Monday, December 29, 2014
A "fast" floor for ballroom dancers, consistently smooth throughout, is not easy to find.
Depending on the usage, maintaining a surface just this side of dangerous is a science.
Weather, indoor and out, changes the foot/floor interface.
I would love to be able to study that science, but I would need my own dance floor.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Tell Me What We're Going to Do Now by Joss Stone while I was sitting around the Marriot pool lounge waiting for some other people. Stars by Simply Red, same. West Coast Swing vibe
Echa P'alla by Pitbull when the young people were jumping about in a group, before they all jumped in the pool many in their dress clothes, including the bride.
Lulu's Back in Town by Marcus Goldhaber Hmmm well it's a foxxtrotty thing, pretty fast
Bye Bye Love by Madeline Peyroux where did I hear this one? Love Madeline P.
Come Dance by Theodore Fredrickson easy going Samba from the movie about a competition with ballroom, hip hop, etc
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Janel has been a favorite, working super hard and bringing out the best in Val. She was filming most of last week, so they didn't have as much time to put into the routine. And they didn't win the mirror ball trophy. Her career is very important to her. This is why they will continue to be only friends. Plus he lives with his parents and Maks.
And then we see Alfonso, the one Len said should win because he is the best dancer. He did a tap dance as part of the freestyle, cheering up my sister-in-law, otherwise a bit grumpy with her self-appointed task of entertaining her in-laws. She had them at her house in Port Chester for a few days and the finale to the trip was Thanksgiving (next door to me) on Cape Cod!
The judges didn't help decide in the finale, giving the contestants all the same perfect scores for their fusion dances, so America decided, good politics, Disney.
I do have trouble when the show is on for more than two hours. Even when I fast-forward past the ads, too much visual concentration tires out my brain and eyes. I should not have watched the 8:00 show: DWTS The Road to the Finals
Monday, November 24, 2014
Put it into a dance:
Take enough time.
Come out in Promenade on the outside foot from your partner.
We did Waltz, though it is usually taught in Tango.
Maybe Joe would have liked Tango better - a bit faster and more exciting, not so floaty.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Jack's first anniversary. Last year he opened without a name, just a sign that said "Try our martinis" because of some kerfuffle at town hall.
Maybe this iteration of the old Grasmere Pub will work. Countless restaurants have failed at that location, but the owners of the last one, Nobska House, had vision and did a great renovation before ending up in the hospital.
Jack is focusing on music and last night brought in Daddy-O. By chance, we saw them Friday at J R Brodie's (Brode House) and were impressed with the danceability of the songs. Rock-a Billy? Surf Guitar? Lots of 50s ballads. I had forgotten "Only You", a Mary French favorite, and now it's stuck in my head. For the same sort of song to teach with, I prefer "Someone like You."
Nice Irish coffee and lava cake. Other dancers were there, a couple that occasionally comes to the Conservatory, but doesn't socialize much.
We stayed until 11:00, and then did a short survey. Downtown looked pretty deserted - Liam's, Anejo. Over at Grumpy's, Johnny Hoy was scheduled. They probably had a windy ride from the Vineyard. The parking lot was overfull. People were parked next door in the lot for the 7/11.
Not worth it for us after the last overfull Bluefish show with no view of the stage, no room to move, and deafening noise.
Friday, November 21, 2014
I was at the Barcelona airport with my husband listening to "Red & White & Blue & Gold" by Aoife Donavan. It's the perfect rhythm and feeling to inspire a nightclub two-step. I grabbed my surprised husband and there on the mezzanine, my iPod in his shirt's breast pocket, he gave me a beautiful dance with all the swaying and turning and dips that can be tucked into that style of dance. Ballroom dance has gotten under my skin and I cannot get enough of it. As a naturopathic doctor, approaching 30 years in the field, I think about how social ballroom dance makes me a better doctor.
First there are all the things consistent exercise, which involves body and brain offer: more energy, a clear mind, excellent sleep. I have a lower resting heart rate, better endurance and more flexibility. My balance is improved as has my overall feeling of wellbeing. There is a way that learning something entirely new spills over and has me energized and excited about other parts of my life.
Between a newly empty nest, a cooperative work schedule and a willing partner, the past two-year's immersion in social ballroom dance has been complete. Like the truly faithful, we have gone four to five nights a week to learn and once or twice a week to a social dance to practice and enjoy. We have danced in cities across American and in Europe as our teaching schedule allows. The social, musical, sensual, cognitive and physical elements, the demands and rewards, suited both my husband and I and added dimensions to our lovely long marriage while also bringing new and wonderful people into our lives.
But there are some things unique to ballroom dance that I relate to being a doctor and some ways in which immersing in this world helps me in the clinic. The ones I'd like to focus on are: 1. Frame 2. Finding, strengthening and keeping access to one's center 3. Timing and rhythm 4. Connection/the dynamic of lead and follow 5. Broadening confidence 6. Mindfulness/mindlessness 7. The idea of a complete experience
1. Frame: While attending a recent medical conference, several long-time colleagues asked if I had grown taller. At 54, I seriously doubt any climb up the height chart, but good frame, standing tall and broad, with shoulders back and head straight forward gives that appearance. I have always had good posture and know the power of walking tall into a room, which of course has less to do with actual height and more to do with how you carry yourself. When you have good frame as a follower on the dance floor, you can follow most any capable leader. And when you have good frame as a leader, you can lead most any follower. It's a mutually encouraging part of dance, where you help your partner immeasurably by constantly working on your own frame. When I am following in the confident arms of a well-framed leader, I know I can relax a bit, it's the near contradiction of ballroom dance: the better and more secure your frame, the more relaxed the dance.
How does this help in the clinic? The concept of frame and posture, so central to ballroom dance is relevant in the office, literally & figuratively. I focus on frame and structure, on having office routines that work, having patterns with patients that streamline my efforts. My posture toward my patient: open, compassionate, dispassionate and non-judgmental, are other essential pieces to my practice of naturopathic medicine and I would think any kind of medicine at all. Ballroom reminds me to periodically assess the framework in the office and recommit to it; I reinforce the good habits and free myself to do the work at hand.
2. Finding, Strengthening and Keeping Access to One's Center: This is the secret to every beautiful dancer and is at once the simplest thing while also intermittently elusive. Once you find that centered place, which starts in your core but permeates your whole system, strengthening it and keeping clear access to it is so essential in ballroom dance, even when not always articulated. Like a lot of things in life, you have to take care of yourself first. As that skill is developed the next step is sensing it in your dance partner, which is when the ability to dance together lifts right off. If you can find that and stay true to it in dance, it improves every style of dance you might choose to learn and each dance you might take with a partner on a given evening. When I practice from this place as a doctor with my confident, calm, centered self leading the way, patients benefit. Further, I would add, my learning and further articulating this piece for myself has me looking for it in my patients, encouraging them to look for it in their lives as one route to more complete healing. When I look for those things that give my patient's life meaning, if I are able to understand their pathology in context of the rest of their life, and see how the ailments impact their ability to find and keep access to a balanced and centered place, and then help them to get better, I am aiming my medical approaches in exactly the right direction.
3. Timing and Rhythm: It's obvious that in dance, timing and rhythm, pacing and a sense of the music helps a whole lot. A fun part of social ballroom dance gathering is to hear a few bars of a song and know implicitly by the rhythm and the tempo if it's a Foxtrot or a Waltz or maybe a dance you could do either Cha Cha or West Coast Swing to. The music gets in your bones and the desire to move is nearly irrepressible. My husband and I have been known to stop the car when a really good song comes on, like Smooth by Santana, and do a little Cha Cha on the side of the road. Or grab a bit of West Coast Swing to Back it Up by Caro Emerald in the middle of dinner! Being exposed to all kinds of music from different eras and vastly varying styles has been its own education and I appreciate how essential it is to inform and inspire many forms of dance. How does this relate to patient care? It has underscored a sense of many things for me related to pacing, including how long a patient visit is and how to keep on schedule. There is a rhythm to case-taking and timing related to performing a physical exam. And like in dance where I might periodically lose the rhythm or lose the count, I can self correct. With a patient I am more keyed into when we have gone off topic, or when I have not used my time well: I constantly work to improve my skill set here.
3. Connection/The Dynamic of Lead and Follow: In terms of connection, in the world of social ballroom dance, there is an understood premise that with each person you dance with, you try to give that person the very best dance of the evening, whether you are leading or following. This requires being open enough to connect with your partner, focusing only on them for the duration of that song. With so many distractions in our lives, what a gift it is to focus on one person only. This has reminded me to be this way in the clinic too, where I train myself to shut out everything else and make it my singular job to connect with my patient, regardless of what else might be going on around me, in the office, in my life.
The need to connect with your dance partner is a given. The particular dynamic of lead and follow is also central. As a long time feminist, I rather balked at the whole concept of men leading and women following as typical roles. I had to let go of trying to control anything at all when learning to dance. My only job was to follow my leader's lead. In time, I found that kind of surrender rather appealing. If I took care of my frame, focused on my own center and understood the basic count of the dance and let the rhythm of the music surround me, that's all I had to do. About a year in to learning ballroom, I decided to also learn how to lead. I am enjoying the challenge of learning the other side, the different part of the brain it engages and how it has impacted my following. It widens my overall understanding of each dance style and perhaps most importantly, allows me to better understand (and appreciate!) what my leaders go through each time they take me in their arms. In a medical setting the idea of lead and follow shows up all the time. As I doctor I am leading my patients in some ways but I also rely on my patients to lead me, especially to guide me to understand what is bothering them. This year as I have undergone treatment for breast and ovarian cancer, I have seen first hand the lead and follow from the patient side, too. An engaged patient who brings their perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and understanding to bear, is at least for me, the very best kind of patient and allows the lead and follow to unfold. The give and take of information, knowledge and resources are prime examples of lead and follow in the naturopathic medical practice.
6. Broadening Confidence: Any time we can do things that bolster confidence it crosses over into other parts of our lives. I have seen this time and again with patients, family members, friends, and myself, when efforts and energy has been spent on developing a skill or competency, especially when it takes time & dedication, other areas perk right up. For me, I feel that influence between ballroom dance and my medical practice and know this is a positive kind of cycle to be in.
7. Mindfulness/Mindlessness: Like any new skill, at first we must be extremely conscious of everything we are doing. With ballroom dance, here are typical things that might go through your mind: Where are my feet? How do I hold my arms? Where should I look? Should I be moving my hips? Oh my God, I must look like an idiot! How does the teacher get his head to move like that? Oh dear, I'm off rhythm. The list goes on. Similarly, I remember first learning how to do a physical exam. It took so long, each little part of it, leaning in to look into a patient's eye, or trying to hear the different sounds of a beating heart. I thought, oh my God, what patient will want me to take an hour doing a screening physical? I was so conscious of each of my movements, trying not to be too clunky, trying to remember how to turn on my otoscope, let alone use it. I so much wanted competence! But the more I practiced, the more I did feel capable. Just like dance, the more you do it, the better you get. And then one day, someone asks you for a waltz and before you realize it, you're swirling around the room, not a care in the world, not thinking, not trying, not focusing on anything in particular, flying really, and you're dancing! Like in anything, getting to that point is worth every minute of study, frustration and practice. Now when I am with a patient and in my unconscious yet quite focused state, it's the same thing. I do not think too much when I am doing a physical or taking a patient history. I am present, I am focused but I have also relegated much of my skills to the unconscious mind. By spending years and hours and lots of dedication I went from being incredibly mindful and focused, to a more mindless time, where I steeped in the art of medicine.
8. A Complete Experience: Many pursuits we have in life have a very long arc to the reward. Many activities are partial or you can only get through some of the project at a time. Some of the most important things like parenting or creating a career or nurturing love take place over decades and longer. There is a way that dancing to one song, from beginning to end and doing a good enough job, is simply put, a pleasantly whole and complete experience. If I have kept frame, been in touch with my own center, connected with my leader or follower and paid attention to the music, I have probably had a lovely dance.
In my practice it is immensely satisfying when working with a patient to feel like we have been thorough, taken into account the whole person and created a plan that raises the person's overall level of health while also addressing their chief complaint. I do not always hit these markers either on the dance floor or at the office, but I like to think of this as a possibility and aim for it every day.
Finally, my own immersion in something new and something fun has me encouraging others, both in my practice and in my life, to do the same. Of course, it does not have to be ballroom, but anything really, that catches your fancy, captures your attention and demands your dedication. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Underwhelmed was my reaction to Derek and Bethany's Contemporary dance. After watching the Martha Graham Company, it was particularly lame. He knew it and that was why most of the rehearsal footage was devoted to his sayIng he had no ideas this week. His partner had to help this week, he said. They danced in and around a picture frame, surely a metaphor for the computer screen that made her a star. They got perfect scores.
So I actually voted for hard working Janelle whose dance was Much better and got lower scores.
The Zeiterion theater is now in my smart phone's vocabulary. I can write from the little hand held device, my extra brain, and it learns.
The Z brought the Martha Graham company from NYC as half of the dance series, making sure we knew it is the most expensive type of show to put on. Ali was incredulous. Can the musical theatre be any less?
Almost a full house, so they did well.
Beautiful production. Thank you, Z. I have not seen a Martha Graham modern dance in years, and it resonates in my body.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Self improvement, popular in women's magazines, seems to be a path to happiness but the author suggests we should instead, learn to be amused. She goes on to note that, "Men have an easier time amusing themselves than women do. ..I don't know one woman who is as good at messing around as are all the men I know."
Julia Child seems to have been an exception. After college and the death of her mother, she spent years riding horses, playing golf, piano, drinking, and what she called "simmering."
Anyway, Julia Child couldn't, for the first part of her life, do much to change herself. Being a horsy 6 foot 3 kind of dominates one's place in society, and having loads of money doesn't change that. But so what? She barreled along with great enthusiasm until she found her love and her place.
How does this apply to dance? Can I make it more about messing around for the men? As for the women, going along is fun, and Dance & Stretch is self improvement.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Russians, they are quite versed in competition, and were asked to teach competition variations.
In DTCB, who competes? None of us. We are at amateur level really, but we keep plugging away at getting to be better teachers and dancers.
So, in Quickstep, Basil taught easy fun, and then tacked stuff nobody does because it's too hard, at the end of 4 1/2 hours: Double Reverse Spin, Zig Zag and Running Finish. He thought we could do it. But of course I would need a partner who also thought we could do it. ..
Monday, November 10, 2014
The Oversway in the Smooth Dances.
I love to watch dancers present a line gracefully - not a dip, but a brief pause of a pose in the continuous movement of Waltz, Foxtrot and Tango. A break in the constant motion provides contrast, especially in Waltz.
Sunday, November 23, will be a good date - a final class for the year, with dance time at the studio following the workshop. We are happy to have been able to continue Ron's classes for most of the fall, but Thanksgiving cuts out the last weekend in November, and then December will be upon us.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
We were there last night for the Ali's Modern show. As the director said, relatives of the dancers are the audience, "How it is in Modern Dance". Beautifully staged and lit, rehearsed and presented, my daughter-in-law does not skimp on hard work. Her dancers, almost all women, are consciously strong, a good metaphor for women in our times, and they joke about it, flexing and kissing their biceps like muscle men. I loved it, as always.
The Dance Complex did a fall series. Naturally I didn't pay much attention to the other shows, thinking Boston was going to be too difficult, but with the GPS, we never got lost. Central Square has municipal parking for $6. Across the street, the Paris Baguette had good latte, so we didn't even have to go to Starbucks, which is also there. The space runs Flamenco classes with Ramon de los Reyes, classes I attended some ten years ago when I was obsessed with Sevillanas. Maybe next year I can swing another evening in Cambridge for a Nino de los Reyes show.
Afterwards, we waited at the building's entrance for the car, we had all the props, 50 origami birds hung from tree branches, 5 chairs, a table and a bench. A former janitor from Joy of Movement asked us if we had found the secret panels in the studios yet, and shared his memory of the descent of the space into a Fitness Emporium. He was glad to see Art back.
I would take a Bachata class - for partnered dancing the Dance Complex offered that, Salsa, and Tango. I'm guessing Samba is more like the Brazilian schools that practice for parades.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Famous couples AKA Dynamic Duos
Romeo and Juliet took the highest score - Val and Janel, the little Hawaiian.
Adam and Eve stole the show for me - Mark and Sadie who liked the biblical theme
Ricky and Lucy's Salsa tied for second place - Derek and Bethany internet blogger/beauty
Batman and Robin danced so precisely - Witney and Alonso, who I hear studied dance.
Johnny and June Carter Cash were a distant 5th - Peta (the rock) and Tommy Chong working hard
And Tarzan and Jane were thankfully eliminated bye Michael NASCAR driver.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Like Halloween and our son moving into their unfinished remodel in Dartmouth on November 1.
We have been there for the last 4 days, driving an hour and staying at least five, enough time to put on a coat of paint or two, or to unpack and sort kids toys (with their help) along with making lunch for everyone. Meanwhile Joe trimmed out some doors and windows and fixed the toilet, bought and hung doors and installed the thermostat.
Back home to teach on Thursday, go to the Halloween party Friday, run a dance Saturday, and take a dance class tonight. In Joe's case, to watch the Patriots football game at the movie theater/pub.
Whew! Good thing we got an extra hour of sleep this morning!
Monday, October 27, 2014
Not a huge success. Did the usual crowd not want costumes optional, prizes? They didn't know the prizes were home baked goods.Was my lesson idea of Partnering Tips not worth the $15 ticket price set by the Betsy's Ballroom owners, the Yarmouth Senior Center?
A pleasant group came, including some new good dancers. Kent, who was closing his house up for the winter was a very competent West Coast dancer. Luckily, I had a single lady for him. The singles went to see Shag in Plymouth. Spencer, in from Provincetown, has recently moved from England and is thinking of teaching the International style. West Coast Swing would go over better in P-town, I think.
I was tired.
Then we came home where a neighbor was sitting with the sleeping kids while their parents were at the P-town Dance Festival, my daughter-in-law dancing her solos. The little boy never wakes up, but he had a fever and thought his bed was on fire! Ibuprofen and grandmothering sent him back to sleep and he was fine in the morning. His surprised comment: "My bed was not on fire."
After they left, I took a nap.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Poor Julianne has to try to hold onto ballroom in the face of what-all. At least it was partnered dances mostly. Jazz, not a social partnered dance, was the best dance yet for Jonathan who got eliminated before he could try Waltz. Will he continue to dance? I figure Betsey Johnson can easily continue since her teacher, Tony, is NYC based.
Meanwhile, Pitbull stood up to illustrate a dance move and looked better than Bruno.
And then, Bruno said something that made me think, "Rumba has to have a smooth continuous motion." As I dance, I find the little bit of technique I have been applying for the past year, keeping the big toe on the ground at all times during Rumba, translates into that effect.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
My granddaughter's Queen Elsa costume is complete, turquoise shimmery knit circle skirt, tulle cape with snowflake sequins, headband tiara, and a white fleece hooded cape. Joann Fabrics got our choices.
Her brother loves his Darth Vader cape made from a silver and black slippery knit that was a plus sized woman's shirt.
Joe thinks the weird green snaky material I bought for the little boy, rejected by said child, will be cool for an alien costume. Outer Space at Cotuit. I was thinking of cartoon villainess from outer space - tight red dress, black cape, blue make-up and hair.
However, for the Casual Costumes Optional in Yarmouth coming up the weekend before Halloween, I might have to tone it down a bit. Gypsy is an easy one, just put on all my jewelry and scarves with a long skirt and I'm there.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Six classes I have taught this week so far, each a pleasure in its own way.
Tonight, a reunion of no longer young married couples - their songs: Let's Stay Together, L-O-V-E, Walk Forever by my Side, Valentine, Love of a Lifetime, and Never Thought that I Could Love.
Meanwhile, DWTS added Burlesque, a style that seems to cheapen things further. Don't they already use elements of burlesque in all the Latin dances? Where is the Waltz this season? Has Len Goodman abandoned ship?
Sunday, an afternoon with Ron Gursky will be precious.
Coming up next week, I have accepted an opportunity to run the dance at Betsy's Ballroom, giving Deb Israel a break.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
I took a drive out to Stockbridge because my Uncle Peter came to visit and admired the changing of the maple colors - those brilliant reds are often sugar maples, and the pinky orange, swamp maples.
My sister and I hiked a small mountain and discussed the use of the "foam roller" to relax the Ilio-tibial band running along the outside of the thigh.
Home to my dance - nice turnout, lovely folks.
A drink at Grumpy's afterwards. Chasing Blues was a Cajun band complete with stand up bass and banjo, no drums. We sat out the songs that sounded like we should dance the Crippled Chicken, but stood up for the Tennessee Waltz, handed out a card to a PhD candidate from Woods Hole, and went home.
Next month's dance will be a bigger deal. November 1, right on the heels of the Cotuit Costume Ball, I have the St Barnabas Church Parish Hall - twice as much set-up and clean up.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Thank you, Paul Hughes, my fellow teacher in Dance Teachers Club of Boston.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Lea Thompson: When my father died
Why did he have to do Samba?
Bethany: When I was bullied and came out of it with YouTube
Rumba without much Rumba content, but Derek can get away with it. Also he just released a book which reveals bullying in his life, so he teared up.
Michael won the Nascar the same race as his friend died (Earle Barnhardt).
Samba, too, which he messed up, but he figured Earle would have thought it was funny.
Janel's beloved teacher died soon after she went to LA to seek fame and fortune.
Antonio came to the USA and was the hunk on Janet Jackson's video, didn't have to dance, just look handsome; Betsey had a daughter and her marriage broke up, danced okay; Alfonso was on Fresh Prince of Bel Air and did my favorite dance of the night; Sadie had to deal with her grandfather's politically incorrect remarks, but Julianne gave her a 10 for Shirley Ballas arms; Tommy Chong went to jail for nine months where he learned to Tango but they didn't go into that.He already did tango, so they did Jailhouse Rock Jive and he couldn't keep up.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Saturday at Lestyn's Dance, her 50th Anniversary of teaching, a great showing by Cape Cod. We are fans of her gracious, welcoming style. The floor at Occasions in Taunton was as good as everyone had told me - smooth, clean, large, and filled with polite dancers.
Sunday brought back Ron Gursky to the CCDC. Argentine Tango followed by Slower Quickstep with a break down of the Ballroom Pivot, a very specific turn, shunned by my old teacher, Mary French.
All this activity and my feet are fine with the little felt pads in the left shoe to support the metatarsal arch. A tingling, with occasional pain, had been developing since last winter. The podiatrist with my HMO suggested stretching. I believe in stretching, but that did not touch the sensation. Lestyn mentioned neuroma, so I looked it up and went back to my old podiatrist. Thanks to Dr. Whitney, I should be cured in three months. Same price as the deductible for Dr. Kahlil's bad advice.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
At abc.go.com on Monday, while the show was airing, I got to see Lacey Schwimmer in a booth with an Australian chatting with and about the stars. I could also see the Red Room, where they wait before they go out, the Skybox, where Erin does the interviews, and the Dance Floor from afar, the nosebleed seats. Lots of interactive tweeting going on.
If I had had my wits about me, I could have watched Live! through xfinity.
As it was, the next day video on abc.go.com had more ads than the TV, a disjointed experience. Tommy Chong was the stand out performance. The young women with Val and Derek got 10s.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Monday, September 29, 2014
Then 4 nights of teaching and a visit to my Uncle Peter and my dance and Ron's classes.
It has been a nice break, and I'm almost ready for it. Come on, new computer, you can do this!
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Precious Sunday at the end of September, so I biked to Woods Hole and found new outdoor seating not at all crowded. Above the Food Buoy or whatever it is called now, overlooking Eel Pond.
Next week the dancing will consume the week end.
The drawbridge is getting a lot of use today.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
So far I loaded my songs onto the new machine, but they mostly won't play.
I already called apple. I couldn't choose the genre of some of the songs - they were being stored in the cloud where things are Soundtrack or Rock or Pop, not Salsa or Rumba or West Coast. I was able to download. Those ones play
And on the other front, the new Word policy is to rent us the software, $60/year, so I'm trying Google docs. Now my documents will be in the cloud.
The last computer I bought was seamless. I miss XP
Monday, September 22, 2014
Using my tiny computer - my phone. All my typing skills are for naught. New computer tomorrow with 8.1, not a beloved program.
Anyway! The CCDC gathering Saturday was a great success for us and our fellow dance lovers.
Showcase dancers from URI - love those college students.
Adrienne Haslet-Davis shared more than just her dancing. She went through hell to get beyond the Boston bombing.
Best song of the night - Olde Cape Cod as a Samba.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Should have known DWTS started. They wait two weeks after SYTYCD finishes.
I had noticed a bit of press, but not enough to penetrate. A facebook pal alerted me to what my DVR knew.
I wasn't expecting much - 13 contestants including Betsey Johnson, Tavis Smiley and Tommy Chong, but what a fun show again, still.
A train wreck dance can be entertaining. Usually, they protect the stars, but this time Betsey Johnson was determined. She had to have her feather boa! Afterwards her clownish makeup just added to the glorious debacle. And she made it through! A cartwheel and
a split at age 72 is worth at least one more week.
The South Africans lost. She, a hurdler just choked. Hopefully they will keep the handsome black pro.
Some excellent dancing as well. I'm still hooked.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
The only showing was at 9:20, so we went out ahead of time, tried the neighborhood Cotuit restaurant/bar, Kettle Ho, fish sandwich, very loud, left kind of quickly, so we were early and saw the ads before the movie including Jasmine from last season of SYTYCD with her deodorant commercial. I hope she made a ton of money. She is certainly a better dancer than any of them from this last season. I didn't even review the finale. The judges pick favorite dances, and the ones they picked were ones teen girls maybe liked.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I hope people choose to get out on the following weekend, Columbus Day, October 11, for dancing with us.
Meanwhile, the dance at St Barnabas will be the first Saturday, November 1, All Souls Day. That will be a weekend with a lot of competition. At least the Cotuit Arts Center party is Friday, truly Halloween. No theme announced yet.
Noticed George Gritzbach announced on the Beach House message board for Sunday, hopefully early again. The summer hours were too much for us on a Sunday.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
This last Wednesday, a night without an elimination, the choreographers were inspired to work with these four young people.
http://www.hypable.com/2014/08/28/so-you-think-you-can-dance-season-11-top-4-performance-recap-sari-not-sari/ gives a clean stream of the dances, and you can stop watching rather than listen to Mary Murphy and Nigel. Guest judge Jesse Ferguson spoke well. My computer isn't fast enough.
Opening number, created by our favorite, Travis Wall, was done to "The Wind Beneath my Wings", a great sentiment for the show's concept of the dancers supporting each other even as they compete.
Zack and Jessica danced Broadway with Argentine Tango elements to go with Ella Fitzberald's version of Hernando's Hideaway, lyrics on top of the Tango classic, Cumparsita, for the show "Pajama Game."
I noticed Ricky least, though I know he is a fantastic dancer. Maybe because he is so small and thin or perhaps because his best number was badly lit for him, allowing him to disappear grey into grey while his pro partner was ll in white as an angel.
Two tap dancers in the finale must mean something. We guess the winner will be tapper Zack, not Valerie whose arms still flop a bit.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
The other professional dancer, Meghan Carmichael, had a much lighter piece, centering on fruit, young love, and a knowing observer.
The student work was also lovely, all contemporary, focusing on the intent of the dancers rather than the pure form of ballet. We saw young dancers enjoying themselves, with much of the show their own choreography.
And home to the next batch of company.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Unless you're trying to be ingratiating. Ronald Reagan used to cock his head to the side. I see it in photos of me. And in my Waltz, Ron tells me. Hold the sway within the body.
Taking the muscular approach, I will try strengthening the sides of my neck. Becoming aware of that area may be the key to success.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Luckily Dawn talked me into trying it out. The 16x20 foot floor is smooth and clean, beer is $5, the music was not too loud, and the DJ did play our request, granted it was "Blurred Lines" which he knew he would have to play it sometime, I'm sure. He didn't know it's a great cha cha.
The food looked nice. The menu said Native Grill. The organizer calls himself Johnny Wampanoag and is head chef at Roche Brothers. Lobster roll for $17, Chicken Caesar $9.
We wonder if it will be a success. Ballymeade is way off the beaten path.The three most important factors for a restaurant's success: location, location, location.
Perhaps a Disco can be somewhat hidden. From the parking lot you wouldn't even know it was there.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Saturday, August 9, 2014
The weather cooperated.
$50 per person seemed reasonable to us, knowing what gets spent just for a dinner with drinks at a restaurant, especially with the caliber of the caterers: Roland, Eat Your Heart Out, Atria Woodbriar, La Cucina Sur Mare, with the addition of a cheese and cracker with fruit table. Plus we got to chat with Roland!
The Chamber of Commerce must have been pleased to have their 100th anniversary so splendidly celebrated.
Solon Z and the Sapphires brought in about 20 musicians. The first half of the show featured songs of Frank Sinatra, pretty danceable, though of variable speeds at times. Historically, Frank Sinatra did not sing for the dancers. After the break, one of the singers from NYC did a lively skat number. Solon Z suggested we put our dancing shoes on. As a non-dancer, he just meant, "This one is going to be Fast!"
I love our dance floor - no trouble with any stickiness. Turns and spins worked beautifully. The lawn was not completely flat, so we spent more time than usual with shims and blocks, and still had some high spots.
The open bar was not crowded. Drinking responsibly seems to be the norm with our age group, just enough to get folks out onto the dance floor. Jay Zavala, president of the Falmouth Chamber, (I always see his picture in the paper) danced well.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Google Maps found the location. A car full of people who had all been there before kept track of landmarks. We had all gotten lost going there before.
The enormous ballroom is newly refinished floor with a thick coat of the stuff that goes on bar tops, some kind of poured urethane. A slight odor remained. Several large indents near the stairs resulted from bubbles, no doubt. We think they couldn't sand the old floor again because they would have hit nails.
Lois, local dance teacher, was particularly disappointed in the consistency of the surface which is too slow for proper ballroom dancing. She brought talc for the bottoms of her shoes, fearing the strain on her knees. As a venue, she says, it would be excellent for a true competition, expect for that soft floor finish.
As for myself, I found it tiring, but not dangerous. My muscles were sore and I welcomed the Dance and Stretch class I hold Wednesdays
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
My grandchildren took off for the day, visiting friends, so I will bake and dress up a bit without Sloane's help. She does love to fuss over what to wear. Pink, mostly.
We will hope for rumbas from those mostly Swing bands, having reviewed International Rumba last night in class, a seminar. Thanks, Ron, for teaching Fan, Hockey Stick, Sliding Doors, Turkish Towel, Rope Spinning and all the rest of the twist and spirals.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Or not at all.
Next week, the Falmouth Historical Society will use our floor for a gala for the Chamber of Commerce. That's a $50 a ticket event and includes "Bite Stations" with the excellent local caterers, open bar, and Solon Z and the Sapphires band. They have a tent and lovely indoor space as well. A good deal and local Falmouth dignitaries.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
He is such a good teacher, he managed to get Jews and Arabs to dance together doing merengue, tango, rumba and swing. At the competition, he said, "If I weren't the emcee, I'd be crying."
The movies at the Falmouth Jewish congregation are very well attended, and we stayed for the discussion, though my daughter-in-law and I didn't say anything. I got introduced.
People naturally wanted to talk about the political situation.
My thoughts would have been about the problems to overcome in presenting such a program in Falmouth.
The Ick Factor is there around the world. At age 10, boys and girls don't want to touch. Pierre had more to overcome with the religious injunctions..
In Falmouth, kids have too much to do, not a problem in the poor sections of Israel.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Solon Z and the Sapphires will play.
Our dance floor on the lawn in a tent at the Museums on the Green in front of the beautiful Education Center.
Stations maintained for appetizers by a variety of local chefs. Open bar.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Thanks to a local connection, we found Trio's and ate an excellent meal on a patio with the ocean breeze. Good service meant we were not late for the band, Reminisce, specializing in Doo-wop with a nod to the recent movie, "Jersey Boys". For the best ballroom dancing, other bands play a more varied assortment of tempos, but the beautiful summer day included a trip to the Newport Hall of Fame Tennis Tournament for some of us.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Well, if a tropical storm moves the fireworks in Falmouth, you have an unnatural force - traffic to deal with, and the best thing to do is not hold a dance downtown.
Dawn's birthday was the event to attend, held at the Beach House with George Gritzbach. Great band. New keyboard guy. We could miss the fireworks for once.
And I did get the Conservatory for Sunday. Love that venue - can be small or large, easy going.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Probably July 13 will be a nice dance evening. I need more time to figure that one out - get permission for the hall. So far this summer has been full of making sure everything works.
Meanwhile, SYTYCD has some terrific young men dancing - the young women have not been as striking. My choreographer/dance teacher daughter-in-law is taking notes for presentation to her college students in the fall. Gotta keep up with the trends. We were not impressed with Louis Van Amstel's Samba moves - touted as "dangerous". Using the DVR, we did not listen to the judges at all.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
A good authority, Ron Gursky, says the best floor is the bare wood with the tiniest bit of wax, applied by mixing it with sawdust.
When it is time for ballet pointe, a "slip-no-more" finish can go on is removable. Rosin is traditional but pretty extreme since it can get caked on.
I am happy with the portable floor's polyurethane. An outdoor locale inevitably has a lot of extraneous material.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Friday, June 20, 2014
Relative #1 left the room - Joe.
Relative #2 dancer choreographer daughter-in-law stayed awake and had the comment, "Why do some dancers never pause in their movement? The flow becomes tedious without some variation in the beat no matter how many tricks they have."
Relative #3 sister said, "Cranking is my type of dancing," and stood up to move - yeah!
Relative #4 other sister-in-law tried to understand the criteria for judging, but the judges are sometimes tedious.
I enjoyed the process. Mary Murphy wasn't as tiresome as usual, but needed to be fast forwarded after a while. Also none of the dancers were obvious final 20 material.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
Anyway, Cerise sings beautifully with this light jazz/swing ensemble. Won't be rockin' blues like last year with Johnny Hoy, but maybe there will be a bit of room on the dance floor!
Hopefully the weather will hold - those rainy nights put more stress on the wood.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Then it was over, and I realized we were getting nine visitors (three babies) from Quebec, Dave's in-laws with a great rate for them on the house next door. Cleaning, sorting, and gardening double-time, and they're here.
Pine pollen probably has another blast set to attack.
School is dragging on for Falmouth, ending this week for Providence and Dartmouth. Then my first set of house visitors with kids. Our grandson's birthday. My sister and her three year old.
Ali will perform in Sandwich Friday.
What summer trip might we undertake? - not Salsa Star Hector Tricoche at Fete (nice venue) in Providence last night - 9:00 -2:00 AM schedule. The lesson in Salsa on 2 at the beginning and they often start late. Probably very loud and I have a bit of tinnitus already. Not Eight to the Bar the Towers on Thursday. Narragansett is an hour and a half and June 12 is Joe's actual birthday.
SYTYCD has a great line up from auditions. Will my favorites make the cut?
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Whatever you call it, it's a wonderful way to start a day, now 9:30 Wednesdays for the summer. I moved the tutored student for the day.
We use the lovely education building at the Falmouth Historical Society, run by a bunch of pleasant people.
The Society opens for tours at 11:00, so we're out of the way on time.
I volunteered as a colonial dame in costume for third grade class tours - great fun and a way to support the society's efforts.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Yeah, I could look online. How about, I could hook up my computer to the larger screen and make intelligent choices. Then I could convince my friends to watch the best and discuss them. Sounds like work to me. Maybe if I were forty years younger.
It's summer - time to get out into the world and see what it brings to Cape Cod. June 20, in Sandwich a modern dance show with terrific local professional dancers. More later about that.
For biased amusement, I used read about DWTS on www.TelevisionWithoutPity, now defunct. Here's South Shore Dancers run down: "Well, DWTS got the winner right. After that it was pretty much of a dog’s breakfast (Brit slang for a complete mess). The judges played down Charlie White all season with one or two exceptions and suppressed the viewer vote as a result. James Maslow did get the praise from the judges but the viewers were only partly convinced. Amy Purdy earned her way into the final 4 but didn't really have the content to make the top 3, amazing though she is. Candace should not have been in the top 5. What nuttiness will they come up with now to squeeze out another season?"
Anyway - yeah! Maks and the Olympic gold ice dancer won - great! His strength and grace paired with her hard work and fearless talent had to win. Viewers knew it. I expect he only came back if they would give him a partner he could win with. Enough of the entertainment value of Kirstie Alley.
Padding out the roster with Disney Channel entertainers seems like a waste sometimes, though the young people certainly work hard enough, not like Bristol Palin, who stayed on for whatever reason. You have to believe the producers have ultimate say as to eliminations. For instance, why keep Billy Dee Williams when he couldn't even walk? Some of them must be promised a certain amount of time before they get kicked off. Viewers are another factor. The producers might listen to them, and some populations might vote in a block. Did Candace's constant invocation of her faith and religious feelings bring people to the phones? As well, Mark Ballas no longer seemed a liability.
Anyway, next season, I will make an effort to vote - for the Show! If they are counting how many people call in to see how popular it is, I can do that! I don't even have to make much of a choice because I'll just be voting for the show itself.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Back in the nineties, I started Friday dances with Renee Ziegner over in West Barnstable Community Center, no teaching except by request. Eventually, Vince and Julie Kraft, president and treasurer, set up dances with scheduled lessons before the dance.I taught Salsa at one of the last dances in West Barnstable. CIABDA went on to hold them at the Hyannis Senior Center and at Betsy's Ballroom, adding lessons by local and off-Cape instructors, twice a month. CIABDA made good money, building a bank account far beyond the $200 we had in 1995.
At the time, there were only a few places to get lessons. Then the Rof Mar closed, and the Sons of Italy closed, and there was nowhere to dance except to Betsy's favorite group, the Sandpipers, at the Yarmouth Senior Center's big room that she got set up with the wooden floor. (Once a month, she let Curt and Roz Curtis use the venue.)
Once Betsy died, the Saturdays at Betsy's Ballroom got more interesting, with Lestyn Gilmore, Debbie Israel, Doug McHugh offering lessons before the dances. CCBD also has special club dances four times a year. I even went that far to hold the Mary French Memorial.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
These pleasant June days lull me into thinking the weather is perfect when actually the hall gets to 75 degrees on a sunny day, a bit hot for dancing. I should have turned on the AC at 3:00 since the big room takes some time to cool down. We opened all the windows and doors, borrowed a fan from the shop across the way where stage artists are getting ready for the College Light Opera Company. Arts on the hill!
A great crowd, some beginners, some accomplished dancers, all enjoying the music.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Dancing with the Stars is in its final episodes with fewer contestants to think about. The dancing has been terrific. As for the contest, I would lay bets on the newly humble Maks (never won) with his Olympic partner as opposed to Derek's win again with the interesting partner or Mark, also an improved character publicly, winning again with the sincere Christian.
For the summer - So You Think You Can Dance! starts next week.
Also oak pollen season is on its way. I feel the sinus headache beginning.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
When I film, I get a bunch of local dancers. It's nice to see your friends and neighbors on TV, but my camera broke just before the September Celebration of Dance. I quickly bought one that didn't work. I had to return it, then worked on buying the right one, and hardly got to use it.
The next event, the one that included West Coast dancers, was the Mary French Memorial that I run, so I could not film. I could barely even watch it! Having gone over the whole thing, I have to say, I think that is the best part of the show, but I am prejudiced against Argentine Tango music.
Now, almost done at the local access cable TV station in Falmouth, I just need to pick a good time to air the show. Maybe August, so the next Celebration of Dance is highlighted in people's minds.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
I wish I could buy them a wood floor. But I wonder if they would even want it. It might be even harder to keep up. In our studio in Cataumet, the wood floor is a fifth the size and difficult to keep clean.
The floors are a big part of the treasure we offer our dancers: a space and the music to inspire them. The lessons help hold it all together in a non-dancing world.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Cinco de Mayo theme means Foxtrots in Spanish! and loads of Samba/Salsa numbers with great percussion.
A Sunday with Ron Gursky always expands my dance knowledge.
Then we went on to see George Gritzbach at the Beach House. And he listened to us and turned down the volume so our ears wouldn't hurt. Nice floor. Great crowd. Dancers who are not intimidfated by people who have taken lessons and join us on the floor with their own moves. It inspires us to make up stuff to add to what we already know.
Friday, May 2, 2014
The lastest, by Thalia, is "Amor a la Mexicana", what I would call a Samba, but with the same beat as Selena's song "Baila este Cumbia."
Tin Tan sings what I call Foxtrot. As a classic Mexican crooner, he might have called it Danzon. My daughter-in-law brought the CD from Mexico when she first met Dave.
Then there's El Puma (visions of Mexican cougars), Jose Luis Rodriguez, actually Venezuelan, very smooth.
The polvorones have chocolate. The chips and salsa. Should be a good party.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Unfortunately, for Saturday night, Joe and I went to keep his mother company in the hospital - her second broken hip! She was calmer this time. Last year it was like the END, but now she knows there is life on the other side of the fairly short mending process. At 96 years old, she does very well.
The doctor doing evaluation for surgery asked for president's name. "Well," she said, "it should have been Hilary!" It took her a couple of minutes to pull Obama's name out.
Friday, April 25, 2014
I am sorry not to be able to check in on what somebody else thinks about Dancing with the Stars, in depth.
The reviewer used to add a layer. I'd read her stuff and wonder if Derek is as conceited as she thought and if Tony was actually mean. I counted on her to read the blogs and the buzz, stuff I am too lazy to search out plow through. No one I talk to keeps track of the members of the troupe - dancers who are always being replaced, dancers that look right at the camera, hoping to be noticed. I wanted to see if she thought Mark has mellowed, perhaps since Julianne as guest judge called him on his tendency to outdance his partner.
Anyway, I have watched every show. Haven't voted. Goodbye hockey goalie, aging swimmer, and boy idol. I wondered why they cut two stars one week and then Billy Dee Williams admitted he needed a hip replacement and then the next week they still didn't do a cut.
Drew Carey just left after looking uncomfortable for weeks on end. Halfway point now.
Amy Purdy, the Olympic snowboard gal with no feet - meningitis - called herself a dancer this week after weeping at the loss of her ankles when she had to do the Waltz.
Charlie was stupendous in the beginning. Now he is being outstripped by his Olympic partner, Meryl.
Maks seems to respond well to Meryl's pep talks. She has to have a good partnering skills. He has been mentioning how he has Never Won a mirror ball trophy a lot of times.
Tony and NeNe are quite the pair, fighting one week, doing better than ever the next.
Mark and Candace work hard. She is a bit dull, but he at least let his hair grow back. The tatoos are edgy enough.
Val and Danica are another pair. She is sweet and hardworking, if no longer star material. I liked her face as a girl. Now it just looks odd, and it's not even plastic surgery.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
I had to wait over a half hour. Then I expected to pay $30, but it was a $50 copay, which is what Dr Whitney charges, and he's in Falmouth, so he gets my business from now on.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Robin Dunbar, speaking about prehistoric man, suggests 150 is an optimal size for a group, seeing language as subservient to danced rituals. I like that number, too.
Entrainment comes in, synchronizing and reciporcating, according to Marcel Kinsbourne, "Marching, chanting, dancing - may trigger a primitive sense of irrational and beguiling belonging and a shared mindset." Forming groups was key to primitive man's success.
A neuroscientist (no name) calls dance "the biotechnology of group formation."
A psychologist, Osterreich, says, "Dancing is contagious; humans experience strong desires to synchronize theri own bodies' motions with those of others. The stimuli, which can be auditory or visual or derived from an internal sense of one's own muscular response to the rhythm can drive cortical rhythms and eventually produce an intensely pleasurable ineffable experience in humans." A bit wordy.
Then a chapter about dance as a way of choosing a sexual partner. Not a new idea.
As religions formed, the god of ecstasy, Dionysus, had female worshippers who went into frenzies. Yahweh's followers were constantly being exhorted to leave Baal behind.
Finally, she visits Brazil and observes a samba school, over 150 people, practicing for carnaval. Bystanders joined in for a momentary festival. " No embarassment, no alcohol, no 'point', no religion, no message, no money. The chance to acknowledge the miracle of out simultaneous existence with some sort of celebration."
Saturday, April 19, 2014
We give Sloane and Ian's parents the weekend off, just in time for me to blow some white eggs out and buy a golden egg dying kit, new in the last twenty years, containing titanium. (Time out for a check as to titanium safety - pretty good, in fact, they use it for hip replacements.)
I'm putting off a first visit (high time) to Occasions with Lestyn Gilmore, expecting to be very tired and also not thinking of arranging a babysitter. We are the babysitters.
This will be nice for Sloane to talk to her classmates about instead of having to explain why she didn't celebrate Easter. They had Passover last week at the other grandparents'.
My boys had to explain why we celebrated on Memorial Day. A convenient family reunion weekend, just before summer, in my parents big house. "Easter baskets" hidden with clues concocted by a designated relative, filled with whatever my mother bought, similar to her approach to Christmas stockings, but summer stuff, mostly.
Friday, April 18, 2014
I hear the new director of the Yarmouth Senior Center wants a designated gatekeeper for the ballroom. One person to report to her. Could Debbie Israel be set to step into those shoes? If so, congratulations!
A new superintendant of Falmouth Public Schools could perhaps be more open to the performing arts. I will try a contact there. As well, both middle schools, Morse Pond (5&6) and Lawrence (7&8) are advertising for new principals. The program set up by MASSABDA has been a success in the Boston area, and might work here.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
For an extra treat, dinner was at the restaurant I had hoped to try, Fin in Dennis. Larry and Carol Kane, CCBD members, have a daughter who is chef/owner and produces seafood, beautifully chosen, cooked and presented.
Dave Burbank's music was pretty good. Mostly not particularly Latin, except "Blue Bayou" which can be a great rumba, and the singer clearly loved the song.
Waltzes crowd the floor, so I avoided them except for the mixer. Leader/followers were pretty even, so I switched out to get a dance with JP and fellow Karen Seiden brought along. Unfortunately, "Amazed" by Lonestar, though a great song, is not actually a waltz.
This morning I actually felt a bit tight in the hamstrings - time for a stretch before any digging.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Saturday, April 5, 2014
I attended rehearsals for Ali's last piece while watching my grandson. One of the dancers runs a studio in Fall River, another is Shura Baryshnikov, and another Miss Massachusetts 2013.
Talking to a ballet dancer before hand, we discussed my forte, ballroom dance, which she likened to Contact Improv dance, one of the hardest forms to master. Contact Improvisation Ballroom - it just gets better the more you can mix that in.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
A little shop had ballroom costumes and shoes for sale, if I could ignore the music and hang out.
A table up front was reserved for teachers and their students - competition material. The Waltz mixer brought them on the floor so the general public might get a taste. always recruiting.
Save the First Dance has gone into Argentine Tango and Milonga, the popular new niche.
When Joe and I first came,that location had a swing club with competitive high school team. Then, the winning team graduated. The organizers said that it would take some time to build it up again, but instead they closed down.
Slavojka and Chuck were new last year, newly married, too. Now no longer married, but running the club together. I suppose it would make a soap opera story.
A pleasant free atmosphere there. The songs weren't always right, but we don't mind dancing hustle to a song Chuck has said was Cha cha, or Samba to Milonga.
Each song went to its natural end, which some studios do not do, using a computer program that cuts a song off if it goes on too long. Some songs need that, so I put a notation next the the title on my playlist, but I do it by hand.
Friday, March 28, 2014
A forecast of rain turned out to be a couple of sprinkles, enough to keep the craftsmen with inventory away from Jammin’ Jensen. A few jewelry stands and artists were there, so we got a nice walk to town and bought nothing. The little pottery and crafts store has turned into Then & Now, sort of sophisticated junk and hand painted furniture. A family had brought in boys, “Don’t Touch Anything!”
Then, Joe wanted to do Rio’s Crystal Ballroom again rather than any class. We did get in free, and the floor is smooth and almost unblemished.
Where I might have taught has broken pieces in the floating laminate floor that are a bit treacherous. However, I am getting sick of dances where he is dance host and I am minor dance host if the ladies will dance with me. I certainly prefer a class to that. Thursdays are over at 8:45.
Back in Jensen, at Crawdaddie’s, people were dancing on bricks to a nice blues band. We went into Marciano’s where a trio called Heatwave, classic drums, bass and guitar, inspired a number of people to fill a smallish wood dance floor, a free atmosphere. Ladies with their little purses slung across the chest, out for a bit of bopping around. Two couples. The ones who had mastered the advanced form of stepping in place, “Tap, step” looked good.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Another Pilates class, this time at St Lucie Healthy U, a tiny storefront in a strip mall on Rte 1 with a pleasant teacher/owner, Jill. A bit dull, so I won’t be giving up teaching Dance & Stretch.
Good to see small classes are sort of the norm, since my classes are small - and I like them that way.
Almost got hired as a substitute teacher for salsa.
Tonight, Jammin’ Jensen is a craft fair held weekly in our little downtown. Then a stop at “Save the First Dance, a little Merengue class with Dragan, just to stop in this year. Tomorrow, their weekly dance, we might decide to go to Plaza Ballroom Tango a Siete.
Good thing we went swimming when we did. Low sixties is not swimming weather.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
All the way to Miami for the Key Biscayne Tennis Tournament - too late now. Friday?
How about Vero Beach and our favorite teachers?
Tomorrow, Thursday, is Jammin' Jensen, craft fair booths lining the streets of this little downtown.
Anyway, while Joe plays tennis, I can garden with the landlady.
But first, American Dancer has another stretch article cautioning us not to stretch with warming up first. Dr Miho Urisaka advocates "dynamic stretching" a trend written up a year or so ago by Gretchen Reynolds. "To stretch a hamstring, you may swing a straight leg forward and back, gradually increasing the height of the swing." After dancing, static stretches give you a chance to feel where your body is.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
1. Work to balance muscles.
Some may be too tight - strong muscles are tight and will pull you out of balance.
He particularly mentions the hip flexor as being tight in dancers, calling it the "dancer's muscle". As well,he says to stretch the fascia right next to it, the illiotibial band, goes from the pelvis to the inner knee to attach to the tibia, the inner bone of your two lower leg bones.
2. He suggests ballet barre for balance. It must strengthen the feet as well. I guess I will take that class, as part of the fitness picture.
I took gyrokenesis yesterday, driving an hour to West Palm, and it was nice, sort of seated Pilates mostly, good for the older ladies who were there. If I were to take it on I would need the special chairs.
3. He suggests a personal trainer, "someone who can understand that your upper and lower body and core strength must be challenged and who can create strengthening protocols just for you." My daughter-in-law did that for a while and found the money was good but the ladies were often lazy. You could do it on your own once you understood what was necessary.
4. Relax seems to mean yoga or a sports psychologist.
5. Eat right.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Friday, I went to Providence to visit the little family. We worked on origami birds tied to birch branches - the set for an a&b modern dance piece April 4 and 5. I got the material for the dancers' skirts I'll be cutting from a Butterick pattern I have had for 30 years, a diagonal design. Then I took my son to an excellent production of Macbeth.
Looking for entertainment with Joe out of town, I pulled myself together and made scones, hoping to see Marcia Mellor, fellow Flamenco lover and ballroom dancer, who started the circle 24 years ago. Her dance partner is in the hospital, so she was also free on this Saturday night. Get well soon, Roy!
Painters and poets, a sculptor, and woodworkers stood up in front of our little group. The audience had great questions, a real conversation.
When they asked if anyone was teaching, I did speak up, "Hey, join us at the dance center just around the corner!"
Marcia went last with two poems and related painting. Her poem, "Eat the Apple" had analogies in the image she passed around based on the myth of Sekhmet, with overtones of Eve.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
You're either reading this because you're a man thinking about ballroom dancing or a woman trying to find out how to get a man to learn ballroom. In either case, the article is all about why men should learn ballroom dancing. Four major reasons : style and sophistication, a challenge, something to learn, and being more of a man.
Style and sophistication
Who is probably the most stylish and sophisticated man and is yet still very much a man? By the way, I am allowing for the consideration of fictional characters to be considered while contemplating this question. You might come up with a number of possible answers, but the one who comes to my mind is James Bond. Could you really imagine James Bond being as impressive a character as he is if he couldn't dance?
Even if you didn't think of James Bond, just think of what things would make a man that little bit more impressive. Make a list in your head. Chances are that you would think that knowing how to dance socially with a woman certainly fits that list. You might make excuses as to why it shouldn't be, but deep down, you know it's there.
I will talk more about why it is on this list later. However, I can use one observation now about why you might think that.
Social dancing is actually one of the greatest cultural contributions that the west has made to the world. When I lived in China I noticed that social dancing had a similar perception as martial arts has in the west. It was like a stereotype of the height of western culture. A friend of mine who is from Sri Lanka noted how until social dancing was introduced one danced only as a way to worship the gods. Social dance brought an entirely new view of dance. A very Western view. When you learn ballroom dance, you automatically learn one of the most refined aspects of a culture. You can't help but be a bit more sophisticated when you do this.
And we are talking about a manly James Bond/Rhett Butler kind of sophistication here.
What kind of a man walks away from a challenge?
Ballroom dancing actually offers the kind of challenge that really gives a man a chance to man up.
It's not just a physical challenge that can be dealt with by simply increasing strength or speed. You need to master movement. You need to also confront one of the greatest fears a man has: looking foolish. One of the reasons why many men try to argue that they do not need to learn to dance or that ballroom is not for any man is the fear that they will look foolish if they try it.
The truth is that a man will unlikely look good when he first tries to dance. He will then worry about how he looks when dancing for the first time socially. Do you really think that you should spend your life worrying about what others think? Working through such a negative belief toward a goal of sufficient mastery is an excellent challenge for any man. Ballroom dance provides an excellent avenue for such a challenge.
When you take on the challenge of ballroom dancing you will know that you have truly taken on a challenge that has made you a better person.
Something to learn and keeping the brain active
Life can get pretty boring when you do not learn something new. When you start to learn partner dance, a new world will be opened to you. There is the history, the culture, the physiology, the music, the steps, the routines and even more again.
You will not master this in a short period. Instead you will find that as you learn more, there is then more to learn again. This is part of the challenge that I mentioned earlier. Social dancing will always offer you something to work on.
The best thing about this though is that you can decide whether you want to dance a specific dance better, learn a new dance or learn more moves for one dance. Whether it is depth of learning or breadth of learning, social dance will always have something to offer you.
This alone can keep your brain in good health, but dancing also makes you think when you dance.
Not only do you need to pay attention to the woman that you're dancing with so that you can lead her, but you also need to navigate the dance floor so as not to collide with others. You also need to do this while staying in time too. You need to pay attention to what you see, hear and feel. You then need to infer what to do next from these stimuli as well.
It is this high cognitive workload from dance that makes social dancing the best way to prevent Alzheimer's. Research has shown that social dance is better than reading (twice as good) and crosswords (about 1.5 times as good) when it came to preventing dementia. If you want to keep your brain in good shape (and you should), then social dancing is for you.
Being more of a man
You probably think that partner dancing is a bit old fashioned. Well when it comes to gender roles it certainly is. You might not ever be like this in everyday life, but in ballroom dance a man is a leader. He will hold and protect the woman he dances with as he leads her around the dance floor. He will confidently hold her close so that she feels safe and secure. He will be physically strong, but offer a gentle embrace so that she can happily lose herself in the dance. Pretty much how you see it portrayed on TV.
You will be able to offer that to a woman.
As a tango instructor I know once said, we do not get to engage in such practices in everyday life. So dance allows us a chance to explore the sensations that comes from being like this. By taking on ballroom dancing a man will get a chance to exercise more of his masculine side so that he can then be more comfortable using it in his everyday life.
This alone can help a man become more confident and attractive to women. However, the fact that you can dance will also make you more attractive to women. What's more, social dancing will increase the level of close physical contact that you will have with a number of women. This too will improve your confidence around women, and thus your attractiveness.
This confidence is on top of the confidence that will come simply from taking on the challenge of dance and on top of the confidence from having that extra sophistication you will have from knowing how to dance. Recall James Bond and Rhett Butler from earlier.
So if you're looking for reasons for why a man should learn to dance then there they are:
Keeping the brain healthy
Become more confident as a man
You certainly don't take on ballroom dancing because it is an easy option. You take it on because it is a serious challenge offering benefits well worth the effort. You will likely find it confronting, but that's why you do it.
I am a social dancer with an interest in learning. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to get to your desired level of whatever partner dancing (Swing, Ballroom, Latin etc.) you do.
Get a free e-book on how to dance better now, and let me show you what you can do now to start improving your dance ability