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, 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.