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
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
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


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.