Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Bill Morganti's theory of dance.
Interesting to analyze a person's shape as "pin-like" or "wall-like" or "ball-like", but really how does this improve your technique? Just to stand up straighter because you are a 'pin'?
I wish it helped writing down choreography, a conundrum for me who loves to write and to dance. The two disciplines do not mesh well.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Crowded Time Span

We went to see the dance in Plymouth at St Peter's Church Parish House, a pleasant easy going venue. I overdressed - hate that. A good size floor for Quickstep, but those shoes don't fit right and I must give up on them.
Sunday morning was Dance Teachers Club of Boston - Bill Morganti cheerfully rambling on about his theory of dance for over an hour. Once he got into a pattern, he was right on target, and his specific word choices to elicit arm moves were good.
Chinese food for lunch with my mother-in-law, then on to Ron Gursky's introduction of the spirals into Aida line, a terrific presentation.
George Gritzbach at the Beach House welcomed us warmly, and played great swing blues for an early evening time with friends.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Sound Check"

Friends going to Key West say the bar there hosts an early show for the older crowd that likes Blues. They call it "Sound Check" and hold it at 5 in the afternoon of the day the band is scheduled to play at night.
So the Beach House held one for George Gritzbach this afternoon/evening. Big success. It isn't even high season. He hopes to return in a few weeks.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Night Fever

We learned the line dance, set up with repeated steps and therefore easier than the Saturday Night Fever version.
I have entered into a new phase - starting to remember line dances.
I had done my homework, watching teachers with various groups from all over the world as featured on YouTube: Hong Kong, Texas, etc.
Also, the movie clip 4 or 5 times. BTW, John Travolta said Saturday Night Fever was conceived of as an art movie, featuring a dance phase that had already passed by in NYC. They had to find the clothing second hand at that point.
I caught a subtle bit of irony on the clip after our hero enters the night club where the line dance forms around him. As he is dancing, an anonymous girl faces him and says, "Kiss me!" He obliges, and she goes off saying, "Oh! I just kissed Al Pacino!"
Who would you rather kiss, girls, Al Pacino (Scarface) or John Travolta?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Theatrical Clothing

Going through the attic has turned up clothing that has to be decided on. I just think I am not that theatrical after all. Should it be turned over to a theater, saved for the granddaughter? How much dress up can we keep? Getting rid of more stuff.
And back to putting VCR material on DVD.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Condensed TV

This season of DWTS is compressed to 15 minutes, so far, with only the finals left to review and then the DVR can forget.
My party DVD has terrific Samba, Foxtrot, Waltz, Quickstep, Jive, and Tango.
I can transfer tapes of previous seasons for other dances - Giles Marini doing Argentine Tango and Nicole Scherzinger's Rumba.

By the third viewing, I watch the pros to see what I should aspire to.

I watch training sessions for gems, especially when another pro comes in.
Nick Kosovich demonstrated a posture tip, "I use my head to keep my body forward," he said, showing how balancing the top of the body changes a dancer's look.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Great Grump

A snowy night, but the roads were done and safe by 9 PM when it was time to go see our pal, bluesman George Gritzbach in Falmouth. He has a new drummer, a friendly guy who knew Joe. The new keyboard guy adds a dimension. Nice show with lots of new songs.
Almost no one was there except a bunch of guys in for a Curling tournament. One from New Jersey dances West Coast 3 times a week at home. The style was a little different, but I had it by the second dance. Another in from Schenectady, NY, said they hadn't had snow there yet either.
For single ladies, only Moira who can walk there and whose boyfriend is out of town.
And it was so sweet - they painted the floor - green! They're trying. It's still better than carpet. I will suggest the next time they have a plan to improve, a skim coat of cement to get rid of the speed bumps.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

FA Senior Class Swing

With their Gala next week including a dance competition, these teens were motivated to spend some time at the Conservatory working out some moves.
We started as always with basics. "Stay on the balls of your feet!" "Connect!"
We even got to the Charleston step, a nice showy piece.
Terrific kids, and great exercise for all of us.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter tasks

Going through my mother's closets is one task.
Going through my own stuff takes a similar determination to tackle collections such as a box of VCR tapes from Mary French. I found Ron Gursky's presentation to Dance Teachers Club of Boston from 1992. Ladies are wearing blousy jumpsuits. I have a royal blue one of those in my attic in another collection - Vintage Clothing.
Anyway, I'll wrap up the tape and give it to Ron. He may just want to destroy it - or keep it as a Vintage Demonstration. It will need to be transferred to another medium as VCR tape is now on the road to disintegration.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quiet winter

Except for the wind.
Like the old days.
Nothing to do on Cape Cod in the winter.
For many, today's recession is like it used to be.
I have begun a "Thousand Pyramid" quilt.
All the scraps I've saved, cut into triangles, just one of each material.
I have about 500 different patterned and plain pieces to fit together.
Then I'll get out to teach the wedding couple - he promised her.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mean teacher/Nice teacher?

There's the teacher who encourages you, and the teacher who tells you how to improve.
Ron Gursky is not there to praise or raise false hope. "You know you look better than most of the people out there, and they will tell you how great you are. I will only tell you how to be better."
Maybe a bit wishy-washy, I first praise improvement and then look for faults and try to steer students to the preferred outcome without discouraging them.
Anyway, after winter break, the new students got their "Tango ladder" knocked down, and glowed. I did my homework and went after the underpinnings of Quickstep. Argentine Tango class got told they were like a bunch of mice running around and not interpreting the dark slow music. International Rhumba got to do "Spirals".

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Live music

Well, let's see
Jazz Jam at The Island Merchant in Hyannis 4-7 PM dance not expected but good music
I have booked myself for dance lessons at 3 and at 5 PM.
Baha Brothers at Beach House 5:00 nice floor for dancing, young crowd usually
Les Sampou at Woods Hole Community Hall 7:30 older crowd can dance in the back
and in the movies, Queen L. and Dolly P. made a gospel movie with a clunky story.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Bedford Art Works

A lovely spot, ArtWorks, 384 Acushnet Street, very similar to the Falmouth Artists Guild. I bet they get grants since New Bedford is a depressed area, and they do good work, offering classes and this week, a Salsa evening with percussion workshop.
Jesus Andujar taught drums at the Conservatory for a while, and had a great band for his Grupo Sazon at the Cuban Revolution bar and restaurant in Providence last spring. We're facebook friends, so I see his gigs and have been trying to get back to one with a dance floor.
In a percussion workshop, I joined ladies on drums given simple rhythms. Jesus gave me a tambourine. I should have brought maracas.
We had the wine left over from the printmakers opening there that afternoon. I met a Falmouth artist and her husband, friends with some of my students.
A cursory Salsa lesson for the nice kid and a couple of ladies.
Then we had to wait while the other musicians found their way - stuck in Boston traffic etc. I've heard this before with Latino bands. They were maybe a bit frazzled when they arrive -, at least their music sounded frazzled.
I danced with a nice young man who tended to ignore the beat. I wished the song were shorter. A relief to go back to Joe.
The musicians started to hit their stride at about 10:00. Then they took a break, and we left for the 45 minute drive home.
Jesus was jamming last night with a group called Santa Mamba doing a rare acoustic set opening for another group at The Spot Undergound in Providence. I wonder how that was - a college crowd?

Friday, January 13, 2012


Wordy, but heartfelt and thoughtful
Asking Someone to Dance
In a social dance situation it is appropriate to dance with a variety of people. It is generally less acceptable to partner up and dance with the same person all evening long. Naturally some people will prefer certain partners to others, but this should not prevent them from asking or accepting an offer to dance with a new person.
Who to Ask
Anyone can ask anyone else to dance. Leaders ask followers, followers ask leaders, experienced dancers ask beginners, beginners ask experienced dancers… you get the idea. If you end up sitting out more dances than you’d like it’s probably because you haven’t asked. Some people can find it challenging at first but pushing through the initial fear is so worth it! In a very short time you’ll become very good at asking which means you’ll dance more and have a great time!
Note: People have a tendency to dance more with people they already know; it’s easier and it reduces their fear of rejection. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re clique-ish, stuck-up, or that they don’t want to dance with you; often it means they’re a little shy or stuck in a rut. Remember – asking someone to dance is paying them a compliment.
How to Ask
"Would you like to dance?" is perfect, but anything similar is fine. When asking someone to dance, make eye contact, extend your hand invitingly, and ask in a clear voice. Be specific - always ask one particular person to dance. Do not go up to 2 people standing together and ask, "Would either of you care to dance?" The result will be that each of them will hesitate and defer politely to the other, but you'll experience it as rejection. If you partner says yes, extend your hand to them and lead (or follow) them onto the dance floor.
How many songs in a row?
Dance one song with someone, and then change partners. Two in a row is also fine, but more than that isn’t appropriate social dance behavior. Besides, the more people you dance with the better dancer you’ll become – and the more you’ll be asked!
Accepting a Dance (or not)
Say Yes!
If someone asks you to dance, it’s nearly always appropriate to say yes. In a social dance environment it’s expected that you’ll dance with a variety of people and to say “yes” when someone asks you. And remember – every time you agree to dance with someone else you help foster a friendly thriving dance community!
That said, social dances are not endurance events where you must dance until you drop. Nor must you dance if you are only interested in watching the other dancers. It’s important to take care of yourself and dance as much or as little as is appropriate for you.
Say No... (if you must)
There are several good reasons for saying no when asked to dance. It’s absolutely correct and appropriate to say no if you are physically exhausted, if you need to get water or use the restroom, if you are injured, or if you’ve already promised that dance to someone else. If you decline someone for one of these reasons you can seek that person out later and ask him/her to dance.
However, keep in mind that if you do turn someone down it's considered very rude to then accept an invitation to dance from someone else while that same song is playing. Not only is this poor dance etiquette, it is inconsiderate and cruel and will dampen the evening for the rejected partner.
It is never acceptable to say “no” because you don't think the partner is good enough for you, or because you are hoping someone “better” will ask you. In order for social dancing to be a fun and joyous activity dancers must be supportive of and kind to each other at all skill levels.
If anyone has a history of invading your personal space, dancing too forcefully, causing you pain, or monopolizing your time, you are not obligated to accept an invitation to dance with him / her. Etiquette strongly supports you in saying no if the person is dangerous, offensive or abusive (physically or verbally).
How to Say No
If you do say no, etiquette explicitly says that you do not have to give reasons. It is kind, however, to say something like "No thank you, not just now; perhaps later". Add a smile to mitigate the blow.
Saying Thank You
Everyone likes to be appreciated so don't forget to smile and thank your dance partner for a nice dance – after every dance. Technically speaking, the person who asked the other to dance should thank his or her partner for the pleasure – but it’s completely appropriate for the asked party to say "thank you," or "that was fun" or something similarly appreciative.
In addition, good manners indicates that the leader should always escort the follower off the floor. Never leave your partner standing in the middle of the floor alone.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Private dance lessons

A private lesson is a way to find greater understanding of the body's potential. People pay for private lessons routinely in golf and tennis, for personal trainers and for physical therapists, all coaches in handling the body. In golf and tennis you get to win. Personal trainers keep you healthy. Physical therapists get you back to health.
In ballroom dancing, unless you indulge in competition, all you win is a good feeling. Perhaps you demonstrate a dedication to the art.
Social dancers on Cape taking group lessons, usually organized around dance steps, can't create a smooth dance style because each person's misunderstanding is not the same as that of the group.
As a teacher, I am happy some students have chosen to go with a series of private lessons, honing the steps they have and practicing them.
As a student, I do my homework to discover my understanding of the dances and then bring the action in for critique.
Now if only I were a Real Salesman, I'd convince people to spend money on privates, but I was raised to step back at the mention of money. Sales lessons at the chain studios include finding out how much money people have to spend - find out what kind of car they drive or where they went to school. BU grad with a BMW? Great!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Onestep, Foxtrot - get those steps going smoothly and then speed it up!
Happy music, Mary used to call it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

House of Buds Review

Hey, the wood dance floor is decent for a small crowd, but Johnny Hoy drew a large crowd.
I enjoyed seeing some Hyannis characters who would have been at home in Florida: the beach bum type with long curly blond hair and the the aggressively red haired lady with the frilled lace blouse and the rhinestone belt who probably wishes it were still line dancing at Bud's Country Lounge.
People we knew were ballroom dancers, Johnny Hoy followers, and a guy we used to see at Harry's.
One young man's style used lots of foot action, great stuff, but his feet are going to hurt. That's the pain of being a dancer.
Joe says, "We've got to get Johnny Hoy back at the Woods Hole Community Hall where there's some room."
I said, "WE?? Maybe Judy Laster."
So I tried and found out that the Woods Hole Community Organization, in charge of the hall, feels the little town gets too crowded if Johnny Hoy comes to town.
They like the folk music society, and undersubscribed Argentine Tango lessons.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Great website Benson does for the Boston area
For years he has had the most complete dance listings.
He lets it go to dancenet that covers the whole USA.
I have no trouble remembering havetodance.
Kudos! and my apologies for ever being vague.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Teen Swing?

I sent out a batch of emails to all the schools on Cape Cod, except Pope John Paul II because I couldn't find an email address. They'll get a piece of paper.  I don't expect a lot of response, but I have a pilot program at Falmouth Academy and connections to Falmouth High School. Steve and DeeDee Burke are on board and they have done something at Sturgis. Go Youth Dancing!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I just searched my blog for Dream. Not that popular a word for me.
"Follow your dream" is one of those cliches they trot out for high school seniors, but I'm thinking of how your dreams can follow you. You find yourself within society making a difference wherever you fit, rather than looking to a phantasm for direction.

Monday, January 2, 2012

3 Stooges -12/31/11

So, fresh out of jail, they had 'married' some society dames who decided to scare them off by making them take dance lessons (ha ha).
The prissy instructor told them to do exactly as she did, (I laughed) then a bee found its way into her clothing (not as funny), causing terrific wiggling and handsprings.
Then they had a food fight.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


One of my mother's favorite things is tablecloths - expanses of patterned cloth, finished and yet full of possibilities. Naturally she has piles and stacks and cabinets and boxes of choices that she never gets around to using. Cleaning up that big room before Christmas, I took three more.
The New Year's Eve dance needed decoration. Beautiful tablecloths draping round tables, long tables, the screen, the bulletin board, and the long bench that has seen better days. The big hall at St. Barnabas was festive and comfortable.
I look forward to a St. Patrick's Day dance there - with better publicity!