Saturday, December 31, 2011

1966 songs

WFPB Folk/Rock has a 45 year retrospective going - Bob Dylan, Donovan, Dusty Springfield, Byrds, Lovin' Spoonful, Mamas and Papas and there's the Beatles. None of it makes me want to dance. I guess the dance music was in other genres.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sales and belief

I constantly do a reality check on what I hear. That's why I like jokes that start, "A ____ goes into a bar, and ...", so I can go into a willing suspension of disbelief.
Sales resistance stems from that same trait.
Making sales sometimes involves leading people on into their own fantasies.
Often, ballroom dancing depends on that fantasy aspect of the activity, but the way I teach and promote classes does not.
I see people who have come from the hard sell studios, and I pull back. They will not see that from me.
In some ways, I'm sorry because the approach can work, and I truly believe that dance can enrich any life.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fitness resolutions vs Dance & Stretch

The gyms get the women thinking of being fit. Machines and regimens, a class every morning and every night of the week, working in unison.
I conduct a playful class, not enough all on its own, but more self aware, and the music is good. The drop-in policy means I need a much larger set of possible students.
My New Year resolutios is to find that larger group.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Get Some Dancing In

Thank goodness we went to see Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish at Grumpy's Friday night, since the dancing has been scarce. Can that man sing! It was bumper car dancing, but everybody had a good time, and I got my fix since there will be no place or time with all the family to visit and take care of.
Christmas was a lot of work for me. The turkey we raised and processed was wonderful, but I was in charge of the 7 hours of roasting, and the turkey soup the next day.
Then my granddaughter - after three days, playing with a three year old becomes work!
My official work as a dance teacher is much more like playing.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

The turkey is ready to be stuffed and roasted. Cookies are baked. Rooms are cleaned. Fancy treasures are displayed with an idea that they could find a new home. The gathering can begin!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finishing Up the Emu Oil

Emu oil sounds yucky but I got sold on it - hey, try a tiny bottle - at a craft fair a few years ago.
I used it a bit and saw no difference, but then it was almost gone, so I went on a tack to use it every day - Use It Up! I love finishing things. I read the latest brain science says this is an inherited characteristic that counteracts the procrastination tendency (also in your brain) that can be so prevalent and crippling.
As it happened, my new application method, drops on the back of my left hand before applying to my face, showed me the definite improvement where I could see it. I have ordered more.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another room at our mother's house

My sister and I were a great team, and surprisingly, our mother was happy to accept the help in her messy "studio".
She had been skeptical that we would respect her stuff, but maybe she's realized space is another luxury, better than any of the fancy treasures she has accumulated.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Transformation

Thinking about how people want to be transformed, but maybe not actually change.
Pilates uses that word, transform, and I begin to see how it works, remembering how I used to look at myself in the mirror and try to stand naturally to see how fat I really was.
In fact, having developed my core muscles, I expect to see myself as pulled in. It's not fake any more to hold myself the best way.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Grand Jury is over

Three months of Fridays and I heard stories of the lowlife of Cape Cod - makes you wonder as you go about your business, what else is going on!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Baking

I've given up having cookies around the house because nobody loves them more than I do.
For Christmas, I get to make up bunches and put them in tins to take to the family reunion at the big house in Stockbridge.
I made mocha Russian Teacakes, mini ginger scones, my grandmother's ginger cookie, almond macaroons with ganache filling, Joe's mother's mundelbread, almond twists, and mini turnovers. When I called up Joe's mother, she said, "Mundelbread? I want fruitcake!" So I made fruitcake.
Helen's Great Ginger Cookies!
3/4 c butter, 1 c sugar, 1/4 c molasses, 1 egg
2 1/2 c flour (Here the 1/2 is added in, penciled on top of the c for cup, so last time I made them without the 1/2 cup and got more of a ginger snap than the ball cookie)
2 t soda, 1 t cinnamon, 1 t ginger, 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t cloves
Melt butter, cool and add to beaten sugar, egg and molasses. Sift dry ingredients and add sugar mixture. Mix well, form into ball and roll in granulated sugar.
Bake 8-10 minutes at 350-375 degrees. Makes 5 dozen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

American Tango from Ron

The guy who has been teaching Argentine Tango will step back from the dance that has everything, he says, to let us just work on the slice of it that some of us enjoy, beyond T-A-N-G-O, but still marching along.
An addition to the American Tango on Sunday will be useful if we get it incorporated into the dance.
Often steps from a workshop just fall by the wayside, but this time with cool names - Media Luna and Flip, hey, they could be remembered. Thanks Ron!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Great shoes

Dancer's Place carries Bloch ballroom shoes now - a superior brand. I am very pleased with the little low heeled sandal - decent price, too!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Dimensional Dance Art - (looking for Christmas)- card)

I mean paintings and cards depicting dance. So far for me, I just like that one artist with two pictures, one with a maid and an umbrella, one with the couple in a fog set of pictures.
Okay, found them. Jack Vettriano's work called "The Singing Butler" and "Dance me to the End of Love" Idealized - the ideal of ballroom dancing.
My sister just went to a studio in Philly owned by a Tango aficionado. (http://www.lesleymitchell.com/) who said you're so close you feel your partner's heartbeat while dancing. "A tour de force: racing around intimately." She sees the dancers as they are, not as I would like to imagine them to be.
Other painters show overexcited or oversexed dancers, not depicting the calm, clear center that stays focused while the limbs move to the music.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

recording from DVR.....(DWTS over but not to be forgotten?)

We're in a changeover zone.
Not going back to VHS.
DVD/R player just died.
Now, do I go for USB storage or DVD storage?
Do I trust either one to last? If so, how long?
The new TV has output to a computer - that's promising except that I don't need a laptop devoted to video recordings.
And will the picture get shrunk or stretched?
DWTS, I hope to make a "best of", but no promises.

Monday, December 5, 2011

solid activity

Two hours of stacking wood, an hour of a private lesson, an hour of a group lesson, teaching for an hour and a half. Feels great.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Big weekend in Falmouth

With two church fairs and a Farmer's Market, you could hardly park downtown. I was decorating the Conservatory, so it was almost over by the time I got there, and I missed the Congo Church, looking in at St. Barnabas because I wanted to see how the hall was faring in the season. A nice decorated tree.
The Woods Hole Renaissance Fair seemed smaller this year, but then again, I was late. I saw the parade of the Santas form for a march on Water Street.
Holidays at Highfield. Pageant at Highfield Theater. Christmas Stroll on Main Street.
My dance was small change in the midst of all that, but new dancers came in for inoculation. Hope they catch the bug!
Today: Christmas Parade, Mostly Men's Chorus performance, Ron Gursky's lessons, then I have a teen party with a great bunch of kids.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Not a Pilates mat class, really

I tried out a 9:00 class at Balanced Fitness because I like that time of day. We used the ball throughout. That was what I call a dull class. No individual attention, no core work that I could feel, no music. And yet it was crowded. Then I hear they're re-arranging the schedule.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Healthy Thanksgiving

Really it can be a great holiday, especially if your sister-in-law who loves to cook decides to bring her in-laws next door and they all do a lot of the work, very well. We were apprehensive, but I loved just doing the pies. We provided home-grown super- fresh turkey, too, a 25 pound creature that was processed for a brine bath in a cooler on Sunday.
Add in a beautiful day and a walk to the cranberry bogs for no food hangover.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Providence College performance

One of my road trips was Saturday to Providence College Dance Concert where my daughter-in-law teaches and choreographs. Hers was the first one she ever composed, interesting and dark involving a couch and a bunch of people not communicating, a thoughtful piece reminding me of family tensions showing up with the holidays. I believe she's happier now.
Firestarter was inspiring, done to Duke Ellington's "Night Creatures". I can attempt to reproduce one of the costumes. After I wear it at Halloween, I'll share with my granddaughter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Over for now

It was a season with great dances, and I have it on DVR.
MAYBE, I could do my very own DVD of highlights. I would certainly keep Sir Tristan and Lady Nancy dancing on the bright side of life, Derek and Ricki's Psycho tango, Rob K's freestyle. I couldn't have JR's freestyle because ABC cheated me out of it with that football.
I think the judges underscored JR on Monday to rile up viewers and get more votes to come in. I knew he would win, and I was pleased Rob got second place. Making it to the finals is the real prize, and probably comes with more money.
So You Think You Can Dance should start up soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DWTS bumped by Football- sort of ran late

And not LIVE! I hope the rest of the country, non-Patriot super fans got it on time.
My DVR found it after Jimmy Kimmel, but missed the last 10 minutes, so I have only seen JR's freestyle in a choppy version with digitized squares on abc.go.com.
That was super authentic salsa with the hip-hop flavor so popular in that dance world. No wonder his cha-cha was a little flat. It was a ballroom version of how Latinos dance.
I could hope the judges ask for it as a re-run, but the lifts were dangerous.
Rob Kardashian, age 24, had a fantastic freestyle, too, a 1920s New Jersey style "Minnie the Moocher" both smooth and smart.When asked why he should go to the finals, he said, "Because I love to dance!", a joy to watch.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Planning ahead

Lake Pearl Ballroom $75 pp for DOCMA dance Sunday December 11.Hmmmmm - not for Joe Brodsky
Roy Scott Band there 2/12, dinner optional.
K&S Music sometime in April.
And that plus Halloween seems to be the extent of ballroom dancing at the beautiful venue in Wrentham.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Setting up Scholarship awards

As I am now in charge of the Mary French Scholarship fund, I am setting up a means to award the money to local youth.
A first step is to send out guidelines to the schools and dance academies that money is available for youth to try social dance. A voucher would give a half price class to students.
After completing a session, promising students would submit a letter of interest for private lessons with a view to improving their dancing enough to perform in a showcase or join a ballroom dance team when they go to college.
Since the Cape is a large region, we would like to offer parents and youth choices of qualified teachers.
All this could happen with the new year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Casual New Year's Eve

All set with St Barnabas Church Parish Hall for a New Year's Eve casual dance -
like my monthly dances, but no lesson and a slightly different time, 8 to 11 PM.
The big hall includes round tables, so people are encouraged to contribute favorite finger food, and groups can chat while they take a break from dancing.
More details follow, but this, at $10, will be the best buy in Falmouth. If people want to spend money, the restaurants are planning special menus, and should be happy to take early seatings.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Injuries

The performance art that is DWTS seems to be demanding more tricks. Case in point - a cartwheel from Nancy Grace - and she lost anyway. Now the favorite, JR, has twisted his ankle.
Happily the version of ballroom dancing practiced on Cape Cod is a social art like conversation or board games, but more fun because there is the exhilaration of music and physical movement.
An occasional misstep or tension in the shoulders means it could be said to be more dangerous than sitting around, except that sitting around happens anyway in all our lives to an unhealthy extent.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Solear

Solear, a very difficult rhythm in Flamenco with accents on 3, 7, 10 and 12.
My teacher here gives a fairly simple rendition. If only my feet hadn't been hurting by the end, I might have been able to dance it too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6NaQ1bzvKU&feature=email

Sunday, November 13, 2011

All this and no mention of Harvard's Ballroom Dance program

Jill Johnson, the new director of the dance program within Harvard’s Office for the Arts knows that many people are intimidated by dancing, which makes it hard to be comfortable as a beginner. She encourages nonprofessional dancers not to worry so much about how they look, but to concentrate on how they feel: dance is a way to explore what of ourselves gets expressed, and our relationship to others on the dance floor. “We worry about how we are perceived by others,” she adds. “People say, ‘I’m not a dancer’ and that shuts off curiosity about it. We were born with the capacity to dance! Children who see someone playing music on the street will move to connect with the beat. That instinct gets lost because of who we think we are supposed to be as adults.” Great dancing is not about satisfying the ego — it is “an offering” of your gifts, Johnson says.

There is no doubt of the positive effect, in general, of physical activity on the brain, on cognitive functioning, and on age-related problems, notes David Kahn, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “But dancing adds another aspect to exercise and its effect on our bodies and brains, because it is a joyous activity.” He is part of Dance New England that holds a Dance Freedom. “Every dance I find some joy in,” Kahn says, “but every once in a while, like the other night, there is a meshing with another dancer and there is a chemistry that is like chocolate melting in your mouth.”

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dancing Makes Us More Alive by Nell Porter Brown

(From the Harvard alumni magazine thanks to a student. I have edited for this blog.)

In primitive cultures throughout the world, dance brought communities together in a common purpose, says jazz master Wynton Marsalis, Ar.D. ’09, Dances requested rain or a successful hunt or battle, opened paths to gods and other spirits, promoted fertility and gender identity. They taught “our young the meaning of sexuality as they entered adulthood,” he said. “Dancing sanctified our space. It could heighten our sense of being alive by making us one with the very ground we danced on, the air we breathed, and the seen and the unseen.”

Dance was, and is, a unique and essential human activity that connects us to the musical rhythms of life. “Unlike rowing a boat or chopping wood, in dancing you became more of yourself as you became one with others. You almost never got tired because your spirit soared the more you danced — because this was play.” Proving that point, his four-and-a-half hour presentation on the history of social dance and music in America was punctuated by dazzling performances, from the cakewalk, minuet, waltz, and fox trot to tap, tango, the Charleston, the lindy hop, the mashed potato, merengue, cha cha, and the twist.

Marsalis said social partner dancing allowed “a glimpse into another soul, if only for a moment, through the exuberance of motion.” He took a year to research the origins of popular dance, clarifying for him what social dancing has contributed to culture. “It was competition, cooperation, and consciousness,” he noted. Dance “is and was and will always be community in action. Although life is no cakewalk, people are going to dance no matter what, because it makes us more alive.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Partner connection

I checked my blog post to see how often I talk about connection. 20 posts only, over the years, and some of them were about the VCR/TV, so time to re-visit that most important aspect of partnered dancing.
For the man, I've stopped saying "Hold her" because then he thinks of using his fingers which is uncomfortable.
For the lady, the slight pull back into the man's hand is a feeling that can take a while to get, especially if he is deferential or gets lazy.
If there is distance between the two, as we commonly dance in social American style, this connection becomes crucial.
More distance, more important, such as in West Coast Swing, or any time dancers are at arms length in the open positions. The connection goes deep into the palm of the hands and thereby connects to the back.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life's Little Truths (Orange Peel Gazette)

"If at first you don't succeed, see if the loser gets anything."
DWTS is a great show because the loser gets plenty. We don't even know about the money.
Another good quote for the couple voted off, "Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

hope for Hope

Great Show!
This week the costume designers seemed to be doing their best to make everyone look great. Earlier in the season, they let some ugly outfits go out there, but this time, they put a suit on Rob Kardashian that made his butt look sleek. Nancy Grace looked cute instead of lumpy. Rikki Lake's legs were on full display for the Jive.
I feel like I've been waiting a long time to see Hope Solo's dress, the kind that I always wanted to wear, garden party without being at all uptight. I wanted to be in that dress, dancing Quickstep like her, so strong and light.
Hope's Jive outfit was one I couldn't wear, but she looked great letting that fringe spin all up the pants, and her kicks and flicks were as high as Maks. She can't leave now. Especially now that she has got Maks to teach nicely. He said it takes more time, but if she doesn't learn, which she didn't before, it doesn't work, and you don't teach her, and all the time is wasted. Like the saying: if you buy something that's not right, the money is wasted.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday Night Hit at St. Barnabas Parish Hall

Record attendance for me, and I didn't do anything different except change the place.
Early in November is a good timing.
Also, people came to see the venue which is easier to find, perhaps more inclusive than the lovely room on top of the hill.
The teaching was basic as usual, and very quick, just so they could get started and have a good time. They didn't leave right after the lesson, so it was a good time.
I'll have to see if I can get it more often.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hustle with JP

I liked the new step, but trouble can happen with fancy arm work that you never did before: tension in either of the cooperating dancers' arms.
Light arms don't automatically happen, and I got a twinge in my shoulder after trying the step on the wrong person. She had taken the class, so I assumed she was ready for the new move. (You know about 'assume'.)
Another lesson for me - not the step as much as choosing which step for which lady.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More Mambo Dancer

Candice Angelet goes on, " I try to say yes to everyone, I don't like to say no. But sometimes a man is very unkempt, you know, and he looks horrible and he's stinky and - sometimes a girl's got to do what she's got to do. And sometimes, you just have to say no!
"Mambo is the old term, now they call it salsa. I'm an 'on two' dancer. It's one, two, three, one, two. One, two, three, one, two, and I start on the second beat. A lot of people come in on the first beat. Dancing 'on one' is very easy. And usually clubs are sort of divided between the 'on one' and the 'on two' dancers. And the 'on two' dancers dance with the 'on two' dancer. It's like an unspoken understanding."

"I have an addictive personality and I've struggled with addiction. In my 30s, when I pulled myself together from the funk that I was in for about 15 years, I remembered that I loved dancing. I feel like God really wants me to do what I do best. My best expression of myself is to dance.
I've seen people have heart attacks on the dance floor. I've seen about three people dancing and falling backwards, never getting up. But you know what? If I were going to die, I'd want to die dancing with everybody around me dancing." (New York Times)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Mambo Dancer

In the New York Times a few years ago. I just found the clipping.
"I never take a date to a club. I don't believe in dancing with one person all night. How boring can that be?

"When I'm dancing, I feel young, vibrant, sexy, strong. I'm thinking, I don't want this music to stop. that this music is bringing out the primitive in me. I feel like it's safe sex on the dance floor. Because I can do whatever I want on the dance floor and no one's going to hurt me. I can get as close to my partner as I want, and as far from him as I want. It's all up to me, I'm really the one in control. The man usually thinks he's the one in control because he's the lead. But the woman really controls how close a man gets when they're dancing."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Entertainment value

Really top production quality on DWTS - such as the special effects tarantula filling the dance floor. Tom says "Oh, there you are!"
Loved the lightning that struck the floor in the middle of JR and Karina's dance. Karina's costume of fluttery ghost like feathers. They were robbed in judge's scores. I feel like the producers had their fingers in that pie. Give JR an impossible song and then underscore so people feel sorry for him. Plus he's the one calming Karina down. Usually the pros are the ones who have to be sane.

I'm ready to pick who else will be in the final - Rob Kardashian whose family 'isn't creepy, though they're kooky", he says since he has to dance to the Adams Family song.
We still have Nancy not-so-Grace-ful. Poor Tristan trying to talk about Fun, and Nancy repeatedly accused him of saying she was Not Fun, so he had to bow out of that discussion. We got to see his Irish Step Dance flavor in the bouncy Jive.
Derek's Flamenco/Argentine Tango performance with SYTYCD winner Allison Holker has to get some attention outside the ballroom world. DWTS still has better production values. The live Flamenco orchestra took it up another notch.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Promenade

Dance teachers speak of promenade as a very difficult step to do well.
Students happily do their Foxtrot double-wide and wonder what the big deal is.
Then we take it up a notch with styling through Waltz twinkles and Tango. The step begins to smooth it out.
Next, try going back to the old easy 6-count Foxtrot promenade - it goes the other way, off to the left, and then moves forward on the left foot! Shoehorning the new styling into the old step is not easy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Best Halloween Party this side of P-Town

Everything is this side of P-Town.
The cheerful, creative crowd voted Man in a Cage most original, though I cast him as scariest. I loved the organ grinder and his monkey, but they didn't stay together the whole evening to be the best duo like the Siamese twins did. I voted for me, Flowerpot lady who claims to be Mother Nature, as funniest, but I guess Zippy the Pinhead captured the cartoon shtick really well. They liked the headless man as scariest, and his costume was very good.
Dancing was good, too. The Cotuit Center for the Arts had taken down their huge stadium seating that can cover the whole floor.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"This American Life"

An NPR episode about Middle School, including broadcasting from school dances.
All that embarrassed and uncomfortable chat.
Chaperones ready to break up whatever like the 'grinding' we've heard about, the type of dancing they do on MTV. The high schools don't even have dances any more since the students refuse to do any other type of dancing.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sideshow or Masque Event?

The Cotuit Center for the Arts has a sideshow theme this year, a darker slice of life. Will there a two-headed character, a costume that could win Halloween prizes at manys the event. I would rather be in a circus than a sideshow. Shades of the Midway at the Barnstable County Fair, a corridor I tried to keep my boys away from.
The Arts Foundation has set up a mask contest. Will the artists be inspired? Who will ante up the $100 to attend at the Wychmere Country Club? Doug and Kimberley will be on hand to promote ballroom dancing to those who can afford it, or anything else.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steps for West Coast Swing

There's a million steps in this dance because it allows for so much play time, once you get the basics down. Structure that you can build on. So I spent an hour writing up the basics for students.
Now I have to provide a playground. I can play more West Coast music at my dance, or people can dance West Coast to Foxtrot music like the real Westies do, just staying in the middle of the floor, so the Foxtrotters can dance circles around them. There's room for all. West Coast to Chacha music - happens all the time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This week DWTS

For great DWTS moments, I thought the first two dances, Rob K. and Nancy G., were delightful, showing improvement and humor, musicality and performance.
Rob's family is still awful. His mother coming into rehearsal and telling him he has grown up and starting to cry, so embarrassing. His sisters razzing the judges and texting madly throughout, as Tom told us.
Nancy was odd in rehearsal, asking for content and then accusing Tristan of giving her too much and planning for her to fail.
Ricki had a lovely dress finally, and Derek's choreography showed her off. I liked her response to Brooke's comment about losing weight. "I don't know. Maybe 20 pounds."
Chaz, well, today we can breathe a sigh of relief. I just kept thinking, "Go away, go away, go away."
Maks apologized and I guess we are to remember that English is his second language. In some way, I think he meant it when he said, "It's my show." Then Tom said, "I was going to ask him for a raise!"
Finally, JR looks like a winner all the way, and we don't see the face as horrifying as we did in the beginning. I wonder if more reconstruction can happen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Will Power

On my way back to the Cape, Bob Edwards Weekend had a story on Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister. Willpower as a 'muscle' in our brains that gets stronger through being exercised and needs glucose to work. Diets don't work because we need to eat to be able to resist overeating.
The same greedy part of the brain does decision making, so judges tend to give parole, a harder decision, earlier in the day. Quarterbacks get decision fatigue.
Personally, I had just gone through hours of decisions on the stuff my mother has been collecting for 50 years. Taking breaks was important.
I loved listening to the section about children who could resist eating a marshmallow, usually by distracting themselves, not by concentrating on defeating the marshmallow. Later studies showed willpower as a prime predictor of success in life, measured in ways like finishing school, marrying happily, and staying out of jail.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not dancing, not on Cape Cod

In fact, my weekend was quite active. My older sister and I cleaned out a few corners of my mother's house. Three stories, along with an attic and a basement means a box of rubbish might need to go down four flights of stairs.
Meanwhile, here in Falmouth, Joe said Sweet Melissa did one of her best sets ever at Grumpy's.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PR for the papers

The Mary French Scholarship dance October 14 entertained ballroom dancers from all over Cape Cod. Music was played by Trilogy Band, a favorite of Mary French, the Cataumet teacher who died in 2008. Showcase dancers from the MIT Ballroom Team were superb. The committee reports a healthy fund to distribute for dance education.
The Mary French Scholarship Award 2011-2012 is open to youth between the ages of 12 and 21 who live on Cape Cod and are interested in ballroom dancing. No prior experience is necessary.
The recipient(s) will be eligible for private lessons and group classes with Ron Gursky, Mary French's teacher, at the Cape Cod Dance Center in Cataumet. Other teachers may be submitted for approval by the committee.
Depending on how many awards are given out, the number of classes may vary.
Applicants may send a letter of interest to Ellen Brodsky. ellenbrodskydance@comcast.net
PS: That did zilch.

Monday, October 17, 2011

WHOI Harvest Ball

Kudos to Andy at WHOI for getting a good band, After Hours Blues Band with Dave Richardson, as well as the best caterer, Roland (Yum). The Brodsky dance floor performed as well as the dancers on it - great!
Plenty of people came this year since they opened it to the entire scientific consortium - and friends. Hopefully they made good money for the Cape Cod Shelter. Raffle tickets may be the way to go.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stunning


I was right - the showcase dancers were superb on Friday. I spent the first set in awe, hardly clapping, as did most of the people, it seemed, so DeeDee Burke asked me to remind the audience that they do not mind and are not distracted by applause. Polite quiet is not the proper response.
Noelle Sun held herself with pride and grace that you know was supported by strong core muscles. Gowns are more beautiful than ever, and these weren't slathered with Sawarovski crystals either, just fitted and flowing. Even my husband was impressed by the flame colored scarves floating off her arms.
Meanwhile, Ben Moss, not a large man, commanded the space, using the length of Betsy's Ballroom, our largest on-Cape floor.
We see too much of the showy versions of ballroom dances, especially in the Latin division, but spilling over into the American Smooth, so these 5 International Standard dances, tradition honed to perfection, showed us how beautiful strict discipline can be.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Running an event

For the Mary French Scholarship Dance, Janice Condron and I were essentially a committee of two. I missed having a group of ladies I could count on as I did when I ran the Masque Ball, though I do remember some tiffs. Probably Janice particularly wanted to avoid those. Volunteer help showed up the day of the event, and I thank those stalwart folk. Thank you cards are in order.
Lovely showcase, pleasant band, great people, and an emotional evening since it was our farewell to Janice who is moving to Florida, to the condo she and Willie bought together.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

List

Today:print gift certificates, make turnovers, check about lighting, check camera, print program, write speech, gather platters, pick dress,
Tomorrow: pack everything in the car, Grand Jury, buy fruit and cheese and crackers and arrange, set up tables and chairs and decorate.
Then the dance!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No tables at the Conservatory

The engine that drives the dances is fun music.
Without tables to sit at, dancers do more dancing I think. It's different - the studio dance atmosphere.
I also liked the lounge effect of some stadium seating that the Conservatory leaves in our ballroom, dancers kind of lumped together.
A large Mashpee location - how about the closed Star Market in the Commons? If I had million dollars.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Open Meeting/Members Dance

Worth it to go to Betsy's Ballroom last night, especially as I was able to car pool. Thanks, Linda and Dawn!
Discussion at the board included trying to get some Falmouth/Bourne/Mashpee locations for dances. CCBD needs different locations. My dance (tonight) goes along just once a month. I get Ron to be part of a dance 4 times a year in Cataumet.
New members were elected to the board for next year, using the single unanimous vote system for a unopposed slate of five dancers who all spoke briefly and well.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mary French Memorial Dance October 14

Coming up so soon - just next Friday, the terrific dance with Mary's favorite local band, Trilogy. Also, competition college dancers from MIT where Mary worked back when ballroom was just entering the competition phase that has become so popular.
With the closing of the Sons of Italy, we had to go downCape, to Betsy's Ballroom and I will figure out decorations tonight.
The food will be first rate, though not dinner. We subsist on our art! Or eat a hamburger before. But there will be fruit platters, cheese and crackers, my desserts and more.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ballroom Hell




I love this little graph. The guys get to be scientifically validated as to how hard it is. Ladies are told to go to styling class.
from dancerhangout.com
written by "staff"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Coaching

The October 3 New Yorker has an article on coaching by Atul Gawande, a surgeon who can take criticism and write about it.
"Expertise, as the formula goes, requires going from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence to conscious competence and finally to unconscious competence." I love that.

Having reached the final stage, a success in one's field, a professional needs outside eyes and ears to improve. Gawande writes about musicians, athletes and teachers using coaches who can "break down performance into critical individual components." He doesn't mention dancers.

Once my students have the muscle memory for a step, I look at them and see how they could do it more easily.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Judging DWTS

I watch the show, I listen to the judges, I even read Television Without Pity to get perspective. Still, I disagree with them all. Four couples got the same score, and I hated Hope Solo and David Arquette's dancing and loved Rob Kasdashian's Foxtrot and the Samba with the little blond who is dancing with Mark Ballas.
Maybe the costumes put me in a bad mood. David Arquette did not need his new haircut, or his shirt open. Then, his arms were uncertain. Hope Solo had that horrid poofy skirt that showed the crotch with bare thighs and then garters and patterned stockings. Not a graceful look, and she isn't little and cute. Doesn't seem sure of what she's doing either.
Whereas Queer Eye Carson filled out his dinner jacket and attacked some Tango moves with great style. Chaz looked more comfortable than ever.
My leader board would have had Rob K. as #1 even with the huge Jesus Christ tattoo on his bicep. His deceased father (One of the lawyers who got OJ off) is on Rob's forearm. Rob: "He was a really good looking man." Cheryl: "You look like him." Rob: "Yeah." Maybe it's the whole Foxtrot smooth debonair stuff I go for.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

quote from DEAR THEO

"As to mediocre artists, to which you think I should not want to belong, what shall I say about it? I shall do what I can, but mediocrity in its simple signification I do not despise at all. And certainly one does not rise above that mark by despising what is mediocre. In my opinion, one must begin at least by having some respect for the mediocre and know that it means something, and that it is only reached with great difficulty."
Vincent Van Gogh
I love watching people dance, especially as I see the tiny steps they make to progress.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Turns

Practicing dance moves is a great idea.
Practicing turns makes you dizzy, so we have to make a little bit go a long way.
Neck long, head level, abs engaged, and soft arms before you even start.
Then, attention to the connection between the hip and the ball of the foot.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Light Refreshments

Coming up: more events without the benefit of a cash bar.
Could Joe's idea of the "Designated Drinker" give us the option?
Joe says, "Since the dancers don't drink enough to keep a place with a dance floor in business, we could go down to the local gin mill, and pick up a guy to sit at the bar all night. We would buy him drinks and drive him home afterward. Win/win!"
I'm not sure the alcoholic himself wins, but it makes a good story, so Stop Analyzing, Ellen!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Announcement! PR!


This year, the Mary French Scholarship Fundraiser Dance will be held at Betsy's Ballroom, Forrest Road, Yarmouth on October 14 from 7 to10 PM. Most of the evening will feature open dancing to the excellent ballroom band, Trilogy, and ticket sales are limited to 100 to ensure an optimal dance experience for $25.
The feature showcase this year will be MIT Ballroom competition couple Ben Moss and Noelle Sun performing the Smooth dances, Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot Viennese Waltz, and Quickstep.
Noelle Sun and Ben Moss both joined the MIT Ballroom Dance Team in the fall of 2006 and have now been dance partners for two years. After a successful first year competing at the pre-championship level, in 2011 they won the amateur adult pre-championship standard division at USA Dance Nationals and currently compete at the championship level in competitions nationwide. Noelle graduated with a degree in English from Wellesley College in 2009 and is now a first-year student at the New England College of Optometry. Ben received his Master's from MIT in 2009 and is now a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Both of them are active leaders on the MIT team; Noelle coaches newcomer dancers and Ben is serving his fourth year as the team's captain.
Light Refreshments, a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, and line dancing during the band's breaks will round out the evening.
Tickets are available for sale by mail.
Mary French Scholarship Fund
c/o Janice Condron
PO Box 1384
Mashpee, MA 02649
For reservations contact Ellen at 508 548-0036 ellenbrodskydance@comcast.net

The Mary French Scholarship Fund has been established as a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering ballroom dance in the youth of Cape Cod by awarding scholarships for dance lessons in the memory of Mary French who lived in Falmouth and taught dance at her studio in Cataumet for over thirty years.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Schedule

I see people have pulled themselves together to take advantage of the fall season - a good showing at the studio, night school classes, and stretch classes.
I'm looking at conflicts - CCBD member dance the same Friday night as Rosh Hashanah, an opportunity to spend Fridays with my granddaughter, Mary French Memorial Dance Friday October 14, wedding preparation couples, possible tutoring, and
Grand Jury starting Monday. That last one is a big question mark. I made a couple of calls, but the word is, "You will find out your duty when you get here."
I'm loving the DVD/R that automatically records DWTS. (Bye, Elisabetta and Val)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Still thrilled

I took the feeling from the big dance into the next day.
Can't believe I couldn't give away a couple of tickets, even after 20 calls.
I'll have to talk it up even more next year.
And give feedback to Sgt. Kelly, as well as try to invite the young historical reenactor, Jason, to join us for more swing dancing. Last year, I hear, they had a choral group who sang for too long.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Camp Edwards Sock Hop

Wow!
Decorations - an ice sculpture, hundred of crepe paper streamers, hundreds of balloons in a net! Halfway through the dance, they released the balloons, and we popped them for ten minutes! Then a lady with a dust mop cleared them off the floor for ten minutes so we could dance again.
Stage Door Canteen is a great band, but I wish they had stuck to the forties music because some of the fifties stuff got too loud, and the acoustics in the gym were not great.
Another highlight was dancing Swing with the young man in uniform who moved like a guy from 1944. No wonder the Brits fell in love with the dance. I should have gotten more than just his name, though he dances only Swing as they do in the Boston community. We went to one of the evenings where they danced only Swing all night, even when the song was much more of a Foxtrot or Chacha.
He pointed out some Germans who had come in their grey uniforms and the ladies wearing hats the whole evening, but unfortunately, they were just leaving.
A room of historical photos and artifacts was also interesting.
There were plenty of tasty little sandwiches, but the delicious cake went too fast.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sweet Melissa at Grumpy's

We hadn't been to Grumpys since the spring, so the down home atmosphere filled with rockin' guitar, great vocals and dancing people felt fine. Leaving after the first set was good too. The girls with drinks had begun to fill the "floor".
The owner told me Toni Lynn Washington will be there at the end of October, maybe to be a regular like Weepin' Willie? The new seating makes it nice for music lovers to just sit.
Still need earplugs.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Marley Flooring

The roll up rubberized marley floor at the Conservatory, Falmouth, is great because it lets the beautiful maple floor underneath stay clean and smooth for Ballroom and for fancy events. Ballerinas don't slip in their toe shoes.
I even spent an hour re-rolling and cleaning it up. They are leaving half of it down for kids that will be easily rolled it out of the way at my next dance, October 8.
No guilt at talcum powder.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ladies Styling

As my Dance and Stretch class evolves, I see more ways it holds interest.
First, it is like Klara's Flexibility Class, a great mid-afternoon workout for Klara's Senior friends. I loved it, but Klara said I had to take the Modern Class at night.
Next, I want everyone to understand how important core muscles are. I couldn't enjoy Aerobics, Ballet or Yoga, but Pilates lets me concentrate on much of the same inner strength without loud music, strict rules, or silent spirituality.
Finally, my years of Ballroom let me lead the group in a warm-up as if it were a line dance and correct the little things that help my ladies look good while they are dancing.
And I still get to choose the music.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mildly famous


Maybe I could get just famous enough to be on DWTS if one of my relatives could do something. Come on, Sis! Oh, but you're not supposed to be a dancer already. Another dream broken.
Anyway, I did identify that fun song (in my opinion a Hustle), "Dynamite" Taio Cruz. He's got his brands on.
First I googled "dayo" which got me to Harry Belafonte's "Day-O" but I didn't give up until I found the DWTS music website - Kristin and Mark's Cha-cha, 9/19/11. West Coast Swing dancers use it - they use anything.
I hear Shirley Ballas (Mark's mother)charges $385 per hour to teach children.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DVD/R=easy DTWS viewing

Well, there we are. Comcast does it again - upgrades service.
Joe's sports mania put us in a category that now includes the DVD/R that I wasn't able to convince myself to get.
He says it's $5 cheaper per month - For now. The cheese in the trap.
DVD/R works very nicely. The picture was good. Fast forwarding ads worked.
The show was decent. No clear front runner yet.
I could switch back to the baseball game periodically to catch Jacoby Ellsbury's in-the-park home run. Go Sox.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ron's Salsa workshop

I was a bit punchy yesterday. Dance events Friday and Saturday, then Dance Teachers Club of Boston 9 AM to 2:30, my lessons with Ron, and then set up for the workshop/party. I don't usually laugh as much at Ron's jokes. Great fun, not at all "Public Humiliation," as he claimed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Success

Our outdoor dance floor worked perfectly, and the weather cooperated. No rain, seasonably comfortable. Without lights, our dance party was from 4 to 6 PM, and lightly attended. Maybe in June, more people will be as inspired as I was by the beauty of the outdoor space. I heard dancing under the stars at Seaport was very nice, too, though it must have gotten quite chilly at night.
Forgot to take a picture.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ballroom Performances in Yarmouth

The event last night was very well run - we are sorry not to be able to share it with the community at large at the Cape Cod Mall as we have some years, but the performances moved right along. I don't expect to have to do as much editing, come January and my Ballroom dancing on Cape Cod 2011 show for local access cable.
We saw an excellent show with seven-year-olds, teens, and a formation done by our middle-aged group.
Next month college students will be represented at the Mary French Memorial Dance.
The twenty and thirty somethings are just too busy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Robert Fulghum's 'This I Believe'

Robert Fulghum wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. and lives in Seattle and Crete. 'This I Believe' produced for NPR by Jay Allison of Woods Hole.
"I believe in dancing.
I believe it is in my nature to dance by virtue of the beat of my heart, the pulse of my blood and the music in my mind. So I dance daily.
The seldom-used dining room of my house is now an often-used ballroom — an open space with a hardwood floor, stereo, and a disco ball. The CD-changer has six discs at the ready: waltz, swing, country, rock-and-roll, salsa, and tango.
Each morning when I walk through the house on the way to make coffee, I turn on the music, hit the “shuffle” button, and it’s Dance Time! I dance alone to whatever is playing. It’s a form of existential aerobics, a moving meditation.
Tango is a recent enthusiasm. It’s a complex and difficult dance, so I’m up to three lessons a week, three nights out dancing, and I’m off to Buenos Aires for three months of immersion in tango culture.
The first time I went tango dancing I was too intimidated to get out on the floor. I remembered another time I had stayed on the sidelines, when the dancing began after a village wedding on the Greek island of Crete. The fancy footwork confused me. “Don’t make a fool of yourself,” I thought. “Just watch.”
Reading my mind, an older woman dropped out of the dance, sat down beside me, and said, “If you join the dancing, you will feel foolish. If you do not, you will also feel foolish. So, why not dance?”
And, she said she had a secret for me. She whispered, “If you do not dance, we will know you are a fool. But if you dance, we will think well of you for trying.”
Recalling her wise words, I took up the challenge of tango.
A friend asked me if my tango-mania wasn’t a little ambitious. “Tango? At your age? You must be out of your mind!”
On the contrary: It’s a deeply pondered decision. My passion for tango disguises a fearfulness. I fear the shrinking of life that goes with aging. I fear the boredom that comes with not learning and not taking chances. I fear the dying that goes on inside you when you leave the game of life to wait in the final checkout line.
I seek the sharp, scary pleasure that comes from beginning something new — that calls on all my resources and challenges my mind, my body, and my spirit, all at once.
My goal now is to dance all the dances as long as I can, and then to sit down contented after the last elegant tango some sweet night and pass on because there wasn’t another dance left in me.
So, when people say, “Tango? At your age? Have lost your mind?” I answer, “No, and I don’t intend to.”
(I missed the 2007 airing of this.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11

We wanted to be respectful on this tenth anniversary. The churches must have been full, but we have not been part of organized religion for many years.
I kept the day quiet, doing the best basic things, what we used to call Karma Yoga, picking the peaches and apples, pulling weeks, stacking firewood, washing the car, swimming, mending, making an apple pie, calling the granddaughter on Skype for magical pictures of the dancing three-year-old, having the neighbors over.
We try to remember without being as sad after ten years.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Highfield Prius Party

Great live music by the Conservatory mini-jazz band. Our local education director George Scharr plays the trombone. He had an associate on clarinet, his son on drums, another young man on the big bass, a third playing guitar. It was a wonderful acoustic sound with just a little amp for the strings. They asked us to dance and put out a terrific Rumba, the young men sight reading. Then we chatted a bit more, had wine, little sandwiches, and desserts, and did an encore, our lead and follow impromptu Chacha.
Mindy Todd picked the winners of the Prius, the bicycle and the Radio Flyer wagon. Joe did not win.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New floor

The Cape Cod Dance Center Annex has a new floor, Pergo (tm), dark, smooth and textured like wood, with padding. 9 AM Saturday, the ladies and I will try it out. A big improvement over the scarred linoleum over concrete.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mercury Retrograde

This month long astrological phase has been a catch phrase for some time when things go wrong, especially mechanically. If we're looking for something to blame, this idea is attractive. It does make you think about why things go wrong because often the blame rests on ourselves, on shortcuts we took and got away with for a long time.
AstrologyZone has good general advice. "Because to move forward it is sometimes necessary to backtrack and reconfigure our paths in life, it is important to reconsider, repair, reflect, and reconnect. Mercury forces us to slow down and fix what's broken, and in so doing, rethink things."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cape Cod Music Festival Review

Not well attended, but a nice event with collection of food for the needy.
I walked in for Siobhan Magnus in a Rockin' phase with 3 young men on guitars turned up way too loud. I wanted to watch her so I put in ear plugs to enjoy "Go Ask Alice" and "Put a Spell on You".
Then I went and got Joe who had been windsurfing.
Very good food vendors: Nimrod, Quick's Hole, Fiddlestix, Asia. They deserved a bigger crowd. $5 beer or wine
Daniel Byrnes was terrific and had that nice guitarist and saxophone player.
Chris Smithers did great folk songs for over an hour (a lot for me).
Ronnie Earl, formerly of Roomful of Blues, billed as world's foremost blues guitarist, has a solid band, the Broadcasters, and we loved the keyboard. Tons of Ronnie noodling around on the guitar, which is fun up to a point. 15 minute solos are beyond that for me.
Perfect weather, not too hot or cold.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saga of lost connectivity

It would be a long and weary tale.
The one highlight of excitement was just scary. Our son sat near the power lines all day Monday while we waited for NStar to cut off power. The power sparked and burned the underbrush, so he would shovel from wheelbarrow of damp earth. We had thought a hose would help, but our Physics teacher son said there was a possibility of arcing through the water.
Once the power was off, we went to generator and cell phones for the week. I went to the library once a day to use cyberspace.
The lady who does the listings in ArtsFalmouth was cut off as well, so she never was able to fix the date for my dance, and it was published wrong. Hate that!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene means Peace, but this was a hurricane

Not peaceful at our house where trees on the power lines broke poles and then the live wires sparked little fires while NStar figured out where we were. They thought they had taken care of it. We hope to put the wires underground.
Dance is in a low spot while people regain their energy.
Maybe a trip out of town would do me good - Providence has good Salsa music.



Friday, August 26, 2011

Lori Martin's Pilates

We laugh as we work to the utmost, calling it 'good torture'
My abdominal muscles will hurt for 3 days now.
Then they will fire up automatically and support my every endeavor.
Better than the gimmicky "Yogilates on the Paddleboard" advertised with a flyer at the Osterville Fitness Studio.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ron's Teaching Style

Sardonic humility.
"Harbor no illusions!"
Having worked very hard to achieve a studied grace, Ron Gursky understands how to get students to find their best style, but he doesn't cater to us, making us feel good if our own self esteem is getting in the way of learning. "Let's face it," he says. "I'm here to fix your dancing."
If you want praise, go somewhere else, maybe a studio in Florida.
Ballroom is farther away from performance than ballet, but is not done alone with no one watching. We share our joy of the music, and can add to the experience.
Ron helps us temper the bit of arrogance needed to pull off our act.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting away

Studying dance with Ron Gursky gave some of us a different place to be yesterday.
I was completely absorbed in the International Rhumba with hip and ribcage action taken to a new degree of control.
A recent widow told me this was the way to be in another place.
And the Argentine Tango class continues to thank me for setting it all up

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Falmouth Harbor Fest?

We have to try it out. Several reggae bands and a beer garden - how bad can it be for free?
Bringing the three year old. If all else fails, she and I can dance.
*She hates loud music.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Dance

I have been distracted by the presence of my lovely, active granddaughter and her baby brudder. We had a dance time for 5 minutes - her song, then my song, then she was on to something else.
This Sunday, Ron Gursky has the second of the Summer Argentine classes plus the private lessons. I get just one thing to think about for a month.
I love my Dance and Stretch ladies - we have a time scheduled for us to concentrate on ourselves - Sloane cannot interrupt!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Runners, dancers, bridal couple

Two parties at my house this weekend, not even Road Race related. Still, I carved out an hour for a friend's son and fiancee.
They will run the race today, but didn't move like runners who often are too light on their feet to make the necessary connection to the floor.
Always a pleasure to meet the wedding couples, young and in love, often coordinated.
I always explain that I understand why she might not want to give up control, BUT it's only for two minutes!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Salsa BASIC

Nice Salsa class again
I found music I had called BASIC, and had someone throughout saying 1,2,3 - 5,6,7.
What I really like was how steady it was, not too creative.
Thanks guys, we'll take care of the creativity with our dancing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

jimmy choo shoe


Yowzer! Were these nice shoes!
Cost more than her wedding dress. 4 inch heels but (she said) very comfortable, and she danced beautifully in them.
"Evita" is last season now, so they could be bought for less. I found them in black for (only) $750.
And comparable flat sandals cost the same.

Catching up

That half week at my mother's really took the stuffing out of me, but I am back at my usual energy in time for the family to all come at once.
I hear Mercury is in retrograde all this month.
So far, my cell phone stopped ringing, and the stereo systems at 2 out of three studio spaces weren't working right. Probably coincidence, but I do love that expression, "Mercury is in Retrograde!" spoken in an ominous and despairing tone.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Tea Dance reviewed by me

Moderately well attended, the Sunday afternoon time worked well for some.
I did enjoy the different theme and made scones to go with the varieties of teas, Red Rose and herbal, all iced. Good4you teas provided samples of 'One Love' and 'Natural Mystic', non-caffeine blends gathered locally http://www.good4youherbaltea.com/
The lesson seemed well suited to several couples. Basics as usual in the beginning, and then towards the end, applying the basic of Onestep to spice up an otherwise slow Foxtrot doesn't work right away.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jacob's Pillow

I was gone for a few days, visiting my parents in Stockbridge and cleaning various corners of their enormous house. I did make time to see the local dance festival and Nellie Raintree's company dance for free on an outdoor stage overlooking the tree covered mountainous land. They were skilled and funny, choosing a Xavier Cugat rumba to do a bit of dance clowning. Who dips whom when 2 guys dance together?
My mother thought it was worth it to bring my Alzheimer's ridden father along. He complimented my driving in my smooth little Prius with the entertaining console. "Wow! 99 miles to the gallon!"

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dancing Through Life by Annette Benevento

The National Training Director for Fred Astaire Studios has written a book with pithy remarks in gray boxes. I didn't love them all. The first one is, "The dance floor is a fantasyland where everyone lives happily ever after," her feeling when she first was swept onto the dance floor.
I do like, "(In life) grace is to change as (in dance) balance is to movement" a set of analogy pairs like we get in the SAT.
She includes exercises for balance and self realization, concepts that are always useful to review.
I have it to lend out.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Providence Federation of Musicians

Cheapest ballroom night at the gorgeous Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxcet, Cranston, $10 August 16, 6 to 10PM.
Featuring Ronnie Rose direct from Las Vegas.
No food, cash bar, two bands, one in the lobby.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer days

Thank goodness for dance classes! Otherwise, with the husband offshore fishing and the grandchildren visiting, I get to dance the Hokey Pokey.
For vicarious dance, SYTYCD has two fabulous women dancers ("girls" they call them) Melanie and Sasha.
The July 30 National Dance Day is DIY, or get your group moving and be on TV if you take a video.
Does my group want to be on TV? We can all do Mary Murphy's simple Salsa line dance for sure.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Everybody loves Salsa

The request I'm getting for all my classes, basic to advanced - Salsa dancing. This is a chance for me to listen to all the great music I've collected.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Usa Dance vs NDCA

Big fight there. NDCA threw USA Dance out. Dancesport is a bone of contention somehow, I guess. I am a member of both, but have no input at all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jacques (pronounced "Jakes")

Henry Jacques Modern Ballroom Dancing is back in print. Used copies are for sale for up to $1,550, so I guess it will sell for $75, but I haven't even made it through Walter Laird and Alex Moore, two venerable examples of scripting choreography for ballroom dancing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day off

My son's company, complete with three-year-olds, all went to the beach.
I had my private lesson, a really nice change.
Then I checked out Highfield's bluegrass concert, which was a terrific grassy space just downhill form the mansion, the slope forming a natural seating area to view the New England Bluegrass Band on a stage raised up by another steeper slope.
Pizza with cheerful little girls who had had naps after the beach.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Woods Hole Community Hall

A lovely venue next to the drawbridge, full moon, harbor lights. Flipside performed better than ever and we got a nice dancing crowd though only 3 couples, including us, who knew any steps. A few ladies could follow. The floor is big enough for foxtrot!
Then the trip to Yarmouth was daunting again after a day with visitors - too bad to miss the Beach party.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer 2011, so far

So I missed 2 free concerts, the 6 PM Thursday ones, at local downtown venues. Company with small children are happier just hanging out at Camp Brodsky, our home with afternoon sun at the pond.
Tonight - Woods Hole Community Hall for bluesy swing with Flipside.
Tomorrow - CCBD Beach Party in Yarmouth.
Sunday afternoon - Ron Gursky, then Bluegrass at Highfield Hall.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SYTYCD costuming

What is with the constant garter belt costuming on the women (girls)?
It made that disjointed dance to "Piece of my Heart" uglier. Joe said Janis Joplin was turning over in her grave, but it was just the dancers among us disheartened at the waste of talent.
The judges liked it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2 Turkeys

"Good" news. The baby turkey recovered, so I will have 2 turkeys that my son's girlfriend named to make it more difficult for us to kill and eat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bistro 586

We took off once our company left and checked out Main Street Hyannis, Doug McHugh's Salsa Sundays.
A smallish space with a wood floor, fine for the number of people who showed up - just a few.
Teaching in a bar is not a great gig, but he and Kimberley seemed to enjoy it.
Joe and I liked his music, and it was a good break for me.
The 10:00 band, Highly Suspect, was eager to start. Not like most Salsa bands who are always late. In the fall, a Latin DJ will take over that time slot, they tell me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dance Day July 30 Salsa

Here it is in black and white, my notes.
Quick quick slow in place with "sunshine arms"
Salsa basic with arms in front, elbows bent, circling
Side breaks with head turns
Crawl to left then to right - grapevine and a swivel.
Paddle turn with 4 slows, left foot turns right, look where you were
then right foot turns left shrug one shoulder Arms have switched to 'tire boxing'
Bodofogo= forward place foot to side, hip lift Both sides. Arms alternately point forward
4 Side points= forward, point side. Timing 'and slow'. Arms slap the hips and travel up, men to waist, ladies framing body to arms overhead.
Music "Mas Que Nada" Sergio Mendes with Black Eyed Peas.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My pick of the July free concerts

Tonight, George Gritzbach at Mashpee Commons, 6 PM
Tomorrow 4 Guys in Tuxes downtown Falmouth 6 PM
Next Friday, 7/15, Flipside in the Woods Hole Community Hall 8 PM
Sunday 7/17 Bluegrass on Highfield lawn Falmouth
2PM New England Bluegrass Band
3PM Falmouth Fiddlers,
4PM 3 Cats and a Dog,
5 PM NEBgB

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Books, books, books

Secretly, I am an English Major, so I made time for the Falmouth Library book sale.
I was late, in fact, they were packing up and any book left was free, so I filled a cloth grocery bag with 27 selections, 14 novels, several travel books, a French/English dictionary (back to Montreal?), a bit of natural history and memoir, etc.
The dance books, plant books and the children's books were already in a truck labeled "book-recycling.com".
The Brain, the Body, and Sport
seemed promising, but was mostly about ayurvedic body types and Transcendental Meditation breathing.
The cowboy sketches included dancing, I thought, but it was just Our Hero at a bar edging in on a girl for a mating preliminary slow dance.
Good thing I didn't pay for those.
I will support the library with money another day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Turkeys

I love the wild turkeys that are showing up everywhere, including a mother turkey Rte 195, crossing with 5 chicks following.
I am not fond of my own 2 turkeys, 2 weeks old tomorrow. One got sick but hasn't died, so I have to keep it separate from its brother and worry and get up in the middle of the night and give it more water and then wash my hands.
Keep it alive so I can have it killed in five months.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday at the Conservatory with Ellen

So far so good with the summer Sundays.
A decent turnout for a busy weekend.
No newcomers except Joe's cousin and the boyfriend.
Sticky floor smoothed with baby powder. Seemingly, the AC at the Conservatory doesn't pull the humidity.
Nobody was hungry so I have a whole "flag cake" left for the 4th of July.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

solo dancing

Connections are so cool. Holding hands while you do the horah in a circle, or two hands for an English country dance, square dancing with its number of choices, a country line dance crowd moving in unison. Ballroom Dance, the best.
I don't really like dancing by yourself opposite a friend while the band plays any more.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dress Up

Working at our mother's house with my sister is good for the things she remembers, like the dressing up I used to do. That's another aspect of ballroom dance that we ladies love.
For my granddaughter I mended a satin and mesh flower-girl outfit. She is a vision in pale pink.
I do not remember a yellow flowered coronet, but Ann saw me wear it.
Doll clothes are the next phase, I expect, a substitute for helping dress her baby brudder, since babies hate trying on clothes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Themes

I'm not much on themed dances, but this one on July 3 looks like perfect timing for some Red White and Blue - at least some decorations and berries with whipped cream on cupcakes. Town will be super full with the Monday holiday. People may wonder what to do on that Sunday evening. Visiting guests welcome! AC!

Our grandson was born 10 days early, so I don't have to worry about whether I'll need to go see the beautiful baby and/or help out. All is well. Baby is perfect, and my daughter-in-law's mother is 15 minutes from their apartment.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Treasures

My weekend at my mother's yielded a tiny amount of dance stuff in proportion to the amount sent off for recycling, dump, swap shop, Salvation Army, Antique Lamps Store donation, artist friend, and local theater company.
I have People magazine from 1987, a Fred Astaire issue when he died. Two Jacob's Pillow souvenir pamphlets, one 1975, one 1988. Most impressive is a book of Serge Lido's photographs from Paris 1949, in French, marked 550 francs. Leslie Caron as the Sphinx.
One circle skirt I can mend for my granddaughter.
Dance is an ephemeral art.

Monday, June 27, 2011

That dancer's trick for boating

My dance technique to avoid seasickness, recorded on this blog back in 2007, worked again.
This time I was able to teach it to a visitor from the City (NYC).
While I was out sorting my mother's stuff (rainy weather, not too hot- I made a dent in the attic) the visitors went out on Joe's motor boat, and one came back woozy.
We went again yesterday, and she stood next to me, not sitting in the choppy seas, working with the knees to keep ears level. My mother's old suggestion, "Watch the horizon," is a start because it makes sure you don't look down or up, but knees as shock absorbers are the crucial extra step. Can be tiring, but better than feeling sick.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cape Cod Dance Center Newsletter

Cape Cod Dance Center has a newsletter now with a newsletter maven who asked me what we do for Ballroom. I prepared this statement to go out to their list, mostly the parents of school children.

Ballroom classes continue as always with a Basics Class on Mondays at 7:15. We cycle through the dances so that students gain a proficiency in the usual styles without getting confused.
Mondays at 8:15 is the Advanced Class, a group that has been with me for years, adding in by invitation.
Wednesdays at 8:00 are Intermediates, a great class for those who need to take their time, who are new to the studio though not to Ballroom Dancing, or those on their way up to advanced.
We get mostly couples on Cape Cod, but I take singles and enjoy their company.
Cape Cod Dance Center continues the classes year round, including the summer.
The class card system allows students to come as they can without losing their place or their payment, and we have held to the same fee since Mary French owned out of the building.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

PAA

Another year, another set of officers for the Portuguese American Association.
I don't know the new president. perhaps he can make things happen. 501 c 3 designation maybe?
So there's hope for that local beautiful dance floor, but not much.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Arts Alive Falmouth 2011

A lovely event with local people out to see the local art and craftsmen. Paradise Rock was too loud and all original songs (good for them, but not easy to listen to). Turning Pointe's show was good. I heard it was mobbed Saturday when I missed Cape Cod Dance Center and many musicians. If I'd gone to see the Klezmer Swing I'd have had to get dressed for the wedding in the car.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dancing at the wedding

Sure enough, as Dawn told me, the floor filled up with dancers.
Why not? Great band, open bar, everybody dressed up.
Early on, bands often they play the older dance music, Sinatra type foxtrots, and we did glide around between courses.
After the meal and cake, the music got louder and less inspiring to us. The service at the Copley Plaza is exemplary so the spilled drink (not a Drunk) was cleaned up. They didn't notice the lemon leaf that got free, part of the snazzy place setting, holding two butter pats per person - oops- that's slippery!
We gave up at quarter to midnight. The band went until 1 AM.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dressing for Copley Plaza

Middle son David's best friend's wedding.
My daughter-in-law says black is fine. Joe is wearing a gray suit.
The word is we are not right on the dance floor so that we will inspire others to dance on our walk there? Could this be true?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Arts Alive

Falmouth's outdoor festival starts tomorrow night.
The Town Dance at 7 PM features a band I do not recommend, but before they start, Paradise Rock is on at either 5 or 6 PM depending on where you see the schedule. Their facebook says 5:00, so I would guess that was right since the Arts Alive folks have a ton of other stuff to keep track of.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CCDC Newsletter

Our little studio, the Cape Cod Dance Center, has a newsletter now, weekly. I need to write something.
The dance tip this week was degage, disengaged from the floor, a way of moving the foot to strengthen the ankles and get some precision in foot placement. Ballet - you gotta love it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CCBD Newsletter

Sorry to see it go.
When we started it in 1994, I wrote articles and laid it out, cutting and pasting with scissors and glue. Then Renee Ziegner and I had a newsletter party. We folded hundreds of sheets we got copied and placed labels we had entered onto our computers, along with stamps at $.35, and mailed out them out on time. Six years of 4 issues a year.
So 20th Century.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Samba Demystified by Ron Gursky

A view of Samba as done to BossaNova, easygoing and not terrifically bouncy.
Our step, a Volta that doesn't look like a promenade stutter.
Attendance - Very good. We had to take out the ballet bars. We needed the room.
Happy Birthday, Joe.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hoy Polloy

Johnny Hoy was a half hour late and had lost his guitar player. After a few songs, an audience member joined them with his guitar and amp, but the set seemed a bit too loud and all fast. Grumpy's was super crowded. We didn't need the bachelor party that pulled up in a limo bus.
The guitar player had maybe missed the ferry - he arrived an hour late. It didn't look like he would be invited to play after the break. The sub was keeping his equipment on stage.
We left, tired from a day of family.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Second June weekend

I get to stretch out before tomorrow with my 10 AM class.
Dancing starts tonight with Johnny Hoy at Grumpy's, if we get there.
(I gave up on Day of Portugal Dinner Dance with folkloric dance performance.)
Sunday, Kati's Flamenco starts at 11 AM.
At night, I run a party following Ron's evening workshop in Samba.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gravity

Apparently, Newton's laws are not standing up to the numbers observed as Spaceship Voyager heads out of the solar system. Instead of Dark Energy (hitherto unobserved forces), my brother proposes negative gravity (I think).
I appreciate gravity. I enjoyed my brainy relatives definition of it as a weak force, allowing us to stay connected to our places on this world yet giving the freedom to move, defining our struggles, shaping our dance.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dancing on Tuesdays in Providence

My last scheduled Tuesday with Sloane who is now 3 years old.
We danced and played with scarves and ribbons.
Her baby brother arrives in three weeks, so the mother is wisely taking some time with her firstborn instead of with Pilates clients.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Stage 3

The brilliant setting of the Wianno Club was really full of dancers. I believe one reason is that we are starved for another venue! Betsy's, Betsy's, Betsy's, and the Conservatory in Falmouth.
Trilogy brought in a lovely singer - just what the band needed! I've sent him a note, hoping she will come in September as well.
The formation was the best I've seen - congratulations to Debbie and all her dancers.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

2nd stage

Whoa! Two months in a row, extra men at my dance! Joe wasn't even there as his new love, tennis, called him away to a tournament. After inviting Tiny three months in a row, I forgot her this month - too bad, could have used her.
Highlights: skilled dancers from out of town, there for the weekend, and Mike and Nancy Ward after a year and a half.
Other surprises: Christy's friend Jim who was much better than he thought, and Chip from the Vineyard who was much worse than I expected. I found out he has early Alzheimer's - yikes.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

1st stage of the weekend

Excellent CCBD dance last night. I used the Samba lesson to encourage the mostly very good dancers to enjoy the music. A few easy steps, a line dance to hammer them in, and a bit of Volta turn rather than that traveling Volta that can be such a train wreck.
Susan Coppelman did a nice job with the music, and people stuck around to dance for the whole time. And I got to see some "Senior Prom" pictures.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blowing Hot and Cold

Funny wind we've had, and it's all full of pine pollen. I'm not allergic to the stuff, but it gives me a slight cough. I hung out my clothes to dry, and now I'll put them in the dryer for some pollen removal.
Put in the bean seeds and now I have the keeep the ground damp. That was Not a Problem for a few weeks there, as the weeds show us.
Tonight is the dancing. Today I get to hang around the house.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Video revisited

Surely by now they have a machine with a computer memory to capture a few programs the way my VCR does, without subscribing to a service? Could the cable companies be blocking such technology?
Meanwhile, the video available from the Web is daunting.
All I really want is to go out and dance anyway. When I'm there, I need to be able to discuss popular dance culture.
So far, I missed the first episode of So You Think You Can Dance.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ten Day Week

A family weekend showed some seeming progress with my mother's house.
There are signs of the 'hoarder' gene in my sister, the oldest one, but I try to see her interest in the ubiquitous stuff as a virtue, not just an obstacle to clearing out. Since our mother has a store of 50 tablecloths in her sideboard, we can consider that the 30 still in their original packaging should be given away, and, but to whom?
Is there a particular use for newspapers from 1966? Perhaps an antique dealer wants them for packing material.
Now that I'm home, a series of good dance events this week will pull me back to myself.
After the regular weekday classes, on Friday I will teach the Samba for CCBD, then my casual Saturday dance happens. Sunday we go to the Wianno Club.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Keihm "Tip"

This is a lecture of a tip, so I'm going to edit it a bit. If you want to see his face, this link works through facebook. http://www.facebook.com/notes/michael-kiehm/tip-of-the-week-with-michael-kiehm/204494579586287

Basics, Basics, Basics, You can't work on them too much!

I'm sure you've probably heard this a million times, but lets face it, watch any advanced dancer and what do you remember? It's HOW they danced, not what they danced. An advanced dancer can captivate you with nothing but basic patterns, simply because they have mastered their ability to maintain a consistent connection between themselves, the floor, the music and the space around them. They never seem rushed or off time, and they never use more lead or follow then necessary. Even when they "play" the are able to "Keep the conversation" (stay connected to the partner).

I see so many dancers dancing solo while holding on to a partner! This is a result of a lack of good basic skills. When the basic connection is solid, both partners can continue complimenting each others embellishments with matching movements or at least support throughout the movements.

One of the best pieces of advice I or any other coach could give you, would be to SLOW DOWN and pay more attention to your partner. (He suggests watching video of Tatiana Mollmann who comes to the Boston events.)

Try keeping your feet as close to the floor as possible and think about keeping your posture strongly over your feet. Try to be aware of how you are placing your feet on the ground (what part of the foot, and how much time the foot is action and the placement of the foot) If you think about it in this detail, it will cause you to slow down slightly, which is a great thing!

KEEP WORKING ON YOUR BASIC SKILLS....I DO, and I've been dancing for over 30 years.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Here we are again with a finale

I wasn't getting to my writing page by my usual route, so my DWTS comments are late.
The finale was not one I have to keep on tape.
I liked seeing Petra again with her sweet little charity. I hope it does good and doesn't just mess up the local economy like so many aid agencies do.
Chris Jericho was one I enjoyed watching and had hoped to see in the finals.
Both Wendy Williams and Kendra were so far out of my mind, I was really surprised to see them again.
What about those little "truths" they put out. "Audiences love the freestyle." They didn't ask me. I left a comment on the website once. Their TV agenda is working, so they do whatever they want.
Mark Ballas does freestyle as part of every routine. Maks just thinks it's about lifts. Kym is not especially creative. The judges try to keep everybody going.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer !?

The good news: a new floor going in and air conditioning at the Cape Cod Dance Center Annex.
The busy news: All weekends are taken through June 18, Saturdays and Sundays.
(Memorial Day family stuff, June 4 my dance, June 5 Wianno, June 11 family stuff, June 12 Ron's party, June 18 wedding, June 19 Arts Alive/Father's Day)
Then Summer starts officially on Cape Cod, so watch out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Something different

Cotuit Center for the Arts changes around a lot. The venue set up for their musical next week, "Anything Goes", worked pretty well for the Waldorf School. The stadium seating was up very tall, to the second-story wrap-around balcony space that was furnished with food tastes, our favorite type of meal.
Flipside, the blues band, was in the smaller gallery room, after the (boring) auction.
A young couple had a hula hoop dance act. She was very graceful and skilled with multiple hoops, but they were unannounced and left after a short time. Hula hoops take up a lot of space, and the floor, though very nice, was smallish.
Sometimes when Joe and I dance, there is a performance aspect, but we don't have to use space, and we stayed for the rest of the music.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I figured it out - stay indoors

Oak pollen is still at the 8.8 out of ten level according to one weather website. Once the rain stopped washing the air out, I went into avoidance. Out there, humidity holds the grains in suspension, but it's not as bad as the hot windy days. In the late afternoon, I try for outdoor activity in small spurts and wash my hands and face afterwards. After all these years of feeling sick for a couple of weeks, I finally know what to do.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fitness Classes

Goals: core training, balance, flexibility, muscle strengthening and toning
Atmosphere: good music, mirrors, heat, clean floor, ballet bar
Teacher:
serious, cheerful, observant
Class: women interested in a strong healthy body.
Different classes have these in different degrees.
As a teacher, I go to classes and watch their effect as I follow, rating them in my mind.

Sharing ratings could get me in trouble with my fellow fitness teachers. Let's see - Angie's List?
Zumba - usually too loud. Yoga - usually no music. Pilates - music sometimes.
Studios vary as to atmosphere.
I wish men enjoyed these classes, but they don't. Some do martial arts, and aikido seems to have many characteristics I favor.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Winner Takes All Dance Off on DWTS

Why believe they couldn't skew the results if they wanted to?
The producers let Brandy and Sabrina go for reasons of their own, unknown by mere mortals.
However, this is a way to signal to Chelsea that she is important to Disney.
And to spare us Ralph's clunky dancing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cavalcade of Bands Rhodes on the Pawtuxet

Tuesday the 24th of this month, I will be teaching night school, but others might make the trek to Cranston. It's a gorgeous ballroom and only $10 with advance tickets to see an assortment of live music in the ballroom and in the lobby.
They put it on 3 times a year, May, August and October and we made it last August, finally. The huge ballroom fills up with regular folks like we used to see at the Sons of Italy.
Minor food was available from a small booth in the corner of the ballroom, and there was a full bar in the lobby.
Providence Federation of Musicians
681 Park Ave Suite 11
Cranston RI 02910-2133
$10 pp RECEIVED by May 20 or pay $15 at the door.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Maks & Kirstie's Argentine

That is a strong man, carrying her down the stairs!
As usual, I watched late - just finished catching up here, so I voted last night not including Kirstie based on last week's performance. Online this morning, I added a vote for her for that great footwork, precise and in character. Ralph should go. He has not improved and now he's injured.
My husband watched the Celtics lose, so he went to sleep feeling like he'd wasted the evening.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sons of Italy Lodge

The building we danced at has been sold, May 6, the supposed closing date. Buyers are the Gateway Christian Center, the Mashpee church on Rte 130. $875K, with $860K mortgage.
I hope they are the kind of Christians who approve of dancing. The hall might yet see dancing again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pete and Repeat

It's an old joke. Sloane will appreciate it. She wanted her favorite song to 'peat' on my iPod.
More recording problems, so, during nap, I watched DWTS online in Providence where my son has a better internet connection. My daughter-in-law came back from teaching Pilates, so I missed the Katusha Demidova tango there. On my computer, it was jumpy, but seriously gorgeous.
The Television Without Pity commentator should give up that job since she's so tired of it she took a break and didn't watch. She really went off the mark. They were there because Donnie Burns was there.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hoy @ Landfall

An unadvertised fundraiser for the Woods Hole School happened last night with the great band.
Untrained dancers galore, plus dinner tables still set up meant not enough floor space compounded by a grumpy old guy who insisted on sitting on the dance floor, next to a table that could have been cleared out. At break, we saw him outside with a cigar - determined to be the most obnoxious?
So I'm glad I didn't promote the event to dancers.
Still a beautiful venue with the porch on top of Woods Hole Harbor where a school of squid ventured in to see the lights.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Brain Time

Just read about neuroscientist David Eagleton's studies on the way the brain deals with time.
I loved how time can be called a sense, but not the sixth or seventh sense. He calls it metasensory because it rides on top of all the rest and has a slight lag while the brain puts it together.
When the engineers were trying to sync TV images and sound perfectly, they found that as long as the delay was less than a hundred milliseconds, no one noticed it.
With training, musicians track a sync that might be off as little as 2 milliseconds.
Sound is important. The brain processes sound before light. Another reason dancers shouldn't look at their feet.
And why time seems to speed up as we grow older? "The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. The more familiar the world is, the less information your brain writes down." New Yorker 4/25

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding - Dance?

Well, there's the T-Mobile spoof, which features a great setting- guests in cloth of gold finery etc.
Procession Dance - the new phase.
I remembered to look at CNN at 8:30, and everybody looked happy, especially Cat Deely.
I wonder if William and Catherine put together a routine for the reception, and will we get to see it.
That could tide me over until Monday's DWTS.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keeper

A Blue Plate Tuesday Night Special!
Best dance per couple so far with commentary was a good idea.
Then we had the results show and darn it - Kendra is still there! Like Bristol Palin - the worst dancer who somehow seems to resonate with viewers.
However, Ralph got his weave restyled, and it fits his face better.
Now if Lacey Schwimmer would just get ditch the two tone hair, I wouldn't have hair issues with the show.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Slow sign-ups

Interesting to watch Falmouth Night School enrollment over the years- so far this session is super slow. What I love is that there's no rent or mortgage involved, so the stress level is very low. The low key approach is often very nice, as Cape Codders know.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

No April in Portugal Dance

Discouraged as no advance tickets have sold, the organizers at the Navigator have canceled the event.
The club is pinning their hopes on fund-raising with an Italian Night. Someone's Italian mother is running the kitchen May 7, and hiring a DJ. I can't go to since it's the First Saturday.
I still haven't seen the board make any steps towards getting the 501 c 3 back so we could write grants to finish the upstairs, a real dance floor.

Friday, April 22, 2011

old DWTS

I was checking if the DVD player worked before taking some kids shows out of the library, so I tried a DWTS disc sent out for "your Emmy consideration". Opening number was Monique Coleman dancing Waltz with Louis, the one where she wept at the end. Sloane and I watched spellbound.
The children's room at the library was empty for the first time ever, so she played with the toys, then had to get to the playground where she exhausted herself. So home for nap. No videos. Oh well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Phony

Of course a lot of DWTS is phony, but I can ignore boob jobs even if guys can't. Not Wendy Williams'. Hers I kept thinking, "Could she get breast reduction surgery?"
The eliminations where, "Although not necessarily in the bottom three, Cheryl and Chris are still in jeopardy" bug me. The producers want suspense, but nobody gets hurt, except of course the ones who are ultimately getting voted off, which this time was okay since Petra danced like a model.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I voted

First time in two seasons, I think. I'm always too late, watching on tape, for a phone vote, but I ended up on facebook early, and the DWTS news let me connect easily, and voting was still open.
Hines 2, Chelsea (&Mark) 2, Chris 2, Ralph 1, Romeo 1.
Mark finally let Chelsea's dancing show.
Chris Jericho has great style.
Although Hines' hips (that Carrie Ann said were the best yet in Rumba) were hidden, I've loved his dances all along.
I did a bit of research on Ralph's hair augmentation, and I still think he should go for the mature look instead of the boyish act.
Romeo grew into a maturity just like I thought he wanted to all along. Now that he has the suave act, maybe he'll get into Latin as well.
We haven't had a DWTS dominated by men in a while.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Latin Lecture

Ron's take on Latin timing:
The approach from South America is to stand on both feet before taking a step.
Therefore, the first step is a shift of weight that goes into the hip before moving.
Hence the step forward of '2' as we know from Chacha, and is an integral part of International Rumba.
He called that weight shift a "slouch", though the shoulders were not involved, probably to counter the fear factor in all the instruction on knee and ankle work etc. (not mentioning nanigo, though he showed that hip action) that was a bit daunting.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dance Teachers

Three teachers were at Doug McHugh's Latin Night in Teaticket last night. Eveline and I joined the small class, a nice group for a small space.
A young couple showed up with the usual problem for the wife - following - "What's That!?!" They had been swimming at our pond last summer, and Josh Mills graduated from FHS with my oldest son. Small town.
Doug taught the whole time. He's done his homework with his DVIDA syllabus and was thorough and clear, especially in the ways he analyzed communication for the leaders.
At the end, he suggested that students consider taking lessons with different teachers at times to explore different approaches, especially suggesting switching to the opposite gender, nicely acknowledging my presence.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Romeo

Well, Romeo the R'n'B singer is definitely a lightweight in the dancing department.
You can tell because I forgot him.
Light on your feet is not actually what a dancer wants. I think of one lady who flitted about, never putting down her heel even when I got down on my knees and begged her.
Force from the feet sends a dancer to the next step, affecting the body according to the style requested, with a swing of the hips for the smooth dances, taking the weight on to keep the flow traveling along. In the rhythm dances, that foot pressure moving up to the hip is stopped, making the Latin torso action.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Splendid

The larger orchestra seemed to energize the show on Monday, and the commericial breaks were shorter.
I loved several of the dances this week, notably Paso Dobles by Chris the wrestler and Hines the football player. The pros look too much the same in that dance, while these men danced like guys who dance.
My viewing schedule was off, so I read the Television Without Pity recap before I saw the show and did not expect much. Pleasantly surprised is a great way to approach an entertainment.
We (Carrie Ann, TWOP reviewer and I) all agree that Petra needs core work because she wobbles.
That reviewer 'hates' Mark Ballas, so did not appreciate the magic show, and her point is well taken, since his celebrities get penalized for performing his choreography.
Kendra is getting whiny. Monday she thought the shortened work week made it harder - though that was the same for everyone. Then last night, she brought out the 'time of month' excuse. First time that's been mentioned on the show.
Ralph's wig looked better, but I think he should have let it go salt and pepper rather than the harsh black color. Karina is growing on me. I didn't used to like her.
Kirstie looks more muscular than the other overweight stars. Then she had a shoe fall off. How does this sort of thing happen? Hopefully she didn't irritate the costume department!
2 more stars. Um...Our cheerful boxer who got voted off and was called the "heart of the show." and.....? (gotta go)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Venue Review

The latest dance spot, last night, St Barnabas Parish Hall, won high praise from the aficionados present. Round tables and BYOB added to the experience of a smooth floor, good music, friendly people, and generous snack table that we expect at a dance that I run. Kudos to Reverend Pat Barrett who engineered the night and will be sending the profits to Japan relief through her assistant who has family there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

East, West, Home is Best

Even from a good vacation, I love getting home where my roots are deep and nourishing.
Each day has had an activity with resonance, not just the dance classes I take and teach, but also stacking firewood and caring for my granddaughter.
Today, I meet a new batch of high school students for tutoring
Then, my stretch class will work out any knots in the muscles.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cuban Shuffle = Cupid Shuffle

A line dance very popular in Florida also went over quite well last night in Falmouth. I had a bit of trouble at first since I heard "Cuban Shuffle", but really the artist, Cupid, composed the music and the dance. What do you think? Will he make it to DWTS? Depends maybe on how Romeo does, in part, and how well he gets along with Disney executives.
I drove to Boston to get the abandoned suitcase and deliver honeybelle oranges to my mother-in-law. Love that Big Dig. It did cost $3.50 to come back through the tunnel and $3 for parking 1/2 hour.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Running through the airport

Readers know I arrange my life around dancing and my family, so a last day in Florida ended at 6 PM. Home to dance at the Conservatory tonight.
My flight was an hour and a half late - the last bus connection was just about then!
So I left my suitcase full of fruit. A trip to Boston tomorrow sounds okay - Sunday morning. I can get those honeybelle oranges and deliver some to my mother-in-law.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Last Day in Florida

I will indeed be home to run the First Saturday Dance.
My Florida dance adventures continued Sunday night with live music. The Wine Bar sets up the white baby grand piano with attached seating. Roger takes requests and plays danceable tunes. Very classy.
Monday I went to Tango Buenos Aires at the Lyric Theater, a restored venue with a lot of community support. Five couples and five musicians put on a terrific show.
Tuesday, we went out to dinner and when we got home, I remembered Dancing with the Stars in time to see the very end of the Results show. The website footage is still spotty, so I'll wait to see Monday's show on tape at home.
Wednesday, a teacher Joe met at the Wine Bar emailed him about a lesson, so we went. I have steps to bring home. Jack the Gringo Salsero wanted foot crossings for the man, which Joe hated.
Thursday was for visiting Sophie Friedman in Delray. We brought her to dinner at the Cuban Cafe, meeting Falmouth tennis player Marty Abelson and his wife Lenore. Then we brought her and her sister Florrie to the Grand Ballroom where Len and Shari Dress, also from Falmouth, take lessons.
They enjoyed getting five invitations to dance, but refused all. Sophie is unsteady on her feet and Florrie said she would be embarrassed. Watching live dancing is great fun, especially with a friend.
Snow in Boston should be light enough to allow my plane to land tonight.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

continuing with Florida

Saturday, I wasn't so frazzled, and our dance evening was another new place ,Plaza, with high ceilings, nice lighting and good music - this one an hour away, but Joe made some calls and we went with another couple.
We'd missed the Viennese Waltz lesson which only pulled in two couples. The place filled up only a third - makes you wonder if they'll make it - so no mixer, but Joe spotted a guy who needed to be asked to dance, and sent me over.
Joe, in his persona as dance host had asked a lady who refused him, saying she was there with her husband. This fellow tried her as well, and thereby had the wind taken out of his sails. He asked me if I had noticed his unhappiness, and I had to admit my husband was his helper.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jensen Beach, Florida

For anyone who missed the news, I am in Florida with my husband who is in love with this by-water on the east coast of our semi-tropical state. Here on the Indian River, I can watch the sunrise from behind the barrier island.
Joe goes to play tennis for the morning. "Bye, honey!"
In the afternoon, he windsurfs, except the wind has not been cooperating, so we bike to the beach and swim in waves.
Evenings, there are a selection of dance places, and we went to two Friday night after I arrived.
South Florida Swing Dance re-opened as "Save the First Dance". Still a nice easygoing space, but only two weeks in with amateurs who took it over as a dream. The old crowd supports them, but they will need new people too. $10 admission and the music is pretty good, as was the homemade banana cake.
On Route 1, down from Home Depot, Target, BJs, Wendy's, Lowes etc., Joe calls another new place the Wine Bar, where a former dance teacher set up a lovely floor with tables, high mirrors (not teaching mirrors), a white piano, a Quebecois waitress, and his choice of good dance music. He told Joe he's not in the dance business any more - he's in the liquor business. Two drink minimum $5 each for beer or wine, or water.
I was exhausted!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beginner West Coast

For the Intermediate class.
I was afraid they wouldn't be ready - they'd hate it - they couldn't get it!
But Wednesdays at 8 PM has enough talent to make it happen after only 2 classes.
My teaching also might have improved since the night school class where they all quit!

Next blog will be from Florida, if I can make the system work there.
I'm back in town for the First Saturday, April 2.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Season 12 DWTS

Did you notice, it took me three days to discuss this? I did watch every minute. Not every second because when you run a VCR, the tape takes a bit of time to slow down.
My finalist choices based on the first episode: Ralph (Karate Kid) and Karina, Kirstie and Maks, Hines and Kym, all three with a fan base, talent and the ability to work.
Chelsea Kane (who?) and Mark, Romeo (Mr. P's son) and Chelsie, Sugar Ray (age 54, younger than me) and Anna should all stick around and provide some competition.
Boy, did I expect more out of the WWE guy Chris. Cheryl usually gets them going...
Another model - Petra with Dmitry.
Kendra (stripper) had such weak legs, I felt sorry for Louis.
Wendy didn't look as weak as she danced. C'mon,Tony.
Mike was at least funny so I might vote for him next week even though Lacey has the worst hair ever.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Connection

Dance Teachers Club of Boston brought in David Rozinski today for an enjoyable lesson on styling - the head and arms. Common sense seems to be coming in for the International Ballroom community, so natural movement is being allowed. David Rozinski runs a great competition in Springfield, so he has to be up on the latest rules and how the old ones get changed.
My favorite hint was an improved hand position for the lady's right and the man's left, one that allows for improved connection.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sundays in the Studio with Ron

Bolero is the subject chosen for the latest set of Ballroom lessons with Ron Gursky. I liked the idea of the rise and fall styling and the larger movements being applied to the Latin style. 5 PM on March 20 and 27, and April 3. Usual pricing applies for Ron's classes at the Cape Cod Dance Center.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

At my mother's house

9 boxes. Newspapers get recycled (even if it's a clipped article on Willy Brandt, German Chancellor in 1980s) along with charity requests and notes to herself (4 boxes). Magazines get saved (2 boxes). Catalogs and pretty pictures went to the high school art teacher (2 boxes). Personal memorabilia is saved (1 box).
1 local art review magazine from 2005 with a great cover picture of a dancer who does a type of movement with roots in Laban's work, Gyrokinesis, developed by a Hungarian in the 80s. The description sounds like what I love, stretching and understanding the body from within. A "Pulley Tower Unit" seems similar to the "Reformer". Gotta try it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fun

We agreed it was fun. Ron Gursky presented an easy step with plenty of technique attached: rise and fall contributing to brush along with navigating the floor, left side lead, and a proper promenade - very satisfying. Then we danced with favorite friends and some new people, too.
Next week a ballroom class for Bolero after the Argentine Tango classes, beginner (new) and intermediate.