Friday, January 31, 2014

Paoul Shoes

Somehow, maybe an ad on facebook, and I saw this neat Italian shoe company - beautiful dance shoes, artfully presented, creatively designed, and the same price as Supadance and Freeds, over $100, but not like the Jimmy Choos, over $1,000.
One shoe in particular caught my eye, a mini-tuxedo model, patent leather with lapels, and buttondown white shirt styling and a cravat, the tongue of the shoe, looking like crushed silk.
Lo and behold, last night at night school, Lawrence School on Lakeview Ave, I got mail addressed to me. The office knew to send it down to night school and I get it with my class sign up sheets. The Paoul Gazette, 16 cream colored pages with lovely shoes. The theater collection has silver elven slippers.
I recommend the site!
It was an opportunity to discuss shoes with the class, as well.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Writing on the cell phone

For Christmas, a Samsung Galaxy, a lovely toy and useful for social media, including photos. I haven't really got the hang of it yet in spite of practicing on Joe's phone for almost a year.
Maybe I don't care enough.
I have to say it has altered my routine. I can check email on it and play SCRABBLE more easily, so there is less incentive to turn on the computer.
Here's the problem. I write on this computer. This blog that has replaced my journals gets attention when I am sitting here. I look out the window and the screen stays put. The keyboard is comfortable. Editing is well paced.
Another thing, the tiny cellphone keyboard has a program to guess what I am going to say, offering helpful words. I find myself altering my phrases so as to simply touch an offered word rather than spelling something out. I feel so predictable!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dance Marathon

Susan Friedman called me yesterday with news of her studio changes. It's in Hyannis, not where I want to teach.
Then she told me about the Dance Marathon March 29 6 to 10 PM. We would have to commit by the end of February and could join the crowd raising money for the Cure. Every half hour is another performance and at least 5 studios will participate.
She usually makes $10,000 for the cause! It's a $20 admission as an observer or $10 each in a group of ten at Cape Cod Academy.
Not a bad idea

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

10,000 hours

This Sunday, Dance Teachers Club of Boston - 5 hours of class..
Next week, Ron's Level 1 Argentine Tango class. Three hours of instruction for me on Sundays.
This Monday - three hours setting a line dance to music so I could present it to class at night.
Malcom Gladwell quotes research that a physical activity takes 10,000 hours to master. I might have hit it last year. Even line dances are easier now.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ballroom line dances Thursdays at 10 at St Anthony's $4 - yikes! Undercuts me seriously. Marilyn Priebe, nice lady.
I went to see if I could use any of it - steal something? also known as observation and meditation on the nature of dance, and just saw the counting of steps to fit to the music
My West Coast Swing line dance is taking a lot of time. New moves for our repertory: kick step cross, push back, voltas with breaks, and a few others courtesy of Michael Kiehm. These bits can be put in wherever they fit to jazz up the dance.  Hopefully it will start to happen without too much thought, especially anchor step replacements.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bobby Medieros

Back in 1990, Bobby Medieros, Mary French's friend and teacher who died young, taught the Boston Dance Teachers Club some varieties of Latin dance. I just watched two hours on VHS videotape as I copied it to DVD, starting with his Brazilian, Cuban and Dominican actions in Rumba and Cha cha.
Some of his steps relate to Cuban musical styles I've studied. Guajira (pronounced Wah-heara) was a hip/knee sway instead of cha-chas. Pachanga, another knee action, used a sliding foot. Guaracha (Wahracha) showed up as a closely held slow body rhythm. Rumba (Roomba) was originally a style of shoulder shimmy, he said.
Mary French, who he called Mary French throughout, never just Mary, picked up the Guapacha (Wahpacha) and taught it to our classes, though no one seemed to pick up on the rhythm change, essentially a change to straight rhythm instead of quicks and slows.
The fancy combinations with multiple turns would be for an advanced class in American style.
Maybe some day, I'll pull them out.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New faces in the new year

Always hoping to bring in new people - the whole world should dance!
So I was pleased to see seven newbies for the basics lesson part of my dance last night. 
One couple had danced polka at family affairs. They caught on quickly.
A beautiful young couple are here for a couple of years on a Coast Guard posting. He had a ballroom class as a teen. She danced in college.
Jan brought in her daughter and the boyfriend - more talent!
And Paul brought a friend who dances with the Moonlighters where people just bounce.  She was finding it a lot harder to follow.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Technique on moving backwards in ballroom

(Found this in my documents)
Controlling back movement means that we do not move our weight back from the shoulders, but that the torso is managed in a way that we keep the weight of the head and shoulders centered over the hips. Of course, as the lady, we still want to have our head reaching up and back, but it does not mean that the lady should let the weight collapse over the heel of the foot that is receiving the weight.

One thing to think about when doing this exercise is that the receiving leg takes the full weight without rolling back onto the heel. You have to control your body weight resisting slightly forward while moving back. This we can call "resisting through the leg and foot" and it helps control the momentum backwards. That is, we stay with balance forward on the receiving leg with the whole foot flat on the floor, but the weight is concentrated over the ball of the foot of the new supporting leg and the knee pulled towards the inside so as to keep your weight slightly towards the inside edge of the foot.

Rule #1 -- Lower deeply on the supporting leg with the knee over the toe of the supporting foot. If you are lowering far enough and your weight is concentrated towards the inside of the foot, you ought not be able to see your foot when you look down at it. This is given that you are lengthening through the torso, elongating the spine (no slouching). There should be no weight on the leg that is extending back.

Rule #2 -- Keep the arms in a plane just in front of your torso. This means the elbows need to be in front of the body. Although I suggest no use of the arms in the exercise when working with a partner, keeping the elbows in front of the body will help sustain your weight forward and get you used to the position for when you are in a closed dance position.

Rule #3 -- Push off the floor with the supporting leg, not just with the heel (and especially not with the toe -- a cardinal sin of ballroom dance) but with the whole foot. If you are pushing properly the toe should pop off the floor at the moment you push off.

Rule #4 -- At this point, an important thing to remember is not to tilt back before moving. If this happens, stop, readjust your weight and restart the exercise. Make sure you are holding your abdominal muscles in to keep the hips tucked under your ribs -- this will help your balance.

Rule #5 -- Practice dragging the heel against the floor just after you push and as you are moving back. Use the floor to control your weight and to help stop uncontrolled momentum back. For this, make sure you have good shoes with good caps so as not to mark the floor.

Perfect your posture. Upright posture is a major part of proper frame.
John Cassese, the Dance Doctor, starts with one simple exercise. “Stand with your back against the wall, pressing your feet, calves, buttocks, shoulders and head against it, and then walk away and try to maintain that position—now you’re in perfect posture. The stretch in your abs should feel like an elastic band, pulling both up and down from the waist.” Cassese advises beginning ballroom dancers to do that exercise several times a day so the correct posture begins to feel more natural.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Quotes for the day

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." -- Winston Churchill
"If everybody loves you, something is wrong. Find at least one enemy to keep you alert." -- Paulo Coelho
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -- Bill Cosby
sent by a fellow dance teacher,