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.