in Vegas. Best Worst Dancer was also just the right amount of those horrible train wreck dances. Male Pro Dancer Transformation revealed we prefer shorter hair on men, so that could have been cut, whereas the Judges' Moments were just too great for words, even though nobody "won".
The Stars of Dance Mary Poppins number featured a very promising song, "Step in Time", an idea I can really get behind.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

200th Episode

Another recording snafu - they started early! Adding in all the guest judges and their best dances and celebrity team captains takes time. I watched on line and thank you,, but it's still a jerky transmission.
I have fallen in love with Brandy. Finally she seems to be able to get over the embarrassment of a sexy dance, which Bristol never will. Next week, I will actually vote.
And politically speaking, national elections will be over, so we can let Bristol go.
Jennifer did beautifully, but is talking about quitting, and may still crash and burn. She is a loose cannon that way.
I'm guessing they want a man in the finals, so Rick and Kyle have to stay since they are improving more than Kurt.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ron's Sunday Foxtrot Class

After all these years, a brand new step in Foxtrot.
Fallaway Natural Turn.
Concepts within concepts.
Some of the students may not really get it this time around.
But what else is new?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cuban Revue in New Bedford

The performance we saw last night has the featured picture on the Zeiterion's playbill, a dancer with a gorgeous red skirt flaring out and up. It was the first Block Party of the season, a special event which includes a tent on the street with a themed meal before the show, in this case, Arroz con Pollo, plantains and flan. A small tent without enough tables and food served in those trough-like paper bowls. Oh well.
Beautiful theater, great seats and seven live musicians on stage. Great show with fifteen beautifully trained young women versed mostly in the Ballet Hispanico, in heeled shoes instead of the French Ballet that everyone knows with those torturous toe shoes. They came out very impressively with their castanets. The Flamenco number included the long trains on the gowns making them look like peacocks or caterpillars. I missed the men who bring such fire to Flamenco.
Afro-Cuban dance was given a brief showing in long white gowns.
The reason I sprung for the tent tickets was for dancing after the show. Surprisingly, it was a Brazilian drum corps for music. The leader did a creditable job bringing the assembled older mostly non-dancers up to enjoy themselves on the tiny floor. "Hola, Hola, Hola!" "Put your hands in the air!"
Then a tiny, dark-skinned carnival dancer in a skimpy outfit with lots of fringe and a headdress appeared to lead us in some line dancing. The step she called Samba is very fast triple steps.
My daughter-in-law and I learned the steps and then I took notes.
Joe sat in the back wishing it were a Salsa band with partnered dancing.
Then the director invited the young performers to come enjoy the entertainment in their matching Listz Alfonso Troupe warm ups. They enjoyed the carnival style for about a half hour and when they left so did we.
40 minutes home, just like Betsy's Ballroom.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Baby steps

At the Portuguese American Association meeting, I saw an oblique mention of work I was involved in. "Plans are underway to refine some of the wording in the Bylaws in order to regain the 501(c)3 non-profit status."
I also talked to a local Portuguese American who said there had been a huge fight when the building was first built. Her ideas of how the building would be used did not jibe with the ones who ended up being in charge. I thought they were too polite to get anything done. Seemingly, there is a tendency towards infighting that I did not know about. I will stay on the edges, innocent of controversy if I can, happy not to be mentioned by name.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Allergic reaction

"Breaking out in hives" seems to be a common result of a shellfish allergy which can develop in adults such as myself after living on Cape Cod for 35 years and eating everything, now I have to be careful.
If I look like I do tonight, I won't need a costume for Halloween! I just hope it settles soon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not my favorite

Probably because I didn't like the whole Rock 'n' Roll theme, I was really bored by last night's show. The music they chose was just loud and frantic which has to be why they only danced Tango and Paso. The music continued loud and frantic with artists I never heard of. No interesting shorts. Audrina left, but I didn't care since she never seems to care herself. Do not give that woman a job on the soaps.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DWTS Best of

So far I saw the end of last night's show and the opening, the viewers' choice, the 10 best all time dances on DWTS. Loved it!! Will have to save that tape!
Also, I am ready to buy a copy on whatever newest technology is most reliable.
I even liked the little notes posted on the side, though I did not appreciate the MASS lottery numbers appearing.
If Maks and Brandy were the top scorers, the rest of the show cannot be all that good.
The Rock 'n' Roll marathon showed the dancers leaving in the order I would have predicted, a foreshadowing of tomorrow's elimination.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Long ago, when we first moved to the Cape, I heard the phrase, "Mercury in Retrograde", a fascinatingly obscure sort of reference from astrology meaning that when that planet goes backwards or something, you can blame any number of mechanical catastrophes on it. But you still have to go through normal channels to fix them.
Our lights began to flicker again this morning, this after a major power surge fried a number of appliances last Monday.
Also I can't seem to download the last of the Flamenco videos I took.
And it's time to program the VCR to record tonight's DWTS!
Meanwhile, my New Age friends tell me Mercury is not at present in retrograde, so I can't blame that.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend choices

As a member of the Portuguese American Association, I will make pies this morning for the Harvest Dinner Dance Saturday.
At 1:00, I teach the dance and stretch class, then I drive off to Stockbridge to meet my sister for a work weekend dealing with our aunts' stuff that got shipped to the three-story mansion/storage facility.
Probably, I'd have gone to the Harvest dinner Dance, but I'd have left early because I'd have gone to the Stage Door Canteen at Camp Edwards for sure.
Home Sunday by 5 PM for Ron's foxtrot.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DWTS 11.5

Season 11 week 5 is now over.
I had some electric problems and the VCR had only a Vague Chance of Recording, so I saw most of the dances on the jumpy feed.
Good for me they had Maks and Brandy show their top-scoring Quickstep again. It was jumpy even without a digital feed. He looks better without the beard, and she seems to be handling him well, a nice girl.
Jennifer Grey showed her nervous side, but danced well again, to good scores.
I also saw Bristol confused by the Jive, dance pretty well.
Rick Fox was hard to judge online since his smoothness is part of his appeal.
Kurt Warner still lets his head drop and they don't say anything. Maybe an injury?
Kyle Massey got penalized for all of Lacey's disco moves in the Foxtrot.
Audrina wasn't going to look sexy since she looks vacant, so the eat-an-onion deal was not necessary, but it is the thing I am going to remember forever. I remember Tony as one of the competition dancers in the Richard Gere movie, Shall We Dance.
Finally, thankfully, Florence and Corky are gone. I believe they stuck Rick and Jennifer up on stage with them just to soften the blow. I would have compared her dancing with Bristol and Kurt, but she has comparable 'star power' to those two.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvest Ball at WHOI

Although the flyer said open to WHOI people and guests, really the event was very welcoming to dancers with few Woods Hole connections.
Awesome band - Dave Richardson outdid himself in getting in some snazzy musicians. He is now at the Buzzards Bay Tavern instead of the Trowbridge.
His website:
Beautiful tent with heaters and sides, plus a very nice floor for dancing.
The grad student dancers made good use of it, though they don't know at their age how rare a good floor is.
Bringing Sam and Ali made us late, but putting the granddaughter to sleep nicely makes the next day so much better. Ali had a wonderful time. We all did.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

West Coast Swing Movie

"Love N Dancing" came out and didn't even hit my radar - maybe West Coast is too far out of the mainstream. Plot: A deaf guy decides to try for the US Open Swing championship with his amateur partner. Both have to disentangle themselves from other people. From the trailer, I have to say Tom Malloy is no John Travolta. Anyway, Linda Succi (another new name) is showing it in Cranston, and I'll try to get hold of it somehow - not the library.

Friday, October 15, 2010

3 is enough

1. Dance & Stretch at 1 PM
2. Flamenco at 7 PM
3. CCBD in Yarmouth as soon as I get there.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Scathing review

The New York Times dance reviewer does not like So You Think You Can Dance, especially the show on tour.
The young dancers are "vapidly appealing", the choreography appalling.
It's fun to read such an excoriating essay, and to know that I will not be spending any money on it, not that I thought I wanted to sit through such a show. The audience is young and adoring, she says.
We are going to our first Broadway show, Fela, the musical about the Nigerian musician activist, with consistently excellent reviews.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bye Sitch

Boring results show.
I went to my favorite TV commentary website to try to identify the singers.
Kim Reed says, "We'd rather have seen Florence eliminated, but Sitch has been released back into the wild for more fist-pumping antics by the beach."
She also said, "It was supposed to be the Tango, not the Lift-go."
So, I miss not getting to see it tonight.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

busy night

With the night off from teaching, we went to see The Social Network, very well done movie, realistic, historic, a bit upsetting to see young people behaving badly. Good for discussion, and I read two New Yorker articles, one about the man, another about the movie.
So - from my tape of DWTS, I saw Jennifer Grey rock the acoustic stage in the round with a brilliant Argentine Tango. Now I believe in her as the winner. Derek must also be a great teacher, though if I magically became DWTS material, I would personally choose Tony.
Audrina focused her eyes much better, but the music was "Somebody to Love" for the Argentine Tango. Why do Jefferson Airplane songs acoustically?
Brandy seems to be working on her comfort zone with Maks, and looked great, though you could hardly see her body with the diaphanous chiffon drape.
Rick Fox's little South American mustache had me convinced when he walked on stage.
Kyle Massey's foot work showed up nicely.
I suppose they want to keep Florence Henderson, but surely they could hire an older dance teacher instead of Corky the ham actor.
Karina calls her partner 'Sich', and she still can't stop laughing, but she said, "He would do anything to keep me safe in a lift." And he did.
I guess the judges are tired of Kurt Warner because they marked him rather harshly.
My choice to leave, looking at the show from a Disney point of view.
Or maybe Bristol Palin who is still uncomfortable.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Local events

WHOI Harvest Ball this coming weekend sounds like fun - food by Chef Roland, Dave Richardson Band with a vocalist, lots of people I know. Maybe too small a dance floor, but what the hey. Plus a good cause, Cape Cod Center for Women.
Ralph Stephens has offered to be the WHOI employee whose guests the dancers are.
Then, Friday November 5, 7PM Rock Against Cancer at the Landfall in Woods Hole features blues rocker Commander Cody Band. "Special light fare available." Food to go with your beer.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Always fun

I'd like a poll of dancers at the Conservatory last night - Did I seem edgy?
The evening moved faster than usual. Plus we ran out of food.
Jay, the guy from the Vineyard, has been studying. I did more Viennese than ever before. My teacher only covers left and right turns. He used whisks, hesitations, a point step, a Very Quick turn, and something else that I didn't recognize but kept going anyway.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Another place - Rhodes

In August, we went to the Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet ballroom in Cranston, RI, the most beautiful ballroom I know, though sometimes hard to find, for the Cavalcade of Bands, and the Providence Federation of Musicians is having another one Tuesday October 26.
It was crowded with social dancers, and a few ballroom dancers were there, too. For $10 advance tickets, it's a bargain - 5:30 to 11 PM.
Inspiring - a battle of the bands is a good idea.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Never heard this word before - means stupid in Brit-speak, from the old Norse 'gaurm' for attention. "That TV show features a bunch of gormless twits."
I never heard of 'ceiling eyes' before either - denoting the tendency to stare off vacantly, sometimes at the ceiling, similarly showing lack of attention. Our 'star', Audrina Pattridge is a prime example, as I read in the DWTS review. There was that clip of her pro, Tony, asking her what was going on and her reply that she just needs to focus. There are rumors it is a medical condition, also affecting Paris Hilton for whom the word was coined. Not an endearing trait, but perhaps forgivable in a dancer.

Monday, October 4, 2010

3 in a row

Another successful evening!
Our studio party did very well with high praise for the lesson and time to visit with old friends and new.
The number of people at the lesson was perfect, and they all could already dance, so they appreciated a nice new step put into a combination.
A "utility step", Ron called it, useful in all the "Latin Motif" dances, so I played the other rhythms for people to work it out. It seemed more like practice time than the dance atmosphere I get at the Conservatory.
Ron stayed to dance with the students, which was just plain nice.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cuban Revolution Restaurant and Bar

The Providence venue was featuring my son's percussion teacher, the Dominican Jesus Andujar and his band, and I had the first Saturday of the month off, so I packed us up for a visit to the always fascinating granddaughter and her parents. After dinner, we went to 60 Valley Street with printed directions - do not visit Providence without a map and or directions, certainly not with a GPS.
We found the converted warehouse space with the band in full swing (not 2 hours late as some Latin bands are). Terrific keyboard, a drummer in addition to Jesus with five congas, and a flautist who took up shakere, guiro and clave at times. They riffed on "Toma Chocolate" before the break. Afterwards, Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" slid briefly into "On Broadway" for fun.
The food was cheap and varied though a bit dull in the spice department, as our son had said. We shared a sandwich in order to keep the alcohol under control, and to try it out. I got a flan to go because I felt sorry for the waiter - too quiet for a Saturday night. Their downtown location gets the crowds.
Joe pointed out to me that there were three attractive women sitting alone, which is unusual. He still surprises me when he notices stuff like that - typical guy, but mostly they wouldn't tell their wives.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

JazzFest Falmouth

Torrential rains in the afternoon tapering off in the evening kept attendance at Falmouth's JazzFest Stroll minimal.
I stayed with Livio Freitas in Puritan throughout except when he took breaks. Mwalim was not at Eight Cousins because his basement flooded. I'd have bought something there.
Next door, the Inkwell bookstore is gone leaving an empty space with a dance floor in front, only a couple of offset pillars. We should have a benefit dance there if the landlord would donate the space for an evening. A trio of teen jazz musicians were there - not danceable.
Then it was onward to Grumpy's where George Gritzbach was part of the JazzFest. The beleaguered town manager was there with a young girlfriend, living it up. I like his ex-wife. An independent candidate for Delahunt's seat was campaigning, but we just danced until the floor got too crowded.
Tonight we will check out a Salsa band in Providence. The leader teaches at the Conservatory. I wish Jon Baptiste best of luck in the recital hall, and we'll be there next week.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sell out

A new initiative brings people in, so we sold out Ron's lesson followed by dance at the Cape Cod Dance Center.
It remains to be seen if it works monthly.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another decent result

After my irritation with Michael Bolton, I was glad to see him go. I guess he couldn't put the time in since he was touring. Celebs don't realize how much work it is. Good pay, though, I'll bet.
This week, will "The Situation" connect to the music? If he can't, I would say he does not "have the guns" after all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Michael Bolton was truly horrible, though I would not say the worst ever, as Bruno did. What about the old rapper who hardly even moved his big feet? At least Michael Bolton seemed to be trying, which must have been what Len appreciated. I never want to see him try to dance again, or have a fight with Chelsie about her language - getting all bent out of shape over a quiet "Whatever".
I think the producers played a nasty trick putting those people out with the hardest dances first. Do they think we prefer to see train wrecks? This is not "When Good Trains Go Bad."

Monday, September 27, 2010


Sometimes just one bookshelf needs more sorting than a whole closet.
My sister offered to sort our mother's papers. I'll go too and support her effort on a joint visit in October.
But before that, I'm the one to sort my own papers. Dance steps written in old notebooks call out for attention. Do I want Lil's Diamond Waltz Step? How about "Boris' Favorite" with a Waltz lock step and run around?
I'll ask Ron Gursky and then study the International basics with him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ta Ria Pi

We have special words in Flamenco to describe the use of the hands in castanet work.
This month, Kati finally put the castanets to Sevillanas and my attention is caught.
So, Ta Ria Ria Pi, Ta Ria Ria Pi,Ta Ria Ria Pi, Ta Ria Ria Chin Pon, Ta Ria Ria Pi.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Hanging out with students, I am examining the promenade. For years, the step meant changing direction and a signal on the lady's back. My dancer from a time warp, Vicenzo, remembers this clearly. I don't want to try to change his dancing because he might not be able to dance then. Also, getting the concept of body lead to wedding couples can be excruciating, not to say impossible.
Teacher's dilemma.
So Tuesday, I presented both to the tiny class and let them choose. They preferred the new way, saying it looked more natural. Now I get to watch them dance and see how they do.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life goes on

In spite of all the bad news and job losses, sign ups have been okay this season, so we seem to be saying, cautiously, we can get through this. The youth will need to learn how to cut back. We need to remember how to be reasonable and responsible. The bankers need to remember this too.
Social dancing continues as pretty cheap and the best do-it-yourself fun there is.
My job as dance teacher includes roles as event organizer, facilitator, coach, and therapist, a good person to have on your team.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dancing with the Stars, Season 11

First off, let me say I was thrilled that the worst dancer left first for once.
Mr. Hasselhoff has the name but not the fans anymore, thankfully. According to his daughters, they made him accept the arduous task of dancing, and he will be just as glad to leave.
Also, world class musician (Carlos) Santana was a pleasure as usual.
In the competition, Margaret Cho was funny! (The comedians never are.) Plus I loved the golden wings she wrapped herself in.
Jennifer Grey was the one who ruined her career by getting a nose job, so I expect her to shoot herself in the foot any time now. When Brooke asked her how it felt to dance to Patrick Swayze's song, she just said it was interesting. Luckily the camera crews caught her weeping in rehearsal. And the very end of the routine, did she really collapse and Derek have to hold her up, almost losing his balance?
Do the costume designers choose bad colors for the dancers on purpose? Anna's red hair clashed with her pink dress where a green one would have been beautiful. Brandy's had that scrunchy front and a color that matched her skin.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A TV Show?

Footage of NBDW Celebration
Footage of Bourne DWTS
Throw in last year's Mary French Memorial, and I have a show.
Usually I edit in January when things are really slow around here.
Now it's time to watch a tape - Bristol Palin! Rick Fox! David Hasselhoff!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Wow

Friday - National Ballroom Dance Week Celebration of Dance sell out crowd.
Saturday - the best Flamenco castanet class ever.
Sunday - ***Dancing with the Bourne Stars***. No calamities.
Much video to edit.
Friends of the Bourne Library made money not just for themselves. People could vote for their favorites using cash. That money went to the couples' chosen charities, so we enriched the community all around.
To me, the important part was that my people had fun and put on a good show. They also learned a lot about dancing. I got compliments on my patience because of my emphasis on basics.
The judges were almost clueless and lost track of their scores, so the final results seemed pretty random, but we knew actual dancing skill was not what the show was about. Bourne people voted for their friends and neighbors, and the applause meter rating went to the couple whose family was seated nearest to the DJ's stand. YAY!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Social dancer/Performer

I got a lesson in performance last night. At the tech rehearsal for Bourne DWTS, we went through the Waltz. I had to stand in for an absent partner, and got judged! I began with the proper stance, but when we got into trouble, I began watching my partner to figure out how to fix where we were going. The practice judges criticized me for losing my posture!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mary French Dance Scholarship

I have finally begun to set up for local scholarship candidates and have a young man who is serious about ballroom dance. He was away in Italy for last year where he took Argentine Tango. Now a senior in high school, he's ready for private lessons with Ron Gursky to prepare him for the ballroom dance competitions in college. One of his college criteria is that they have a ballroom dance team.
I need a teen partner for him, talented and short.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gursky and BYOB

1st Studio Party since the 90s!
Mary had them in the 80s before the Sons of Italy opened. She had little tables even.
I ran some with her to introduce night school students to the space.
So now, we will try again.
October 3, Sunday evening, 6:30 to 9:30 PM, our snacks, BYOB
featuring a Rumba dance lesson by Ron Gursky at 6:30.
Space is limited, so advance reservations are suggested. $15
Call the studio 508 564 6165 or Ellen 508 548 0036

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blues, Country, and Ballroom

The nice dancers at Shemekia Copeland's free concert at the Narrows Festival were West Coast people. They knew the line dancers on Cape Cod and used to go to Pufferbellies. When they went to a ballroom event, they felt left out. I said everybody was too busy dancing to make them feel at home. That's the problem, they agreed.Carmen and Bobby.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Livin' Las Vegas

At the Navigator on Sandwich Road, Falmouth, the Flamingo Room act by Miami Mike and Little Eddie worked very well. Best part - they are good singers, easy to listen to. They allow but do not expect singing along. They greet the audience as people enter and then remember names and characteristics to interact, flirting with the ladies and teasing the men as they perform their song and dance.
I came in late, having got the time wrong, and was placed at a quiet table. Joe stayed home to watch TV tennis, the US Open. Tiny was dancing with Mike, his longish white hair needing styling, but he didn't care. The gay guy at my table cared, but he said he was happy with the atmosphere, very much family including his boyfriend. We danced a bit, just polite slow stuff. Hip hop is his venue.
I had a glass of Portuguese red wine and danced swing with Tiny.
Then a former student spotted me, excellent dancer, no partner now that she's divorced again. Her table was livelier, singing along to Sweet Caroline. I got to lead for a while.
Thumbs up for an entertaining evening.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Off Cape

Tomorrow at Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Shemekia Copeland, Entrain, and others are at a free concert. I have been curious about this venue for years. Hope for good weather because the big names are outdoors. Other perform inside.

Also, the continuously entertaining granddaughter will be coming from Providence with her fabulous parents.
We will quiz them about the October 30 event at the Zeiterion in New Bedford. A Cuban dance company performance is augmented by a tent, dance music and tapas outside.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dance Art/Craft

I met a metal piercer whose art really appeals to me. She can get very dramatic effects with precise cut outs and is interested in trying to do dancers.
The pieces are often sold as ornaments, but a set of ballroom dancers could decorate a wine bottle, a counterpoint to the etched wine glasses that were so popular at last year's Mary French Memorial Dance.
The loss of the Sons of Italy continues to reverberate.
The Portuguese American Association realizes they have more business as a result. They haven't made the connection that even more business is out there. Although they claim to want to finish the building, I have seen no action in my time there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sundays at the Studio with Ron

Ballroom enrichment begins this week.

A new initiative will be a ballroom party with a Ron Gursky Rumba? Chacha? workshop on a Sunday - as soon as September 26? Given the studio size, advance tickets might be necessary. Sometimes something new gets mobbed.

The studio has a new policy for Ron's class series.
Class rates will remain the same ($12 per person per class in a series, $14 per person for individual classes), but signing up for the series will not include make up classes if you have to miss.
Private lessons are still $75.
We need at least 3 couples to sign up to run the Argentine Tango class, and it looks like we will make it for this series of 4.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


We are quite pleased with work of the Friends of the Bourne Public Library, organizers of the event September 19. They are thorough, cooperative, engaged, and thoughtful. My dancers are being pampered, given gowns and make-up as well as dance lessons and tips on posture. Not all will be able to dance, but as long as they are having fun, the show will be terrific. Then Naomi and Jack will provide the polish of a professional performance.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dancing Dog

This dog and partner are tlaented and hard working.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cape Cod Music Fest

Rescheduled to Columbus Day Weekend which is traditionally horrible weather on Cape.
Our club (CIABDA then, CCBD now) held dances on Sundays of that weekend for years because we could not get the Saturday nights at Betsy's. I remember rain that wouldn't stop, and we were blamed for some floor damage.
I'm not going to buy tickets ahead for the music October 10 at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bourne Enterprise

Great article on Bourne Dancing With the Stars with photos of our class.
These people actually enjoy performing, unlike most of my students.
The event seems to be shaping up well. There will be time for the audience to dance, and the DJ says he'll play dance music.
Forty dollars isn't that much considering it's a dinner at the Coonamesset Inn, so some of my students are going.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sol Y Canto vs CCBD

Friday the 17th, a choice between a nice Latin group and our club dance/performance.
Darn. I hate choices like that.
Last time we saw Sol Y Canto, they included their pre-teen girls as performers - dull.
Young performers will probably be part of the NBDW celebration - flashy.
Both DownCape = long drive.
Keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This sounds good

Cape Cod Music & Scallop Festival Sunday, September 5, 2010
Barnstable County Fairgrounds
Rain or Shine - covered event in case of rain What about hurricane?
featuring New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Greg Abate Jazz Quartet, Stage Door Canteen, Daniel Byrnes Quartet (DBQ), and The Rip-it-Ups (featuing founding members of NRBQ) Scallops, Chowder, Lobster Rolls, Quahogs, BBQ, Ice Cream, Beer & Wine

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Montreal choices

Our trip started by moving my mother-in-law back to her assisted apartment in Boston. By the evening in Montreal, so we weren't trying to go anywhere, and our son made dinner.
Thursday, "Ballroom Blitz" 15 piece Swing band was playing at St. Paul's Pub in the old city, "Vieux Montreal", narrow cobblestone streets by the port. We found an excellent restaurant with old world service, so we got to the pub at 11:00. Terrific Lindy Hop dancers were the show in front of the band, but they had room for a couple of East Coast swing dancers over by the side. The band quit at 12:00.
Friday, La Tohu, the circus school in the north of the city, driving distance, had a Salsa band and Fiesta free from 8 to 11. Dave took us to an Indian restaurant in the cheap part of town and came along for the party. As we arrived at 9:15, the band was closing up. I thought another band would come on or they would come back, but for the first time ever, a Salsa band was early. Dancers continued with some very nice recorded music. A few good dancers and a bunch of non-dancers enjoying the music, but not the huge crowd we had experienced at a salsa party downtown a few years ago.
I miss Do Re Mi.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Providence Federation of Musicians

At Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, finally a Tuesday when I could go!
So last week I made all my arrangements, including the husband, and off we went.
God, that place is hard to find, especially when the husband wants to use the (stupid, cheap)GPS.
Almost no singles, though I did see Randy and Kathy, and Duda (what's his first name?) and partner. Joe hates the crowds of little old bad dancing couples, though I think they're kind of cute. One of the bands had singers who weren't able to stay on key. The other three bands were better, but tow of them only got the lobby
I still love that Rhodes on the P. The floor was fabulously fast so my turns were great. He was less pleased with the slipperiness. We went up into the balcony for another view of the dancers. At one point, Joe disappeared, and a Mambo came on while the guy who looked Cuban was unpartnered, so I got to follow another style.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Going to visit our son David in the other country. Do Re Mi closed and all I see are specialty clubs for dancing - West Coast Swing, Salsa. A free Latin festival at La Tohu, the circus school, on Friday night could be completely crowded, but we'll see.
Anyway, I'm gone all week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Great Show

If you like modern dance, the Choreography Project was great fun. I had never heard of Butoh, a 50s Japanese school of movement, so there was an education - not my favorite pieces, but both were short enough.
Studio 868 out of Chatham collaborates with Cape Cod Dance Center and has some college dance majors there for the summer. I loved "Moon and Stars" choreographed by a young man to the music I immediately bought this morning, "Christofori's Dream". That studio also contributed an elaborate "Toast" with charming rolling benches and rolling table for a dance transcription of a family feast. They had videotaped the evening and groupings changed with the rhythms of actual interactions, edited of course, down to about ten minutes.
Eveline's modern dance class must be great fun. "Ruby" allowed seven women, dressed in black, structured improvisation with as much drama as they pleased. Her ballet class danced to hip-hop music.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Choreography project

Tonight, at the Cape Cod Dance Center, local dancers are getting together to present a free performance at 7 PM, the Choreography Project. Modern dance is a favorite of mine, unlike ballet. Maybe I should rename my blog...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I am very happy to be including the elbows in the dance frame from the very first lesson. People look better right away. I think it puts them on alert so they don't slouch as much. The Stars of Bourne especially have to look good. The one lady could have gone to Dance and Stretch, but instead I had to be very firm with her in class. Posture is crucial!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

News Flash

Going for the Labor Day First Saturday after all - by popular request.
Several groups of dancers are ready for the practice time, including the Bourne Dancing With The Stars group who will perform September 19.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lauren's In

Like they say, "They're all winners in the top ten," and all seem to have contracts to tour with the SYTYCD show, but Lauren got the prize money. No tiara, though she would have looked good in one. I wonder if she will now sleep for a couple of days. She reminds me of our granddaughter Sloane, so gorgeous, busy and full of pep. Sloane needs her sleep, though she will try to go on and on forever.
A good finale.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Physiology book

Ms. Todd maintains that "even in the best human machine, only 15 per cent of the total energy is available for conscious purposes; 85 per cent is used in the vegetative processes - heart action and so on. Any impairment would require new energy, and the only source to draw upon is the 15 per cent."

And in other news, the "Bunny Pop" is the new favorite on the two-year-old circuit. My iPod calls it the Bunny Hop, but Sloane knows best. Get a video, Gramma Boppie!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Thinking Body

by Mabel E. Todd
A text from 1937, this is still a book to read to understand yourself in terms of your body. 73 years later, I hope she is now wrong when she says, "Many of us still feel a squeamish distaste when bone and muscle are mentioned. Confidently ignorant of what goes on under our skin, we go about our daily doings absolutely dependent on what lies within, but with no more interest in it than a dog has in his anatomy."

Thursday, August 5, 2010


The episode is recorded because we missed the first half. Now let's see if Ali and I watch it. Maybe, since Sloane likes to hang out in the Rec Room. Prediction: Adechike goes. Was that why he cried?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bourne Dancing With the Stars (BDWTS)

Tonight is the first lesson for the Bourne Stars, organized by the Friends of the Bourne Public Library. Their dance competition will be September 19, a fundraiser at the Coonamesset Inn. They don't even know it's National Ballroom Dance Week!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cape Cod Mall Food Court

I just heard about the plans for super screens at the Cape Cod Mall food court. Apparently they are including texting which I don't know how it will work. Undoubtedly there will be more intrusive advertising.
And our beautiful Ballroom Dance Week Celebration is out again!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010


That's the word for Billy, a style that does not resonate with viewers, so we were not surprised he and Jose, the dancer with the least training, left SYTYCD. I loved Billy's solo, and feel that was another example of judges not using solos to decide.
My feeling is that the judges knew who they were going to boot and they just put Lauren in the bottom three to add drama. (Oh, No! No girls at all???)

The competition show was fun, what I saw of it, with little skinny Billy playing a homeless person meeting husky Ade with a briefcase, the black man getting to be the successful corporate type. I forgot to record, but lately, watching the recording feels like work, so I was happy with the second hour.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kati's Matinete

The matinete is a Flamenco rhythm based on the hammer and anvil of a blacksmith.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dance drought

On Upper Cape Cod this July, I have not seen dance opportunities. I have had a lot of company, but I still look for reasons to leave them on their own for an evening.
This weekend, it doesn't rain, it pours.
Flamenco Friday and Saturday
Flipside Blues at the Woods Hole Community Hall Saturday
Ron Gursky at Cape Cod Dance Center Sunday
CCBD dance at Betsy's - the community of Cape dancers gets together, even if it is in Yarmouth.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

easy company

The beautiful 2-year-old has favorite songs and dance moves. Now that she can talk, she keeps asking for things, like that same song AGAIN!
They left, replaced by Dave and Marie-eve who live in Montreal. Wow, is that ever less work!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Sometimes you want to be there, but often it's nice to be able to say, "Gotta go! Have fun on your own!"
Of course, you have to love your job.
Last night, brook trout arrived from Vermont, and I had a taste before I left.
I'd already made Bavarian Cream for dessert.
My mother-in-law had company to listen to her stories.
All my life I have watched myself so as not to repeat.
When I'm 93, I won't care any more.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 3

I wonder about a holiday weekend like this, but with this many people in town, it seemed like a good bet some would show up. Weekenders and visiting family were stars of the show, joining into the family waltz seamlessly.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Making goodies for my dance can be a joy if I have time.
I just read "Confections of a Closet Master Baker" by Gesine Bullock-Prado, mostly about her family, the German opera singer mother and baker grandmother, and her movie star sister and having to leave LA for being too phony.
I didn't get the joke until she detailed possible names for her pastry shop in Montpelier, Vermont - "Master Baker! Beat it and Eat it" I tend to ignore book titles.
I made her extremely buttery fruit tart for the oldest boy (Sloane doesn't get sweets yet)
Now it's tiny almond chocolate macaroons rolled in sugar and frozen before baking?!
Nice cool weather for baking today.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Performance Art

An excellent show last night.
The clear loser, even to me and probably to the viewing audience was that boring tap dancer unable to pull off a Salsa routine even though her family is Colombian.
The young Asian guy, revealed to be a member of the Miami ballet already, pulled out all the stops to be a Hip Hop dancer. His solo also rocked with a clear progression and satisfying ending. Often these young dancers seem to just be pulling out their tricks to their favorite music even though they know they have 30 seconds.
Kent also timed his choreography, showing himself to be a serious competitor even though his persona is a boy from the sticks having a good time. In the performance, I felt like the weird crossed suspenders were a good metaphor of how he could have connected more with the partner even though he has that persona to keep up. Her outfit was classy sexy, and with a more serious look, he would have matched instead of looking distracted.
Robert picked a favorite piece of music, the Ray LaMontagne "Hold On Forever", and seemed to ignore the building tension in the song, not up to the performance standard.
Another visit from Sloane meant I was too exhausted to vote.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dancing skirt

Pink and shiny gold. Sloane takes up with bits of cloth to hold onto and play with at naptime. This however is kind of scratchy, so I've just whipped up a tiny skirt for tiny person dancing. Jump and turn! at the same time is her new move.
They say, "It's all about the dress," and that certainly plays into the fun of dance.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Once again we wonder if AC would be good for the little studio in Cataumet.
The exhaust fan does a good job, and most of the time, the air cools at night on Cape Cod. The humidity was thick last night, but we just went into Bolero and melted our steps.
A straw poll revealed the students preferring fans. Sometimes the AC can make you feel ill.
Not that it's up to me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tango & Futbol

Argentina beat Mexico and advances in the 2010 World Cup. Was it the Tango?
Sunday, I peeked at Ron's class at the Cape Cod Danced Center, Tango devotees for years now. Boy, did they look good.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SYTYCD with Ali

My daughter-in-law has a surer sense of dance judgment, so watching the show with her is fun. We are tired of Nigel. That remark he made to the young blond dancer, "Do you have a sway back?" was just weird. Mia said it was her costume and nice butt.
We noticed an awful lot of costume and choreography criticisms which the dancers have no control over. We disliked several costumes as well, notably the "Earth Mother" and the "Slave Gladiator". Tyce is a least favorite overall, including his choreography.
Lovely dancers, however.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meryl's Music

By chance, Sloane's mother and I took her to Meryl's Music at Arts Alive on Sunday.
It was a pleasant little class with nice instruments. Perhaps a tiny bit canned.
The songs were age appropriate, naturally simplistic, targeted at the 2 to 5 year old. Specific education goals were being reached. Folk songs do the same thing with deep layers of meaning embedded, so I was pleased with "I've Been Working on the Railroad". Their version of Goin' for a Ride in the Car, Car" was not quite as good.
As for dance, the instructor did not suggest it, and only Sloane stood up to move to the music.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice

Batches of flowers have finished their bloom for the year.
Some cultures dance all night.

The first visitors are my beloved, lovable granddaughter and her parents.
My mother-in-law has followed.
Keeping up with the rest of my life happens at nap time.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Matinete at Arts Alive

Last night in our our a month Flamenco class, we got a new and difficult rhythm, similar to clave, but with a different phrasing, 1 (2), 2 (2), 3 (2,3, 4 (2,3), 5 (2), AKA Short, short, long, long, short. Traditionally beat out with an anvil and hammer, the slow progression can be hypnotic, but never to the point where you can forget to think.
I loved it. I love any of the slower rhythms of Flamenco, stomped out on a wooden floor.
Come see a sample class at Arts Alive Sunday, Falmouth Library lawn, somewhere around 2 PM. One of the students, Hortense Gerardo, is presenting her play at 2:00, so we might wait for her. That perfromance or the craftspeople will pass the time beautifully, especially if it's a glorious June day like today.
I showed up to see Java Swing Band last night at 5:00. They were very good, with Jeff Myers, retired Conservatory director, on drums.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More than a competition

SYTYCD is a combination of audition and contest, with the show element as well very strong. These young dancers have studied the many elements of movement and performance, or if they haven't, they learn or are voted off. That's why I prefer it to the ballroom competitions for young people where the one style dictates their dance.

All those tiny dancers make Cat Deely look like a giant - or a mother, which sometimes is needed for those kids.

The elimination seemed to come too soon. I suppose they had 20 and eliminated 2 at a time, so this is the same in some ways. Only 3, all girls, danced for their lives. Will we find the male athleticism dominant and all the girls go first? Alexie had a lot of potential and will certainly go far.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"American Dancer"

A good issue of the USA Dance organization just arrived. They struggle to get material, I think. Jean Krupa wrote three articles herself, one a sales pitch for the USA Dance Cruise.
New in this issue, The Public Eye, with web suggestions like "Move" the Film. and
Missing were the selections from local chapter newsletters which can be hokey, but sincere and a big thrill if your name gets in. Also easier to relate to than the competition articles.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I was wrong

Arts Alive is this week. I can see the Java Swing Band at 5 PM Friday because I don't want to see Groovy Afternoon at 9:00 even if they are billing it as the Town Dance.
In other news, Stage Door Canteen at Liam's tomorrow, at the Buzzards Bay Gazebo on July 1 and at the Peg Noon Park on July 2.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Students

A couple just for the week - in from LA, visiting an aunt in West Falmouth - and they loved my class!
In their city, they go to the studio where the Stars (DWTS)have their lessons, and the ballroom is competition training. It sounded like the teacher was more interested in keeping them happy than in getting them to dance. "She's very nice. She never criticizes."
For social dancing, there's only Argentine Tango or Salsa.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Prom at Betsy's

Thank you, CCBD, for the idea, the photos, the fun and games. Sorry I didn't get to see who was crowned in person, but surely there will be photos at the website soon.
Jack Gilmore had some great musical selections in the theme.
I was just catching onto the Stroll when it was over - too bad.
The Celtics won.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day of Portugal

The dinner dance at the local club went very well - better than expected, but that's how it goes if you don't expect much. Pro-mix does a good job with the beat, and the little Portuguese Polka/Two-step was very much in evidence (quick, quick, slow). We tried to waltz, but it was very much a Viennese. The floor is still too small for a real Waltz anyway.
I'm still working on moving the construction along.
The Ellisons, veterans of dancing every night in Arizona, always have a good time there. Gus and Zelda, recent immigrants, look great.
Now that I'm a member I know even more of the people there - not as many as Joe who works in the trades. My pal is the retired banker who can talk on the phone.
Every event has a different volunteer chef. This time Lucy was in charge of the kitchen so the Bacalao was delectable, with just the bit of salted cod for flavor - caciola and roasted chicken also great, bread very fresh. Salad was only disappointing because I'm eating my own lettuce every day. An exotic dessert was a little custardy pie with cinnamon.
To get our 501(c)3 designation back, how about Portuguese Cooking classes?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Just My Imagination

"The most mellow song ever," said the father of the groom.
They chose that for their song after hearing that they had to dance.
Turns out they were very capable and able to manage a rumba with crossovers during the single lesson. I hope they come back after the wedding, but I won't count on it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dance for days

My students drop out if they have to dance three nights in a row!
Must be all that Pilates core muscle work that keeps me going.
And the support of my family and home.
But don't forget passion

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dance Teachers at the Wianno

Sitting next to dance teachers, as a dance teacher, I got a couple of comments to share.
From Naomi Turner, "Watch their backs!" which is to say, the best dancers will use their back muscles when they dance. People just doing steps will not.
From Jack Kelly, creativity can happen on both sides - the woman dancing can be a co-creator if her partner is watching what happens when she dances. His next move depends on where she lands. If he isn't trying to be completely in control, life can be beautiful.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Big Dances

What makes a dance important is how much you're expected to dress up.
Meanwhile, the dance teacher hopes that all year you have been working on what's inside the dress, your form, posture especially, which has been a big request on my part all this year.
I'll be looking at all the fashion and fabric, which I love, and hoping to see the bodies move with grace and pride.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Just My Imagination

The song chosen by the parents of the groom for their dance as requested by the wedding couple. I have hopes for an easygoing rumba. Meanwhile the father of another bride has no idea as to what song to use. He is anxious, so I will try him on "Isn't She Lovely" or maybe the Paul Simon "Father & Daughter" song. Perhaps he will settle on "What a Wonderful World".

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chan's of Woonsocket

Friday, We went to the Famous Chan's of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Chinese Restaurant and Blues Bar, to see Debbie Davies whose CD of original songs "Tales From the Austin Motel" has the particularly danceable "Half-Caf Decaf" & "Percolatin'".
On our way to the family reunion in Stockbridge, we figured we could break up the trip and miss traffic. Gotta say we would have been disappointed if we had driven there special. The food was very dull. The room was nice and the audience enthusiastic, but they had covered up the dance floor with tables.
Another adventure off Cape.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

STUFF: Compulsive hoarding by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee

Hoarding is not a new phenomenon, but only now being studied. I thought my mother was deprived because of her Depression childhood, and modern consumerism made her want more, but her behavior corresponds to many other people with rooms full of stuff, 5% of the population.
She has the heightened appreciation of the world, and that has been good for us, her children.
She gets stuff not for materialist ends - her collections are not for status, but to save the unappreciated.
The third floor of the house was great for that, until the stairs got to be too much.
She gave up and let me clean it out. Yay! Progress!
Visiting her means I don't want any more stuff myself.
I will collect only dance steps.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Three hours, but luckily I'd already seen the first one. I got several sewing projects done in the ads. Cleaned out my mending basket.
Also, I recorded the dances so I have maybe 10 minutes of content. Not as good as the guy in Florida's hour DVD, but similar. I wrote him and got no response though I included a prepaid postcard. Not really surprised. Surely illegal to distribute.
I'm trying to imagine where I could do that work of putting together VCR clips. I don't want to own that much equipment. Video is such a pain.
Anyway, back to Nicole Scherzinger. Congratulations to her. She earned the mirror ball trophy. Len said it before it was officially decided. Her talent and performing ability beat out the equally hard working Evan Lysachek who actually held down another job at the same time, the skating show, traveling the whole time. Interesting that he gets to actually freestyle on ice during that show. Free style, meaning no choreography, no having to be in sync with the partner.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I don't think they should have made the finalists do 4 dances. We get an inferior product if the people are overworked.
Anyway, looks like sleeping with the dance teacher might help, if Erin ends up winning. With Maks, it seems like that would help him to act less bored. For that reason, Disney would choose another winner.
Derek is a Mormon, so we think he might have a lot of self control as far as sex goes. That could be nice for Nicole who has probably had to do a lot of sleeping around on her way to the top of the girl group business.
I think Evan would have done better with Anna Demidova who is a tall woman. That was an odd segment with Anna Trebunskaya in tears, finally having to bring in another choreographer for the freestyle- who bombed according to the judges.
Two more dances tonight. I predict Disney goes with the gold medalist again, but maybe Nicole because of her rags to riches story.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Looking for Patterns

That's what our brains do, so if everything is going well, we think it's a pattern, but really the seeds of disaster have been sown and we didn't realize it as we went along while everything was working so well. Don't trust it!
As I work through events and classes, sometimes I get blindsided.
Classes were good all week.
The Stage Door Canteen dance at the Cotuit Center was great. Love that floor.
As for Portuguese Americans, they are very cautious - only a little progress.
On the home front, Joe was going to take Ron's lesson when I got the call that classes were canceled because Ron was sick, so he went to play tennis and injured himself.
Will the VCR work tonight? It's still only a 75% chance in my book.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Talent

"The Talent just returned!" I said just last night.
In this little group class, one couple moves easily to the music, though he doesn't listen or apply himself to learn any new steps. She follows very well, but would like clearer clues, which would happen if he paid attention to what he was doing.
To the solid students, I said quietly, "But we all know that people who work at it go farther."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Fair Lady

The new younger owner was really looking for vintage, and I had what she wanted, stuff from my mother's third floor closets, everything before 1990, mostly from the 1950s, flowered summer dresses, embroidered shirtwaists, batiks and tie dye. I told her my mother is a recovering hoarder. She gave up on the third floor. I doubt I'll get to help her with the second floor. The new book on hoarding at least appreciates the good in the syndrome, finding the good in things, as hoarders do. They just don't know when to stop. My mother was pleased that someone would want the stuff. WE know they will if they'll pay for it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pleasant results

The worst dancer left the show. Chad Ochocinco, my husband says, "Isn't that good a wide receiver either." He has made a name for himself, however.
I'd never seen Sarah McLaughlin and loved her.
Meanwhile, "Continuing her effort to grow-up and shed her Hannah Montana persona, Miley Cyrus performed her single "Can't Be Tamed", surrounded by dancers in strange costumes and hairdos. I guess her fan base is now 13, a tiresomely rebellious age.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Yowzer! Great performances last night on DWTS.
Looking at Donnie Osmond in the audience, I was thankful we weren't watching him. Our intrepid host, Tom, noted the caliber this season, calling this episode "my favorite show ever."
No word from Florida, so I'll try to figure out how to save a batch of these performances together on one DVD without judges, ads, or background packages, though where the stars came from was nice to see, and a good sell for Chad and Nicole as well.
Nicole is amazing, not my usual word, but willing to work incredibly hard, like Evan, so both of them are constantly impressive.
No great music this time. "Kiss" as a Cha cha when it makes a much better West Coast Swing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mob Dance

Something different. Our son and his wife suggested we all go to the Institute of Contemporary Art, the ICA on Boston's waterfront that specializes in avant garde. Emerging Artists was the theme. As we waited by the door for the sold out show, dancers performed with a man with a sprinkler hose and a plant. Inside, we were part of Chatroulette that I just read about in the New Yorker Inventors issue. Then the dance part had a drum troupe and something I've seen online. Ali had the name - Mob Dance - where they arrive ready to dance together in a what might be also called a line dance. Arms up, arms down, crouch, turn, etc.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Here's a press release from Javier Arroyo
On Sun May 30, Memorial Day Week-end, Salsa Night Band will be performing live @ Pufferbellies in Hyannis. Salsa Dancing lessons by Pepe Leyva and Latin DJ, to be announced. Ticket sales $15, $20 at the door. Dance lessons start at 8:30. For more info call (508) 333-3376 or e-mail . 21 + event. "See ya at the dance floor"

Here's what I said to Javier:
Joe and I are out of town that weekend.
Also, last time you were at Pufferbellies, your band didn't show up until 11:30.
My dancers are middle aged people who are used to going to bed at 11:00.
Also, that space is huge and echos, so I can't recommend it.
Boston DJs are usually very loud and play House (even if they're Latin DJs).
Nothing will compare to the concert at the Heritage Plantation which was the best ever.
I will forward to Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers who might be interested in the dance lessons.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nicole & Jai Ho!

The Hawaiian girl with Russian and Filipino ancestry is thought to be Pakistani, it seems, because the Pussycat Dolls did an English version of Jai Ho! with disappointing lyrics. Instead of "Under the blue tent of the sky", it was "You can have your way with me." I'll stick with the Hindustani version even if I offer it as a possible Salsa song. As far as speed goes and infectious drums, it qualifies. Shall we make it a line dance like "Thriller"?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DWTS quarterfinals

I got the Paso on tape. Now I want it as part of a series, "Best Of DWTS"
I liked the Purdue dance team better, though the judges didn't, basing their opinions on the choreography.
Nicey is gone - less famous than Ochocinco.
And I always enjoy The Gypsy Kings. Didn't even need the dancers accompanying them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Truly 30

That final dance last night was too fabulous. Derek has really grown as a choreographer, rising to the challenge, adding fun stuff for himself, really enjoying himself. Paso skirts can be wonderful and Nicole this week had one of the best.
Anna's robot routine was good, Mr. Spock meets Barbarella in Chacha Trek, 3D, as Bruno said.
Bad news: VCR mistake so I don't have any of it on tape. I saw the one dance live, but for the rest of the show, streaming is even worse than before. Worked for the Futuristic pieces, Rita and Gary Gehkman and Evan and Anna, which are kind of disjointed anyway.
What I really want is something I saw in Florida, a set of clips of the best performances - all the routines that got 30 and some of the 29s. That was homemade. I will write the guy. Probably won't be available from ABC/Disney what with all the people to clear it with.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Days off

Going to visit my mother and sort stuff.
Maybe a prom dress or two.
Can we have a thrift store exchange on premise at CCBD's Senior Prom?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Janet C.'s video

Remember the book I read a few weeks back? Well, she has a website with video of her Samba showcase, and it's a terrific routine. I expected no less. She is a classy and gusty lady.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Viennese Music?

I will never forget an early dance teacher training class when we were to choose the dance to the song - "What a Wonderful World". The fellow I was partnered with and I decided Viennese waltz.
No, Silly! Slow Dance, what Mary called One-step and Arthur Murray called Foxy.
But I see that type of music chosen as Viennese on DWTS all the time, for instance the gorgeous Ray La Montaigne songs "Hold on Forever" and "Trouble"
Traditional Viennese has an oom-pah-pah feeling while this will be very smooth. Gotta try it out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bye, Pamela Anderson

They just couldn't stop talking about her top half, "top-heavy". Little DWTS jokes. But true that her footwork seemed lacking. Interesting that Tom said they had been trying to get her on the show since Season 1. You wonder how she would have done against Season 1 winner Kelly. Maks was wrong that you only remember the winner. I remember second place Season 1, John O'Hurley who said his career was revitalized. Who could forget Maks' partner Laila Ali? I'd have forgotten Brooke Burke if she hadn't shown up as co-host.
Maybe I will do 2 entries for DWTS per week. I hold off from reviewing the show and then I talk about results first as if the Monday competition weren't the heart of the show and really much more interesting. I do my sewing during the results show.
I thought Erin rocked, and voted all my votes for her. Nicole is sounding a bit whiny, maybe she is used to getting choreography for her strengths instead of the discipline of the specific dance style. I am glad Evan got the 30, but actually didn't like the dance all that much. Perhaps it was Cheryl's choreography - Gilles' Argentine blew me away. Evan is also tall, dark and handsome, though his voice is dull, especially compared to the Frenchman (who didn't get the mirror ball trophy either, Maks). Nicey dances pretty well, and I hope she outlasts Chad who continues to look insouciant.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


If you send a foot out without any weight and then gather yourself on top of it, are you moving your foot like a pseudopod?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Something different

The weaving of ribbon onto the Maypole worked!
Take six 10-foot ribbons attached to the top of a five foot pole, held up by an illustrious presence. Add six people, three going clockwise, and three counter-clockwise, alternating their ribbons to go over and under the next person's ribbon. There, that wasn't so hard!
I had a jazzy Hava Nagilah song which is as folk dancey as my iPod gets.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back to Lori Martin

I trekked over to Osterville yesterday morning for the super Pilates class with the teacher who always manages to target abs without involving anything else. Three-day sore stomach muscles.
I also read an article on the "Appetizer Effect", the way the taste receptors on the tongue tell the brain to eat faster if the food is particularly good, i.e. rich. Once the fats reach the stomach, other receptors tell the brain when we have eaten enough. If you eat fast enough, you can get too much fat into your system before the hypothalamus can get you to stop. Atul Gawande wrote about an obese man who couldn't stop eating until he got the gastric bypass surgery. Even then, it took a year for his hypothalamus to re-set.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Maypole Dance

I've set up a pole with ribbons. Apparently dancers weave the ribbons by walking in opposite directions. Folk music. It will only take 2 minutes, so why not?
And I made rhubarb cookie bars.
Must be spring.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baby Steps

The Portuguese American Club consists of good solid people and a gorgeous unfinished building. I don't want to offend, so I did not use the word 'shame' last night when introduced myself and said what I wanted to do - find money for them. The building committee said they have some money in the building fund and an appointment to get the anti-fire sprinkler system installed, an important step
Dinner was Soupish, a bread soup served with cabbage, potatoes, beef, and sausage. The exotic touches were the stems of mint, which I thought was kale until I ate it, and the cubes of boiled suet, which I did not eat.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Darn that result

Tried to vote Monday, but got home too late. I would have tried to keep Jake and failed. Would that have been worse?
Disney is employing Evan in their Stars on Ice show, so they have an interest in keeping him, but they don't mind a little drama in putting him down in 5th place. He needs drama since his voice is so dull. I'm enjoying his sense of humor, always delivered in the deadpan voice.
Nicole is still great, but I did expect more bounce.
Erin's outfit was fabulous on top with the fantasy flowers - until you saw the weird purple fuzzy skirt.
The progress of the dancers is certainly nice to see. I was taping over the show with Buzz Aldrin (whom I did not watch) and saw bits of the other dancers, so their improvement was more obvious when I sat down to see this one.
That Argentine Tango really brought out the best in Nicey, Chad and Pamela. Maybe Ron Gursky's claims even work on that level. Ron said it had improved all his dancing, based on his dance partner's observation. His competition partner left for a year, and he did only Argentine. On her return, she said he had improved, and did not believe he hadn't done the standard dances.
One problem with Pamela is that her face is twice as big as her partner's. He has that tiny little scrunched up face with Muppet hair on top. Large faces help actors, I hear. I don't think the messy brunette wig helped her look either.
I looked in on American Idol where they gave Siobhan the end spot and all liked her singing, even Simon Crowell. On that show, you can't vote until you've seen all the contestants, unlike DWTS where people call in their favorites without even seeing them dance.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mary French Dancer

Funny about the open house because I expected more people, but turns out there was no announcement in the paper, so it was okay to get just a few from the old days with Mary French. Sandy King said she recently got a comment she took as a compliment - being called a Mary French dancer. Joe and I were certainly ones as well. Sandy didn't ask exactly what it meant, maybe the viewer recognized the figures they do best, the ones Mary always taught.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Big Weekend

While I was away, dancers went to April in Portugal at the Navigator in Falmouth, music by Pro-Mix. Reports are that the band and the dinner were very good. The dance floor is almost adequate, but we're really looking forward to the upstairs getting done.
I got back for Samba at the Cape Cod Dance Center, Ron Gursky's angle on the basic Samba steps. Next week, he fixes Voltas.
And the organization of stuff at my mother's house went well too.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Get Ready

I'm going to deal with a room full of my mother's cloth and clothing, collected over 50 years. I used to give her things because she liked to save them - No More!
I'll be back for the Open House on Sunday - I wonder how it will go.
Anyway, I'm packing and setting up this side of Thursday.
Tonight I meet the Portuguese American Club Board. I'm moving kind of slowly because I'm trying not to push. They may be Old Country types who do not appreciate pushy women. Pushy women get things done! but don't tell them I said that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now it begins

Knock off the hopeless dancers and the competition can begin.
Bye, Kate. She sort of settled down last week, and then she just was ready to go to sleep!
Chad Ochocinco should maybe go next if he can't stop hitting on Cheryl. He's is distracting himself from the task at hand, standing up straight and performing.
Nicey dramatizes rather than dancing - no footwork.
(Forgot Pamela Anderson, so when does she go?)
Jake seems like an example of a performer getting into show business by a back door - as the Bachelor. Plus he seems to love to dance.
Erin is equally committed to doing well.
I'm hoping for Jake and Erin to battle for third place.
We need to watch Evan and Nicole until the end.
I might even have to vote next week.
During ads, I switched over to American Idol and saw most of Siobhan's song.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wedding quotation

A really beautiful wedding Saturday - Highfield Hall, Stage Door Canteen, Roland's Catering, and a ceremony with quotes from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift From the Sea.
"A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold tightly because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free."
"They know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together and being invisibly nourished by it."
"Perfect poise on the beat is what gives good dancing its sense of ease, of the timelessness of the eternal."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quoting Janet Carlson

"I've been dancing steadily since Valentine's Day. I have taken countless lessons and classes, passed a professional certification exam, done several shows and a competition - yes, dressed in those outrageous gowns and false eyelashes - and then gone back home to the kids, the soccer, the homework, and to work the next day.
This new period has been rich - as rich in some ways as having my two children because it has been a kind of birth - but it has also been extraordinarily painful thanks to the self-examination that dancing has provoked in me. And so, because of dance, I can say unequivocally and gratefully, that I am alive at last."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Quick, Before the Music Stops by Janet Carlson

Subtitled "How Ballroom Dancing Saved my Life", this personal history caught my eye at I'm happy for her that she feels better in her life, and enjoyed the look at the ballroom competition world from a student's eye.
Janet Carlson writes for Town and Country magazine, so you see her frame of reference, the insulated NYC rich, far from the down to earth characters we think of ourselves on Cape Cod. The money to take endless private lessons and enter the competitions is beyond our reach. She relates her problems with her husband that end in an amicable divorce. She loves her daughters. The connection of leading and following is the part that saves her life and illuminates various parts of her psyche.
The nicest thing she does, in my opinion, is to run social dances on a Caribbean island with Bill Davies, a beloved teacher I met once at an event Mary took me to in Boston, teacher training for the International Style.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Liam's floor

Sticky floors + Stage Door Canteen mean a knee twinge.
Turns done with too much knee, which I fixed by getting a core muscles.
Nice batches of people were there, including the Woods Hole Swing teacher, Bill Rozlansky, now retired to fatherhood.
BYW I had to move the stretch class to the CCDC for the day. Good knee therapy will go on.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Initiative

My idea for PR:
Cape Cod Dance Center and Ellen Brodsky will host an Open House Sunday April 25 at 1 PM.
Ballroom dancers are invited to view the remodeling at the former Mary French Studio.
The open house will be followed at 2 PM by a Samba Styling lesson with Ron Gursky, open to all, $14 per person, or as part of a month-long series, $12 per class.
Week 1: Samba Enlightenment: A master teacher's take on the dance based on Brazilian carnival dancing,
suitable for all dance levels - simple steps given better styling
Week 2: The Volta, a step that trips up Samba dancers for intermediate dancers only
Week 3: The Natural Roll, a very showy step beloved by more advanced dancers
Week 4: Pivots - a step useful in many dances, de-constructed for the advanced dancer applied to Samba.

I picked steps I really want to work - for me as well as for everybody else.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Aiden's gone

Time was a handsome guy could stay on DWTS on looks alone.
Of course, I don't really believe our votes are more important than corporate decisions.
Disney has its own agenda. Maybe they have a story line planned: "Dance will soothe Kate Gosselin's unquiet heart" (with an agreement that she would spend at least 3 shows behaving badly).
I'm also surprised at Louis putting in the spiritual angle for Nicey's Rumba.
Jake reminds me of that cowboy who was so good.

Monday, April 12, 2010

International Bronze Foxtrot done

That was a couple of months and an interesting Sunday group. Ron delivered the idea of constant gliding with quick turns. Not completely absorbing like the Argentine Tango, obviously, since that group has grown.
The time, Sundays at 2 PM, also cuts the day off in a funny place.
What next?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Following - it's not so bad

I had another group of couples with intelligent women to talk into following.
Just for the 2 minutes of the song - then we'll talk.
Just while you're dancing - not the rest of your life.
And if he goes off the music, usually it's because he goes too fast, so if you resist speeding up, you're not getting ahead of him.
Still - it's not all that easy either. But it's a good trick to learn.

Friday, April 9, 2010


A pleasant evening of dinner/dance last night - Thursdays. Yarmouth is a hike for Falmouth folk, but we wanted to see what it was like. The Bart Weisman Jazz Group is interested in playing for dancers and plays quite danceable tunes, the standards that people relate to, though often faster than we expected.
Besides us, two members of CCBD danced, Ron and Marie, students of Steve and DeeDee.
Other people enjoyed the music and danced with more or less success. Joe asked the most enthusiastic lady and then had to deal with her trying to lead.
Actually Doug and Kimberley ate there, but he has just gotten over the flu, and they are running a dance tonight at Betsy's.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

American Idol

My first time watching this very popular show - the local girl, Siobhan Magnus is on for another week at least. April 6 was Lennon-McCartney night, good songs, and she chose "Across the Universe", a song without the high notes that have been irritating people, an beautifully sung.
Then Simon Crowell asked her what the song meant to her.
Tears and an invocation of family, the little sisters, all very touching, but if "Nothing's gonna change my world", maybe she doesn't want a record contract. Then her world changes. To me, the song is about the blinders people put on themselves in order to ignore the possibility of change. He kind of hit the nail on the head.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DWTS stories

Since they always have stories as part of their choreography, this week it was just permission to use props.
Most effective prop - Maks' blindfold.
Most props obscuring the dance - Jake & Chelsea's Egyptian statuary (where do they get the stuff?).
Story that made me cry - Buzz & Ashly homecoming (probably the music).
Kate was once again horrible. People must like seeing her do badly since Buzz went home. I think his wife got to use the money for a brand new face lift.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nobody looked lost

An unusual First Saturday - no brand new beginners with "I'm lost!" radiating from their bodies. For the first hour, I set the group onto a style of dance, reminding them of how the basic works, and then they all amused themselves, leaving me free to keep track of the music and answer questions, and greet people. A nice showing for Easter Saturday.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Flamenco documentary

Friday, April 2, 2010

Liam's April First

In Falmouth for the dancing fools, Buzzards Bayou performed a rocking version of their Cajun sound. Amy and Jonathan Larkin's fiddle and accordion are at the heart of the band and could be heard in the early sets. Eric and Loretta had a nice Cajun two-step. Joe and I enjoyed waltz and swing.
Later, the electric guitar, washboard, drums, and Glenway Fripp's electric bass took over. "Zydeco is the black dance music of South West Louisiana which fuses old Creole tunes and rhythms with blues and soul and more recently funk and hip hop to create an infectious dance groove designed to fill the floors worldwide."(internet source)
The floor was pretty full with freestyle dancers while we did our salsa.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

online episode

"I have to say"(to quote Bruno) online episodes are not good enough.
The transmission is jerky. The whole point of watching is the way the bodies in motion flow to the music, and if the digital camera or whatever is at fault does the little jump to the next frame missing a half second, there is no fascination even in Nicole's performance. Do they think because the music flows, it's okay?
I tried Firefox and Explorer and they had the same little blips, so has to be at fault. Last year was not like this, so I know it can be done. Next week, I have get it on nice smooth tape. It was an electricity failure this time, I think. A one second loss at noon can make the machine forget its programming, and I don't even know it happened.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April Showers

I'm jumping the gun. April is not until Thursday, but the flower buds are swelling. Crocus are there already. Also Joe is home from Florida.
Sunshine and warmth for the weekend.
I am still offering the indoor joy of dancing.
Wedding couples should all come!

Monday, March 29, 2010


The Waldorf method of teaching dance was offered yesterday in Cotuit for parents and interested parties - like me, the Waldorf Ballroom teacher.
Thinking, Feeling and Willing correspond to
Mind, Soul and Spirit and in terms of a dance steps
Rising on the toe to send the other foot
Deciding where the foot will go, and
Placing the weight on the foot.
Also they dance to poetry and every sound has a corresponding gesture.
The teacher used her hands as she explained.
It was a very short lesson as I was the only student, and she had left rehearsal at Cotuit Art Center to come.
Thank you Tesha

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earl Batol

My old dance teacher from before he owned two Fred Astaire studios - a fine gentleman and taller than me. I went to Norwell to check out Sway and got more dance position tips. Seems I need to stretch my left side more.
Then I would have gone to check out Raynham only I missed the exit to 495 and was in Rhode Island by the time I realized.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Coordinated Rhythm

Continuing the thoughts of my friend and student:
"I think I used the word "functional". you could dance anywhere to anything with a partner so that you both were in sync instead of flailing around."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Practical Dance

Whoever heard of such a thing?
But what I teach is as down to earth as you can get with dance - useful at social occasions and as a way to enjoy music. Orderly, systematic, sensible, pragmatic and efficient, as the thesaurus suggests a practical skill might be. Efficient is what the British, who studied ballroom dance, were often impressed with. The thesaurus gives that word more useful synonyms: effective, competent, adept, able. I also like reliable and dependable.
Last night Carol made me think of that as we discussed my style of teaching and the contrast to the way ballroom dance is portrayed in popular culture. We'll never be performing on Dancing With the Stars, and that's okay with us!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

opening night

For DWTS, of course. Featuring six women and five men learning dances to perform with the fabulous teachers.
Nice dresses for Viennese Waltz! Did they listen to me asking for a modicum of modesty?
Nobody seemed to understand Anna's remark about how the marks for the Olympic skating competition put people in first place for a brief time - just until the next pair got scores.
I rewound the VCR tape to see the Pussycat Doll, Nicole, dance again. Len had to be really looking at her feet the whole time, ignoring the top line even, while we were limited to what the camera showed - exquisite grace.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

John Nigro at Dance Teachers Club of Boston

John loves to perform and will continue to compete now that he has both hip replacements. The steps he taught were pretty showy.
I liked the technique derived from Carlotta Jorgenson.
He coaches the Harvard Ballroom team. A class of 120! dwindled to 80! They get 3 hour classes twice a week for two weeks before they compete.
And that's why we don't really like to see them on the social dance floor.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Doug and Kimberlee continue to do a nice job hosting at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. It's a hike from Falmouth, but carpooling is great - thanks, Dawn!
The former bank has good space and art all around, even in the former vault. The marble floor is beautiful and smooth, if harder than the optimal sprung wood. The people are friendly. Beginners were there having a good time as well as those of us who know what we're doing.
Salsa night, but that just meant a brief Salsa lesson. They asked me to teach a guest spot, so I agreed, and now wish I'd had time to prepare. Oh well!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stars on Dancing

Just looked up the stars for DWTS show's premiere. Buzz Aldrin and Lysacek who just won the Olympics add lustre to what is sometimes a dull line up. Anna Demidova is not returning as a pro. I will have to record on Monday.
At least SYTYCD won't be on for a while.
My suggestion for this season, but they wouldn't listen to me: the costume designers should leave more to the imagination.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nobska House

A good name and a good beginning for the restaurant that opened last night at the site of the old Grasmere Pub, most recently housing a series of badly run establishments.
Ken Bosse, the new owner, used to run the Fishmonger and spent a year remodeling and bringing the building up to code. The open space with a central bar reminded me of New York City. Tables sat in comfortable spots delineated by steps up and down, or a hint of the little rooms that used to make it just seem smaller. He hired young people and brought in Quasimodal, a great jazz trio that showcases Glenway Fripp.
300 people for opening night with no advertising!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


After some years, the Cataumet studio has reflective coating on the bowl of the 300 watt light bulbs again. The silver reflects the illumination to the ceiling and spares the dancers directly underneath. Subtle and gentle, that's what we want.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Space Harmony

Rudolf Laban, Hungarian inventor of dance notation, called dance "living architecture" and "sacred geometry". The ways we move are so fundamental to our lives that we don't even notice them until they are pointed out.
I'm reading What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell who often does articles about the brain. This one is about Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. Dogs study our movement with undying interest, and Cesar has a beautiful deliberate way.
An interpreter of Laban movement, Yvonne Tortora uses much the same techniques for autistic children in dance therapy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Color scheme

St. Patrick's Day has the color scheme built in, and we find out who owns green clothes, not who has Irish ancestry. Last night was enjoyable to dance with people whose clothes matched your own. Birds of a feather, flock together!
Congratulations, CCBD, for making it happen on a dark and stormy night.