Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow

When we set out, there was just rain, heavy rain, so much we thought snow couldn't stick.
Two hours later, it had stuck with heavy snow and dangerous road conditions. Happily most people had decided to stay home, cocooned in. The snowplows did too.
Coming up, choices for a night out on New Year's Eve, so this Saturday night could be quiet.
We got home safely, twenty minutes instead of ten, and the dancing was great! Thanks Linda!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

NewYearsEve

I really couldn't think about it until Christmas was over.
Not thrilled by the choices - expensive, distant, small dance floors.
My casual New Year's Eve the last couple of years needed a decision ahead and a lot of advertising, I'm afraid, for me to be satisfied with the turn out so that the floor looked full and the hall got some money.
Family and weather are a couple of dicey factors.
Joe said  "Well, what about Landucci? They are advertising dancing for NYE."
I didn't think so because my dancing friends have never mentioned the spot.
So we went down to check it out. Eddie Sheer was on piano. The old Nimrod crowd had come by for live piano keraoke(bad). The room was cozy, and the dance floor, with 2 couches and a coffee/cocktail table filling it just then, is tiny.
December 31, dancing friends went to Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxcet in Cranston RI. $95 each, great dinner, fabulous ballroom floor, balconies, ballroom DJ, pro ballroom show, cash bar. Joe vetoed.
So, the evening at home

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas reunion

Our time setting up the house for my father so he could return home was stressful, but worth it for all to see him in the best possible situation for the 89 year old man with dementia and a stroke. He is very weak and confused, so we kept things quieter than they have been in the past.
Luckily my grandchildren are sweet little ones with a very responsible mother, so the chaos was tempered with restraint as well as good cheer.
Singing the Christmas carols we love, I experienced the surge of sadness as it will be passing away. My parents' house has been the gathering spot for 50 years.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday parties

I only played one Christmas themed song for the 4H party at the Federated Church in Hyannis, Jingle Bell Rock, because it's such a great swing number. We moved on to do Hustle, the dance style that fits the music of the moment, stuff like "Moves Like Jagger". Disco didn't produce any great Christmas themed songs anyway.
The kids seemed to appreciate the constant partner changes. Partnering is such a difficult thing for all ages that even I, though usually happy to dance with everyone, can feel foolishly tall. Teenagers especially need to experience all sizes and skill sets while they explore their identities. After the lesson, they could dance with whomever they liked, using the open dancing instead of being stuck with the fashionable too sexy moves that are so prevalent that many schools have cancelled dances altogether.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Youth dance

CCBD is offering a program at the Sturgis School, starting in January. Debbie Israel will take the first three weeks to teach Swing and Hustle, I have the Latin dance to present in the second three weeks.
Should be interesting. We all have dreams of what could come of the program, but for now, I'm just going hope they all have fun.
Tomorrow is a dance with some of the kids, set up by some home schooling parents. I hope I'll have the time to report on it.
I've been at my parents' house this week and return there next week. Transitions are tough and this one particularly, bringing home an 89-year-old Alzheimer's patient after a stroke that landed him in re-hab for 100 days. He is happy much of the time, though almost helpless. Our CPN handles him like a two-year-old. Second childhood indeed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

4 beat Hustle - super easy

Finally, after sweating through Samba, I gave my class a break and presented 4 Beat Hustle - like Swing only easier. All this time I've been telling them they could do Hustle, so then they found out I was right. We transferred a bunch of Swing steps and added in a step from Mary French that I see in no other dance. I even got a bit of what I see as often lacking, the arm in the air accent, then talked about Saturday Night Fever, the movie - John Travolta said they were making an art movie about a passe flash-in-the-pan fad dance, and had to find the clothes to wear in second-hand shops.  Once it swept the nation, Mary French paid off her mortgage, filling the studio for 3 hours every night at $5 per person per hour.
At the end of the hour, I showed them the New York variation, invented after the movie, 3 Beat Hustle,  the norm today taught by most dance teachers, not necessary to enjoy all the steps and the continuous music, but showier.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ladies' Dance Class in Hyannis

I went to Michelle Colley's dance exercise class at Dance Designs this morning. Wow, did she keep us moving! She uses great music and nice choreography, though I doubt I will ever really get the steps to do a group dance like she and the ladies did at the Art and Souls Ball at Cotuit Arts Center. I am a bit old for high kicks though I enjoyed the jumps and felt like it was a great work-out in many ways.
The hip-hop moves were particularly new to me. Klara Koenig never had us stomp and strut.
The other older ladies were glad I was there (making them look good), and encouraged me to return. With two bottles of water.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Why Worry

Remember Alfred E Newman, the What Me Worry kid? Mad magazine?
I try not to worry. My older sister is the worry wort. Things will work out, I usually say, until I have to make sure they do. I had a last minute change of venue this month -very stressful - but once the dance started, I relaxed and had a great time with my fellow dancers. We were very happy JP joined us at the Conservatory.
Line dances are very much not my thing, though I practiced quite a bit. I needed to remember Lillian Roma with the "Alley Cat", the line dance she taught at the Wianno Club in the nineties. She died last month.
Then JP very kindly sent us through a terrific Samba Chicka-Boom line dance, and informally through the Hustle line dance, to "A Fifth of Beethoven" rather than the usual "Night Fever."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dance & Stretch Class

More dancing, less stretching, seems to be popular and in line with Gretchen Reynolds findings on fitness, but a certain amount of centering and attention to how the muscles and joints are working does a body good. Right brain awareness is key.
Meanwhile I am trying to make line dances work for me. That is a totally different type of attention. Left brain activity. One step after another. Like algebra, not geometry.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just when you think....

Computer fixing, plus, I went crazy with an error in venue scheduling and have been scrambling to let everyone know that my dance will be at the Conservatory, not St. Barnabas.
Things were going really well, I thought, but the seeds for trouble were sown months ago.
Ain't it always the way.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finale of course

Our show has finished its season - great entertainment. The production numbers got bigger and crazier - hilarious even. I kind of miss the old days, but it was nice in the All Stars not to have any cringe-inducing really bad dancers. Dance Center features one of them, Kenny Mayne and his not funny jokes.
On the final show with voting I saw terrific dancing altogether like Kelly and Val's Paso that made me happy, ready to accept her even with her manipulative streak. 
Tony and Melissa were odds-on favorites because of Tony's work throughout the many seasons. Lovely dancing, maybe not as fiery as it could be. I loved Sabrina, but her partner, Louis Van Amstel, didn't put in his dues season after season.
Shawn and Derek were great. I didn't need to see the rule breaking Quickstep again, but it gave the judges a chance at tipping the score for Melissa and Tony so we wouldn't be thinking, "Oh here's a Disney scenario playing out as usual. The producers totally wrote this ending."
Then we got to the final results show and had no guest performers, just the whole cast back to dance, reminding us that Pamela Anderson was there and couldn't dance, that Bristol really improved, that we love Sabrina, that Gilles wants to be an American even if we still see him as French, that Kirstie is pretty good if she doesn't get messy, Joey Fatone tries to get by on style, Apolo could have won, Drew got robbed, and other meaningful judgements.

Derek was weeping as he called Shawn a light, a spark for him. Does this mean he is going to leave the show? I wouldn't be surprised. Will Mark Ballas go, too? We'll see it all next season - Live!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Web Host

Thinking my old computer infected in spite of Norton Security Suite, I took on my mother-in-law's Dell and went after the transfer of everything and the web page got messed up. Homestead has no support. "Join our community," they suggest. I guess they were bought by Intuit and became a poor step-child.
iPage had good reviews and the guy on the phone was very helpful, giving me clear steps to follow, and if they didn't work, I got to call him back. Lou Walker of Arizona with a sense of humor. He would laugh when I did something dumb and then figured it out right away. So the webpage www.ellenbrodskydance.net looks much better. Phew.
Meanwhile DWTS finale was on so early and I was having such a good time with my Samba class that when I finally got home the show was over and the phone numbers were cut off. No final vote for me. I get to watch today, my only daytime TV, so I'll be primed for the Results tonight.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Beach House Sunday evening

George Gritzbach was back last night from 5 to 8 PM, perfect for us middle aged folk.
Let the young drinkers have Saturday night.
As the owner of the Beach House told us a few years ago.
We made sure to have dinner there so the house made up for no cover charge.
The floor was refinished nicely. Last time I was there, it had gotten grey and sticky.
George had a great new keyboard guy and had sped up tempo on "Caledonia (yay)".

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Plymouth Dance

JP did a great job with the music last night in Plymouth. My local access cable Cape Cod TV show this year will show all the places people can go dancing.
Hustle was the lesson, and the dance for the year. Too bad Mary missed the comeback for her favorite dance, the one that paid off her mortgage.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hot Yoga?

Sitting around an awful lot this week. I did get walks organized, but would like a full-on exercise class. Maybe the hot yoga which is so hot right now. Bikram with a storefront in Falmouth. I figure it's a fad that will go away soon, so I should try it. Oooo, online they want me to join right away for 20 sessions!
Single class $17, unlimited week, $25 - but what if I hate it?
Maybe it's like laughter yoga - they say you should try it for at least three sessions to see if you like it.
I have tried yoga many times and seldom liked it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Still bizarre

The second half of this week's DWTS performances was still bizarre with the Michael Jackson tribute gimmick. ABC has an upcoming special on Thanksgiving - a show about the 25th anniversary of the release of "Bad". Michael Jackson's music can fit with the ballroom dances, especially swing, but they forced Tango and Rumba onto jazzy upbeat songs that we don't even know. I never heard of  "Dirty Diana" Melissa and Tony's Argentine Tango, so full of lifts it was more of an acrobatic performance than a dance. Perfect lifts - flawless - 30. And Tony threw his back out during rehearsal, but got injections so as not to let Melissa down. Derek and Shawn were more traditional and also got a 30. Apolo had to do Rumba to a Man in the Mirror at half time, ignoring half the beats for his 30. Emmit seems to be getting a bit sulky at how much work is involved this time. He already makes Cheryl commute to Dallas so he can sleep at home most of the week. 27. Kelly Monaco is still my least favorite - for years now!
Viewers did not agree.On the Results show, I really appreciated a re-run of Apolo's Rumba - stunning, and he seemed to enjoy himself. But he's gone with a gracious speech. Emmit also left nicely.
Three showcase dances:  First, Paris Goebbel from New Zealand doing Hip hop, not my favorite style, too angry. Then Paula Abdul with a medley of her 4 hits and a lot of bizarre animation added in - how do they do that live? I would have liked to see what the audience saw because I've seen animation mixes in the movies plenty. And Derek's Contemporary piece had slow motion added in - again I would rather see what the audience saw. We don't need tricks when we have people performing live! I don't know where he finds the time. The stage with water in it was very nice, like Pia's choreography. We saw it during "Surfer Flamenco" last week looking just plain silly.
Next week: Tony & Melissa neither of whom has won before, Shawn and Derek, both of whom have won before, and Val & Kelly - she won.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Weird Show Dancing is as far as I got

Once again DWTS went out for an entertainment gimmick that worked better for some than for others.
Surfer Flamenco that was mostly about Val Shmerkovsky's Speedo and the couple's love affair which I don't believe in. Another soap star's idea of how to stay on a reality TV show. It was Paso because Val knows Paso and it's close enough but Carrie Ann wanted it to be more Flamenco (a lifetime study).
Terrific Caveman Hustle for Tony and Melissa that Carrie Ann said had off balance turns.
Impressive Night Rider Bhagra for Derek and Shawn; cartoonish Espionage Lindy  for Emmit and Cheryl; Disturbing Big Top Jazz for Apolo & Karina. Her choreography is not very accessible.
Meanwhile I hear Cheryl will be The Bachelorette?
I will catch up on the rest of the show later. I spent the weekend at my mothers' and am falling behind here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Musicality and Technique

A particular project of mine is to allow some of my male students to be able to keep time with the music by adding technique. Often, the guys learn steps and once the step is not difficult any more, they execute it with no regard to timing. When it was hard, they did it slowly, with the music. Now that it's easy, they breeze right through.
Now is the opportunity for a teacher to slow them down. They know where they're going and can enjoy the time spent going there, adding in a gliding action for smooth styles or knee to hip action in the Latin styles.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Television Without Pity website quotes

I quote my favorite TV reviewer, Kim, who gave the episode a B while other viewers gave it a C, quoting Tom Bergeron saying an All Star season would be a sign the producers had run out of ideas.


"Double elimination! That means two couples! TWO! We're that much closer to the end of this season! This has actually been a good season, but by this point in any season, I'm just over it."
      
Then Kim says, "With Shawn and Derek (and Mark) doing their tribal dance, it's really interesting that I read a blog post about cultural appropriation..."   (at Smithsonian.com)  "Cultural appropriation is taking aspects of another culture and using them without permission or understanding. Cultural appreciation, on the other hand, involves learning about another culture and the significance it places in certain objects." I believe Derek is showing an understanding of dance culture - not so sure about Mark. Shawn is the student.

Kim goes on to say, "Can I tell you about this blister I have on the top of my tongue? I think I got it from eating microwave popcorn, which is super lame. But it keeps catching on my teeth and I think it's making me crankier than normal. Anyway, that blister prevented me from enjoying Ne-Yo's performance. As far as I can tell, he's a combination of Michael Jackson and Usher."
Blisters are more interesting than the TV performance of a singer I never heard of.

      Then they sent Kirstie home halfway through the show, and let everybody else pick a weirdo style for the Michael Jackson week, even the one who will be eliminated which turns out to be Gilles.
Kim doesn't  think he deserved to win the whole thing anyway.  "It makes me sad to say that about Gilles, who I really loved on his last tour, but there it is."  I'm thinking the middle America vote is not for a Frenchman, even with all his dreams.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Short Dances on the All Stars

I noticed right away that Shawn's dance was very short, so I timed it. Not 90 seconds, but one minute - 60 seconds total - really short. All of the dances were short, naturally, since that's only fair. Plus you don't notice as much that they're shorter than usual when you reach the new reality of 60 seconds.
I wonder if they did this before when the stars have to learn 2 dances in one week.
Several thirties this week. Looks like the judges are rooting for Melissa and Tony. Beautiful dancer trying really hard, didn't win before. Tony never won.
Another idea they haven't tried for a while: the same dance for several couples - easier to compare. Lack of content made Kirstie's Viennese look shorter than even the one minute, though she did look good for that short time, and Maks looked great, like a soldier.
Emmit's salsa made Gilles look sloppy, though when I was watching Gilles, I loved it.
The quicksteps by Gilles and Apolo had enough content - lots of steps, done quickly, as Len pointed out.
A theme of angels got repeated for the Veteran's Day edition, nicely by Shawn and Derek, completely weirdly by Kirstie and Maks with Tristan all wearing wings on harnesses. Surreal. And dumb. Psychedelic or psychotic? They should have chosen a wiser pro like Louis who might have stepped back and stopped the foolishness. I think Kirstie will probably go this week.
The other one I would let go, Kelly Monaco, chose Louis since he taught most of the pros. Louis made remarks about Kelly & Val's relationship that Disney did not chose to hide. Will viewers approve?
The samba by Derek and Mark featuring Shawn Johnson was great. Len scored his point - not enough samba -  with a 7 while Carrie Ann went for the 10. "If you go tomorrow night," said Len, "It won't be your fault, Shawn." Way to make people vote for her, and for that stunning dance.
Unfortunately, I had to vote blind, and figured they were safe while I was working to keep Apolo, Gilles and Melissa.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall River again

Our dinner was at Biera Alta, a piece of urban Portugal transported. Our waitress has been here six years and is very unsure of her English. Dinner was cheap and salty, so when we took home half the paella, I improved it by adding a full measure of unsalted rice. I finally figured out paella. It's like a combo of Persian rice with the crispy crust and risotto with short grain rice, only not the expensive Italian kind, just Goya short grain, crisped up in our cast iron pan. Entertainment was a video DJ. His musical selections included video that went with the piece: Elton John at the piano looking very young, part of Good Morning Vietnam, Elvis. There was a dance floor, so eventually people might dance.
Anyway, on to The Eagle and a nice Arthur Murray style Rumba lesson. We love that place and are planning a 40 wedding anniversary there.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Youth

The latest American Dancer came in the mail with an article about youth. This time they highlighted the obesity problem - solvable through ballroom dance!  or maybe, as "a thing that can be done."
So I downloaded 20 pages of the School Dance Program Guide from the USADance website and it's got a lot of good material. The teaching tips are right on.
The most important page is #5, the Youth Outreach Coordinator. This individual will assign 1-3 schools to each committee member, then get the list of instructors, then develop a budget plan, then raise funds.
Next bullet points:
Determine which school buildings and grade levels to target.
Develop a marketing plan.
Meetings with appropriate personnel (District Superintendent, School Principal, Activities Director and/or Head of Physical Education Department) to discuss the program.
Finally, meeting for interested parents.
I like the teaching part and have a lesson scheduled with the 4H kids at the local magnet school. 
I need a Youth Outreach Coordinator, some community organizer who shouldn't be the teacher - conflict of interest..



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Selling Exercise

Gretchen Reynolds wrote The First 20 Minutes after writing for the NY Times Health column for years.
A lot of it is getting people up off the couch. She writes the greatest change happens just by standing up. Of course to get healthy, you have to keep going, but then there's a drop off in health because of injuries if you don't know when to stop. The old Sine Curve.
I like that "30 minutes is a sweet spot." It's 30 minutes a day and gives the best return for your effort.
I also like her approach to the way to do many exercises - science based and sensible, not unexplained wisdom or trust-me pushiness.
So I will add squats to my daily life "routine" because she pointed out how they can keep people the most able to navigate the world.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Timing is everything

Often the guys rush through steps, ignoring the music. We all see this all the time, and it can be torture for the partner who is there to enjoy the music.
Sometimes followers will also disregard the music for the sake of their partner. Her patience might let him learn the steps until he can relax and allow the music to set the pace.
As a teacher, I have to be sensitive to this give and take with learning styles.
My Hungarian modern dance teacher gave us the paradox - "Which comes first - the music or the dance?"
I was very sure the music came first, but others were not as sure.
That Lost Wax performance with Ali Brodsky used music mixed on the spot to approximate choreography rehearsed for weeks and included spectacular synchronization.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election vs Dance

My night school party last Tuesday was called off for the storm, and people didn't know that it was just postponed. Or else the election drove other ideas out of their minds.
Anyway, it's over and we can relax for a bit, still worried.
There is so much to fix these days.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Great Show

Before I go vote for President USA, I watched the recording of that great show, DWTS All Stars.
I loved them all, even Kelly Monaco. Maybe she's sleeping with Val and it allows her to access more than her usual dance.
That bit of fireworks Maks sent out from his King/Duke costume was very funny.  He isn't out-dancing this partner as much as he usually does, and being funny instead. Kirstie was nice in Quickstep again, but her usual too messy in the Latin dance. When they got eliminated first in the dance marathon, that meant they didn't have to dance the full four minutes.
Apolo still wants to win, but now he realizes making it to the finals will be like winning against this crew, and he's a bit softer for that.
Emmit was the man in pink, and Cheryl is still the pro I would like best to learn from. Every 8 bars, they switched from Rumba to Samba - a terror in terms of rhythms.
Gilles was back to being the man I love. I love seeing his wife every chance the cameras get, too.
Shawn Johnson got two teachers. Amazing Derek and Mark were able to cooperate. Two fierce competitors, but they grew up together. They must have beaten it out of each other when they were ten.
Melissa works as hard as anyone and has the talent. I think Tony deserves to win finally.
That's everybody, right? Pretty funny attack ads - "paid for by stars with more than 5% body fat"
I voted for Gilles, Apolo and Melissa.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Learning to be graceful

Strength adds to ease of movement.
Understanding allows relaxation.
Tame the energy for the art of dance.

Better if I had had more energy yesterday, but I took my lessons with as much as I had left.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tough week, but great dance

The end of the week found me in Providence with grandchildren. Ian, now one-and-a-half, is no longer a doll baby, but the active sort of toddler you have to watch every minute. His new name: "Sandy the Hurricane".
I brought them home with me in advance of their parents, and that was the end of any computer time.
Friday night was a surprise date for me. Joe got tickets for Lyle Lovett at the Zeiterion in New Bedford and had researched restaurants with his Portuguese pals. CotaliMar is beautiful and well run with excellent seafood. If only the GPS could handle New Bedford. Doesn't help that they're fixing the streets.
Saturday morning I taught Dance & Stretch, then we picked wild cranberries.
Noon was a weekly private lesson. Then Sloane and I made pear cranberry pie.
4:00 was time to set up the hall with Sloane and her mother, Ali.
6:00 dinner made by Joe and Sam.
Sloane was exhausted and having a break-down when I had to leave.
Discovered I had left the power cord to my sound system in the Lawrence School on October 23, I didn't panic, after all, it's a portable system and has battery power, but (where's my phone?) borrowed a phone to call Joe who was taking his time getting there. The back-up system was needed after two and a half hours.
Lovely Dance!
We all seemed to need our favorite outlet after weeks of election news and days of bad weather. I just wish I had spent my time wisely while without power. Reading two novels and a novella is how I retreat. When the power came back, I made comfort food.
With Hurricane Sandy and the namesake gone, time to tackle my dance bag.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm baaack

Nice to have my life back. It wasn't bad, really. We had the generator for the refrigerator and a few lights. We even figured out internet yesterday, and I caught up on email to the noise of the large motor in the woodshed. Then I finally got through everything else and tried to watch the show that I missed, Monday's DWTS Country Night, online. Still choppy streaming. I could see many of the lines the dancers made, but without the fluid motion.  I watched less than half. The ads have gotten longer online too.
I wonder if the schools or library have a stronger signal, but they wouldn't want the hear the theme song form DWTS.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm cancellations

As of Monday morning, Frankenstorm Sandy is not here yet, but everything is cancelled. I even got calls about yesterday's classes, when the storm was really not here yet.
We're feeling jittery. The presidential election coming up doesn't help.
So I got up early to send out notices before we lose electricity, which is pretty sure to happen.

Anyway, Dance as an elemental part of our being will go on.We just hope everything holds together to keep it really fun.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Costumes required

We had a good crowd of costumed people at the Cotuit Center last night. Fairytale theme, and I got us to be Bluebeard and his wife. Love the irony of that tale. "Here's the key. Do Not Use It!"
Too many Princesses, but it's an easy costume for a group of about a dozen young women:  prom dress and a tiara! These princesses had learned a number of complicated line dances including "Moves Like Jagger" which I will pursue. That song cries out for a line dance, I think. You-tube has a dozen or so, but theirs looked good. Will the phenomenon stay around?
Nobody did the Thriller line dance this year, a natural for Halloween though the Thriller Line Dance Movement was alive and well online.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lost Wax

In Providence, FirstArts presented modern dance in a RISD auditorium. My daughter-in-law is now part of this small company that melds improvisational music, abstract computer art video, and music.
We sat behind the man with the computer who mixed the graphics he produced earlier, lines and nets, circles and figures, some projected onto the dancers to stunning effect. Some footage of rehearsal focused on close up studies. Other footage of dancing was altered to look even more fluid. Finally, film of flocking starlings and schools of fish emphasized the theme of group and individual movement.
At the same time, he had loops of music to drop into the action.
The dancers had to be a completely in tune to each other to accomplish the synchronized movement, and the lifts and catches.
A tour de force.

I know grey and black are standard for modern dance, but the dancers need a bit more to stand out from the big screen. An investment in colorful costumes would add depth to the production.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Back trouble review

MRI. We paid for it. Joe thought he had the problem found, but the orthopedist says his torn hip ligament is normal at his age and not a candidate for surgery. The sciatic pain is still from his back and hip muscular tension, and he must exercise and stretch. As before only more so. Sorry Joe.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gangnam Hilarity

Two nights of dancing and no eliminations - love it.
Team dancers from Monday got to do individual routines. Melissa and Tony did Tango to Britney Spears Toxic. Any Britney has to be a guilty pleasure. A nice tango though not core-centered enough.
Shawn and Derek's rumba to "My Heart Will Go On" was very effective. I forgot to look for hip action being so into the dance. Len didn't. Then Carrie Ann counted the catch as a lift, which it was, but it was so good!  Derek disappeared under the dry ice fog, dying like Jack on the Titanic.
Sabrina and Louis did Disney princess Cinderella, gracefully. Bruno said cartoonish but lovely. A 10 from Carrie Ann.
Apolo worked difficult steps into a Samba "Give it to me" wearing a leopard print shirt, and ended up with a total score in a four way tie for 2nd place, the closest he's come to "the platform".
Then we had the funniest routine EVER: "Gangnam Style" Korean wigs for the ladies, sunglasses for the men, primary colored suits for all, stripping down to other outfits for the individual sections. Why Gilles chose inferior dancers Kirstie and Kelly, I don't know. Still, Gilles and Peta dressed in towels over underwear was worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Seriously hilarious

Other than Kelly Monaco and Val, I loved every minute of DWTS, "Guilty Pleasures, Part 1, with freestyle team dance."
 As readers of this blog know, I watch the next day, and since I felt I had to vote, I did it blind. Part 2 is tonight, so I will give Kirstie a vote for a dance I actually enjoyed. She was calm and stylish instead of messy. Her comedic style includes messy, I know, but I don't like to watch it on the dance floor.
Meanwhile, I laughed long and hard when the thoroughly enjoyable rumba from Gilles and Peta made Carrie-Ann fall off her chair. "Let the baby making begin!" Sexy but not raunchy. This was another time when a judge penalized the team for the pro's unsuitable choreography; too many leg lifts for Peta took half a point off from Len. On the All Stars, it makes sense. Our pros have become stars, and these "stars" are true dancers.
I do wonder at some of the overly sexy content for an 8 PM showtime, but Disney seems like they are tuned into the family sensibility. At the PG-13 acapella musical movie "Pitch Perfect" about college singing teams, sex was acknowledged if not realistic. One girl claimed to be addicted. Another lost her place on the singing team for an indiscretion with the opposition. Our hero and heroine just engaged in charming flirting. Perhaps the moral is, "We all know it's there, but we choose to be modest."
Emmit's Samba showed him off as a dancing man among men. And I liked how he stopped rehearsal to lighten up. "Cheryl, how long has it been since we laughed?"
Then, during the ads, I spotted Brad Pitt doing Chanel #5, a piece my son told me was bizarre. I call it interesting. The new Lincoln movie looks very good: Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Hip Hip Chin Chin

There are two versions of this great Club Des Belugas song, remix, the smooth Rumba one and the Samba. "The subject of tonight's lecture is rhythm, the beat, the driving force that holds our lives together. And so tonight we say - Hip hip chin chin, hip hip chin chin, hip hip chin chin..." Both almost 6 minutes long.
Lacey Schwimmer did a great SYTYCD Samba routine that comes up first on Google. Not 6 minutes long, that's not allowed. And it's tiring , too.
I think I'll just get a CD greatest hits.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Song

I have found when someone asks you to get a song, sometimes you might not get the right version.
My version of "Moves Like Jagger" was found insufficient. Also Cha Cha Slide. I listen to a minute on the iTunes site and choose what sounds good then.
Luckily Joe was right here while I was comparing Roy Rogers and Randy Travis for "Happy Trails". The version right off the TV show was what he wanted for an upcoming farewell Foxtrot. I put it in the Party genre.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It worked?

For whatever reason, Bristol Palin is gone. I read Television Without Pity and the reviewer there said maybe the judges were so nice to her so there wouldn't be a backlash vote. I'll take it. Kirstie was also in the bottom two, the other non-dancer. Trim the cast.
Sorry Bristol had two put-downs, first not getting picked for the Team and then not to continue.

Surprising that Gilles picked Kelly first, saying how sexy she and Val were. He must be taken in by her acting, all calculated to maximize her chances of surviving this reality show.
I notice spillover from So You Think You Can Dance. Bollywood and HipHop as dance styles, the phrasing "We will save" the third one on the stage, Apolo this time, with no message that he was in the bottom three.
I'm copying SYTYCD for a friend so I watch bits as it goes by and see noticeably better HipHop and Bollywood because there are no pros totally steeped in Ballroom. Also, the choreography on SYTYCD is top notch.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shining Stars

How I watch DWTS:
 I come home at 9:30 or so after teaching and watch the last two dances. Then I might watch the beginning if I'm not too tired. At 9:40 I got to see hip hop with Apolo surpassing Karina in swagger. Then Val and Kelly did a contemporary piece all lovey-dovey. She pretended to be overcome with emotion, though maybe it was pain of a broken toe. I still don't trust her - the soap opera star manipulating our reactions. He carried her up the stairs, very dramatic. I had to vote again so I watched some of the show before the telephone lines closed.
On DVR, I watched Kirstie, funny but messy, and then Bristol, stiff, the ones I would rather not watch.  Louis' disco piece was too 70s - disco had a lot of bad taste actually. The frizzy hair and feather coat did nothing for Sabrina.
 I put in my telephone time mostly for Sabrina since she has the smallest fan base, but with a nod to other great dancers.
Now at noon, on break from tutoring, I have seen the show.
Gilles was gorgeous. Jai Ho!! I'd have preferred leaving out the Americanisms, the lifts and overtly sexy moves. Bollywood was done more traditionally on SYTYCD. Still the song Jai Ho is a bit of fusion, with the singer using the Spanish for dancing, "Baile", and Gilles did leaps and body shapes that fit the music, all while looking like a dream. 30
Shawn and Derek had Mambo - who gave them that? They specialize in fast movement. Waltz would have been more difficult for them. Derek said Shawn was not really comfortable with her sequined bathing suit or some of the lifts, but they all worked perfectly, fast and musical. Another 30.
Emmit Smith continues to work like the man he is, well worth watching.
Melissa again does fabulously, and I love Tony, too.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

WHOI Harvest Ball

This annual event is a fundraiser for the Cape Cod Center for Women - worthy cause - and takes advantage of a lovely tent on WHOI's Quisset campus this weekend after Columbus Day.
We dancers put down a floor - 16 by 20 is a fine size for many purposes and the finished plywood surface properly smooth. It did get a bit crowded because the band rocked. After Hours put on their best show yet in the three years they have been there. Heather Twiss has perfected the Susan Tedeschi sound.
We may need to advertise the event next year to make it an effective fundraiser. We had 90 people and could have seated 120 music lovers, with money in their pockets. Tons of raffle prizes.
No Roland Lamirande for catering this year - two weddings - we missed him!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Moves like Jagger?

All day, I've been singing "Moves like Jagga" and thinking about why Maks did not look like Mick - not a bit in spite of a wig and super tight pants. I guess he isn't a mimic. He did a couple of the Mick moves, the bending over and the waving his arms, but Mick's peculiar awkwardness wasn't there.  Maks was not interested? I didn't watch Kirstie at all, checking if he'd go into character.
I was primed to vote so Bristol would leave. Two stars go - for me, her and Kirstie.
Meanwhile Bristol did a lot of whining at Mark - who missed a rehearsal? Unprofessional. Then, my station cut off the beginning of their dance, bad timing there though it was a lame dance, especially compared to the one it copied, Joanna Krupa and Derek.
And there were the choices of what iconic dance to pay tribute to. Apolo wanting to be Gilles - Sorry, you're only 5 foot 8 inches with very thick legs. Still, the dance was lovely, so I voted for him. I liked the living statues of troupe members, too. He mentioned not making the top 3 - "not on the podium" and he still hasn't done it.
Gilles up in the air, flying in a dream - very nice idea.
Sabrina had a confusing costume that looked like it would fall off, but it was a  flesh colored insert. She must have been working at her dancing over the years.
Kelly, master of manipulation, I guess it goes with soap opera territory. She told Val he could dance better than his brother, pulling out a performance.
Emmit did a Paso to one from Mario Lopez, who he edged out for the mirror ball those years ago. I always love it when the men leap in the air, turn and land in the kneeling position - thrilling.
I also voted for Melissa. She's great. And Shawn who has the best attitude.
I left out Drew who I like but he won before. He talks the best talk. I wish he still had Brooke's job.
No vote for Helio either from 508 548 0036. The misstep onto Chelsie's dress slipped him up, and I feel like his enthusiasm only goes so far, never progressing into a deeper understanding like Sabrina's.







Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gangnam Style

Great dance at the Conservatory.
Today, I do a set of line dances for the bridal shower of the education director.
They asked for Gangnam Style, Korean pop line dance by PSY, Park Jae-sang, my first taste of Koren pop, and a culture the bride will be immersed in.
Guess what - an article in the New Yorker on the young men and women who perform to adoring crowds throughout Asia. Girls' Generation has two Korean-American idols.
The writer is not convinced Asian pop will make it in the USA. The sweet acts are carefully controlled through "cultural technology."
PSY's Gangnam Style went viral here, but this Korean pop star is not K-pop but an adult, slightly chubby, Korean face, no plastic surgery, arrested and fined for smoking pot, and his video is self-aware with satire of the K-pop moves.
Anyway, all we have to do for the line dance is pretend to be riding a horse. Hold the reins for 4 measures, spin a lasso for 4 measures. If we get really into it, we can do a hip hop style set of side kicks: R,L,R,R then L,R,L,L.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Moving out

Cape Cod Dance Center has given up the space in Teaticket, - too bad - but not it wasn't big enough for Waltz with a class of any size. Private lessons will now have to be fit in here and there.
I am going to be at the Cataumet studio this morning to try the 9 AM Saturday time again.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Box vs Latin Z

Taking the Quick Quick Slow rhythm into a side by side pattern is easy enough - well beloved the world around - swing, polka, cha cha, and the ever popular dancing side to side and nobody gets stepped on.
Arthur Murray made a Latin box that goes SQQ.
The Astaire studios and the independents go with a box that goes QQS, starting to the side.
The Latinos all have their own styles, but a common denominator is the slow step as a 4-1 with QQ making an accent of some sort, often a rock step. International Rhythm has adopted this style to emphasize the one beat with a torso movement.
Salsa dancing is not set to start at any particular beat. Leaders listen to the music, and the couple dances to the beat the leader hears. Sometimes it takes a while.
The easiest way for me to teach is to start with the side to side QQS and then allow the line to open into a box or a Latin Z, all 1,2,3-4, then everything fits together without breaking down the measure and explaining where everything fits.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DWTS All Stars

All Stars dancing up a storm making for some great TV.
The judges and I adored Sabrina Bryan, and Louis getting to show his chops as a teacher. When they showed the old footage of Sabrina with Mark Ballas, I saw a boy so full of himself that he tries to out dance his partner. Where's the picture (lady) and the frame (gent)?
Gilles danced as well, though they shorted him half a point.  He must have been on steroids to be able to do those kicks and flicks with a torn hamstring.
And the rest were lovely except Bristol who pulled out her down home country roots to get votes, shooting guns and wearing tiny cowboy shorts. She wasn't even bottom two, over that excellent dancer, Helio. Bye Joey. I have to vote next week. I want her and Kirstie in the bottom two.
For the pre-results show, they showed an adorable hour of each star's best dance in previous seasons, with commentary. There was Gilles and Cheryl's Argentine - so hot!. Helio's banana, Apolo and Julianne in the leopard print suit. Sabrina was a paso dancer with strength and fire as well as excellent feet. Joey's tango wasn't my favorite. I remember his performance as a magician fox-trotter.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Busy Monday

First I went to Laughter Yoga (go three times before you give up) where I would be interested to see if I can feel a natural laugh sitting around in a circle. They were happy to take pears from my tree.
Then I went and picked another 4 bushels of pears with a friend. Only 6 bushels to go.
In the afternoon, I ran my Dance and Stretch class for one lady - luckily the Conservatory gets real money from me for the Saturday Casual Dances.
A ladies' tea was another opportunity to distribute pears (unsprayed!).
Evening Ballroom classes are great fun, and a few more pears went to good homes.
Call me if you want pears 508 548 0036.
The clock was slow, so I ran late and only got to see Gilles dance with the stars. I'm going to garden before watching the rest.

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Tango - Ron's back!

We just barely got Tango started in September - A new beginner class with Ron Gursky was tiny but very good. Ladies wanted! I followed and the other leader had to wait for Ron.
The Intermediates all checked in, even the couple who only sometimes come calling ahead to say they would be back next week.
My private lesson featured critique of Dance Teachers Club of Boston teacher Ferenc Nemeth, analysis of a nice step taken from Katy St. Jean's West Coast class, and a technical point as to Foxtrot. Very satisfying.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rappelling Dance off One Financial Place

The rain held off so Providence Waterfire and Firstworks could present Bandaloop from San Francisco. We watched six dancing acrobats with harnesses and no fear of heights push off from the tallest building in Rhode Island.
A huge crowd all had slightly sore necks from looking up into the sky as the young men and women flew and fought, circled and spiraled.
We had the four-year-old to get home to bed so we didn't go see Inca Son.

A terrific sandwich from a street food truck named Radish.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Jazz Fest Stroll in Falmouth

The light warm rain did not deter jazz enthusiasts from the free events last night on Main Street.
We started with our old friend Livio Frietas with guitar and vocals at the Rugh Osborne Gallery where Main Street ends. Brazilian bossanova style like Manha do Carnaval is haunting and can be a lovely rumba. Paintings are masterful there.
We thought we'd see Flipside at Puritan, but the lack of seating and Joe's sciatica did not agree.
In Black Dog, a Josh Sphlak's young group based around his trumpet was not to my taste, though the blue jean couch, Black Dog Cookbook and snazzy raincoats were appealing.
A peek at the Peg Noonan Park tent - thank you ArtsFalmouth! showed us the end of a great show by Hyannis band Take 3, and then we thought we'd get a bite to eat, so we went back down to Pop's (as in Mom and Pop's, but no Mom) where Laureen's was for years. The waitress is a sweetheart and the food just right. The clarinetist Henry Duckman led the group in light jazz.
Back to the tent in the park for Michelle Cruz, winner of many awards, who brought in a drummer, bassist and keyboard. The tent was too small for her talent.
Finally, we drove to an old favorite, Grumpy's, for Toni Lynn Washington, masterful performer who did a lot of Motown standards to a huge crowd. The dance floor was too full, and the rain tracked in made for an unevenly slippery surface.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Battle of the Ballroom Bands

The Liberal Club of Fall River hosted the Fall River Musicians Union event, scholarship fundraiser, a good cause. Wednesday dance class got a field trip.
Joe and I decided to try eating in Fall River. The GPS sugggested Biera Alta, a traditional Portuguese restaurant with a bacalau special. Our Portuguese waiter assured Joe he would not feel the salt, a good description of what salted cod can do to the tongue if it is not prepared well. Joe got a beautiful casserole dish, hand painted on a terra cotta base, decorated with a cherry tomato cut to look like a flower. My Portuguese soup was very nice, just right and cheap - $2.50!
On to the Liberal Club - GPS land for sure, even when we were there, since the GPS put us on the back side of the building. "Where are we?"
We don't know why it's the Liberal Club. An online search gave no history, just reviews of the Portuguese restaurant attached. A patron told us it had moved from a smaller building to the present enormous, low ceiling, rambling, dark paneling, fluorescent lighting, rectangular tables, unfrequented bar off in the hallway, 50/50 raffle that only netted $102 to the winner.
The bands were pretty good. Billy Couto really wanted to please the crowd, though he was in the smaller room. The band in the larger room plays for free on Sundays in New Bedford. A crowded floor, we were warned.
The crowd we saw would clog up any floor, shuffling mostly in place, the lady crushed against her partner; the guys couldn't have gone anywhere even if they had wanted to. Not all the songs filled the floor, and there was room for our cha cha and swing.
Then the bands changed. The Meadowlarks 18 piece produced a sloppy sound, so we went to the smaller room for Mike Moran. Moon River, done to tempo, thank goodness, and rest in peace, Andy Williams.
We were apprehensive about the Silvertones, remembering the draggy foxtrots of the Mel-tones, but they started well. When the other band took a break, the floor filled, and the tempo went back down. Oh well, time to go home anyway.
The GPS sent us off into Rhode Island (recalculating). Luckily when it sent us to Rte 24, I knew we were still south of 195 or else Joe would have thrown it out the window, as he did with the previous one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dance Competition

The new season seems not just a popularity contest in this first elimination.  Surely Pamela Anderson is popular, though maybe not with the ladies. The "most downloaded image" Bay Watch babe is gone and soon to be forgotten. She seemed like she could have improved her dancing, but her hair style was a big mess, sort of like Kirstie's, only more so with bits and pieces tucked here and there. We wonder if Tristan will take a vacation to Ireland or if he's under contract to appear in pro showcases.
I wonder who does the voting - not me, not this time. ABC must know. You watch the ads to see which demographic they're trying to reach.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fighting the Machines

The DVR is great, but I'm glad I don't own it. Getting Comcast to fix it is bad enough.
Part of my day was trying to copy off the confused, misbehaving computer, complicated by needing to remember how to hook up to get stuff onto DVD. SYTYCD is over. I would like to process a bit of it.
And DWTS has begun! I had to make sure the machine could remember what I wanted it to do.

You have to wonder how they decided to distribute the teachers. Mark Ballas got stuck with Bristol Palin again. Two of Mark's other partners are there. Sabrina is with Louis who could bring out the best in her. Shawn has Derek, and he usually does very well.
Emmet Smith got Cheryl, and Drew could do well with the lovely Anna. Cheryl's other partner, Gilles, got Peta who won last season and will look good in his arms (sigh).
Let's see: Melissa with Tony who never wins. Tristan stuck with Pamela Anderson. Joey Fatone trying hard with Kim again. Helio  got the youngest blonde they had, Chelsie. Apolo seeming okay with another non-Julianne, Katrina. Don't forget Kirstie (Maks) who looks pretty bad.  And my least favorite winner ever, from Season One, Kelly with Val Chmerkovski.

Monday, September 24, 2012

CCBD NBRDW Workshops

Went to the workshops in Yarmouth yesterday - 3 hours well spent. A beautiful day, for garden work in the morning, for driving there, and to keep the door open to the lesson room.
Kathy St Jean, finally recovered from back surgery, taught the classes I was interested in. I didn't see Randy Deats in action, but now it's too late now.
The Foxtrot combination was Advanced Left Turn, to Outside Swivels, to Weave. I liked hearing her putting the ladies into better posture and emphasizing the use of the torso.
West Coast gave me a figure for the men in my classes, Coaster Steps to a traveling turn.  Kathy kept saying, "Take this step to your local teachers to perfect it."
2 for 1  Rumba & Cha cha go together perfectly well. Sliding Doors with Cucharacha to a traveling turn. She would have put in Aida if she'd had time.
Randy taught East Coast (patterns), Waltz (Flow, Flow, Flow) and Tango (Sharp and Snappy).
I wanted the Foxtrot and the West Coast, (with Kathy) and then the Tango described as snappy was less appealing, so I missed Randy.
Well run, good attendance, I followed in Foxtrot, led in West Coast and Latin.We changed partners throughout, a nice way to learn. No one objected.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

NBRDWEEK at Betsy's

In a touch of irony, Joe and I ate at the Food Court in the Mall (his choice) before going to the festivities at Betsy's Ballroom. We all miss the event being at the mall, and the TV was still there unnoticed, paid for by some Japanese company that didn't want any distractions, or so the story went. Food was still pretty bad, so I went to the smoothie place and asked them if they could make something not too sweet. The Brazilian said numbre 11, 12 or 13, but I noticed they were hailed as low calorie, so I asked about Splenda. Luckily an American girl was there to check that. I was right and ended up having 4 Seas ice cream for dinner.


Anyway, we got there at 7:40, in time to set up the camera before any showcases.
Debbie's people looked pretty good, not that I can really tell in the little screen on my camera. I'm just keeping them in the frame. I will check out the performances later when I copy and edit for the local access TV show.
The brother and sister team were very cute, younger and not as polished as last year's teens.
The MIT couple did American Smooth with all the arm work. We love it.
I was a bit hoarse from trying to talk over the music - lots of good friends - but got my three sentences out along with the scholarship money.
I filmed everybody else after the ceremonies were over, but then Joe's back hurt and it was time to get him home.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Philosophic intellectualism examines dance

Dance Dance Revelation: On 'So You Think You Can Dance' by Sarah Blackwood

A strange concoction of high art, hazy humanitarianism, and athletic genius
¤
In the late nineteenth century, William James developed a theory that proposed emotion as secondary to, or resulting from, the physiological. That is, we don’t fear a bear and then run away from it; we run away from the bear and then, because we are running, experience fear.
In “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart,” an essay about corporeal genius, David Foster Wallace wondered whether “those who receive and act out the gift of athletic genius must, perforce, be blind and dumb about it […] not because blindness and dumbness are the price of the gift, but because they are its essence.” Both theories critique the impoverished nature of the sort of knowledge work that values insight and explanation over manifestation. So You Think You Can Dance helps frame the problem another way: what if we revamp our assumptions about where genius resides? And how should we understand the bodily genius that the show advocates in the context of the show’s relentlessly popularizing approach?
In its melodrama and athleticism, the spectacle and sentiment on display in So You Think You Can Dance represents a generation that seems completely at ease with its non-relation to the past. Rather than serving up a history of dance, the show gives us bodies at work writing a history of the present. That these bodies belong to relatively inarticulate young people is all the better. They are asked to express and grow as individuals and artists; to advocate for the continuance of an art form that has an increasingly marginal presence in our culture. They do this work, but only by making all the right moves. This is more difficult than it sounds. When was the last time your body truly shaped you?
The body, inarticulate, at work, and joyful in its inarticulate work. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

visiting dancers

My Intermediate class had some very classy visitors last night. On Cape from Hartford, the couple takes 2 dance classes a week, and she does a formation team. Their son now teaches. Wow, I let my three sons get away. I keep saying to myself , "It's the totality of life that matters, not the individual achievements."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2 winners

New policy on SYTYCD - one of each gender wins.
And, of the 4 left, the better dancers won, so that was good.
The underdogs came in second - a great result, especially for the self-trained fellow, Cyrus, and the young lady Tiffany, only 19, has a great future. Hard work doesn't end for a dancer.
A great show with favorite routines of the season danced again beautifully. I especially loved the creative Argentine Tango done by the beautiful young man Chehon. The other winner, Eliana, danced an adorable Quickstep. Both seemed tortured by the final moments of waiting for results.
I had to share the TV with American Ninja - "So You Think You Can Ninja" which has the advantage of not having judges, but a very ugly set that we had to see over and over as the young white men put themselves through the same wicked obstacle course.
I have the lovely DVR and could record to DVD, though when I went through old VCR tapes last winter, I found that I just can't take that much recorded dancing.
Isn't some of the beauty of the dance its ephemeral nature?
Like life?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Love What You Do

And I do. The quote from Orson Welles is, "I act for free. They pay me for waiting around."
I feel like I would teach dance for free. Pay me for setting up the space and preparing lessons, doing paperwork and paying for my own lessons to keep current.
Last week, I saw the young couple who have taken Argentine Tango for months getting ready for their wedding. they performed for the Adult Modern students and leave for Brazil tomorrow.
Last night, loyal students worked on making their Foxtrot smoother.
Tonight I meet new beginners at night school.
It's all good.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ferenc Nemeth

Pronounced Ferens. Showed up in the photos of my Ballroom Dance Calendar
He's Hungarian. He occasionally pronounced thigh as tie, reminding me of Mary French's story of Julius Kaiser, a previous Hungarian Harvard Dance Team coach. "Ties open, ties closed," said Julius. "What are we tying?" asked Mary.
Exercises in proper Smooth and Latin movement for our edification and to get our students to practice for 10 minutes, or maybe just 3 minutes - one song.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dance Teachers Club of Boston

DTCB Presents a one day Ballroom Dance Seminar with Ferenc Nemeth this Sunday, at
the Hilton, Woburn
DANCE TEACHERS only
9:00 to noon Simple exercises for your students to maximize their dancing practice sessions.
Ferenc will demonstrate how to raise students' body awareness through timing, body action, breath control, arm coordination, etc. Ferenc will transfer these components into useable patterns for the smooth & rhythm dances.
Afternoon Program Open to All
12:45 - 2:15 INTERNATIONAL CHA-CHA CHASSES AND LOCKS -
A technical breakdown characterizing the "emphasis" and "impulses" of Cha-Cha.
Students: $10.00/pp Others $15.00pp
Ferenc Nemeth
A native of Hungary, Ferenc started his dance career at eleven. His passion for music and dance at an early age, combined with hard work, showed great results when he engaged in competitive dancing. At the age of seventeen, he held the title of Youth Latin Champion of Ballroom Dancing and is also a former Hungarian Latin Rank list leader., Professional US Latin Champion Semi-Finalist and Rising Star Finalist. 2010 North American Show
Dance champion and 2011 Eastern US Professional Rhythm and Showdance Champion.
Ferenc has worked with the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team in Boston, and the Hungarian Youth Latin Champions of Ballroom dancing in 1996.
He passes on his knowledge and skill of mind, body, and spirit as one harmonious, rhythmical expression of the self.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Every other year

The plan has evolved to hold the Mary French Memorial Dance every other year.
I was a helper before, but now need to gear myself up in order to make it happen.
First, do I want Trilogy? They will have just played for CCBD three weeks before. Danny Banks is an upcoming young man with links to the ballroom world.
Second, do I want Friday? Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend would also be the cheaper rate than Saturday.
Third, I don't want Betsy's Ballroom, but I might be stuck with it.
And above all, I need helpers = a committee.
If only I actually had youth, I could involve those families, though October is not optimal for people stuck in the school year. If we had a summer program, they would be ready to perform...
That's my real problem with the Mary French Memorial Scholarship - so far we managed to give it to only local youth, Chris Carvounis, who is at college now naturally.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Finals SYTYCD

I love the excellent dancing on TV, even if most people don't seem to know it's there.
For the men, we are down to "Dub-step" Cyrus, the self-trained young man from nowhere versus Chehon, born in Chicago and adopted by some odd Germans, now part of a London ballet company.
The women are: Tiffany, age 19, tiny, cheerful and tearful, hardworking and probably a favorite of the young girls who watch the show and can identify with her versus Eliana, trained by Joffrey ballet in NYC.
The ballet pair got to do the pas de deux from the Nutcracker - should impress the girls who all do Nutcracker every year. I liked all the pageantry for 3 minutes. I can't take long stretches of ballet.
Overall, a great show, lots of good choreography, fantastic lifts, extension, control - made me sit up straighter in my chair.
Next week, they crown 2 dancers, a guy and a gal, rather than just one winner. Let's see if I can remember Tuesday instead of Wednesday, luckily for me, my DVR remembered - smart TV.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hubbub of summer

I'm all for free spirited choices, but now I'm ready for scheduled activity.
Taking on two afternoon Dance & Stretch classes, two nights at Cape Cod Dance Center, and two nights with Falmouth Night School, Fridays in Providence with the grandchildren, and Sundays with Ron Gursky. Even Saturdays will have a regular weekly private lesson. That will be a lot to cancel if my mother needs me, but things seem to have flattened out at a lower plateau for my father.
Now for the question of the Mary French Memorial Dance. Hum.

Monday, September 10, 2012

DWTS Fall 2012

Dancing With the Stars has announced the fall season All-Star Cast, the "best" from past seasons: former contestants Pamela Anderson (with Tristan MacManus), Emmitt Smith (with Cheryl Burke), Melissa Rycroft (with Tony Dovolani), Joey Fatone (with Kym Johnson), Helio Castroneves (with Chelsie Hightower), Drew Lachey (with Anna Trebunskaya), Bristol Palin (with Mark Ballas), Kirstie Alley (with Max Chmerkovskiy), Apolo Anton Ohno (with Karina Smirnof), Gilles Marini (with Peta Murgatroyd), Shawn Johnson (with Derek Hough), Kelly Monaco (with Val Chmerkovskiy) and Sabrina Bryan (with Louis Van Amstel).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

A pretty version done in the bachata style will fit in nicely to my New Music playlist, a good place to find the songs I want to have at a party. You can see Leslie Grace on Youtube - the music video includes some very nice dancing, cut with of course young people gazing into each other's eyes.
 Good party last night, old friends and new - Marius brought Rosita, the Miami Cuban, while George and Sue Kelly had a great time seeing what could be done with dance.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cha cha action

My last week's favorite dancer on this summer's SYTYCD disappointed last night. Chehon is beautiful and a great dancer, but his understanding of the cha cha was unbelievably absent. Maybe once or twice, we could see a bit of foot/knee/hip/ribcage action. And it seemed like the choreography didn't allow us to see it on gorgeous Witney, the ballroom dancer. I wasn't there to see why Jean-Marc Genereaux couldn't get a cha cha performance out of those two, but there we are. Will Cyrus win it all? He will enjoy every minute if he does. Or maybe Eliana, having done the work already, will be the chosen one. I didn't get to see every minute of the show since I am at my mother's house for the week. Off to the hospital to visit my Dad who had a stroke.

Monday, September 3, 2012

September is here - time for new beginnings - the Jews have New Year at the right time. So far in September, I've done some music, singing with my father in the rehab facility after his stroke. Here at my mother's house, I went through the old records to try to track down an old favorite, "L'Histoire du Soldat" by Stravinsky with a tango/waltz/ragtime. My sister and I dance to the Soldier's March in video from 1953.
 I found "Surrealistic Pillow", a set of Bill Cosby albums, and piles of Bach, Beethoven, Telemann, and Mahler, Duke Ellington, scratched Satchmo, etc. My brother must have it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My, oh, my they can dance

A very impressive show last night. I was sorry to see Will go. He is so large for a dancer - and I can relate to that. Also, he danced so seriously for a change and in a metaphorical number that really worked. I love metaphors. I remember my modern dance class as a teenager, wanting to add a meaning to our upcoming performance, but being overruled by another, better, dancer - "Why can't it just be a dance?" Because.
Cole was scary, as he can be - martial arts is scary!
Chehon is from Chicago (!)- adopted by some odd old people - the mother has fire engine red hair. Both his solo and the Tango piece blew me away. I actually voted for him, punching in the 855gohim number and everything.
I also voted for Eliana who has more depth to her movement than any other girl there. She nailed the quickstep better than any SYTYCD dancer ever.
We lost Lindsay, but her dance, with Alex, was not as remarkable as Witney's with Twitch, who blew last week's partner away. Tiffany is a lovely wisp who stayed.
We also still have Cyrus who almost kept up with Melanie, last year's winner.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Round Dancing

Watching on youtube, I saw an odd mix of English teaching and square dance.
In Colorado, an Englishman calls out International figures on top of the lush Rumba music to couples dressed like cowboys.
Their website details significant information, well expressed, about how to make competition dancing work, complete with anecdotes about International judging.
The choreography is called out, so the couples don't actually need to lead and follow.
The man doesn't need to remember what he's doing, and the lady doesn't need to forget to anticipate.
I'll stick to what I've got, with fewer steps and the music given greater significance.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Harold and Meredith Sears on Ballroom Hold

This and many technical articles are gathered by a round dancing web site.
Round dancing means the dancers know what comes next, but they still use lead and follow, so these articles analyze the way partnered dance really works.

Closed Position—

The fundamental dance position, and the one in which you can feel most connected, is Closed Position. Good connection and smooth lead and follow come from a toned frame in the upper body and contact at the hips (diagrams for some positions are available in the table below).
In the Smooth Rhythms, such as Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, and Quickstep, you face each other, offset, each to the other's right and each looking to the left, over your partner's right shoulder. Think of the space between your partner's head and right shoulder as your "window," and try to look out of that window at all times. You will be tempted to gaze into your partner's eyes. After all, you are in each other's arms, the light is low, and the music is romantic—but don't do it. Keep your eyes left. If you look right, you will drift right and invade your partner's space. Then you will start to bump and step on each other’s toes. Stay in your own space, and look out of your own window. A forward step with your right foot should slide neatly between your partner's feet.

Now, stretch the right side of your torso a little, without crunching or collapsing your left side, and so move your upper body (not your hips) even more firmly into its own space. Arch back just a little, not by leaning away at the waist, but by filling your lungs, lifting your chest, and rotating your shoulders up and back. Be careful not to lift your shoulders stiffly and tensely toward your ears. Don't arch so far back that you appear to be searching the ceiling fixtures for cobwebs.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Road Trip

We went to Fall River last night. I get confused and had thought it was in Fairhaven, so I was ready to give up. Luckily Joe was ready to drive. - an hour drive for a dance in the most unusual venue I have seen.
Downtown Fall River, deserted at night, and not all that busy in the daytime, I think, in an office building, is the Eagle Event Center, built as a Chinese restaurant in 1929 inside a big block of a building. Lost for the depression, I guess.
A replica of the dining room of the steamship for the Fall River Line, it is a jewel box of a room, a carved gallery surrounding a sunken dance floor - not too large, but we only had 40 people there. The cathedral ceiling could have been painted like the theaters from that time often are.
We spoke to the owner, wondering why the arts people haven't used it as much as it deserves. He kind of shrugged and said Fall River is like that.
The Narrows seems to do well.
A student at the Swansea Arthur Murray studio rented it out and used the Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers site for some publicity.
Good music and a nice system to play it. The acoustics are premier.
Our Cape people were almost half of those attending, so we had friends.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dance Floor, specialized party equipment

A dance floor is the icing on the cake for a party
Unless it's a dance party, when it's the cake itself.

Food is wonderful, drink is great, both facilitators for good times.
Friends to talk to between dances are the icing on that cake.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vintage swing record

At an old fashioned barbeque last night, the hostess set up her turntable.
I found the "Struttin' with some Barbeque", a Louis Armstrong number done by Walt Gifford's New Yorkers. Walt Gifford was her husband's cousin from Boston, DC, and Yarmouth.
I'll copy to the iPod before returning theLP.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Your Ten Favorite Dancers!

I can remember most of them. Cole the martial arts cutie, Keon the Swiss ballet hunk, Will the goofy looking one, Cyrus hip hop guy who did a what-do-you-call-it leap in the air with a beat of the feet, and George who looks so babyish and got cut this week.
For the girls, first and best was Eliana dancing with Alex, the one who got an injury just as we were falling in love with him. Eliana did AMAZING, as they say. Both ballroom girls are still with us: Lindsay with the interesting face and Witney, though she was in the bottom two, pretty girl named for Whitney Houston though she is white and the name isn't spelled the same. Audrey got cut - her hip-hop was feeble, especially compared with her partner Twitch. So who is the last girl of my Ten Favorite Dancers? Tiffany I cannot picture.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

End of summer events

All my company left.
No more needy mother-in-law
No more delightful (and needy) grandchildren.

Spirit of Santana
This evening at 6:30pm at Lillian Gregerman Bandshell, Onset
Saturday, the Eagles Hall in Fall River - set up by a new ballroom teacher in an unknown venue with his music choice.
And on it goes. Unless my parents need help...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Creative Outlet

As householders on Cape Cod, we get asked for too much at times - and we like to share our perfect part of the world with our friends and family.
But when do we fit in the dancing?

Stage Door Canteen's appearance at the Trowbridge went by, and it looks like Battleship Cove won't happen for us either.
Luckily, I have scheduled a lesson for myself.
Thank you, Ron Gursky.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Good old American Foxtrot

Great music, lots of flexibility in what steps to use, not too fast, not too slow.
Styling makes any of the steps look and feel better.
I love review. Revisiting the old steps with technique that I can put in. My students have the ability to take it in!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

P-dence Musicians @ Rhodes on the P

A lovely Tuesday evening at the wonderful ballroom, not as crowded as last time, perfect number of people for the floor.
We did especially well by getting a group of eight dancers for a table with our dinner (we brought) on the mezzanine.
Of course, the balcony includes tables and plenty of dance floor for a different experience. Even a bathroom up there. What a great place.
Air conditioned, too!
Many of the old standard swing band numbers both from the Ensemble and the 16 piece band that alternated on the big stage. If it got too slow, another set of musicians was playing at the same time in the foyer, next to the bar.
Many untaught dancers reminding me of the old Sons of Italy.
As the evening wore on, people looked better and better - either they warmed up or those who couldn't really dance went home.
Some excellent dancers including some teachers - a good place for an independent teacher to scout for new students. The handsome young man in blue jeans surely impressed a number of single ladies. He impressed me.
Cheerful overweight Lois left us a flyer advertising lessons in Mansfield, party hosting and a tenuous connection with Louie Van Amstel of DANCING WITH THE STARS.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Working on dancing

The way summer takes over your life on Cape Cod, I found dance was losing out.
So I made time and got myself to Jacob's Pillow for the free performance, part of my trip to see my family at my parents' house, and to escape from them for a couple of hours. The piece was conceptual - commissioned by a bunch of mathematicians - quite beautifully danced on an outdoor stage overlooking a valley.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The flow of the Waltz

Waltz rises and falls like the waves on the ocean.
Like sailboats, couples travel diagonally along, tacking or jibing.
All contained in a ballroom with a circle like a Waterpark's lazy river.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

V6

Not the style of engine with 3 pistons on each side.
A step from International Quickstep with a lock step on each side.
The best way to learn something thoroughly is to teach it. I have it if they do.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dance this week finally

Here comes August!
This Sunday's dancing at the air conditioned Conservatory in Falmouth will be as good as ever, and a nice break for me. The company has been thick and furious. Not really furious, but lots of them, and enjoying themselves in their own ways - teenagers from the West Coast staying up until 4 AM with the computer. They are just on the screen porch using our wi-fi, but it's odd to realize this as dawn is breaking and sleep departing from my brain. They leave tomorrow.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Re-run

I still have Dancing with the Stars, so that was the chosen viewing for the summer company who asked what it was all about. I chose the semifinal of last season, featuring Maria Menuno's Argentine Tango and William Levy's Samba as highlights. Biggest question: "Which one is the pro again?"
I would never watch a new show with them - way too chatty.

Friday, July 27, 2012

SYTYCD this week

Ballroom didn't fare as well this week - the dances were judged weak even though the judges still believed in the dancers. I went back to watch again and just watched feet and got the same feeling. The body shapes were as good as ever.
The dancers get their votes from these performances, which we will have forgotten before they come back from the Olympics break.
I was partial to Matt, the young man who began dancing at age 16, coming from golf, but the salsa was weak.
We said farewell to the only African American girl in several seasons, which was too bad. Her dance for the show, to "Dr Feelgood", was overly sexy in my opinion. Her partner in that dance, Brandon, was "not saved" either.
The judges hate that phrase "voted off."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

West Coast phrase

This one I finally noticed, and yet it has been ubiquitous for years.
Youtube videos denounce it

"I know, right?"said with a special intonation of uptalk.

Rumored origin: L.A.
Literal meaning: “Can you believe this thing we are talking about? It goes without saying, and yet we are saying it.”
Connotation: “We are all in agreement here. Also, I have never read Beowulf.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Left Side Lead

Why did I never hear this great tool for right turns? Maybe because Mary French was fond of saying "left shoulder lead" and then would correct the use of the shoulder alone, and that would be enough.
We don't all move in one piece, especially if we've taken belly dance lessons.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"The Snow Ball" by A.R. Gurney

This 1980s period novel set in Buffalo, NY, includes 50s era cotillion scenes and a nostalgic revival of the winning dance by the talent of the day.
Quotes include the protagonist's mother telling him he was sent to dancing school when he was ten because, "that made you old enough to behave and young enough not to refuse."
Many scenes of a bad dance classes culminate in Jack, the talented young man from the other side of the tracks, leading Kitty, the pretty rich girl, well enough that they considered going pro.
I liked one metaphor. "Cooper knew from experience what it was like for a man and a woman to move well together on a common enterprise. The sounds and rhythms of his old domestic dance with Liz still echoed through their now empty house, through their present life."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Woods Hole Community Hall concert/dance

A nice scene, I thought. All ages, dancers and posers alike.
Funniest was the guy who did push-ups and then an interpretation of a beetle lying on its back.
Flipside did their rockin' blues with only a few numbers that went on and on.
I know why they set up the chairs as they did - so it would have the "concert" feel for non-dancers. I just would have preferred more floor space for the dancers if they had set the chairs up against the wall. There would have been enough seating, though the "concert-goers" might have felt like wallflowers.
Yay, Stellwagen Bank!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stage Door Canteen in Bourne

Great show last night at the Trowbridge Tavern's Canal Room.
The floor is small for dancers, but at least it's there.
We hope the bar did enough business, knowing how dancers are.
August 16, they return, we hope with the same singer and guitarist, new band members.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dancing on Planet Earth

Who knew NASA was into my favorite activity (art? craft? sport?)

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html

Friday, July 13, 2012

Elbows

I discussed elbows with my teacher, Ron Gursky. Analysis of body movement is not easy with semantics, analysis of elbows included. Perhaps one should just say the dance frame should be as stable as possible.
Last night, an engineer getting ready for his wedding responded well to my emphasis on elbows, though he had trouble with the "shoulders down" part.
I had to sell him on formality, delivering my bit of a speech about the First Dance, using the ballroom hold, appropriate for a traditional event marking their new status in society.
Then I gave them some merengue, the easiest dance of all, informal, and fitting to his favorite music, Jack Johnson's "Better Together".

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Appointments


You can help yourself remember them with your cell phone (personal digital assistant), and you need to in the summertime with company on Cape Cod, unexpected or even expected, especially if your granddaughter is as fascinating as mine.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

This Morning, I Wanted Four Legs

Nothing on two legs weighs much.
or can.
An elephant, a donkey, even a cookstove -
those legs, a person could stand on.
Two legs pitch you forward.
Two legs tire.
They look for another two legs to be with
to move one set forward to music
while letting the other move back.
They want to carve into a tree trunk:
2gether 4ever.
Nothing on two legs can bark,
or whinny or chuff.
Tonight, though, everything's different.
Tonight I want wheels.

Jane Hirschfield
New Yorker July 2, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Foxtrot Fridays" from the volume American Smooth

by Rita Dove

Thank the stars there's a day
each week to tuck in

the grief, lift your pearls, and
stride brush stride

quick-quick with a
heel-ball-toe. Smooth

as Nat King Cole's
slow satin smile,

easy as taking
one day at a time:

one man and
one woman,

rib to rib,
with no heartbreak in sight-

just the sweep of Paradise
and the space of a song

to count all the wonders in it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"Explicit" vs "Implicit" Memory

Psychologist David Schacter talking about memory: episodic for specific events, semantic for knowledge or facts, and implicit for skill one exercises automatically like speaking or riding a bicycle.
I try to use them all by writing notes for dance steps.
Hopefully, words trigger an episodic memory which taps into the unconscious muscle memory.
Surely the music puts the processing into motion, and the words in the music can work as cues for choreography. Activation.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunday dance

Bits of history:
I first saw the Cape Cod Conservatory recital hall for a modern dance class with Klara Koenig in 1985, before I started with ballroom.
Kurt and Roz (curtain rods) who taught in Sandwich for many years, told me, "Once a month is the right amount for dance students to go out on a weekend." They used Betsy's Ballroom Fridays once a month while Betsy had Saturdays.
Mid-nineties, My good friend Renee Ziegner, fellow member of CIABDA, helped me set up casual dances in Barnstable for the club, and said we should use the same Saturday each month, consistency being the best advertisement. We ran dances there for a few years until other members of the club took over, switching to Fridays.
In 2002, the new director of the Conservatory, an Arts Council friend, Annie Dean, added my monthly casual dances in Falmouth.
2010, the Conservatory merged with Cape Cod Symphony.
2011, the director noticed I was there at the same time as the parking lot was rented to College Light Opera Company, so I moved July and August to Sundays.
July 1, 2012, last night's danc,e was a lovely place to be.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

American Dancer

My USA Dance magazine just arrived and has an interesting letter/article about social dancing that fits into my teaching style. I have come to emphasize the dance frame and connection over all other aspects of partner dancing.
J M Nelson of Houston TX uses terms like spatial orientation and visual enhancement, making the prose somewhat opaque. I am still figuring out what was meant by the analysis of elbows. "Though free to move vertically, the horizontal movement should be minimal, and the horizontal mobility of the upper arm should be flexibly firm."
Another sentence is clearer. "One can never learn enough steps to compensate for an inferior frame; alternately, a beginner with a predictable cadence and a good dance frame will oftentimes be a more enjoyable dance partner."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Falmlouth Town Dance

Arts Alive continues to offer the Town Dance, this year was George Gritzbach.
George did a fine job as usual. The tent was not on the street as advertised, so the dance floor was on the grass, which was okay - not really worse than asphalt. I know my spin turns are compromised and walk them around.
Two years ago, I offered the organizers a dance floor, but their plans were already set. This time, Joe talked to them about next year, so our dance floor could see some action.
I did not get the social media cooking, though I alerted people.
Summer Distraction has kicked in with hot weather and the arrival of the first summer visitors.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

SYTYCD philosophy

Nigel explained why they were cutting some of the "fantastic" competitors (many tears). In the spirit of the show's evolution, they are looking for some really different and innovative dancers. The blonde "Crump" girl went anyway. They're focusing on Cyrus the Dragon House robot popper, so that must mean they're going to keep him.
They are also showing us a lot of the Utah ballroom dance girl and the girl who looks like a French Mime.
Will my early favorite, Megan Branch, make it? I looked online, and she has won other competitions with slow, acrobatic, tortured, contemporary pieces.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Notes to Lists to Syllabi

Syllabi would be the plural of syllabus or a super lesson plan.
I have been compiling my favorite steps in each dance, sorting my notebooks and note cards. It's not Alex Moore, Walter Laird, or Henry Jacques, DVIDA, ISTD, or even Esther Don, but it's mine and that counts.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Puns

Trying to clean up my old emails I found these puns - and a ton more.

I changed my iPod name to Titanic. It's syncing now.
I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!
Broken pencils are pointless.
Did you hear about the guy who's addicted to brake fluid? He says he can stop any time.
And the only one I could remember last time I was at a party
"I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I can't put it down!"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Skirts

I finished the pink and white dress with the lowered pleated skirt for the dancing granddaughter. "Boppie," she said,, "it needs flowers in the front," so I added them.
I also made a circle skirt with huge polka dots, and that's what she'll wear to school for the last day ice cream social.
While dancing, we explored creative floor moves, and I noted that skirts depend on our friend gravity to give them swing and swirl.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saturday dancing

I start Saturdays with Dance & Stretch.
Next were two lessons with couples only together on weekends, choosing to spend time learning to dance together.
Dinner/dance Day of Portugal included folkloric dancers from Norton where they seem to have a vibrant program with a group of children who also wanted to perform. Full costume, three accordions, a drummer, and Portuguese castanets, singers, very impressive, really filled the floor. Once again I wished the upstairs were finished.
A DJ provided classics in English and Portuguese for cha cha, electric slide, waltz, and as we were leaving, the Chacha Slide line dance for kids "Come on y'all, clap it up".
Joe needed to watch the Celtics almost win the final game of the series, so I went to check out Primate Fiasco (great name) at Grumpy's. A dance scene maybe like Grateful Dead - good sound and long songs with steady grooves, not much variation. The floor filled with good solo dancers who don't get to dance much I guess. I loved their kid's CD with short songs like the one about the ant and the rubber tree plant.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Administration


As middle age becomes part of my persona, administration seems something I can do.
Organizer - at family reunions. My mother called me "sheepdog". Seriously ADD, she didn't like being corralled into whatever activity was agreed on, but I wanted to get on with it.
Coordinator - ballroom program at Cape Cod Dance Center, and sometimes other events.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Who came?

Several people from Down Cape in the pouring rain, "blinding" one said. The dance at Betsy's was cancelled - illness, and they are ready to drive anywhere for dance.
The prize for the farthest was the couple from Albany, crazy performers, doing a lift, no less, from their prize winning routine in Theater Arts, a category that is being phased out they said. They are now studying bronze International Standard.
I love my regulars and wish more of the beginner class people would show up.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

young dancers

SYTYCD had a young woman whose dancing really struck a chord. Usually I am awed by their prowess or amused by their antics, but this time I was ready to change places. Megan Branch was tiny. People don't believe I want to be little. I was once, but not for long.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Plenty busy weekend

Not busy with dancing, though we did go to see the Peacheaters at Grumpy's Friday, and they are good - 8 men on stage! However, "Four Dead in Ohio" is a song that sends me right home.
During the day Friday, I got to watch SYTYCD, the auditions, New York and Dallas. It seemed more streamlined than other seasons, like they screened the acts and only showed us the best (and worst) solos. The autistic guy who channeled the ocean was both best and worst.
Then off to see my whole family - only one nephew missing. A garage of clothes hung up for choosing amused the girls while Joe watched the Celtics win. The next day the TV was free for my father's black and white 16 mm home movies, transferred to videotape some years ago. My sister and I dance with no sound track. My mother stands on her head.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Football Player #3

Results show with too much filler. I particularly hated the part where the three couples stand on boxes with portentous pretentious music swelling around. I don't need to see the eliminated couples dance again.
We got another football player who, besides being talented and working extremely hard, appealed to the voting public with a freestyle country routine. Whether I'll remember him in a year is a question. I remember Emmit Smith because he was the first football player to win. Hines Ward was very appealing, but I keep forgetting his name.
I want to save a few routines on a DVD compilation - Derek and Maria's Argentine, William and Cheryl's Samba, and Donald and Peta's Jive with Karina where he jumped over the two women. Maybe that Mark and Katherine one where she was dressed as a Roman goddess. She peaked at week two, technically perfect from then on, so I can pick any one, and I am fond of costumes.
Anyway, it's over and time to move on to So You Think You Can Dance on Thursday. DVR getting a workout every week.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Restore

One click and my iPod gets restored to original settings. All the knots it has tied itself into are erased and it will work smoothly again.
The good old human body would like such a click, but I am happy to say stretch class does it for me! An hour of concentrated attention and centering and the kink I got in my back gardening gone.
The new style exercises using "reciprocal inhibition", or the way opposition muscles can help relax each other, worked well, not better as far as I could see, but adding a dimension of work to the stretch, and that won't do any harm.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Active Isolated flexibility

On a hunt for the change in accepted wisdom on stretching, I came across the stretching-for-runners team father-son duo of Jim and Phil Wharton who say, "We don't even use the word 'stretching' anymore. It conjures up an image of static stretching--of holding still for too long, like the tension created by a tug of war. That can actually weaken the muscle-tendon connection."
The Whartons AI ("active, isolated") flexibility exercises work on healthy blood circulation and lubrication to the joint. Their exercises move the muscle and joint gently and progressively to the point of slight tension, then immediately release the tension, and then repeat 10 times. There's no static-stretching hold.
Not totally convinced, I'll get their book out of the library, absorb the ideas.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Results - semifinal gee whiz

This week, being overly busy (wedding couples) I didn't finish watching DWTS, including its conclusion, the results show, until yesterday. (Just in time. my other favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance starts tonight. This is their first season since we got the DVR.)
Anyway, I just couldn't write about the results right away. That semi-final was like the final to me. The departure of Maria and Derek was the last surprise, especially after their perfect Argentine Tango. One of the other contestants will win and deserve it. They all won the right to be in the final "competition": all three get a final set of dance lessons. One will get the sparkly object.
Then, Alanis Mourisette sang a loud song, and a couple of ballet dancers did those great ballet tricks, his continuous pirouettes and turning leaps, she in bare feet.
I was looking forward to Julianne Hough's turn from her upcoming dance movie also starring Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones, but I hated it. They filled the screen with jumping youth and the sound waves with noise. 80s heavy metal, yuck.
"Design A Dance" gave us Chelsie and Tristan with a samba to a Beyonce tune, "End of Time". Viewers vote on dancers, dance style and song, so I looked at it once, but our choices were strictly limited. The lady who designed Chelsie's costume was in the audience. A ticket to the Live Show - that might be worth it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Semifinal DWTS

I couldn't finish watching the show until today because of too many other commitments, but it was well worth waiting for. A TERRIFIC show filled with talent and hard work. The perfect scores were completely deserved.
Maria's Argentine Tango was charged with emotion. I was sure she was in love with Derek, but her boyfriend got to talk on the filler part, so I guess she will be able to leave the show with a support system. Maybe it was the working through injuries, both hers and Derek's. Their Jive was notably free of kicks and flicks, using cute little floor circles and other tricks - injuries, covered up with clever choreography.
William's Tango was also stellar, in charge and graceful, but his Samba blew me away. Close to Salsa, his native dance, but enough different that he paid stricter attention, or maybe he's just getting better at concentrating on dance. Cheryl looked completely pleased at how well he was doing, and rightly so. A nice background piece on Cuba and Miami included people who hired him when he showed up to be a male model in his one set of clothes.
Katherine seemed afflicted with nerves, causing an error in each dance, something we never saw before. The foot fault in the Quickstep, unseen by Carrie Ann, gave her a little stutter, quickly covered up. For Samba, she dressed as a snake dancing to "Shake your body like a belly dancer", which the judges didn't mind for once. No mark down for a Bollywood-like routine, but a near fall at the very end that really upset her, causing all of us to worry. Apparently she's okay. Hopefully she has recovered from her broken heart, mentioned in the background piece.
Donald's story was much more dramatic than I realized, coming from a desperately poor neighborhood in Texas, single mother, briefly homeless, and dealing drugs until he found football and a good wife. Boy, his kids are cute. He still couldn't get a ten out of Len with a great Waltz or a Samba in a three piece suit - that's different!

Monday, May 14, 2012

"First 20 minutes"

I heard the author of this book on Fresh Air. Getting up is the first and most important thing to do - stretching is optional, be sure to stand up at least every hour, 20 deep knee bends to as little as 60 degrees 3 times a week - all this sounds possible and helpful.
I did stair stepping this weekend - helping my mother with stuff in their three-story house - another type of fitness.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"Ballroom Battle"

Extra competitions for some of the pros were featured only online in 25 minute episodes. I wrote about "Karina vs Cheryl" which is no longer being shown. Essentially, Cheryl was given a ringer who blew all the other teams away.
Then I watched "Tony vs Lacey", now also gone, which showed Tony Devolani at his studio in NYC and the young people he has been working with. At that level, students need encouragement and it's heartbreaking to reject promising young people for the sake of 90 seconds on DWTS.
Lacey, at her father's studio in Redlands, CA, had three couples but then one girl quit. The extra guy had to borrow another guy's partner, adding to the difficulties with partnering. I guess we all knew that - it's part of life!
In the Ballroom Battle, a stage in a warehouse in LA, Tony's team beat Lacey's.
The Mark vs Louis battle is still on view. Their studios, both in Utah, were affiliated but split some time ago, causing some bad feeling, nothing specified. Again, the younger teacher, Mark, messed with the partnering, switching off, a good idea for dancers in general, but not when preparing for competition, in my opinion.
Louis applied his knowledge of the judges, all International, like Len Goodman, believers in tradition, to choreograph a traditional Paso Doble, which won the right to compete on TV.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This week DWTS

Great fun as usual.
What is the deal with Maks and Derek claiming they "hurt the ones they love the most"? I know there's an emotional bond, but Maks really seems to love himself most. Maria may be in love with Derek, but he should be staying focused and professional.
Another mystery is why Len refused to give Donald a 10 for a complete success in the Jive Trio. The man was fabulous. I hate his earrings and his head seems wrong most of the time, but I think it's just the shoulders being too big, and in the Jive there was no problem with that. Also there was zero criticism, so why no 10?
Meanwhile, I didn't mind saying good-bye to Melissa though she did finally seem to dance for about 30 seconds, once she got past the beginning of the Foxtrot with Maks. Maks and Val (who else) surrounding her did not improve her Samba.
Roshon was another one who, though improving, is not as interesting. What I say is - these stars can take dance lessons on their own and become part of the dance community.
Maria's Viennese was one of my favorite dances of the evening, and Len marked Derek down for breaking hold. Their Bollywood Samba, similarly great, got an even worse reaction - a 7. Crowd boos, naturally.
William got the 30 this week for a terrific Foxtrot. I knew he would do well with Foxtrot - that's his persona, not Latin Lover, but suave gentleman.
Katherine did her usual attempt at perfection - good job. The costume change mid-dance left her stuck with a pants leg. I rewound to check - yup, Mark's fault.
Other performances - Las Vegas Rumba, Dick Clark tribute, Chris Brown - were much the same as we have seen in the past.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Musica en Espanol para Cinco de Mayo,Sabado noche

Ballroom songs in Spanish - plenty of Rumba, Mambo, Merengue, one Swing, "La Bamba", Foxtrots, yes, Waltz, no. The oddest were "Personalidad", the Johnny Mercer hit, and "Mi Gran Amor" (translated from the Beatles "And I Love Her") to turn people's brains around.
A good time at St Barnabas, non-dancers even - a young couple dragged in by his mother after a couple of good margaritas.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Karina vs Cheryl

After the youth competition on DWTS, I went to abc.com to watch the way the teams were put together.
Karina has a stable of young dancers training for competition, and she had them compete against each other, coming out with a nice young couple.
Cheryl does not train amateurs for competition and had open auditions. She got odd ones, like an older man who did Tai Chi type dancing. Then a young Russian couple showed up, another Maks but with no chin, and a girl with bad hair. They seemed like they knew what they were doing, then my phone rang. I couldn't pause the video, and while I was booking a lesson, another Russian showed up, the one I'd just seen win the competition on DWTS. Unfortunately, the girl knew him. At some point in the past, he did something unforgivable. So Cheryl had to find him another partner. Meanwhile, he went on camera to say he was a new man since he had just had testicular cancer!
Now I'm looking for that episode at abc.com. Where did it go?
Oh! It's called BALLROOM BATTLE

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Results

Much meatier results shows lately.
The young dancer, Steelo, who returned from aneurysm was very touching, and his fellow hip-hop dancers very impressive.
The contest of teens coached by our pros was telling. The three nicest pros got the best results. Cheryl's couple won, but I think it was because of the innate talent of that young man. His kicks and flicks were faster and crisper than anyone, anytime.
They are making the judges really work, judging that and the duel in a minute flat with Tom saying, "Come on guys - we need a result now!"
The last dance duel was very close. I'd have kept Jaleel, but watching two couples at the same time is impossible.
I just wish Melissa had been in it because I'm tired of her. Are women voting to see Maks again?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Classical Night DWTS

Loved the opening with Josh Bell playing his heart out. The troupe dressed in the style of Louis XV was pretty funny, and they did without their usual Solid Gold Stripper moves.
Classical week also brought in a child prodigy, Jackie, a lovely little girl with the voice of a grown woman, and an Italian tenor singing Verdi.
First up, Mark and Katherine dressed for Greco-Roman/Game of Thrones. I thought she danced beautifully and the judges were just stingy giving 9s.
Roshon with his button nose and skinny legs did Argentine Tango after some attitude lessons from Val. From the judges' comments, it's the feet that make the legs look weak.