Wednesday, October 30, 2013


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


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


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

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
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
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


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.