Monday, December 30, 2013

Amaretti di Saronno pffft

I bought a box to introduce the new generation to the lit paper trick, but they will not fly!
One website says, "We all light them and the one that flies is good luck."
Another "will not comment."
Years ago, every paper wrapper rolled in a tube, placed on a dessert plate, and lit would form a beautiful "cage" of flame that made a funnel of heat to send the last bit of flaming paper into the air.
So far this year, zero out of seven. I have lost heart!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Functional Family 2013 Xmas

Dysfunctional families get all the press.
We pulled together and got Christmas tree cutting, great meals, downing of a pine tree shading the garden, a bonfire, and carol singing as well as the stockings and presents.
I was angling for an outing - dancing with my creative family, but in the Berkshires, venues seem to be holding off until New Year's Eve.
A family trek to Middle-Earth, the new Hobbit movie, in 3 D, happened at 5 PM yesterday, but Joe had his tennis, so we went back to Falmouth and 3D in Mashpee for us.
Luckily, I got a dancing evening after all. After all that hanging around the house, I was ready!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merrily we roll along


"Over the canal and through Massachusetts
to Great-big Grandma's we go.
I was ready at 9:30,
but Joe had to go to town-oh!"

Hopefully we'll find dancing on Friday - my sibs are usually up for that sort of thing.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The little boy

He's two. Maybe because of a bad cold? -he did not want to dance.
A freezing day, so we weren't going out, but we always need to move, so I put on the music that his sister loved at that age.
I will try again. This is going too far in the gender typing that those two display! Okay that when she got trucks for a present, she played with them by lining them up to watch her perform.
Do I need to choreograph a truck dance?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fall River Dancing

The old mills in Fall River are full of interesting businesses, Like a downtown or a mall.
I went to Heron Studio on the ground floor with a great dance space run by Jessica, dancer friend of my daughter-in-law. They sublet space for many things - Alice's Solstice Tea Party, Spiritual Guidance, and a huge room full of lovely hydroponic lettuce, Urban Acres. For ballroom classes, only a card directing one to Dancing the Dream in Westport (or maybe Tiverton, according to an internet search)
Ian and I went to the children's library and the music store where harmonicas are priced at $45! The salesman offered me a plastic one for $10, but I pulled out my old battered D flat harmonica and said plastic would not do. Ian is only two, so a C hamonica will be for me to find notes with and try singing - more fun than a pitch pipe.
He liked playing with the drums for a bit. I liked the Latin Beat Box best.
Then it was time to go back to Mama and eat lunch while they finished rehearsing. One dancer is Shura Baryshnikov; you guessed whose daughter she is. Amanda Narisco is Miss Massachusetts. Meghan, who carpooled with me from Sandwich, appeared at the Wianno Club the year Naomi Turner presented a Swing showcase.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Historical Costumes

Putting stuff back in the attic. One goal is to get rid of half.
What about the box of dance costumes - silk chiffon and leotards?
My best clothes from my adult life are costumes now. The dress I made from an Indian bedspread after seeing the movie "Woodstock," stuff that was second-hand when I got it, or from my mother the hoarder's storehouse, clothes that I bought that cost more because China wasn't making all of our clothes, fancy dresses worn once, including the dress my mother-in-law wore at her daughter's wedding, my wedding dress, made by my sister, which fit until I started Pilates and strengthened my back, etc! I could go on and on - maybe I will make a catalog that is a history, tying together the story of my life, sort of like the books that have the recipes.
If I keep all these clothes, I'll have to seriously cull the quilt scraps, much of which are history as well, being pieces from clothes that ripped or got stained.

Friday, December 13, 2013

FACEBOOK takes over much of our connectivity.
I posted a picture of a Hindu Monkey God from my friend from 1970, and then a huge engine from my brother-in-law - sort of balance each other out. Both pretty impressive and funny.
Facebook, another reason to do very few Christmas cards. Mine this year, for those who have kept up the tradition, a re-issue of linoleum block from my first years living on Cape Cod.  Swirls to represent the wind that now was a bigger part of the weather. North wind, especially, in December, but I also think of a 16th century poem (anonymous).
Oh Western wind when wilt thou blow
The small rain down can rain
Christ that my love were in my arms
And I in my bed again.
Before the New Year, I'll find the ones I made as a child and teen. I'm pretty sure I know where they are.
Next year - a retrospective

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Several classes in my development program:
Laughter Yoga was improved since they have got some leaders in training in the group - nice to have people with good ideas. Rec Center 9:30 Mondays
"Strength, Balance and Flexibility" with Amy Sellars was a nice, well attended work-out at Uptown Body. We went around to different stations (TREX, squats with weighted ball, steps, balance half-balls, and exercise bands for the shoulders) that had been set up for "Anything Fitness" the previous hour while I was at Laughter Yoga. Good instruction for weights, then we stretched on the mat, no quad stretch.
I took Tuesday off while my quads recovered. Maybe I'll try the Fitness place at Kenyon Plaza next week.
Wednesday is Laura Faria's notable stretch class, a meditative experience  -10 minutes on each leg for the hamstrings. No quad stretch.
Then I went to the Conservatory for a voice class. Christmas carols are big at my parents' house. I need to do my 10 minutes of exercise soon. I am an alto, as I thought, with a range of one and a half octaves. Perhaps I have some damage to my vocal cords - nodes, she called them.
Also, if I can get the grandson Ian to sing, I need to be able to get a pitch. I have a recorder, and pitch pipes are cheap, but I think a "C" harmonica.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I don't have to title every blog, I just realized. A new look, more like a journal. My old ones are in the attic, for my memoirs? Or should I try to create a book based on ballroom dance?
I recently got a list of ballroom dance books. Mostly the fiction is murder mystery, a genre I don't read any more. I even wrote one, years ago, with a writing group. It's in a drawer.
These are "Dying for a Dance", "Dying to Dance", "Quickstep to Murder",  "Dead Man Dancing", "Codename: Dancer", and "Cat in a Topaz Tango: A Midnight Louie Mystery".
Then there are 42 instruction books, one free online with these bits of advice not usually taught.
The first is obligatory changing of partners - hmmmm.
Guys in Florida who said they hadn't asked me to dance because I came with Joe hadn't heard that one.
The second rang a bell. The pouncing part. Pretty funny.

Before you hit the dance floor, you will need a partner. It is considered rude to dance with
the same partner all night, even if it happens to be your spouse! If you came with a partner it is generally accepted that they shall have the first and last dance. It is also considered rude to dance more than two songs in a row with the same person.
*****
Once a song is over, men should escort women back to their seats or to wherever they were
standing prior to the dance. If someone has just finished dancing, wait until they are completely off the dance floor before inviting them back out again. Do not pounce on someone as they are leaving the dance floor.
Vaughan Liddicoat Founder of Onestepdanceshop.com

Monday, December 9, 2013

Self Improvement

Singing, fitness,
At the end of the month, everybody will be thinking of this.
I'll get busy with classes I teach, so how about a singing lesson before the Christmas Carols!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Here we are at the Cape Cod Conservatory with Camilla, Brazilian post-doc candidate.  She was great at Salsa - young, athletic and South American are great credentials.
Here, she wondered how West Coast Swing worked. Not as easy to pick up!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nightclub 2 Step

Beata Howe says," Just channel your salsa dancing!"
So I went to another site to try to figure out the music - Not Salsa Music.
In fact some of the most uninspiring music ever. George Strait ballads.
I let one playlist run while I made Christmas cookies, and culled out some choices, mostly older songs: Easy like Sunday Morning, Still the One, Time after Time, Every Rose has its Thorn, In the Air Tonight, Total Eclipse of the Heart.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

from Salsa Dancers Missing Manual by Raul Avila

“In Africa, and throughout many parts of the world, the drum and dancing is a meditative type vehicle for bringing down the spirits of gods and ancestors, and for healing and creating balance in life…
Dancing alters our consciousness. In its own way, it helps to heal us and balance us. It lifts us out of our mundane, everyday life. ..
Dancing salsa is a way to celebrate life.”

Raul goes on to explain a bit about the Clave, the instrument that beats two against three in alternate measures of music, using 5 beats that are arranged as rest, beat, beat, rest:  beat, rest, beat, rest, beat. 

“Clave (meaning “key”) is a relatively simple rhythmic phrase, and yet it is the heart and soul of salsa rhythms and music. It is the matrix and archetype from which springs forth the logic and structure that is salsa rhythms. Clave is the reason salsa music exists the way it does. It is a primal rhythmic force that
generates the infectious swing that inspires bodies to movement…
An interesting correspondence is a vibrating string. When held down at a point that divides the string in a 2:3 ratio, it will produce the interval of the perfect fifth. The perfect fifth is known as the perfect interval of nature.
The point to all this is to realize that the clave was originally conceived as a rhythmic device that reflected the order and process of universal patterns of creation.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Awesome concert

Alison Lissance had a nice bass player and drummer besides a hot shot saxophone player, and the four of them rocked the house, a sparsely attended house, but appreciative. She kept telling us we were too quiet and needed to talk amongst ourselves like we were at a bar where she usually plays.
Dancing on the side or the back was great. I love that floor, ancient maple, super smooth though cupped. The Polka got the most people on the floor - maybe it was a Cajun Twostep, Lisa said. Joe was going for Samba, but the Brazilian woman who came with friends didn't know our style.
Next Love Dogs gig, Chan's in Woonsocket, too far, plus the food is terrible.
So I looked on their website - The Strange Brew in Manchester NH. How about the NYE Back Bay Gala at the Copley Plaza, early discount only $169 PP?


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Alison Lissance in Woods Hole

with "Sax Gordon" Beadle.
Woods Hole Community Hall hasn't offered much dancing lately for me.
Not like the nineties when I was there Mondays for Klara Koenig's modern, then Bill and Ellen's Wednesday Swing. A Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish concert sometimes. Maybe a Latino band with WHFMS Woods Hole Folk Music Society.

Stage Door Canteen couldn't make it work.
Buzzard's Bayou was there for a while.
Last year, Flipside was sparsely attended.
Hope Tom Renshaw likes this one.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Heating up

The month looks busier and busier.
Tuesday, we'll try the Woods Hole Community Hall venue. JazzFest Falmouth has brought in what looks like a very good swing band.
Wednesday is my day with the kiddos. This year we are decorating our own gift bags. Glitter! Glue! tape, marker and whatever. 
Thursday, I'll start in on Christmas cookies to get a few made before Saturday.
Friday, back to sorting stuff for the attic?
My little dance this Saturday may be eclipsed by Falmouth-by-the-Sea, etc.
Treme started again, final season, so our Sundays at 9 PM are booked.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1, 2013

Third family party last night, Chanukah in Jamaica Plain. Now a rest before Big Christmas in Stockbridge.
Jacob, our youngest son, and I were born at the end of November, so there's some chocolate cake from NYC to give me strength.
Some turkey will become turkey pot pie, but I didn't get much of those leftovers. Joe got green bean casserole which mixed great with veggie stuffing in a re-fry.
On the way home, Plymouth Parish Hall with John Peters was fun. The floor was superbly smooth, the new  lighting very clever. Friends and music blended for another dance evening to remember.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fix up, Clean up, Re-do

A fall flurry of projuects has kept me busy with house stuff.
The attic got extra insulation, meaning I had to move everything out. My quilt scraps are still in the guest bedroom, formerly Jacob's, waiting to be sorted. The goal is one-half goes out the door.
Last weekend, we went to my parents' house and met all the kids. First, we cleared out our living room for a floor refinish project. We're almost moved back in there after refurbishing furniture and art work. The TV goes on the wall as suggested by the daughter-in-law. I'd never have thought of that!
Tomorrow, we look at cabinets in Boston. Can a thermofoil kitchen cabinet door look good enough to suit me? And what about the color?
It's like moving, which I haven't done in thirty years. I find cool stuff, but then I lose it in the shuffle.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ok it's over

DWTS seemed to generate more mainstream coverage this season. It was close, at least. And deeply felt. I know I'd be crying if I lost - when I lost, as if I would be on the show. I still didn't vote. I should have as a message of support for the show. OK Peopleschoice.com, here I come.
I guess Amber was the best choice. Corbin was excellent, but had less to overcome. Good knees, no extra inches that just wouldn't go away - that is her build! Jack's effort and joy and tears made him a favorite, and God knows MS is a cross to bear. I want to do those points where he stuck his foot out to the side, turning.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Too Much!

A weekend with my family - Brodsky Pre-Thanksgiving (!), unfortunately (?) preceded by setting up to have the floor sanded while we were at my parents' house. A turnover in propane delivery service complicated the departure.
Freezing weather in Stockbridge with lots of food and games for all, then a visit to see how Joe's mother is doing in Jamaica Plain.
Now moving back into the living room, you don't think we can just put everything back the way it came out, slightly dusty and perhaps needing a bit of repair.(sigh)
Then, once I cleared a path to my computer, getting back on line included replacing the modem.
What's next?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dizziness

I had vertigo for 2 days last week, a different experience, but not too awful.
I only had to cancel one lesson. Sometimes I wonder if I save the illness for the slack times, like my third child who only got sick on weekends for an entire school year - perfect attendance!
Anyway, lying on my back cured every symptom, so that's what I did.
It started at 9:30, suddenly, like a flu. When Joe came home for lunch, he gave me a blanket. Evenutally, I got hold of the remote for the TV without throwing up. By evening, I discovered I could eat something as long as I didn't hardly move.
The next day, surfing the web, I found labyrinthitis, an inflammation of the inner ear, often appearing after a  cold. Not much of a cold, but now another friend has had the same symptoms. She went to the hospital. A cold that tends to travel to the inner ear.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Football again

The DVR was not as smart as I had hoped - couldn't find Channel 22. I went to a search function in order to see the last half hour.
So now I'm "watching" on abc.com. In fact, the streaming is not good enough, so I'll just listen, except for the routines. The judges are mostly better with just audio.
Leah and Tony's Paso Doble showcases a fabulous skirt, and the poses are pretty clear even with the uneven streaming. Maksim Schmerkovskiy says, "Tony does all this stuff with his face, so you need to, or else he looks crazy."
Corbin and Karina full of fire effects. "Hot" says Carrie Ann. Max says three routines worth of material, and it's ok if his butt sticks out, "I have a similar issue". Len said too hot for Tango.

There's another jazz number - Jack & Cheryl. The pros must enjoy getting to do more than those standard dances, and they are the real stars of the show.
Bill Engvall - well, Maksim says, "I don't believe in talent - I believe in hard work." He's sexy and he knows it. I guess the middle aged women vote. Wiggle wiggle wiggle.
Amber Riley - Chuckles Goodman asked she do it again. I watched it three times which is like watching twice if I could see it right. Carrie Ann said it was like a long math equation that Amber solved. Why did Maks give her only a 9? For once, I preferred watching Derek's partner!
Leah in Argentine Tango is still not that interesting. Maks gave it a "different 8" than Carrie Ann and Len's 8. Also, I know because I saw the end, she's the one who goes home.
Corbin & Karina look gorgeous. Then Maks watches Bruno performing his judgement - pretty silly. Maks also calls his ex-fiancee one of the top 5 female dancers of all time, and gets a kiss.
Then we get to the part I saw last night. Jack was great, Bill was better and Amber was still good, but not mesmerizing like the first white glove routine.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Paso Doble Part Two

Big Day. Dance Teachers Club of Boston in Woburn. At least I got driven so that Joe could visit his mother in Boston and then we had lunch with her. Jeff Allen gave us a (good) lecture for 3 hours. Gotta break it up!
Supposedly they got steps in the afternoon, but I was gone.
I really needed to dance, so it was lucky I had scheduled a party for the evening. No extra ladies, just my friend Yvonne Courtney, a fellow Flamenco fan. We enjoyed the stirring Spanish music and Ron's encouragement to go ahead and dance without too much worry about competition form even though taht is the only place you see this dance.
I will play a bit of it from now on at all dances.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Italian Shoes

Where did they get my email address?
What a cute shoe! Look at the patent leather/stuffed shirt pump!
http://www.paoul.com/en
And their social dance shoes look fabulous, too, though I wouldn't buy one without trying it on. Not Zappos, free shipping both ways.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Family Work Weekend

Just two days in Stockbridge, but a good solid visit. Ann and I worked on clearing out common space, a back hall that includes the second staircase to the third floor - kind of a safety issue in one way. Long ago, it was the Ironing Room. An ironing board was set up next to a window, and we teenaged girls could clear it off when needed.
Then, when our kids were small and Christmas was a big gift orgy, it was the Present Wrapping Room. An ironing board is a good surface for wrapping a gift. This led to piles of recyclable, shiny, beautiful sheets of slightly wrinkled paper. You can iron it flat. Ann put some in a large dresser that also holds ribbon, gift tags, tape, scissors, tissue, etc.
It used to be you had to schedule time there so you wouldn't be watching someone wrap a gift for you.
When gift bags came in, they seemed to have copied our father's idea. He wrote our names on tissue paper wrapping and put the whole thing in a plastic bag. Now, gift bags from the dollar store have an entire shelf. Fewer gifts and hardly anyone spends the time constructing a presentation piece. Ann still makes a few works of art.
Most recently, our mother took over to try to organize her boxes of stuff. She believes she can find the proper, best home for many an otherwise unappreciated thing. Her brother, who is still religious, might get a box with lovely framed portraits of the Virgin Mary, St Joan, and Galahad, several rosaries, and assorted religious books and pamphlets. No matter that he and his wife have recently moved into assisted living. After all, they still have their house, as well, and their children are good Catholics.
That box, along with several others, went into the bedroom just beyond the hallway, the "sleeping porch" that she and my father occupied for decades.
The wrought metal child's doll sleigh and the heavy rolling chair went into the attic.
We found a stack of pillowcases in a small cabinet otherwise filled with new bedspreads.
And when we were finished, we brought a stack of lightly used calendars down from the attic for her. 
2003, 1997, 1986, 1975, and 1969 (none a leap year) start January 1 on a Wednesday, as does 2014.

Friday, November 8, 2013

"Fifty Years"

Big Band Album 50th Anniversary, song for Ken and Donna's big party.
They thought it was a Waltz, but then they counted the timing - 4/4.
Maybe a Foxtrot? Except really it's to slow to take one step for two beats of music.
The old standby! (One that can always be relied on, as in an emergency. A favorite or frequent choice.)
Onestep - leave it simple for the wedding couple (KISS) 
Or dress it up when you need a flowing, charming couples dance. 
This will be fun.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

dull DWTS

I can't get any interest in those stars this time. All is not lost because I watch the pro dancers.
Cher did not add any pizazz. And why did they never mention her child Chastity/Chaz? I have to look him up - oh he looks good - finally lost weight. DWTS didn't do it, but the Doctors did, his website says.
Brant is now gone, oh well.
Elizabeth's eyes, I finally figured out, look like Archie and Veronica cartoon eyes. Hated her dance.
Amber is ok, but maybe she could leave due to knee problems. Who would be left? Korbin is good.
Jack Osborne is at least gaining confidence and skill. Bill Engvall needs to show some depth. Leah is improving, but Tony is no Derek.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Another Paso Party, November 17

Ron says in England, Paso Doble is played at social dances, "It's their version of Merengue - no hips!"
I'll be ready, though I doubt Joe wants to return. We were in London April of 1973 and found it a cold and stuffy place.
I loved our little piece of Paso at the Mary French Memorial. Several of us stood up to pay tribute to the music. Also, I had alerted Paul Hughes of the plan, so he and Judy brushed up on their great routine. Took the heat off us fumbling in the corners.
I meant to play Espana Cani at my dance Saturday, but my playlist was too long and it got cut off.
Next month for sure.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Beginners Welcome!

Remembering my great turn out last year for the November First Saturday, I booked the St Barnabas Parish Hall again. It's a bigger floor, and we miss it if we are at the Conservatory all the time.
I was right - second biggest group ever, only topped by last year, and we welcomed lots of beginners, newbies who cheerfully tried everything. The mood is more excited when new people arrive, nervous but happy that they finally made it.
"We've been trying to get here for years," said a couple who had 6 lessons as part of Bourne Dancing With the Stars. "The kids have a sleepover with their aunt and uncle."
Some couples, new to me, were very competant. A young woman who competes dislikes Tony Dovolani. He must be fierce on the competition floor - how else would you win International Rhythm on the Ohio Star Ball?
My new DJ policy is to print up a playlist and bring it along, so if someone asks for a Samba, I can say, "Can you wait for 3 songs, or shall I skip the next Foxtrot, Cha cha and Rumba?"

Saturday, November 2, 2013

CCBD Friday WCS

The president of Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers called Thursday. Paul Lavalee who was to teach West Coast Swing at Betsy last night, hurt his knee.
Substitute teacher to the rescue.
A good showing - it seems to be a popular dance.
I went for steps this time. I prefer technique, but these Friday night sessions are more try it out and see if it works. I suppose that's one way to approach technique, circle around it with steps that work best if you have the skill and hope the style appears.
I found a new-to-me West Coast Swing syllabus - 2010, done by Skippy Blair, so I started with her first steps, a starter that could be universal and therefore very useful at Jack and Jill competitions.
I also liked her breakdown of the walking whip which I learned from Allan Gaskell at Dance Teachers Club of Boston. He followed it with a West Coast version of promenade swivels. Good choreography, especially since the swivel steps are popular but hard to lead. I wish I could have spent a few more minutes making them look better.
 Some people knew the figure already, a common occurance with such a mixed group, but it seemed to be a good choice as far as difficulty.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Insulate2save

We got the Cape Light Compact people in and Rise Engineering has been insulating my house today. Much noise of the pump that blows in insulation.
Really the big thing was yesterday, the last day before they came, and I had to finish cleaning out the attic. OMG
Our family history in fabric scraps for quilts - twenty boxes? Children's books - 5 boxes. Children's clothes or fabric for childrens' clothes - ten boxes. Extra stuff for kitchens - when will one of my sons buy a house? Rugs and rug liners - several. Holiday decorations and cards old and paper for new ones. Lamps and lamp shades - 4 boxes. My vintage clothing and summer stuff - 15 boxes. Records from the events I have run 3 boxes.My old journals 3 boxes. Suitcases and two trunks, one marked LLN, Layton Louis Northrup, my grandfather. Sweaty work. Also my back is tired!
I did a bunch earlier in the week, before I made Sloane's Halloween bunny costume and went to Providence Wednesday, so it was about 4 more hours yesterday. Ian is a yellow truck, more easily controlled.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Impressive

Two impressive TV offerings. I watched the World Series and let DWTS go onto DVR for the next day. Go Red Sox! And the St Louis pitcher was a very handsome man.
DWTS continues to entertain and impress: the sets, the band, Tom Bergeron, and this week, Carrie Ann Inaba who said she had an espresso before the show.  Derek and Amber were terrifically Flamenco. I could really get behind a Paso done to Spanish guitar music like they had. Corbin and Karina's Cha cha had side by side sections that Len called gyratering, but I loved.
Cheryl thinks Jack could win, or so she said. His Jive was very nice, and Carrie Ann gave him a 10.
Whereas, Elizabeth's Jive was wobbly.  Brant worked hard for his Jive, practicing kicks in his back yard, which is a cement box. Bill's Quickstep was slow and stiff. Snooki wasn't all there because her son had a fever, but she did a nice Samba and then got sent home.
I loved Leah, though I mostly watched Tony who was a Latin champion. I think watching the pros might be better for me. I also loved that Leah said she couldn't understand a word Bruno said. I am sick of him.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Perfect?

I don't usually strive for perfect. I guess my mother thought we were perfect just as we were, except when fighting with each other.
My dance teacher is pickier than that! Tipple chasse to lockstep in Quickstep was a case in point yesterday.
First, he explained that in order to improve, students need criticism. I know he is not one to flatter in order to retain us. Leave that nonsense to the chain studios where the paying customer is always reminded of the ways she is doing well. It's a fine line for a teacher, especially a dance teacher, presenting a skill that has little relationship to the struggle to survive.
At least when I correct the high school students preparing for their high stakes test, the eventual reward directly affects their lives.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Is it Halloween yet?

Our grandson Ian at age 2 and 3 months has taken up stuttering - very cute and I think an effective way to call attention to the importance of his speech. He precedes his excellent sentences with a series of ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. Perhaps H-H-H-H-Halloween!
With the Cotuit Center's Art and Souls party tonight, I scrambled for Popeye's hat and corncob pipe last night, traveling to Hyannis Joke Shop where the saleslady gave me a recipe for ginger jam. Hope it's as yummy as Ginger People's. She just loves the anti-inflammatory properties. For myself, without inflammatory issues, I wonder if I should be eating so much of the delicious stuff. My yogurt with ginger jam and coconut manna has replaced most other desserts.
I had to go to Hyannis anyway to choose white bunny fabric for the granddaughter. I saw it online, but the feel of fake fur is paramount. Thank you, Joann's Fabrics.
Another Halloween sign was the surprise freeze last night. The past few years, no frost before Veterans Day.
But it was light, hitting the marigolds and only half of the nasturtiums, the "ripening" tomatoes not at all.
I'll bring them in anyway, and use them in spite of their lack of taste.
The kiwi are lovely. I picked them the other day because an animal was taking them, probably the black squirrel.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dance Details

The band was great - 5 musicians with verve who turned down the volume when I asked them to. Danny Banks wasn't even there - stuck in Memphis - but his father, who runs the band, played the drums. Douglas Banks was a ballroom teacher for many years.
Decorations were superior. Our crew of 6 spent 2 hours on set up! Wall display of musical notes and instruments highlighted the silent auction table, Every table had a fedora and a home made bandana atop the white tablecloths I was able to borrow. Five bouquets of Chinese lantern and silver dollar dried vegetation were door prizes as were fans and tickets to other dances.
Desserts were home made.  The sliced cheese was the most popular item. Maybe people don't let themselves eat cheese usually.
Our first break was my 3 minute speech, the Family Waltz, and a line dance, Good Girl, presented by Mary French's son.
Second break was the West Coast Swing presentation 25 minutes of history, evolution, and dancing by beautiful young people from Concord. Then the 50/50 raffle drawing.
A silent auction does not interfere with dancing, had donations from people who were there, and made good money, even with the bargain prices.
About 75 people filled the floor nicely without feeling crowded.
Also, Mary French's great-grandchildren were there in force, 8 of them with their beautiful mothers as well as Mary French's son, daughter, and son-in-law, a group of 15, up to the first break, with the children and mothers going home at 8:30.
We drove home listening to the Red Sox clinch the pennant, and walked in the door at midnight.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gimmicks on DWTS

Gimmick # 1, a non-elimination due to technical difficulties. What really happened? They wanted to assure us our votes count? They can never really convince me of that. Does this mean a double elimination later?
Gimmick #2 - can stars actually dance like we do on the social dance floor, to whatever music gets played? Seemed to be really scary. They always have choreography stuffed into 90 seconds with a particular style and song. Winners in the two rounds were Corbin/Karina and Amber/Derek, both stars natural dancers, so their pros adapted and shaped the dance - team work, even better than following in this context.
Corbin needed those 4 points because his idea for the Viennese Waltz, taking on the character of Drogo in "Game of Thrones", backfired. Drogo the barbarian warrior channels little of the flowing, elegant partnering of Viennese Waltz. Maybe he should have chosen the incestuous couple Cersei and Jaimie, both members of the royal court, except they are both blond.
I loved the first three books of Game of Thrones when they came out, but was disappointed that all the tragedy was never given a wrap up ending like Shakespeare does.  I loved the TV show, also, up to a point, especially the blonde dragon princess, Daenerys, when she came out of the fire with her dragons.
Just now, I had forgotten the names and had to wiki up to write this post. As the tweet on screen said, "Way to cater to the geeks, Corbin." I don't think I'll bother to read The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister, just out.
Other dancing included Elizabeth and Val getting 30 for Cha cha, and I still don't like her.
I would take a poster of Val Chermovskiy doing Paso, without the creepy talking lips, thanks anyway.
Sasha handles Snooki well. She has a lot more to her than her trashy persona anyway.
Leah, Bill, Jack, all progressing fine, nice to watch.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tired

The day after the big party, I had my regular lesson with Ron Gursky - wasted half of it gabbing, but that meant my tired feet did less....
When it was time to lead, I wasn't quite there, so I compensated by forcing the lead, sort of how I barrelled through all the tasks of setting up and running an event.
We wish he had been able to come, but since he lives in Lowell now(!) caring for the elderly mother, that care comes first. We will have him at another Paso Party, so planned, for November.
Now I'm washing all the tablecloths.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our Big Event 10/19/13

Everyone who helped with the Mary French can rest happily at the success of all the parts that went together to make up a great party. People paid a bit more, and we tried to give them a good value besides the satisfaction of supporting a cause related to their love of dance.
Nice to see Mary's beautiful children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The Scholarship fund is funded again - we don't say "refunded."
And we had fun - a small group of people working together - not to change the world but just to do our best with an activity we love.
My speech: Let us continue to share our love of music and expression of joy through dance.
Or as Mary used to say, "Keep dancing!"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Keep working on the dance

A variation on Mary French's "Keep Dancing!"
Make cookies, take another reservation, drive to Yarmouth for the key, find better frames for table signs at St Vincent De Paul, deposit checks, etc.
Do I have the time or inclination to review DWTS?
Well, it was a surprise that Christina, clearly the better dancer, had to leave this week, and perhaps a reflection on Mark, though I thought he was doing better.
The downsizing to one night a week demonstrates the show's declining popularity, but I still like to watch people dance, so I'm not going to miss a show, even an obvious heart strings puller like this one, my most momentous year, with Corbin Bleu talking about his sister's scoliosis. The Blue Collar guy, such a sweetie, picked his marriage, and continues to dance well.
Well, gotta go fix my hair for tomorrow!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ticket Sales for the Big Dance

Looks like 79 total reserved for Saturday, including the band and the showcase performers, me and Joe - people who need seating. Of course only 39 are pre-paid, but there are also those who will show up without reservations. Two young couples told me they hope to come depending on the babysitter situation. They would make 83!
I am very excited.
Got a fancy haircut.
Trying not to use too many exclamation points.
Committee meeting 2013 MFSD

Notes:
Ticket sales OK so far 39 paid,
Door prizes:  fans, centerpieces, tickets to dances, bouquets of lanterns, IN COAT ROOM
Winning tickets to be distributed before first break
Silent auction  Coppelman, Moran (4), wine glasses & wine (2), Albright, CCDC, SW Dance, Deb       Harper,Dancers Place , Hanson, dance Shoes, get some restaurant gift certificates
Decorations  Dawn’s centerpieces and stage decoration approved
4 hinese lantern & silver dollar bouquets supplemental decoration
Publicity: done CCBD updates, Arts Foundation, Press releases timed soon
Video: Lee Bruce
Set up: Stephens Cassell 4 PM
Break down: Moran Coppleman, etc
Program:
First break My speech   Family waltz, Line dance (Jeff French?)
Raffle 50/50 Joe and Dawn
Second break Mariel and Dave
Draw raffle ticket
Floor Plan – silent auction displays, tables for food, ticket table, video – set up
Food and drink: Ellen’s cookies,
S&S fruit, cheese and crackers, plates, napkins, tooth picks
Dawn’s decaf, CCBD’s water container with lemons?
November next time?




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Last notice for MFSFD

Coming up at Betsy's Ballroom: the fundraiser that Dawn, Eileen, and I have really thrown ourselves into.
Live band, showcases, line dances, silent auction, door prizes, dance hosts, refreshments, decorations, and more surprises.
The Mary French Scholarship dance is only once every two years, the only time I go down Cape to Yarmouth to run a dance.
We have about 60 reservations, so there is still room. We would love your reservation and would set you up with table seating. A few tables will be there for last minute arrivals.
By Sunday, we will have the funds to continue to support young dancers. Your tickets at $25 are the key to the success of the enterprise, and your presence to the evening's sparkle.
Ellen Brodsky
ellenbrodskydance@comcast.net
508 548 0036

Sunday, October 13, 2013

hippie chic

"At the MFA, take a trip to a time of far-out fashion, when anything seemed possible - and wearable."
I remember those times well. I made myself a striped outfit - neck to toe green. I may have worn it twice?
Realizing I was a five foot, nine inch Green Hornet.
And the Indian bedspread dress, also sewn at my mother's sewing machine.
I have to clean out my attic so Rise Engineering can add extra insulation. If I find them, I'll take a picure.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

just as well, the DWTS review from 10/7/13

I didn't want to watch Valerie Harper dance any more, and she was fine with leaving - her time in the spotlight over for now - though the brain tumor seemes to be in remission, so who knows?
The teachers are doing a good job as usual, with Derek managing to get a stellar performance out of Amber who had fluid drained from her knee!
Snooki was also sick, but just a cold, it seems. You wonder how they can seem perfectly fine at show time? even steroids and anithistamines don't work that well. Maybe she was just hung over? I want them to give her the song, "Tiny Dancer."
Cheryl also brought out the best in her partner. I would have scored him higher.
Karina is so high strung, you have to wonder what she would be like to work with. Her best partner was that wounded veteran. Corbin Blue (Cordeon Bleu is a cooking school in Paris) looked great.
Elizabeth bugs me - something about those eyes, and then she made Val stare into them as part of rehearsal. They danced very well - 9s.
I still love Tony, and Leah is charming - she just doesn't put a lot of oomph in her dancing.
Peta is pushing that young man, but he is damaged goods with several old injuries doing him in.
Mark and Christina next - well the old narcissist in Mark gets totally called by his old partner, guest judge, Julianne, "When you dance with Mark, sometimes you have to stand in front of hgim to get noticed" Christina maybe knows that, and could be why she didn't do well in hold, if she doesn't really like him.
Thanks Julianne, great job judging!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Buzzzzz

Radio bit on "buzz" struck a chord. The upcoming Mary French Scholarship dance needs the kind of publicity that generates buzz, people talking about the event. The first memorial dance was very well attended. Now it has been four years, alsmfive since Mary died.
The obvious buzz would be if we had actually generated youth dancing through our efforts. In fact, our scholarship money has mostly gone off Cape. The one young man we awarded to, Chris Carvounis, is now also gone, off to college after his series of private lessons.
CCBD, now USA Dance, Cape Cod Chapter, supports a high school youth program in the mid Cape area and may be able to award scholarships this coming year.

Monday, October 7, 2013

"The use of time is fate."(George Chapman)

Read The Lost Carving by David Esterly - ostensably about carving wood, but written by a scholar of English poetry and philosophy who got into woodcarving with the same obsession as he applied to writing a dissertation on Plotinus. He quotes Yeats on turning a piece of craftsmanship into "a lovely flexible presence like that of a perfect human body."
Esterly reacts physically to viewing woodcarving with a sensation in his hands and feet. The way we often react to viewing dancing.

I love his description of the act of carving wood. Two hands work together, the one behind providing power, the front one resisting the momentum to control the blade.
The same principles as in my teaching of partnered dancing.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nice new and old friends

Having Dan Tritle on the radio makes him an old frend, right? Having him and his wife in dance class makes them new friends. Nancy and Ray were back for a refresher. A lovely young lady getting ready for her social season in Florida. A retired Kindergarten teacher who learns fast. And our little dance crowd.
They tried to dance to Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman - not my idea!
A parking lot full because of Jazz Fest at Highfield, hopefully did not discourage anyone.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dancing? - Jazz Stroll

In Falmouth where Roger and Judy Day had filled the streets with music and appreciative people. We strolled the beautiful October night, in and out of every venue, not feeling like we had to dance - not dance music, and no space to move. A bit of wine here, an ice cream cone there. Finally, at Peg Noonan Park, the the quartet was under a tent and the bandstand was empty, so a bit of Foxtrot came through in spite the way jazz deliberately messes with the beat. I didn't like that old splintery wood surface either, especially on turns. Gotta watch out for my knees.
Grumpy's floor, though uneven, was better. Smooth cement doesn't catch the shoe and pull at the knee. Sweet Willie D with Chris Stovall Brown did not show. A great replacement, Evil Gal Michelle Wilson, sang jazzy blues. Judy and Roger came and sat at our table - thank you!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My luck

Several chances have come my way - not the lottery, though it seemed like I might be getting lucky numbers, and I played, but did not win.
Luck and persistence got me a new place to teach Dance & Stretch - the lovely new Falmouth Historical Society function room. No competition for 4 PM weekdays, AC in the summer!
I can count my luck in striped bass after an encounter with a unique fisherman - he was on a black jet ski and had found an exciting school of menhaden, "boiling", as they schooled along en masse with bluefish and striped bass following them.
Or was my luck in finally getting a flat calm day to go out on the boat? I last much longer when conditions are so very pleasant and calm. I can pay attention to a very odd looking boat - was it an inflatable? I asked Joe. We went closer and the young man, tattooed with fish, a commercial fisherman having loads of fun on his day off, beckoned us in to join the fun. He'd been there an hour already, and soon pulled up his second striper. He offered it to us (!) and would catch another for his landlord, he said. I said yes right away. Joe would have been reluctant, since he prizes that fish above all other - and wanted to catch his own. We enjoyed the rolling boil of fish and got 2 bluefish to put in the smoker. We lost a pole, snapped in the pole holder - had Joe fixed it with a wooden dowel? I might have been able to save it if I had felt more like a fisherman.
                                              The rope holds his 40 inch striped bass.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bye bye Bill Nye

Coming home after teaching Monday nights as I do, I see the end of DWTS before the rest of it. So far, I'm not interested enough to stay up late or to vote without watching. Knowing Bill Nye got cut was fine with me. I liked how they went right to 3 couples in jeopardy. Then it was "not necessarily bottom 2" for that great dancer Christina before they let the science guy with a ripped quad go.
Valerie may be losing it. I don't even want to talk about brain tumors.

I particularly liked Bill the comedian with the Lone Ranger Paso, because I just got my first Paso class. And he was good and loved it.
Hollywood night - better than Rock Week.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Paso Doble at CCDC, the admittedly biased review

The dance invented for partnering by a Frenchman, Pierre, to celebrate the Spanish bullfight and Flamenco influence, is great fun. The man stands as straight as a bullfighter, and the woman gets to sweep about like a cape.
If you have to prepare for a competition, which is the only place you actually see it danced, maybe it would be nerve racking, but for our purpose, playing with a Spanish attitude to good music, yes!
We did Marche = French for march, chasse = French for side steps, sur place = French for in place, Separation = French for separation, Ending for Separation, and the Cape.
I will play "Espana Cani" at the Mary French Dance and see how many people stand up.
Thanks Ron!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Arlene Hanlon

My friend, the MCAS coordinator, died recently at age 64. Her family gave us a great Emerson quote.

"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded."

All positive, but not cloying - just the one little negative bit, enduring the betrayal of false friends, which Arlene never shared. I saw her happy to see the best in her fellow human beings, always optimistic that the teenagers would cooperate for their own good.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DWTS "Cult Favorite"

They are calling Bill Nye a cult favorite, so even though he is the worst dancer, we will probably see him for many weeks, even with a partially torn ligament in his knee. Not that he was doing dangerous steps, but any steps can be dangerous if you fall down.

The other famous one, Valerie Harper, has inoperable brain cancer.
Snooki now wants to be called Nicole because she's a mother, and her rumba with Sasha didn't flow because she needed to be true to her boyfriend. Father of her child. Not an actress that can get into a part, though not a bad dancer.  And Sasha puts up a story for her dance that he was her boyfriend but misbehaved, so she has to know just what he did - Did you shoot someone? Were you in jail? No? Then you cheated on me - with multiple partners! 4 foot 9 inches. Tom says Snicole.
Surprised to still like Mark and Christina, also to not care at all about Elizabeth, who is my height. Enjoyed Corbin - the ringer, why not? Bill the older comedian dancing like an uncle at a wedding reminds me of many of my students. Some other forgettable dances, oh well. I like Witney and Lindsay, the matched pair of Utah blondes from STYYCD who anchor the troupe and get bits as we go to commercial break.
Still a good show, maybe better because of tighter editing since the results don't have a separate show. Ten minutes for "You're safe, and you're safe and you're ....safe, and you too, nine times. Cut to commercial, cue scary music and Keyshawn goes home because he didn't dance. When we have fewer contestants, there will be time for celebrity musicians.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fixing the Road!

"Improvements to be made to Highfield Drive", says the Falmouth Enterprise.
Public-private partnership, seeming to be abutters paying for materials, town providing labor.
Drains, utilities etc being a problem on that steep hill.
May be completed by mid-October.
Some folks with nice cars were driving very carefully.
Hopefully it will be passable on October 5.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

NBRDW 2013

The evening's preparations were bothersome. I turned on my video camera in the morning to check and it was funky, needed to be charged - so I thought! Then when it was charged and it was 4:00, my little speech written, flyers printed for the October 19 dance, etc., it really didn't work, no matter how many times I turned it off and on. "No access to hard drive."
I went to Staples to buy a new one. No hard drives, just memory chips. I almost went to Wal Mart, but the salesman was helpful and I took a $99 one. Mistake, I'm afraid. When I saw the little patent leather case they had designed, I got the feeling it might be just a toy. I managed to get the battery charged before the dance. I managed to attach it to the tripod and record. The zoom is jumpy.
Finally, filming and my speech over, so I managed to enjoy part of the evening.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

DWTS started with no publicity to speak of

No ad on facebook. My DVR automatically recorded it for me, and when I went to put SYTYCD on DVD for my teacher, there it was.
They have downscaled this year. Only one night a week with elimination after they dance.
The "Celbriquarium" was "converted to Condos", said Tom, meaning they sold more tickets to the live show?
Also, perhaps in a bid to make more money, they seemed to have "bleacher seats", a group of women watching on TV? Brooke (icky hair style) interviewed two, and they were all for Mr. Craggy Face, Bill Nye, who got the lowest judge's scores, 5,4,5, or a total of 14. What a big face he has. I was told once many screen stars have relatively big faces. Dancers have the legs.
Another change - good one -  no post dance interview by Brooke. Those were consistently awkward and dumb. The scores come up right away and everyone in their little crowd sees them at once.
As for the dancing, Mark Ballas' contemporary was a pleasant surprise. I got the feeling his partner didn't trust him. The TV reviewer I read hates him. And yet it was the best contemporary routine with a lot of light and shade, as they say, beating Val & Elizabeth and Corbin & Karina in my book.
Heart strings pulled for Valerie Harper with brain cancer. I weep easily, like Carrie Ann.
Once again Derek trained/presented his partner best, a young woman I never heard of, from GLEE, Amber.
Another one I liked was the Blue Collar comedian, not a young man, who showed plenty of room for improvement. The best comedian yet. They have such a hard time taking dance seriously.
Snooki, Brant, football guy, Ozzy Osbournes' son and one more.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nice practice venue

My students, Jim & Cate, have secured a practice space on Thursday evenings at the North Falmouth Elementary School. What a nice long room, especially as we have just begun to study Quickstep! This dance has thrown some people for a loop, but it looks like they are determined. If you're interested, I'll put you in touch.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

USA Dance politics

The most political magazine I've ever seen from USA Dance.
First off, a contest for the presidency of the group. Lydia Scardina (great photo there, Lydia) may be ousted by Yang Chen, NYC lawyer.
Later in the magazine, we hear about the parade in NYC that protests an old law from 1926, resurrected by Major Guiliani in the early 1990s, requiring "a license for any establishment where more than four individuals were dancing and where food and alcohol was also being served."  In 2006, Justice Michael Stallman of the New York Supreme Court ruled that social dance was not considered an expressive form of art.
Yang Chen says, "If you were with friends at a bar, and a song you like comes on the jukebox and you start dancing, that bar might be fined or shut down."
USA Dance members also have a choice for treasurer and Senior VP.
Everybody looks well qualified.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tentacle Tribe in Montreal

Street dancers today were Tentacle Tribe, a duo, Swedish man and Canadian woman performing with a horn player, Charles Imbeau, and an electronic background, set up a square space delineated by a square of red tape in front of l'eglise Sainte Cecile, a very community minded church in a hip section of Montreal, near the big fruit and vegetable market, Jean Talon.
Elon Hoglund, and to a lesser extent Emmanuelle Le Phan warmed up and practiced while we got coffee and hot chocolate, listened to a Haitian woman talk about dancing Samba and waited for the guys to arrive on bicycles on their way to tennis.
Their style - flowing hip hop with tricks, jumps and a nice blend of interaction. The two passed several times before finding each other. Slow motion seemed a metaphor while the trumpeter played with a cup mute.
An encounter - the woman bumped into the musician providing a interlude as he tried to be part of the dance, to no avail.
The dancers took up more strenuous connections and provided a great show. Capoiera like, she would fall over his back. Many examples of leverage and compression, as we say in West Coast Swing.
The program says" Their limitless gestural language with its unique poetic overtones merges subtly with the live melodic flow."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Saturday September 7

At the Conservatory.
Another lovely evening with more good dancers showing up as the Plymouth crowd spreads the word, I think. Only one beginner couple showed up who found the level of dancing intimidating, as it might. I continue to lure them with the easy first hour. I had the single beginner gentleman and no single ladies until Dawn showed up with a broken foot.
It's a matter of starting somewhere besides dance class. One of my best couples told me they waited a year before stepping out. I just have to try to keep them for that first difficult year.
An interesting development with the parking lot. Expanded as it is, Highfield Theater people, other than CLOC, have no trouble sharing any more, so I can use the Conservatory consistently.
Now I wonder if I might take on second dance a month sometimes in order to use that beautiful, larger space with round tables, the St Barnabas Parish Hall. If only it had AC, the summer months would be covered.
Coming up, I have the Mary French Scholarship benefit dance October 19, but November and December can be festive, and Falmouth people might even support a February Valentine dance. Plenty of Valentine events involving eating and drinking. But why be lazy? 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Much great activity

Last night for my dance. I put together a play list that really seemed to work. I didn't have to fuss with the music. People stayed on the floor, and then we were all danced out!
Mental activity also takes a lot of energy - eggplant recipes, Mary French Dance flyers, company Friday night.
The garden is supposed to be a relaxing activity, unless you move the compost and pick a gallon of beans.
Stringing beads for a bracelet - mindless.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Waltz at Betsy's

I didn't prepare a difficult step. I'm tired of difficult steps. Historical steps, Mary's 6s, 9s and 12s with styling seemed like enough from my perspective on Friday afternoon.
Turn out was small, with mostly the core board members, dedicated dancers. If I had known how few beginners would be there, I might have pushed harder. Anyway, they all looked better after trying to achieve the best pose in close dance position.
The "Their Hearts Were Dancing" line dance went over very well, and I caught up with people I don't usually get to talk to.
Too bad I didn't get Joe to come since the single gentlemen were notably absent!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September Starts with a Bang

Everyone is suddenly gone! So I cleaned the house for a while. Also harvesting peaches.
Then, I went to Providence for crazy grandson Ian, and to pick up his sister at kindergarten.

Rosh Hashanah came early, and my mother-in-law is returning home after a few weeks in rehab.
I teach at Betsy's tomorrow night - Waltz - how much style can I get into the lesson?
Private lessons continue. My first fall dance is Saturday.
Must get the Mary French Dance flyer ready.
Perhaps a trip to Montreal, or at least Stockbridge.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Our" Show

SYTYCD nears completion of this, its 10th, season. The final 2 young men are so uneven, we want two female winners. Oh, well.
I enjoyed the background segments, such as when Fik-shun acknowledged Amy's influence while they partnered for those early weeks. Nigel admitted that Jasmine made it on because Cat Deeley spoke up. We think of Cat as this perfect goddess-like hostess, but she appreciates the show as much as anyone.
Hightlights: Aaron's tap duet, choreographed by that new guy; Amy and Robert to the Stacey Tookie contemporary romantic duet; and I loved that floating one Jasmine and Fikshun.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Youth that Can Dance

I enjoyed watching the TV show with my two daughters-in-law this week.
The Alvin Ailey style opening number reminded me that Jasmine will be assured a place in that company once her stint with the Top Ten is over.
We all agreed that Amy and Jasmine were the treasures to see dance again while Hayley will grace many a stage in her performance life.
 As far as the young men were concerned, Marie-Eve (down for the week from Canada) felt Paul's perfection should have been rewarded, that Aaron had not proven himself since he dropped his partner, Melanie; however, the American audience did not see that when they voted last week, and the judges had recused themselves for whatever reason, just commenting, not saving, in the semi-finals. Perhaps the young man's presence, his size and strength, simply won the voters. Fik-shun's solo was quite amazing, and we all agreed on his worth.
Tyce Diorio improved choreography provided a pleasant surprise for Ali and me. Now we hope he learns to at least fake a bit of humility. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Longtime students

I love working with people over the years. I really get to know their learning styles, and I can apply new teaching skills acquired since I saw them last.
Finally zeroed in on the learning skill of the one fellow - "visual kinetic" is like the opposite of my always trying to explain with words - a wonder he didn't give up on me.
And to find that attending to the partnership connection (AGAIN) makes the steps they learned really work - priceless!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another FCTV Show: "Dance Venues"

The first summer TV show I have done features places to go dancing on Cape Cod - a personal sampling.
Plenty of footage at Betsy's Ballroom, so I plugged upcoming events there with samples: for First Fridays, Christine Harvey and Steve Burke demonstrating the step she taught last winter; for the upcoming Celebration of Dance September 21, showcase footage of young dancers; and for the Mary French Scholarship Benefit October 19, the MIT ballroom team showcase from 2011.
I got Stage Door Canteen at Trowbridge Tavern, a nice venue on third Thursdays.
The Cape Cod Conservatory lets me host dances in Falmouth once a month - forgot to get footage of my alternate venue, St Barnabas - oh well.
A portable dance floor can be put down any number of places in the summer. I missed footage at Falmouth Town Dance, but got the August evening at Wood Lumber.
A listing of studios and websites might help people get out, too.
In the opening 30 seconds, watch for budding ballerinas, my granddaughter, age 4, and her friend, and in the closing section, my grandson, age 1, as a "really mean tiger".

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Choreography Project 2013

Cape Cod Dance Center's Eveline Carle hosted a great set of dancers Saturday night. Her effort to showcase different dancers and styles included a radical ballerina on pointe with tatoos from Providence Festival Ballet, North Indian classical dance by Pandit Chitresh Das, two excellent solos by Providence modern dancers, Intimations Dance beautifully in sync, and TIDES Dance Company, as well as the studio girls.
My granddaughter, whose bed time is 7 PM, stayed until 9:30 to watch it all, including the Q&A afterwards. Of course, her mother was one of the dancers - the third on the program, so Sloane could have gone home, but why bother when you're 5 years old and so seldom allowed to stay up?
My husband enjoyed it, too. Beautiful women, after all, and not terribly pretentious as dance can be. His comment was he hadn't realized how muscular modern dancers are. Yes, dancers train hard.
A video preceded the dances, so our arrival ten minutes early seemed late, and we got some of the last seats in the house. A new raised audience viewing platform worked well!

Friday, August 16, 2013

August Thursday

I set out early for Pilates with my favorite instructor, this time at the Mashpee Rehab & Fitness, over in the Health neighborhood of Mashpee, unfortunately More expensive - all part of the price gouging that is part of our health system, but a nice full class of ladies who are members or get classes as part of their health plan.
Second dance stop was the TV show, Dance Venues on Cape Cod - an incomplete report. That should be ready to go on air to promote the fall programs.
In the evening, a Parents of the Bride couple with enough talent to join the community, if they fall in love with dance. For now, a few private lessons to hook them in, I hope.
Finally, I met Joe at the Trowbridge where Stage Door Canteen had not attracted a big crowd. More room on the dance floor!
The grandchildren come back today, the lovely Sloane and her brother, two year old Menace, adorable Ian. They take up my mornings, blog time. If you miss me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer Wednesday dance

First there's the viewing of SYTYCD on DVR, a joy with the top ten. Loved the choreographers this week, except maybe Jean Marc Genereau who clowns around too much, not letting us see any of his actual input into the cha cha.
At night, I teach Intermediates, a good group, keeping on even through August!
Prep for September's Quickstep:
1. Gotta get the heel/toe leads figured out!
2. Ladies have to move, too; not just get moved.
So we clean up Waltz and Foxtrot, and while we're at it, they can learn more twinkles, a favorite phenomenon.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The panicked bride

Today, Erin called because their song, "You Are the One" has three distinct tempo changes - reason to panic. Her fellow's confidence had plummeted, and the wedding is Friday.
There really wasn't time to do much, so they will start with the hugging sway, as expected, and then they were able to do a box to the rhythmic section - add a turn for her, nothing fancy, but with almost two minutes to fill, a couple of turns, a cuddle and release. Since that all worked, she asked for a "dip", and he was happy to support her pose.
When the music slows down again, the wedding party will join them, and they are free to do whatever, surrounded by family for the last 30 seconds.
Whew!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rumba to Salsa

I have taught this progression before, but this time seemed the most successful. For six weeks of hot humid weather, I gave the Intermediates different pieces of Rumba, reviewing the box, adding the Latin diamond, getting them to blend in one dance. I taught style one night and step variations another, depending on who came to class. Intermediates are a mixed bunch, and can be difficult to teach, encouraging one couple and challenging another! Everyone should have a good time.
Finally the weather cooled down, and for a final class last night, I chose faster songs, taught a couple of characteristic Mambo/Salsa moves, and they danced to Mambo #5, Perez Prado and Lou Bega versions back to back. Looking good!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Outdoor Dance

I want at least one every summer.
And I got the summer night on film.
Dancers graced the floor.
Music filled the air.

Swallows swiftly flew, swooping and scooping up mosquitoes.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Set up

Student Appreciation Dance set up in the Wood Lumber shed. Students helped set up!
This is going to be very cool. Looking forward to seeing the locals that haven't come for a while.
 As usual I have no idea how many, but parking will be No Problem!
Another beautiful night.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Choreography on SYTYCD

The opening number was stunning. Choreographers were Sonya with the wild eye make-up and the lip stud working with Dimity Chapman who was reprimanded by Nigel for making a ballroom number too jazzy.
Sonya had two other numbers this week too.
I get tired after about an hour and a half, so the closing numbers didn't impress me. They were small groups of 7 each. The injury for Curtis meant he didn't dance before being eliminated. Some sort of show of elimination since surely they knew they'd be letting him go at the beginning of the show. Last week, Nigel faulted his shoulder strength - before the shoulder was even injured?
Dancers voted off were both tap dancers, but we still have Aaron who seems to be a fan favorite - big man. I voted this week to keep the lovely Jasmine - we don't get dark skinned women enough on the show, as well as her fabulous dancing. Amy seems better trained, but as Nigel pointed out,she and Fik-shun are not changing character at all - choreographers' fault really, but still.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Slaudry's Dance Studio

Latest video from my son features Sloane and Audrey running a dance studio for stuffed aminals (sic).
The invasion of Ian in a cheetah costume distrupts the recital. Clare steals his hat, but not his hammer.
I'll shoehorn it in so that my FCTV show to promote the scholarship fund will have more dancing children!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Flipside at the Bog

The lovely deck behind the excellent restaurant on MacArthur Boulevard (Rte 28, Bourne) was not crowded. Where were the people who used to fill the tiny Moonakis Cafe to listen to Chris Locasio on keyboard, Melissa Weidman on bass guitar and vocals, & Todd Johnson on harmonica? A new drummer filled out the band with a mellow sound.
We brought old friends, neighbors of the Locasios, fans of the good food, non-dancers, so we were the only ones to stand up and fill the space in front of the band. Swing to a Keb Mo number and Foxtrot to "Showshine Boy", a tune from the 1920s. A balmy night - later in the season, indoor entertainment will make for a different feel.
My plan to fill my chicken coop with chicks from the Barnstable County Fair, closing night, meant we left after the first set.
Sweet little gray Barred Rock babies are in a box with a light for heat.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blu-print and Mariah - Bye!

The dancers' names eliminated from SYTYCD. Good dancers, and they may show up on stage on Cape Cod some day, probably not. I was fine with their elimination, and happy to have the show continue with some stellar partnerships. I love watching Jasmine, so tall, and paired with Aaron who can pick her up, no problem. Also, Jenna, the ballroom dancer who is going to own a cupcake shop with her sister, keeping up with Tucker, a personal favorite of mine. Amy and Fik-shun got to do their own choreography, then Tice got the credit - what's up with that? He must invest money in the show.
I appreciate the SYTYCD stage much more after watching the show at the Cape Playhouse where I saw a leap that could have gone much farther. Avoiding the singer sharing the stage was another problem, and several times they seemed about to fall into the audience.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Twist that Ballroom Show

We were among the loudest in the crowd last night at Cape Playhouse, Dennis. Kudos to Louis Van Amstel for a show with a lot of variety. Adding in American Idol singers broke up what can be "too much dancing", to quote my 6 year old self. SYTYCD Contemporary and Hip Hop dancers changed the feeling on the small stage for a bit, too.
Where was Legacy? - no explanation given. Instead, Tristan McManus and Anna Trebunskaya were joined by Ashley Costa who was in town on vacation, and had to have her shoes fed-exed. Pro teacher on DWTS, she was saddled with Buzz Aldrin. She also did the best commentary on some show I watched. I expect they invited her to add star quality.
Allan Genkin was one I now realize I had seen on TV, the winner of a "Ballroom Battle", presented as part of DWTS, a ringer who showed up at Cheryl's studio without a partner and blew everyone else away. His kicks and flicks were incredible. Super exciting Jive.
Costumes by Randall Designs in LA. They do DWTS and were a real feature on the short-lived series "Ballroom Bootcamp", a half hour show a few years back. Not unbearable sexy, instead, they were flattering, an improvement on the last Ballroom stage show I saw, the Australian version of Burn the Floor.
I thought the show would be in the building that houses Cape Cinema, the one with the Rockwell Kent ceiling, but instead it was a more typical summer stock theater - uncomfortable seats, lots of old wood framing. My seat had limited visibility, but I was able to switch at intermission.  Now, I miss Falmouth Playhouse again, though it burned down in 1994 - was burned, they say, for iunsurance.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Heat Waves

Got to love playing with little children in the pond. The fearless two-year-old boy goes underwater without fear - Watch That Child!
Now, we may be able to think again (assuming thought is part of our brain  pattern) with some cooler weather.
Dance students managed to enjoy classes without A/C- no Swing or Cha cha. You can stroll about the room in Foxtrot, or work out a slowish Rumba figure that can be speeded up once we have the energy again. Instant Salsa!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Theater

The Gershwin show at CLOC, "My One and Only", opened with:
"I'll pay the piper - When times are riper;
Just now I shan't - Because you see
I'm dancing and I can't be bothered now!"
Several of the tap dance routines were terrific, and the audience was very appreciative.
The partnered dancing was just sort of okay, off to the side.
It's the singing that people go for. Falmouth does have a lot of singing groups.
The 1983 writing, constucted around the songs that whoever it was could get the rights to use, used phrases that did not belong in 1927, Lindberg's flight, such as "shit-for-brains", humph.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Disappear

It's just that the two very absorbing grandchildren are here for another stay - this time, their parents will both leave, one to take a course in teaching Physics, the other to dance in Vermont.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stage Door Canteen @ Betsy's

Many compliments for the band. The dancers down Cape appreciated having the full sound for a change, and the girl singer is great. Only thing was the floor was quite crowded, right to the end! Even the Viennese had a creditable showing.
The dances that didn't move in line of dance - Hustle, Rumba, etc worked better. I guess I'd have like a bit more structure for West Coast Swing - somebody deciding which way the slots should go.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Dance for CCBD

CC this and CC that - Conservatory, Dance Center , Ballroom Dancers...
Anyway, tonight, we make the trek to Betsy's to a "semi-formal", a change from the Beach Party, the last time CCBD had a summer dance and I wore shorts. Tonight, a pretty dress.
In the early years, the club went into Summer Mode with all volunteers too busy with company. I applaud the effort and will socialize while Joe does his dance host thing. A bit of video for the Venues show.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cape Cod July, 2013

Guests are part of the joy of lvivng in our wonderful area.
But they take up a lot of time.
I did escape to run a (tiny) dance at the Conservatory on Sunday and three very good classes at the Cape Cod Dance Center this week. Students for Thursday's private lesson - polka - turned out to be talented in spite of their low expectations for themselves. The Dance & Stretch has not found its clientele yet.
The heat also sapped our energy - some releif today.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Other activities

Can't always be dancing, so doing stuff like entertaining company at the pond, walking to Falmouth Fireworks, admiring the glow of fireworks in the fog recharges my batteries.
The project - writing up the International Rumba steps in comprehensible language.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer dances

Indeed, my dance this Sunday, on the night off for the College Light Opera Theater, across the parking lot that they rent along with the theater. My rent is miniscule, though my use is also very small - three hours a month, three hours which are not available in August. The first Sunday in August is a CLOC orchestra performance in the Recital Hall, followed by a reception for supporters and friends. Damn!
I am wondering about an outdoor party for August. The Farmer's Almanac says once this thunderstorm weather pattern ends, we will have dry weather.
Our property? Parking? Invitations? Saturday, August 3?
Meanwhile, I plan for July 13 at Betsy's. Maybe we'll get to Occasions with Lestyn July 27 or August 17. I've never been there. Didn't Rhodes have a summer event with musicians last year?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Ballroom with a Twist" July 22- August 3, 2013

At Cape Playhouse at the end of July, featuring Tristan McManus and Anna Trebunskaya of Dancing with the Stars, in fact a couple of favorites of mine. He is so pretty-boy-handsome, Irish and even tempered. She is the gorgeous red-head.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8Eqih3dtAhM#at=66
I watched the sales video, saw some singers from American Idol along with many of my favorite dancers - Gilles Marini, Sabrina, choreography by Louis Van Amstel. At some point, they invite dancers onto the stage - that would be the ones in front row orchestra $80.
The only ones promised are Tristan and Anna, so they put the show together for each location, depending on who is free. Not necessarily Gilles or Drew Lachey. "More Pros & Finalists will be announced closer to show date."
$40, $60 or $80 Yikes! Joe will Not Be Interested.
Also showing at North Shore Music Theater - the round stage like our Cape Cod Melody Tent, but only one night, $70 for the seats close to the stage, which are already sold out.
I have seen dancing like that at the Yankee Classic competition in Boston, seated at a table right beside the dance floor. Thrilling to be so close, but after going three times, it seemed too much the same, the performance level so International always, very high standards, but following the same rules always.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Music! & Dancing!

Spamalot! at Cotuit Center for the Arts - done without microphones or equity actors, well, we missed a few lines, but there was enough silliness to go around, and the plot was thin enough. Much better than being battered with amplified sound distorting the space.
The show's main theme was Art vs Fighting & Death. Michelle Colley, director and choreographer, capitalized on all the singing and dancing, filling the stage with dancing girls of every style, (lots of costumes) and lines of synchronized dancing knights. I'm sure her musical theater class this summer will be wonderful.
I expect they could have sold out for at least another week, if the cast wanted to give up the time. We reserved tickets two weeks ago after trying for that week, the usual lead time for a local theater production.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stuff I know - versus

vs Stuff I think I know. Learning a step as a follower is not enough to teach it.
Anyway, I have ways to find things out so I'm three quarters there.
In the mean time, I refinished the portable dance floor and then the lovely kids came to visit, so I put off starting another TV show. The five-year-old promised to dance for it, another summer day, and I will get it out there by September. "Local Places for Social Ballroom Dance - Cape Cod"

Monday, June 24, 2013

More Arts Alive

Sunday on the Falmouth Library lawn, I started early, helping take down the dance floor before any acts needed the space. The tech lady said the youth enjoyed the floor at Teen Rock Fest, a battle of the bands Saturday night while we were watching Danny Banks.
At 2 PM, the Belly Dance Troupe, Isis, was fun and inclusive. The cheerful young woman in purple got the little girls to join them on stage. I like most of the music and enjoyed learning those skills in my thirties.
At 3 PM percussion with Lisa Esperson was another inclusive act, and I got to play clave on a bell and then practice my shakere.
Crafts were stunning. I do not buy jewelry any more, but wool manipilated by Irene Young continues to exhibit new creative twists. A necklacey stretchy neck warmer in multiple colors was irresistable, especially since I had already decided to buy stuff this year. Slumped glass in rainbow colors. People for Cats. A song with the MM Chorus bought me a chocolate snack. Dave's French teacher has made extremely chic gift boxes shaped as tiny women's purses.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Banks at Bog

Again too many choices - on Friday, down Cape, a big party I missed.
Last night, JP's first dance at Betsy's. Many turned out to welcome him, but not us.
Danny Banks Band was at the Bog at Cranberry's, doing their blues set, and I wanted to make contact personally since I hired them for the October big dance, the Mary French Scholarship Benefit.
Again, a lovely, if cool, moonlit night on that spacious deck, good music, excellent margaritas. We ate at home because my garden is doing so well, but will sample that chef's work again.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hoy @ Arts Alive - Falmouth Town Dance

An unusual start time for the Bluefish, 7 PM, meaning they could get the last boat home to the Vineyard at 9:30. Arts Alive only provides music until  9 PM as agreed with town.
 Excellent turn-out: a full dance floor and chairs set up wide around the tent under an almost full moon.
Perfect temperature for dancing, a bit cool, as Johnny Hoy said, "Late spring weather" though many protested - "It's summer, today!"
He thanked the organizers, and the organizers thanked me and Joe, for the suggestion of the band, and for the dance floor provided for the price of labor. Teen Rock Fest tonight. I hope they like the floor.
Many students, music lovers, old friends and new gathered around. Aftterwards, the line was too long at Ben & Bill's, so we went for Ghelfi's ice cream. Was the night over? No, other friends walked by and we had excellent margaritas at Stone L'Oven.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Betsy's Ballroom Meeting

Dance 2014 was the agenda for the meeting at Betsy's Ballroom yesterday.  Lestyn, DeeDee Burke, Deb Israel, Kathy who schedules for the facility, Ellen Moran, me, and Doug McHugh with Sabrina who is 17 months and good as gold. Her mother picked her up after a half hour.
DeeDee and Steve aren't holding dances, and she convinced me to come, though I only hold the Mary French Benefit Dance there. It was good to meet with my colleagues.
Lestyn is cutting back and only took four Saturdays.
CCBD continues the First Friday lessons, and the Kathy agreed to close the ballroom to dancing on those Saturdays rather than splitting the pool of dancers. My First Saturdays are considered too far to be make a difference in local attendance. I think it's good for my Falmouth dancers to travel sometimes.
Deb and Doug filled in the rest of the weeks between them, leaving open a very few weeks, like Thanksgiving.
At the end of the meeting, we teachers made a pact to attend each other's dances. I have actually gone to everyone's dances already, but I picked Doug's name, so I can try to get a group together sometime. Lestyn picked CCBD, but she hears bands too much at Roseland on Sundays, so all agreed she could go where ever, and I invited her. Doug picked me, and I hope one of them will come to St. Barnabas. Must find out about the fall!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Revision to WCS outdoors

Rain hardly made it to Falmouth, but it poured in Providence, and as Jennifer Lyons cancelled it on the facebook page. "See you next Tuesday June 25."  Hummm..
Joe came yesterday, not that interested in the dance, but Providence also has Ian whose second birthday is Friday (Falmouth Town Dance). Joe bought the little boy a whrr-whrr, cordless screwdriver, tool box and screws as well as a little boom-boom and plastic nails. Amazing how long three AAA batteries can last. He took it to bed with him. We swear we didn't force him into the gender role!
So we shall see about that West Coast Swing group.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Nights out this coming week

Tonight Classes at the CCDC,
Tomorrow, West Coast Swing outdoors in Providence.
Wednesday CCDC
Thursday, Midsummer Woods Hole Silliness.
Friday, Falmouth Town Dance with Johnny Hoy - our dance floor
Saturday, Danny Banks at the Bog at Cranberry's, Macarthur Blvd, Bourne

Gatsby Season

I had fun with the Mashpee Women's Club at the Poponesset Inn - the Gatsby Luncheon.
Baz Luhrman's movie is a qualified success in the theaters - the MTV version, is this a good thing?
A lively bunch dressed with fringe, headbands and feathers stood up for my twenties music.
I taught the Charleston Line Dance after a Foxtrot sequence and the old favorite, the Alley Cat, as done by Lillian Roma. Yvonne Courtney, my devoted dancer friend, was a star, as usual.
Perhaps they will enjoy the Shim Sham if they ever show up for my exercise class.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Bog at Cranberry's

I hope that restaurant is going to do well. Such a funny location, MacArthur Boulevard. Their first anniversary party was last night and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish sounded great - outdoors on a deck.
The little family came down so we played with babies mosty of the day and the parents stayed in since we already had plans.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 15, 2013

The choices for today:
1) North Providence Monthly West Coast Swing Dance Party with national champion Arjay, a very nice guy - teaching 2 workshops first that Joe vetoed.  The dance doesn't start until 9 PM.
I need to get in touch with WCS showcase dancers for the dance in October. We can go to the studio promotion Tuesday for cheap, outdoors in Providence, visit the grandson who will be 2 on Friday. Hopefully, the rain/thunderstorm pattern will not lock in again.
2) Lestyn Gilmore at Occasions in Raynham - nice place I've never seen 40 minutes away.
3) Johnny Hoy at Cranberries in Pocasset, their first anniversary party 8-11 PM Good food, too.
4) Bruins 2nd game of finals, Joe doesn't have to watch the whole game. He can get updates on his phone.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Conflict

Well, I couldn't have held the Ron Gursky/Cape Cod Dance Center Summer Swing Party any other time this year, but I'm sorry to find out just today that George Gritzbach will be at the Beach House, just down the road, at the same time! Balboa will be a useful skill when we try to dance there - crowded floor.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day of Portugal

DAY OF PORTUGAL at the Falmouth Navigator Club
Around the corner and up the street from my house, with a gorgeous unfinished upstairs that they just can't finish. Anyway.

Saturday, June 15, 2013
Time: 5p.m.    Flag Raising Ceremony & Scholarship Awards. Town Officials will attend
5:30-6 p.m.   Hors d'oeuvres
6 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. Dinner and dance. For your entertainment pleasure: "Rancho Folclorico de Alto Minho" a folkloric dance group, followed by dance music music by D.J. Paul Gavoni

MENU - this is where they shine Soup, Roast Pork Portuguese Style, Roasted Chicken, Bacalhau  (Codfish Navigator Style)
Roasted Potatoes, Rice, Vegetable, Dessert, Coffee

Tickets are $25.00 in advance and $30.00 at the door.
Call Maria (508) 495-4452 for tickets.

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 21 2013

Arts Alive Schedule of Performances

Friday Night - June 21
Performance Tent
5-6pm Bart Weisman Smooth Jazz Group
6-7pm Russ Wilcox Jazz Ensemble
7-9pm Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish
 TOWN DANCE with the Brodsky dance floor
and more
http://www.artsfalmouth.org/d7/arts-alive-schedule-performances

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pollen Count

An early allergy attack didn't happen this year - perhaps the oaks were stressed by the mini-drought. Now that pine pollen dust is everywhere for another few days, and I got a low level headache, almost just an irritation. You have to watch out for that feeling, not look for psychological reasons for irritation. Just allergies.
I still went out to find something. My Fair Lady had their last day yesterday. I remember when it was Cinderella's, a first vintage clothing shop. Nothing interesting was left there, but I went on to get a new bread box from St Vincent de Paul and a "silestone" outdoor table from Cape Cod Pickers.
Later, I also took an allergy pill and had an easy time running my dance.
I keep spiral bound notebooks for when I need to complain, and looked back to see that last year, I was quite irritated the first weekend in June. Maybe, there's a study of my allergies in there if I applied the scientific method. The great novel of my life was the original plan, based on a lifetime of observances mixed in with complaints not voiced to the general public or even my family.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fallmouth Senior Center

I went to the Senior Center Meeting Wednesday at 2 PM - over a hundred people. That is a regular Senior Center Hour. The 5:30 session was not as well attended.
Seemingly there is talk again of a new larger building. They have been talking about it for 20 years, but they built a rec center and wastewater treatment instead. The seniors think since they are now such a large portion of the population, the numbers will help. Perhaps a corporate sponsor could be found as well, though the corporate sponsors want people who spend money. These seniors are used to their classes costing $1 to $5. The assisted living places being built try to keep the money in house, providing programs to their population and charging hefty fees.
Not much talk of dance. I didn't speak to the camera broadcasting for FCTV. One lady wanted line dancing, which there is at 11 AM Mondays. Margaret Rogers, age 93, is still teaching Tap Dance at 1 PM on Fridays. I was thinking of my dance fitness class, but not between 9 AM and 2 PM, which is a full schedule already.
I put my suggestion on an index card: "Large wood dance floor with partitions and a kitchen".
And I emailed the overworked director. No response yet.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Van Gogh again

I've been reading Van Gogh's letters, Dear Theo on and off, mostly off, for years now.
Mostly he writes about how little money he has and using the poor as models.
Then there will be a bit about mixing colors or using charcoal pencil.
This bit, however, has relevance to life today. "Competition that arises from jealousy is quite a different thing from trying one's best to make the work as good as possible for the sake of mutual respect. I do not see any good in jealousy, but I should despise a friendship which did not call for some exertion from both sides to keep it on the same level."
On the Human Kinetics website, author David Shields went so far as to rename the negative approach to a contest - simply trying to knock out the opponent by any means, calling it decompetition, writing, "The term "competition" comes from Latin roots and literally means "to strive with." Importantly, it does not mean "to strive against."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Italian Itam Lodge on Pontoosuc Lake

Not to be confused with the Italian American Club on Newell Street, middle of Pittsfield.
We were out of town and my brother, the musician of the family, had a lead on a good band, and lo and behold, the floor was very nice too. Every Sunday, half an hour from my parents' house. Done at 11:00, and my brother got us there at 10:45. It was worth the drive to get out of the house and kick up our heels.

Friday, May 24, 2013

downtown Falmouth hoppin'

Which was good for Stage Door Canteen at Liam's.
We met friends there, and did some dancing, but that floor is just not to be recommended!
A couple of guys were brave enough to ask me to dance, and they had a few moves. The one who is looking for a dance partner should get to the Trowbridge where single dancing ladies are. When he met Joe, he explained his best move, unfortunately blocking the waitress.
Then it got really loud and Motown, filling the floor with those who do not move their feet.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

WCS basic steps and principles

WEST COAST SWING BASIC PRINCIPLES AND STEPS
The movement is done in a Slot, with the lady traveling from one point to the next as led by the man who stays in the middle of the Slot, directing the traffic.
Lead and follow is done at an arm’s length, so connection through body weight and movement is essential.
Leverage/ Stretch = a slight pull through body weight. Lady’s hand is cupped like a trailer hitch. Guy provides a solid surface to connect to, often with a sideways hand.
Compression/Sink = the leaning into each other for Sugar Push and Tuck Turn.
Forearms are relaxed.  Change of lead through body movement - NO push and pull with arms
Anchor Step replaces the East Coast Swing/Jive rock step for getting to Leverage.
6 COUNT
L side pass (L hand or 2 hands)
 Starts with leverage.
He steps back and to his right out of the slot on ‘1’ .
She responds by stepping straight forward
He gets out of her way by turning sideways to his left on ‘2’
She comes close in front of him continuing to the other side of the slot, the easy way
He continues to turn ‘3 &’
She moves along , often allowing her L foot to cross in front ‘3 &’
He steps slightly forward encouraging her to find the end of the slot ‘4’
She finds the end of the connection , and that is the extent of the slot ‘4’
Anchor step for both is a triple in place, settling back on the flat of the rear foot and connecting with Leverage. 5& 6
Under arm “Right side”pass  (L hand)
All the same movements for her. He takes his foot back and to the left out of the slot, turning to his right & raising the arm for her to go under. His right foot may cross in front or go next to other foot before he continues the turn.
Sugar push (2 hands) (or closed)
 Same beginning, but he does not turn away, instead blocks her and gets to Compression. Both stall on ‘3 &’ The compression reaches a change of direction as he steps forward and she steps back on ‘4’. Anchor step 5&6
Try for body shaping, i.e. same side as foot leads forward.
Tuck Turn: Starts like L Side Pass, but he raises arm to stop, compress, and re-direct her to do a right turn (L hand or 2 hand lead) She must really move to get to the end of the slot and turn on 4. Hands are upside down. Use Underarm pass to fix hands

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Social Dance - Steps to Success

I bought it for a penny, plus $3.99 shipping etc. Kind of preachy, which I appreciate when it comes to posture. How else can you get the concept across? Stand up straight! Present your best self. Pilates is particularly strict, and helped me find my best strength.
When I looked in the book online, the drawing of the guy standing up straight was good.  The lady didn't come out as good, and in the newer edition, the photos of the correct posture were not convincing.
The paragraph on Centering bears quoting.
"Once you can align your hips, shoulders and head over your base of support (your feet), you need to become aware of where your center of gravity is located. It is a three dimensional point near the center of your body where your body's weight is equally divided ( ie half your weight is above and half is below this point.) Typically the equal division of one's body mass is located a bit higher in males, slightly above the waist than in females, slightly below the waist. However in dance, a more universal term, center point of balance or CPB is often used to refer to a point just below your diaphragm. You can feel this point by making a fist and placing it at the base of your breastbone where your ribs start to separate. The advantage of the CPB is that it is slightly higher than your center of gravity." Judy Patterson Wright

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Viennese Waltz

The Viennese Waltz controversy:
Shall we work and work to get it to be a contiuous spinning progression around the floor, right and left turns?
Or shall we allow turns and then a stationary step in order to regroup?
My choice is the latter: do one or two turns well, then slow down considerably for some of what Mary French called "Fake Viennese", hesitations that allow for a change from left to right turns.
I also accept the waltz done like Italian and Polish men I have danced with. Their progressive goes side to side.
For variety, I am adding a little whisk action that can allow for an easy underarm turn for the lady.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Musicality

Joan Acocella in the NewYorker
" 'Musicality' is one of those terms that dance people use all the time while other people stand around and nod and have no idea what is being referred to. I would say that musicality in dance is three things. One is intellectual: the choreographer makes the structure of the dance reflect that of the score. "
(In our dances, the steps are designed to reflect the prevailing mood of the style: Foxtrot & Waltz - smooth and progressive, Latin - earthy and in one space.)
"A second meaning is aesthetic: the dancer will weave her movements into the musical line, obeying it or teasing it, but in any case hearing it, responding to it, and not just dancing while it plays."
(I'm hoping to get to respond to the musical breaks in West Coast Swing. The dance includes the opportunity to pose when music ceases.)
"This yields the third, moral meaning: the dancer's primary interest is not to display her technique. However hard she worked at it, she must now give it away, to what the music calls for."
(Here, Acocella gets into performance art and goes on to suggest a show to attend. I just get to take a lesson or twoin musicality.)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Only the first game of play-offs...

Stage Door Canteen at the Trowbridge - several interesting grouping: three tables of Falmouth (including Woods Hole) dancers with Bourne, Sandwich, Mashpee, and off-Cape dancers mixed in. A new partnership made Lance look better than ever.
I hope we drank enough to keep the establishment happy - once again, Joe didn't go through with his idea of a "designated drinker", a plan that is mostly a play on words. We pick up an alcoholic to offset our tendency to drink water. Paying his bar bill and keeping him off the dance floor are two issues unresolved.
Joe disappeared periodically to check up on the Bruins game. Upstairs was Trivia night with TV sets tuned to the play off game. They won.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DWTS finishing & on to STYTCD

Excellent DWTS Results with Derek and Kellie's Argentine Tango again and the extra tidbits of people like Louis and Cheryl.  Also the right person left. I felt sure they were keeping 4 so that we wouldn't lose any of the great dancing to be had next Monday - LIVE!
On the minus side, we got a too long "Romance in the Wind" with Gleb and Sharna, bedsheets and curtains. Avril Lavigne's song was not a dance number, and the women's costumes were ugly.  Mark Ballas at least looks good now since he let his hair grow, but he tried to throw his partner under the bus, telling on her for taking bangles from the costume shop as souvenirs. It became a running joke, but he is a jerk, no doubt about it.
This morning, realizing So You Think You Can Dance had started, I found a website with much better transmission than ABC.com.
Checked my DVR.  Yup, it automatically recorded, so I could see more than the winning auditions, the weird losers, too.

Detroit auditions tonight. How much dancing can I take?

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Season

The long early spring on Cape Cod has turned into the new season, the budding and flowering that will soon enough be full summer.
Another season for me, tutoring in the high school, has also finished. Now the MCAS Math is administered at the same time that the colleges set final exams, before young adults become too distracted.
My granddaughter, who broke her arm last week, does not need my attention as her mother is done teaching at Dean and Salve Regina.
Lessons with Ron Gursky have become more difficult to set up with the busy Cape Cod summer on the horizon.
Usually, I do a Spring Cleaning around about now.
Plant the rest of the garden.
And sort my dance teacher notes: preparation that ebbs and flows but never ceases.
Prepare to teach Viennese today!