Sunday, March 30, 2014

Plaza Ballroom

This great venue in West Palm is better than ever, rivaling Gold Coast Ballroom down in Ft. Lauderdale. A floor full of great dancers, eight dance hosts, full mirrors, fun, fun, fun.
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.
Saturday morning I leave tomorrow.
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

March 28, Friday
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

March 27
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

Events etc

We could go to Intermediate Night Club at "Save the First Dance."
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

American Dancer article commentary etc.

on avoiding injury, by Lyle J. Micheli, MD
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

Blurred Lines Line Dance in Jensen Beach

Kick R, kick L Touch right
Twerk fwd, fwd, back, back, fwd back fwd back
cha, cha cha, chase turn, cha cha cha chase turn
New wall
grapevine to left grapevine to right
sailor shuffle X 4

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I'm here in sunny Florida

On the computer for a bit.
From Harold and Meredith Sears, a lovely breakdown of lead/follow:
"As he steps forward, he is not pushing with his left hand. His frame is moving, and this happens well before he 'takes a step.' She feels his hips move forward, and she begins to step back. She feels his right hand release pressure on her back, and she moves to maintain or regain that pressure."
And another gem.
"Lead what you want, but dance what you get."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A star studded cast

I had actually heard of half of the new cast on DWTS. Drew Carey was my favorite, though Charlie White danced the best. Was Meryl Davis not inspired by Maks?  There was Billy Dee Williams, Lando Kalrissian, complete with R2D2 and storm troopers, but no energy. Winnie Cooper from Wonder Years has a face that didn't grow up as well as I had hoped. Diana Nyad, the swimmer, was disappointing as a dancer, but she plans to improve, and certainly doesn't give up. If I had been watching in real time, I'd have voted for her. New hostess Erin has a lot more energy than Brooke Burke. New band may be smaller? Do they need to save money?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cataumet Center Artist Circle

On the email list for the Cataumet Center, I finally found myself going to the Artist's Circle potluck and presentations.
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

Australian guy's article

Heartfelt and interesting
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.
A challenge
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:
    A challenge
    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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Competition on Route 151

The Sunday early evening bands are a success - the Beach House started them, and Finally Dino's, just a couple of miles down the road, has taken them up, unfortunately in direct competition last night, pitting the Moonlighters against George Gritzbach. Seemed like the Moonlighters won.
So the dance floor was not crowded.Two ladies did freestyle and four couples put a possible ten dancers on the floor at a time.
We thought it was too bad, anyway. Maybe the owners will talk and spread the business around.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Staying well

In this season of cold and colds, my best preventative is washing my hands before and after dance class.
I've given up on that silly Purell which does nothing for viruses.
Sometimes, even when the only one I danced with was my husband, I automatically wash my hands.
Still, he gets colds when I don't. I get colds when he doesn't.
My feeling is maintaining my energy level is the best way to stay healthy.
Anyway, when he went to Florida last week, he gets to keeps his activity high. I kind of let go and came down with sniffles. Now I have to be extra vigilant with hand washing not to get other people sick!
Interestingly, in the same vein as the energy level theory, my symptoms disappear when I am happily engaged with the music and energy of dancing.
But driving to Christine Harvey's lesson in Yarmouth was out of the question.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Such a lovely write-up, and yet, a low turn out last night.
I am happy with my preparation. The hall looked great, and that's important. 
As long as I don't give them any trouble, the church seems okay with not much money.
I'll bring the extra cookies to the janitors.
Some excellent dancers showed up.
Some people are under the weather - sick! Others have fled the weather -ack!
Beginners just didn't have the gumption, I think.