Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Cabaret

The Silver Screen Soiree (Adam in Chatham Production) was great fun.
Some ballroom dancers wanted more dance time for themselves, but as long as you could stay until the end on a Sunday night, Bart Weisman's music offered good rhythms.
Sixteen dance numbers featured Adam showing off his students' hard work and talent in ballroom inspired duets and Naomi's Tides Dance Company. Solo dancers displayed Tap, Modern, and Middle-eastern dancing.
Highlights for me: Adam as a life guard with Joanne disguised as The Shark, doing a Paso doble? to the Jaws theme song, (plenty of humor throughout the show), and Adam as Edward Scissorhands dancing with Barbara to the spooky, sad waltz music from that movie.
Special awards were in order for the winners at the recent Commonwealth Classic Competition in Burlington where the studio, Adam, and Jodi Nolan excelled.
Chocolate abounded on the dessert table - how can you go wrong?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December weekend

We have plenty of choices this first weekend in December. Friday, I went to Yarmouth and led the CCBD dancers in some West Coast Swing. That is a tough crowd to teach to - too many levels of dance expertise. We had fun.
In Falmouth, it has been Christmas by the Sea with Church Fairs in town, Renaissance Fair in Woods Hole, a Christmas parade and my dance up at the Conservatory. Luckily the theater guild's Christmas Carol was an early show, so there was no fight for parking.
Some dancers went to Boston to bring the grandson to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" at the Shubert. More may have gone to the Nutcracker there. Cape Cod Dance Center puts on their Nutcracker next weekend.
On Martha's Vineyard, The Yard presents a Nut-Cracked jazz production, highlighted on The Point, with discussion of community involvement. I wish we had such an active non-profit dance enterprise in Falmouth.
Tonight, I will check out Adam in Chatham's Silver Screen Soiree.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Dancing for our Aging Population

DAPpers is what Rachel Balaban calls her initiative in Providence. Connections to the Mark Morris program Dance for Parkinson's (registered trademark) brought me to a class yesterday at the Newport YMCA. The class on Cape has seemingly dissolved. Modern expressive dance done mostly in a circle was fun and easy. Only 6 students, but she has classes of 30 in Providence. Dance does better in the cities.
The support of the Dance for Parkinson's showed in songs and dance moves she presented. I could start with on-line training, and continue through a set of courses, travelling to Brooklyn, then attend 10 Dance for Parkinson's classes before applying for certification etc, onward through the $$$. Hmmm. Part of the course is how to set up classes through non-profits.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Parkinson's Movie, "Capturing Grace"

Lovely short documentary about the Mark Morris Dance Center initiative to provide dance sessions for Parkinson's disease patients, "There are no patients, there are only dancers." The classes provide relief from the symptoms. As a challenge, the group of about twenty put on a performance of Mark Morris dances including Mozart, X Variations improvisations, and Short Waltz. Not a tear jerker, but a sincere expression of hope, and emotionally satisfying. As usual with modern dance, attendees were family and friends.
I would like to be part of such an effort. Last summer there was a group on Cape, but now the closest is in Rhode Island. I can go to Middletown or to East Providence to observe. Then I can put in some time with video training and finally, go to NYC for a course. And then would I get a group to lead, a space to hold class, funding?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Back to DWTS - and it's the finals!

A good season, and last night's show was as good as I've seen. Of course, I had to watch it On Demand the next day, today, because the Patriots on Monday Night Football superseded ABC's programming on every possible channel.
I thought I could watch it live stream, but no, not in my area. Just the webcast of chat and a camera on the judges, or the floor from the nosebleed seats, or the red room, no thanks. That webcast is for people who need always to have two screens running.
So, On Demand, not DVR, meaning no fast forward through the commercials.  What I did: the laundry, a shower, weeds for the chickens, etc, and then some rewind.
Opening number, Carlos with a sexy Foxtrot. I wanted to be him, not his side-kick, blond Witney. Bruno got him to use his lats - like Val a few weeks ago - and to use pressure on the floor for better footwork.
Next, the soldier who still can't move his hips for a Rumba, oh well.
Nick's Jive got a perfect score, but I didn't love it.
Bindi's Quickstep blew us away.
Freestyle: Carlos did hip-hop, a crowd pleaser.
Nick's amped up stage number to his biggest hit from his boy-band days, perfect score.
Alec in an army obstacle course, should get votes.
Bindi's duet made everyone including me cry with its beautiful evocation of her beloved father - Footprints in the Sand. 
Finale tonight. Carlos is gone. Bindi has to win, even though Derek is Mr. Mirrorball.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gala Time

A stupendous event!  All our work paid off. The bank account is fatter. The community of dancers is closer. We all had a wonderful time. Tired,  yes. But happy.  Fulfilled,  even. I think we'll be ready to do it again in two years.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Event organizer details

Emails to previous attendees warning them of a sell-out crowd, setting up silent auction sheets, table shuffling, contacting the venue, revising the speech, revising the program, depositing checks, mailing tickets.
Next I'll make the biscotti my committee told me would be my best contribution to the refreshment table.
I would rather go outside, but it's raining anyway.
A private lesson to teach at 1:00 - get out of the house!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

kids in dance class

For the first time, I have 13 year old students in my studio class!
I taught younger ones in the middle school, but these kids sought us out and have stayed for a couple of months now.
So I invited them to the Big Dance November 14. Parents too, of course, as driver and companions.
Feels right for the scholarship fund to have young people there.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Charleston etc. for the big dance

All my classes are getting Charleston, the line dance and the swing step, Lindy Styling too.
We will be ready to let the dance to match any Twenties costume people decide to wear.
As Bobby Medieros, (Mary French's dance buddy) once said, "Let's work on what's inside the clothes!"
Personally, I'm thinking I'm hostess more than party goer and might minimize the fringe.
My chance to go all out is Halloween, an undersea theme for Cotuit Center for the Arts costumes required party. If I go as seaweed, there's a chance to overdo fringe.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Exciting News

The Cape teachers are all coming on board for the upcoming gala, and the fun news is that Adam from Chatham, Adam Spencer, Englishman now working at Studio 868, previously with Fred Astaire Plymouth, will perform. I am waiting for details such as which dance and which partner. He has a number of ladies he is competing with at the Commonwealth Classic on November 7!

Students are asking to learning the Charleston. We can at least do the Charleston Line Dance.
Mixers? Must ask Ron.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Networking means talking it up.
Flyers are a good conversation starter, so the new flyer is ready, decorated in gold to reflect the black, white and gold theme.
A spot of hot pink here and there looks good, and almost Roaring Twenties since Elsa Schiaparelli brought shocking pink into the fashion world in the thirties.
Talking includes email, chatting up the other teachers on Cape Cod.
And I guess it means Facebook, so here I go into FB.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Writing the blog is to inspire me to do more for the gala dance I am running in November.
Yesterday, I wrote a bunch of email requests for silent auction donations. Good response from my fellow dance teachers.
But then I picked up a book. Florence Gordon was so readable I just got caught.
Luckily, I got a call, and my student suggested it was too beautiful a day to be inside.
I dug the garden up to prepare for my winter cover crop, annual rye.
Taking weeds to the chickens, I remembered the honey mushrooms growing on the old oak stump. Last week we got 5 pounds, so I checked. Another 5 pounds is there.
Wednesday was harvest time for cranberries. The hardy kiwi need attention before it rains again!
I'll lace flyers downtown on my way to being docent for the Historical Society.
I just have too much fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Roaring Twenties Dance November 14! post from 10/12

The dance I spend the most time on is coming up again after a year off. The Mary French Scholarship Fundraiser Dance, too long a title, hereby shortened to Mary French Dance, will be at Betsy's Ballroom, and we have had committee meetings already.
 Dawn loves the decoration aspect and chose a brilliant theme, Roaring Twenties,  to go with Ron Gursky's showcase, a period piece combining Charleston and Society Foxtrot with touches of Quickstep.
We made props for the photo booth. We discussed period snacks - oysters, anyone? My flyer is ready to copy and hang up around town.
I took time off while visiting my mother in Stockbridge this past week. The Harvest Festival there has an accessories tent, so I bought a feather boa, the green color is not part of the stated theme: black, white and gold. Maybe I should have bought the gold ball gown I saw instead, but it would have taken a ton of work to make it fit.
No Casual Dance for November, I need to concentrate on the Gala!

Watching people grow 10/7/ post, just discovered

Watching people grow is what teachers love. Working with people for years as I do, I get to see the progression of their dancing. Some take years to get comfortable on the dance floor, and they came last night, ready to play.
I have one brand new student progressing very quickly. If she sticks with it, she could go far.
Another new lady didn't look like she wanted to work at it. Sometimes it's a partner who will keep a person going, and that was a new partnership.
The ones I have known for the longest are my best partners, starting with Joe, of course, since we've been married for 42 years and dancing together in hold since 1987. Another is very creative. I have a favorite to lead, and I have students who remember steps better than I do.
All a joy, and last night was a great First Saturday.

working away

An easy way to do an activity for the Mary French Dance is to blog about it every day.
Writing is how I organize my thoughts and activities - witness all the notes I make and give to my dance students.
Saturday, I bought the feathered boa at the harvest festival in Stockbridge.
Sunday I did all apple picking and pressing into cider until I was exhausted, then came home.
Yesterday, I made flyers and distributed them in night school.
So far today, I updated my website. Now to research silent auction donations.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Smoothing things out

First the dance floor, which is getting its usual refinishing after a summer of events. This year, we are filling the nail holes before the touch up and polyurethane. I almost had it done. The rain will make it harder.
This morning, I took off for the Yarmouth Senior Center in the pouring rain. 9 AM meeting? No! It was a 3 PM meeting, so I have to comprehend those procedures over the phone and email.
A new class at night school is going well. One of my students says it's like the Dance Fit they are offering at Yarmouth and our Falmouth Senior Centers. I need to make it work for stretches without a bar or mats.
Finally, Ballroom II students had a bad case of 1,2, Cha cha chi. I don't think I am going to overcome that for all my love of 2,3, cha cha CHA.

Friday, September 25, 2015

CD, CDR, hard drive etc.

As usual in my lifetime, the newer technology is pushing the old technology out.
Now packs of recordable CDs occupy one shelf at Staples, and no special sales either.
I got a bunch at a rummage sale, but I'm not sure they still work!
In case not, I have ordered another set of 50 Philips brand from ebay.
Giving people dance music is important - not with a flash drive, either.

I still think CDs are pretty good. I remember dragging my feet to even start using them!
Last year, I tossed all the cassette tapes - deterioration was evident.
The videotapes are harder. I worked on those. I can put them on DVD, but what about when the DVDs deteriorate? Serious sorting has to happen soon with all my CDs, so why add to the storage shelf in my basement?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

up and coming dancers

Christopher K (age 15) and Anna P (age 14) danced last night at Betsy's Ballroom.
I won't be able to appreciate it at all until I edit the sequence to make up DVDs and send them out to participants and to local access cable TV stations. The sellout crowd loved it! I will watch it over and over to set it properly in sequence.
A terrific get together for the Cape Cod Ballroom world.
Trilogy played well. One especially danceable swing number - if only I could remember the name! I'm usually better if the lyrics can echo in my brain. Though Mary French maintained dancing without lyrics was a very good choice.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

This week

DVR was confused whether to record the finale of SYTYCD or the premiere of DWTS. It recorded 17 minutes and then switched to the other one. Didn't ask me. Of course, the dancing is better at the end of a reality show.
On Demand came to my rescue. Two new Travis Wall choreographies included one with (fabulous) Alex Wong. He and Jim  made me cry dancing the conflict of a returning absent father.
Then on Tuesday, DWTS actually did a re-run  - weird, with tweets obscuring the dancers.
Let's see. Gary Busey seems to be a complete wreck and should not stay. Paula Dean is also a mess. Tony Dovolani got another doozy, a Real Housewife of Atlanta, overly sexy and nervous. I don't need to see any of those "dancers" again.
The young man who stopped a terrorist on a French train was a pleasant surprise. I like his pro, Lindsay Arnold, Witney Carson's best friend and fellow former SYTYCD contestant.
Derek's partner is as usual, very talented. More finalist material.
For me, lovely studio classes, all different.
The basics included some sweet teens and another set of newbies who needed to figure out which foot was which. A wedding couple will be married Sunday so I don't expect to see them again. Four others enjoyed the very simple lesson I presented - just fun for them!
My faithful talent are always a joy at 8:00.
Wednesday, the intermediates are coming every week and getting better. What more could a teacher ask for?
Three more private lessons fill the week with interest and good music.
A committee meeting for the Mary French Scholarship Dance tomorrow.
Saturday, the Celebration of Dance in Yarmouth.
Next week, a Dance and Stretch at Night School will stretch my understanding.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Upcoming for me

The fall season has started in Falmouth. Schools were kind of late compared to the rest of Massachusetts which mostly started before Labor Day.
Tonight, we have choices: Ron Gursky setting up "open" work in the smooth dances at the Cape Cod Dance Center at 6:30
Afterwards, dance there or move one mile south to the Beach House for the George Gritzbach Band playing blues, 6-9:00.
September 19, a terrific show down Cape at Betsy's Ballroom, Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers' Celebration of Dance.Young competitors will demonstrate all 10 of the International style judged dances.
Night School starts Tuesday the 22nd with a new offering, Dance and Stretch, set up for a 5:30 class at the Lawrence School.  Ballroom classes follow.
Ron Gursky's Celebration of Dance Workshops are September 27. I have an anniversary party, but will get to Betsy's for the first one at 1:00.
SYTYCD is finishing up with not enough ballroom.   I think Gaby will win.
Hopefully the new season of Dancing with the Stars will keep enough ballroom. Drop that Burlesque, my least favorite style ever. I looked at the roster of "stars" and actually knew almost half.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Another season nears its close SYTYCD

And my DVR was not cooperating, though it claimed to be.
So I went online.The recap was satisfying. Snarky, of course, but Jason R as a judge deserves criticism, ''Pervy McBlankeyes."
I watched the top routines as chosen by Michael Slezak on Youtube without even having to fast forward past the judges and the commercials.
I always love Alex Wong, and the Alzheimer's theme for his dance with the good little actress, Jaja, was sure to touch my heart.
I was hoping we would get an African American woman to win. I thought with the extra street dancers, we would get more of a chance, but those lovely ladies are already gone. My choice now is Gaby, whose strong features that appeal more to me than the prettier faces.
Minimal Ballroom, a casualty of the Stage/Street format was another disappointment for me. I like to see that choreography stretched. Contemporary was maybe overrepresented, as gestures seemed to be repeated, for instance, the embrace with arms outstretched rather than developing into a hold.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Near and Far

Tomorrow in Woods Hole Ali Kenner Brodsky with a lovely group dancing Modern.  I will be there!

Gala in Falmouth

Friday August 7 the lovely dance floor under a tent next to the Falmouth Historical Society Cultural Center.  Solon Z sang and we danced and ate Roland's appetizers. A caricature to remember the evening. Splendid, thanks to my dancing friends.
Thought I could load photos off my phone. ..

Monday, August 17, 2015

A wedding in Maryland

My brother's step-daughter got married in Maryland Saturday. A plane to Philly and a three-hour drive with my sister Ann and her family brought me there pretty easily. Joe didn't go - hating airplanes, drives past NYC, and leaving Cape Cod in the summer, he stayed to keep his mother company - a good son.
I hardly met any new people. Next time, I will work on my skills at meeting and conversing with the other side!
Dancing was freestyle and lines. I wore a fringy dress, white and tan lined patterned chiffon cut on the bias, Mallorca pearls, carved ivory earrings, Aunt Mary's Japanese bracelet, and one of my plaid patterned beaded bracelets. My sons looked very handsome in suits.
Hey, Jake, where did you get the suit? "In my closet."
Cha Cha Slide came up and I followed directions.
I knew the Cupid Shuffle, which seems to have replaced the Electric Slide.
The groom led one with 4 elements that I just looked up, "The Wobble"
Jump forward and wobble (knees bent) 4 beats, Jump back and wobble 4 beats
Arms up to the left x 4, then to the right x 4
Rock step cha cha cha, left then right
Back up to the new wall left 8 beats.
Three boys ages 3, 6 and 12 shone. Our bride, a terrific African dancer, was too busy. The beautiful bridesmaid, African goddess, hardly danced. The bride's sister, LA back-up singer, looked good, but didn't grab the spotlight.  The groomsman Juan Romero was the one I would love to have in a swing class.
I forgot to bring earplugs, so left before the DJ finished. Ann's husband was ready to go quickly anyway.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Finally, my dance

July 2015 had a minimum of dancing.
We missed the CCBD dance because we went to Montreal to view the house our son and his wife bought - tiny, run down, but full of potential. That was a trip where we forgot the passports until we were past Boston. And we spent our time with the little house. Marie-Eve takes after her father: a house you own should be rented right away, so we cleaned and staged. Short term - Air BnB because they will be working on it soon, after she gets back for a trip to Japan where she is going to draw up the plans for a building in the Philippines.
One memorable night was in Woods Hole for Flipside and then on to Grumpy's for Double D's Blues Band.
Another road trip took up last weekend, a funeral in Philadelphia. I left a house full of company to drive past NYC. Not liking the road in the summer any more.
I will drive to Yarmouth to get the key for Betsy's Ballroom Friday. 40 minutes each way.  However, I am ready to enjoy making a great casual evening Saturday.
The next week, August 7, I'll help set up for Swinging on a Star, the dance at the Falmouth Museums on the Green. solon Six and the Sapphires for music, Roland for catering.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"National Dance Day"

SYTYCD set up their opportunity for viewers to contribute video, billed as National Dance Day, this year for July 25. Michelle Obama interviewed, so we may get to see her dance again. She likes freestyle, and her dream partner would be Michael Jackson.
I looked online at the two dance routines suggested, a beginner one by Twitch, leader for "Team Street" on this year's show. I guess I wonder if my granddaughter, age 7, would be interested. They chose one of her favorite songs, "Shut up and dance with me."
Travis Wall's advanced (twice as fast) routine was too hard. Generally, Travis Wall is my favorite choreographer because his duets are often stunning. He is leading "Team Stage" which features two male ballet dancers as well as a stunning tap dancer who shone in her two routines this week.
Catch the show on Monday nights, though using the DVR is best as the ads are annoying.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


The free computer program has helped me shorten songs: Blurred Lines, La Vida es un Carnival, I Hope You Dance, If I Knew Then, and Let's Get Lost.
I love Celia Cruz with that Salsa, but everyone gets tired.
I love Robin Thicke and the cool line dance, but line dances shouldn't go on for too long.
The other three were for students preparing for weddings. 90 seconds!
My latest father of the bride did his own research and found the Beatles "I Will" is a minute, 47 seconds. He has settled on Sweet Pea at 2:07.
The wedding preparation business gave me the busiest April ever at the studio.
Company continues to entertain us. The grandchildren are the most work, last week for 5 days, with the help of Joe's sister. My niece has brought my mother, her first trip since Dad died.
Fairy Houses at Highfield are a favorite expedition.
SYTYCD is finally done with the Vegas eliminations, my least favorite part of the show. Watching intermittently, I caught a very talented young ballroom dancer deciding not to continue because he felt ballroom would be lost in the Stage/Street format. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Square Dance Shoes 6/25/15

On my expedition to the National Square Dance Convention in Springfield, I inadvertently toured the Eastern States Exposition, AKA the Big E: the horse show,  the states' buildings,  the firemen's show,  until  Double Square signs showed me the way to the RV parking lot where they directed me to downtown Springfield.
Vendors were doing a brisk business in pouffy petticoats, embroidered men's shirts,  and women's dance shoes with round toes and low heels. After an hour and a half, I bought a black pair and ordered a beige pair.
Took a card for a dealer that can order very fancy leather.
Skirts were either very puffy or the generic tiers in Indian gauze. I didn't buy the one nice gored lycra for $140. Didn't buy a Scully men's shirt for $80 (XL ??) because it was too masculine.
And onward to make strawberry rhubarb pie at my mom's house in Stockbridge.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Town Dance 2015

Bart Weisman did a great job - with a nice singer too. The weather cooperated - beautiful night. The dancers showed up in force - Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers well represented and others as well.
Thank you,  Roger and Judy Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Arts Alive Falmouth

Tomorrow - Town Dance in Falmouth - 7 PM Library Lawn
Joe is donating the use of our dance floor again.
This time, the jazz musician from downCape is bringing a band. A new set of musicians every year!
Bart Weisman is very good, and I'm looking forward to it.
There are other bands for the weekend, but this one will be classy.
Maybe next year will be time to start repeating. We haven't had Stage Door Canteen in a dance venue with a decent floor for way too long. Or Johnny Hoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


"Let's Get Lost" is the choice for my latest wedding couple. Unfortunately, it features an extended trumpet solo in the middle, adding too much time to the dance for neophytes. So my added service of shortening songs continues, thanks to Audacity.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Keeping healthy dancing

A June 7 2015 NY Times article " Finding the Right Balance" by Alex Hutchinson suggests that dance is one of the best activities for older people in order to avoid falling, a common danger.
He opens by noting that fall can be serious.   Over 65, "one in three in this age group falls every year, resulting in some 250,000 hip fractures and more than 25,000 deaths, usually from traumatic brain injuries."
"For an older adult who wants to continue living independently, it’s clear that the ability to rise from a chair and walk across the room, which requires the coordination of muscle strength, balance and aerobic activity, is more important than any individual element of fitness. And it’s not just a physical challenge. One key warning that you’re at higher risk of falling is if you tend to stop walking when you talk — a sign that the cognitive demands of staying on your feet are overloading your brain.
An emerging body of research suggests that exercising in a way that taxes your coordination, agility and balance — a suite of abilities known as “gross motor skills” — rewires your brain in ways that are fundamentally different from straightforward aerobic activity or strength training. By improving these physical attributes, you also enhance cognitive performance.
"...Cognitive gains occur in different ways depending on the mode of exercise. While aerobic exercise and strength training trigger brain chemicals that enhance neuron growth and survival, balance and coordination call on higher-level cognitive processes that seem to increase the number of synapses connecting the neurons.
"That, in turn, suggests another reason simple balance exercises alone won’t achieve what we want. It is novelty and unpredictability, rather than repetition, that are essential to keep your brain engaged. "A recent study by researchers in Denmark, Finland and Germany compared a group of 15 endurance-trained athletes, like runners and cross-country skiers, with a group of skill-trained dancers, gymnasts and figure skaters. The researchers captured data to assess their subjects’ “motor cortex plasticity,” a measure of the brain’s ability to change its wiring in response to new stimuli.
"Both types of athletes have highly trained calf muscles, but endurance athletes use them repetitiously, in a way that the brain consigns to autopilot. Sure enough, plasticity in the area of the brain that controls calf muscles was no different between endurance athletes and nonathletes. In contrast, the dancers, gymnasts and skaters, for whom autopilot is not an option, showed dramatically higher plasticity: Their neurons were primed to keep learning new motor tasks.
"A striking feature of the balance and coordination exercises used in these cognitive studies is that they sound a lot like games. Whether you’re dancing or playing tennis, the unpredictability of your partner’s actions means that no two workouts are the same. Perhaps the enjoyment we get from a good game isn’t just a nice bonus: It’s an indicator that we’re fully engaged, mind and body, in the activity. You could call that achieving good balance."

Friday, June 12, 2015

Trying the Quickstep again - more notes!

Quickstep Basic into a lock step
Throughout: work on brush and passing feet
LEFT SIDE LEAD precedes any right turn
Shoulders parallel to the wall

Opening step: Left foot Toe/heel side and slightly forward allows a start on his left foot. Figures begin with his right foot
Basic: Quarter Turns - sideways movement done facing the wall, SQQS his RLLR
Quarter Turn Right
Right foot forward, heel lead, slow. Side together= quick, quick on the toes LR. Side and slightly back toe/heel Left foot
Quarter Turn left – Right foot back, S, side together QQ, side and slightly fwd S
Progressive Chasse: Same as Quarter Turn left, but ends with a position that allows his right foot outside partner

The class asked for lock step.
SQQS  Lock step begins with the R foot outside partner S
Q his L foot diagonally forward
Q his right foot slides behind his left foot. Her left foot slides in front of her right foot.
S his L foot side

Next step R foot fwd again outside partner for a right turning figure SQQ or SQQS

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cavalcade of Bands at the Rhodes

The Beautiful Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston, just the other side of Providence, hosts the Cavalcade of Bands several times a year. Upcoming is Tuesday June 23.
In the big ballroom, Tommy Rotondo 5:30-6:00 and 7:00-7:30
Also Dan Ferreira & the Meadowlarks 6:00-7:00 & 7:30-8:30
Then a dance show by the USA Ballroom Dancers 8:30-8:45
This means the USA Dancers will be there that night, and they are usually a friendly group. Plus we are members of the Cape Cod Chapter.
Then the New Providence Big Band 8:45-10:30
And if you get tired of the scene in the ballroom, the foyer has 6 different bands performing for 45 minutes or an hour.
$15 with a check mailed in and received by Friday June 19. Name, address and email
Providence Federation of Musicians
681 Park Ave Suite 11
Cranston RI 02910-2133
$20 at the door.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Highlights of "Men and Dancing"

New Yorker humor articles are occasionally funny, like this one by Jesse Eisenberg, slightly shortened.

Squaw: The only solution to our famine is the sacred rain dance.
Chief: The only solution?
Squaw: Yes, you must do a rain dance, or we'll all starve to death.
Chief: Okay, I'll just go into the woods and do the dance.
Squaw: No, in order to appease the rain gods, you must dance in front of the whole tribe while we point and laugh as you, as is our native custom.

King's Aide: The King demands a dance.
Jester: And what happens if I don't do the dance?
King's Aide: If you don't dance, His Highness has requested that your body be slowly torn apart for his amusement.
Jester: I see.
King's Aide: Yes, it would be a slow but hilarious death.
Jester: Right...

Protestor One: We're all gonna take LSD and protest the Vietnam war on the National Mall.
Protestor Two: Great! Finally those bastards in Washington will see that imposing our hegemonic ideology on this poor Asian country id reprehensible.
P1: Exactly! So just pop some LSD and we can get right to dancing.
P2: Excuse me?
P1: You're not scared of a little LSD are you?
P2: No! Not at all. I'm totally good with LSD. But did you say dancing?
P1: Yeah. That's our protest. Just let our bodies loose on the Mall, flailing them around freely in opposition to the war.
P2: Oh. that sounds fun, really. But, just to play devil's advocate, do you really feel we've exhausted all our options? Have you considered making signs?
P1: None of that stuff works! What we need to send a message to those hawks in the government is some good, expressive, unself-conscious dancing.
P2: Right, sure. But have you considered all sides of the war? I mean, it's not so clear-cut. Aren't you worried about the domino effect? Say we get out of Vietnam, a tiny country turns Communist. But then Laos and Indonesia and China go Communist and suddenly Karl Marx is at your door, handing you a red book and asking you to go work in his shoe factory.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dance Community

Building a dance community has begun to seem like a goal I should work at more seriously. I have spent these years teaching and holding the dances in Falmouth, supporting the Cape Cod Ballroom Dancers, bringing in Ron for enrichment. Now attendance seems to be falling off. Maybe people are feeling connected through the internet? But face to face interaction is a very important component of life.
Our evening at the Wianno Club was lovely on Sunday, but a smaller crowd than other years.
Tomorrow is my dance, the last one in Falmouth until October because of one thing and another. I hope people will make it special by coming to meet and mingle.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Add Dance to your Life

I get a lot of beginners, many with great promise, and then I never see them again.
So I am writing a letter with words of inspiration.
Our class will be over soon and most of you will lose your motivation,  letting this great beginning come to naught.
You can let the music keep you going by tuning your car radio to a music station and thinking about how the music would work with dance. I listen to 91.9, 92.7, 89.3 & 100.3. Find the 1 beat.
Check online for inspiration and clarification, but still come out and join a dance group.
Come to the First Saturday dances.
Join a studio class. I teach year round at Cape Cod Dance Center.
Ladies,  I run a dance and stretch class for styling and body conditioning.
Look on my website
Check local nightlife for blues and dance bands.
email me anytime

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Losing weight 2015

Vanity as usual was the goad, but I am glad I was able to shed the pounds that had been building up over a few years. At least 10 pounds left, maybe more, but I wasn't carefully noting the top weight. It was over 170, and I'm hovering at 160 now.
People ask how I did it. I looked at the literature. Women's magazines always have ideas, right next to the latest recipe for chocolate cake. I clipped out a set of exercises that looked promising in Parade magazine, a barre set by Sadie Lincoln entitled "5 minutes to WOW!"
Then it was February, and Joe went off to Florida to escape the snowy winter. My daughter-in-law entrusts our grandson to me once a week, a job I refuse to miss. He will be four soon, so one more year before I am not needed in Dartmouth.
Anyway, Joe was gone, so I decided to make an effort.  I stopped buying bread. Having to make brown rice instead slows down the consumption. Also, I was eating yogurt with ginger jam and coconut butter every night, so I stopped buying any of that. Finally, the Ritter dark chocolate bars with hazelnuts had to go, even once a week.
I went to the library health section (613) and took out a bunch of books. One said a good goal was to lose 10% of your weight, so that was maybe 17 pounds. The South Beach Diet and The Atkins Diet were mildly interesting, but not my style. Eat, Drink and Weigh Less by Mollie Katzen had some good recipes as well as encouragement.
The Eight Hour Diet by Men's Health magazine author David Zinczenko had an entirely different approach. Sort of fasting by starting to eat later in the day or quitting early. I toyed with that idea. Certainly giving up eating after 6:30 PM was a good idea.
I was going to the high school at 7AM to tutor for the MCAS, my spring job. For the teenagers, I need to stay on an even keel, so forget the waiting until 10:30 to break fast. I went with oatmeal every morning. I'm still on that.
The strongest suggestion was to exercise for 8 minutes before eating anything, thereby burning fat calories.  I liked the barre ones better than Men's Health.
 "Sumo Squats" describes the right way to do squats, an excellent all around useful exercise for a woman my age. Keeping the knee going over the second toe is crucial, as I discovered last summer when I tried to strengthen my knees and wound up tightening my IT band until my knees ached at night. My daughter-in-law put me on a "foam roller" a self massage technique for the outside of the thigh.
Carousel Horse is a variety of lunge. Horse Pose Plie is very wide. Starfish is a wide plie with a leg lift. I round out the routine with a minute of plank or any other core exercise from Pilates. Then I stretch the quads and roll once on the foam roller. Maybe 15 minutes in all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

PBS Ballroom 2015

It's a far cry from the heyday of PBS coverage of the Ohio Star Ball back in the nineties, just 3 hours in all, mostly the showcase dances, but still more real than Reality TV (DWTS).
Last month, and still available at three Friday evenings in a row documented the professional competition. Mary Murphy of So You Think You Can Dance teamed with Tony Meredith to introduce and comment. 
First featured was American Smooth style, the one the most like Fred Astaire's dancing, open, showy Waltz and Foxtrot. Several couples chose a type of Viennese that used the 6/8 style tripling of the music often associated with slow songs. I saw more stretching than ever.
After a half hour of that, American Rhythm was much more to my taste. Swing, not Jive, gave Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine, the Haitian, a chance to give a knock-out performance to James Brown's "I Feel Good." That was just in the finals of the dance styles, the part I used to love when the program was longer. We only got to see the Swing, not Bolero, Cha cha, Mambo or Rumba. All the showcases were excellent, and Emmanuel and his Russian partner won with a Mambo.
The next week, I managed to get the show on my DVR and watch International Standard and Latin styles on my TV. Beautiful dancers went right out of their styles to do the showcases, presenting Western style or Cabaret.
The third week was a special set of showcases choreographed for the TV prize "America's Best Ballroom Dancers". Between sets of showcases, a set of Cabaret performances included the weirdest ever, an exorcism worthy of Cirque De Soleil.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Maybe that was the peak show of Dancing with the Stars this season

I have been having trouble keeping up with the dancing on TV.
Last week's DWTS featured 4 good dancers, and the judges got involved much more than usual.
Not just tips, but choreography from Carrie-Ann, Len, Julianne and Bruno.
Each was recused from judging but it didn't matter. They all got perfect scores. Sometimes the judges don't want to find fault. They don't have to.
Tom revealed that all four had been the top scorer one week or another, including our wounded warrior, Noah Galloway, a beautiful, brave young man missing both an arm and a leg who consistently garners huge audience support. His partner, Sharna Burgess, is Australian and new to the finals.
I like the way Rumer Willis and Valentin Smirkovsky embrace the ethos of the traditional dance steps and mood. When they given the "Shake Your Bootie" song, he choreographed hip shaking as required, but agreed with Len that that was not to his taste.  He is also much more modest than his brother, the overly masculine Maksim.
The handsome young Mormon Riker Lynch is the third finalist, dancing with the contemporary dancer, Alison Holker. She mentioned his objections to the oversexualization that sometimes shows up in the show, demanding a new song when he found the one picked for them offensive.
Eliminated was the Olympic gold gymnast Nastia (Anastasia) Luikin, dancing with Derek Hough, who was phoning in his choreography for a while, having accepted a job at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. She danced with Sasha Farber, troupe member, after Derek injured his ankle.
Anyway, tonight is the finals. The finals are followed by a finale tomorrow, not mentioned on Wikipedia where charts of scores dominate the entry. A better source of information was Road to the Finals, that aired Saturday, a mish mash of old footage that I would have totally missed except that my DVR noticed.
I would rather watch again the Ballroom Challenge show on PBS. The American Rhythm sequence was the best in my opinion, and perhaps the judges as well, since the young Haitian Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine won with his Russian partner Liana Churilova.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

2015 Dance Opportunities

A lot of the dances I will be running are just a bit different.
My usual time and place for June 6.
Then a Cape Cod Dance Center Dance with Ron Gursky is tentatively set for June 14.
July, I can use the Conservatory not on Saturday, but the First Sunday, so July 5.
August, I am happy to try out Betsy's Saturday, August 1.
Then August 7, Friday, the Falmouth Historical Society has another lovely evening planned with Solon Six and the Sapphires, our dance floor under a tent, Roland's catering, silent auction,  caricatures, a good deal at $65.
September, Labor Day is too much of a family weekend, so I'll run a Second Saturday.
Then, National Ballroom Dance Week includes a Celebration of Dance with showcases, the third weekend of September.
October sees us back at St. Barnabas.
November 14 is the Mary French semi-annual fundraiser dance featuring Ron Gursky's showcases and DJ work. My committee is already thinking of decoration themes, food table, and silent auction dance items.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Audacity - the free program

Downloaded Audacity - no problem.
No odd pop ups have shown up to disrupt my computing experience.
So far so good
For years, I have wanted to dance to "Play that funky Dixieland, pretty mama, gonna take you by the hand", but it was part of a long lyrical piece that was not as danceable. Maybe if you did modern dance. Then it goes into that truly Swing riff.
Also "Listen to the Music" is nice, but maybe too repetitive. Preachy, after a while.
So I made a "Doobie Mix". Now to see how it goes over.
I have a dance Saturday.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Let's see: Dancing on the Radio?
Anyway, I meet a student of the WCAI radio producers course today.
Some background sound from Ron's classes
Interviewing me maybe.
And as many leads as I think she can handle for a piece on Seniors and Ballroom Dancing.
Not that we're all Seniors...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Road Trip to Balera

Joe's return from Florida includes a trip to see his mother, so we did a bit more, going 20 minutes west to Balera, touted by my fellow dance teachers as the nicest ballroom in Boston.
The neighborhood is semi-residential, but the signs were clear.
Then there it was, a converted garage, and they kept the huge door that trucks used to drive in through, very useful when we wanted some fresh air.
Inside, a big beautiful floor, mirrors, a great sound system, and a huge crowd.
Everyone came for Robert Royston who teaches precisely and brings news of the latest trends in the West Coast Swing world. Neil Klein, whose regular space, a converted church, is right around the corner was DJ.
Friendly people, great music, good dancers - all I ask for.
And with West Coast, people can really use the space efficiently. Keep to your slot and nobody gets hurt.
The owners of the studio, competitors Basil Issaev & Liene Apele, run Friday dances, and their first anniversary of buying the business is coming up May 9 with a big party.

Friday, April 17, 2015

My dance partner has returned

Joe Brodsky drove up from Florida Wednesday.
Now to figure out how to visit his mother and get in a bit of dancing this weekend.
Tonight, he likes his tennis.
Sunday Ron Gursky will be at our studio.
How about Saturday? Maybe Robert Royston and West Coast Swing at Balera, Wayland. Or Lestyn Gilmore at Occasions, Raynham. Or George Gritzbach at the Beach House, North Falmouth. 
Good to have choices.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Teaching Truth

On our way to the dance last night, my friend the librarian said, "You can't give people information until they need it." Certainly I've heard that before, but, as is contained in the statement, you can hear things at one time and they won't resonate.
I immediately thought of my lovely wedding couple who chose a song at 40 measures per minute- Chet Baker, "Let's Get Lost". I wasn't sure of how to start!
He was expressing anxiety, so I put on a super slow One-step, Aaron Neville's "Tell It Like It Is." for dance hold without worrying about what your feet are doing. We couldn't stay there too long - after 15 minutes, he started worrying again! But he could walk without stepping on her feet.
Time to get into a Foxtrot. He didn't need any more information about One-step.
"Let's Get Lost" has a fairly soft bass line and the singer plays with the beat more than most dancers would like. I suggested some classic Foxtrots for practicing. On the wedding day, they have a band that can slow it down and give it more bass.
That's as far as we got. She is hoping for a Fred and Ginger feel to their dance. They don't need any more steps yet. Two basic traveling steps. Get comfortable! See you May 2.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Zoologic by Lostwax Multimedia Dance

I am so happy to have a daughter-in-law who is an active modern dancer. Ali Kenner Brodsky is a member of Lostwax, based in Providence, which just presented the world premiere of Zoologic through FirstWorks. We were in the RISD auditorium, reminding us that Providence has a couple of world class universities to fuel creativity. Parking was easy, too!
The multimedia included drones, video of animals projected on several screens and brought on stage with special monitors, a poetic and dramatic text written by Tahlia Field, recited and projected, fabulous costumes, and great dancers. Not just Ali, but also Shura Baryshnikov looking more beautiful than ever, Katie MacNamara, and Sydney Skybetter.
Thank you, Jaimie Jewett, artistic director, for bringing together all that talent!
This show has 'legs' and should go far. The premiere is just this weekend, but we can look for performances in the upcoming months.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New Trend

This past year, the private lessons have picked up quite a bit. I never know why. The advertising stays the same, mostly internet presence these days. Private lessons are harder to keep track of, but very pleasant. Unfortunately, they are less likely to join the community of dancers. I hope the two couples who scheduled time before Saturday's Spring CCBD dance will. Our USA Dance members are a friendly bunch.
Wedding couples get too busy. I love the pair, married for 3 years, now preparing for a favorite niece's wedding.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

DWTS again

Sad that people I used to be able to talk about the show with are not watching any more. I need an outlet so here it is, my blog. I used to write about DWTS all the time, but then I sort of ran out of new things to say. But I didn't get tired of watching the dances. I still reference the male teachers when male students claim they cannot get the Latin hip action. Of course, they could. It does take some time and concentration. But those guys don't even watch the show.
Anyway, I was pretty charmed by the Shark Tank guy, Robert something. He seems to be in love with Kim - who wouldn't be? She is dismissing claims of a romance. And there they did a very convincing Rumba. The judges were criticizing his hip action, and he starts a bit of it just standing there, seemingly unconsciously. Looked good. I would probably hate him if I watched Shark Tank.
The music is good this season, too. I've been taking notes on a program outline made up by one of my fellow teachers in Dance Teachers Club of Boston. She made it as a score sheet, but I don't think the week to week scores are meaningful. I love to know what popular culture is responding to, without having to listen to popular radio.
Sorry to see Keo, the South African, go so early again. His partner Charlotte, the model with the huge boobs and nice voice, didn't seem to be concentrating. Off on her cell phone in the middle of practice, lining up other jobs. Doesn't DWTS pay enough? Surely it does. She is the one who was on the video game ads for Game of War that showed up when I finished a move in my online SCRABBLE game.
Mark Ballas is showing an artistic side, better taste than his old ideas like the monkey suits. His partner, the youngest competitor ever at 14, is keeping up well so far, though last week, she talked about trouble breathing - asthma?
The shirtless craze does nothing for me, oh well.
Derek is appearing at Radio City Music Hall and just meeting his partner, Olympic gymnast Nastia, for 3 days a week. She's okay with that, not having given up her place at college for the show. She has to practice with Henry half the time. Does this count as "phoning it in?"
The one I hope leaves soon is the Bachelor guy, with Whitney.
Had to express myself!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Coming out of hiding

The dance business is starting to pick up again. Asking people to do anything but fight the weather was hard for a few months there, with March only a little better than a brutal February.
My regular students kept me going. West Coast Swing continues to capture the imagination.
Now beginners are showing up, talented young ones who are loving East Coast Swing.
Finally, this Saturday, after two cancellations, I will be able to have a dance.
In other news, the ice broke in Round Pond and piles of plowed snow are shrinking.
I might plant peas if the wind lets up.
Good Friday, April 3, 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cancellation again

Yet another dance event cancelled.  We can almost expect it! Set something up and the weather won't cooperate.
I feel bad,  and might feel worse if it clears up. As of this morning,  maybe rain and maybe snow.  Getting colder again at some point.
I am very glad I bought snow tires.

Friday, March 20, 2015

WCS weekends

The March 14 weekend brought Anne Fleming to Falmouth,  courtesy of the Vineyard folk getting ready for Tea Party Swings, the Boston dance camp that starts tonight.  Although not going,  I  am happy to have gotten to see the latest trends for that group of excellent dancers.  The"cut-off" has become common. Her technique tips are also welcome.
Opposite to Anne,  Buddy Schwimmer is old school,  and I watched three hours of his 90s video.  Faster music,  solid styling,  no play time yet.
Finally,  at Dance Teachers Club,  Debby Monk gave us some Swango, mixing Argentine Tango with the West Coast Swing, ochos and leg crawls primarily.
Now I need to process the material.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Little kids dancing

Here in Stockbridge,  the smallest children have arrived.  A whole different reality.
With my sisters I did a dance and stretch.
This morning,  it was free style to "Demolition Man".

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mardi Gras at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet

Third band is doing pop songs with a Zydeco flavor. Accordian, bass guitar,  blues guitar,  and drums.  Woolly Bully and some version of The Twist, mixed in with more traditional stuff.  I kind of liked the Cajun waltzes.  Oh, here's one.  Nope,  they seemed to be announcing one,  but it is a version of When a Man loves a Woman. Slow dance. I will stay on the balcony. Two ladies are attempting Viennese since there is a tripling of the slow beat.
Evening draws to a close.
Dressing up,  parade,  $14 dinners, & lots of good music.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

At home and working

I got home Sunday for 40 degrees,  but we have barely gone above freezing since. The snow is unnecessarily abundant, especially since Joe broke the plow before he left. The snow plow guys have their regular customers,  so I am on the bottom of the list.
Haven't missed any work,  though.
I have gone through 10 buckets of sand/salt now.
Work this week includes 3 great dance classes and tutoring English at the high school.  My unpaid work is my time with Ian who is still 3, and Sloane,  after school. Yay!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A couple more songs

Jim Lauderdale's I want to do everything night club two step

Que Grande es Tu amor by Optimo
Corazon Gitano by Oscar D'leon

Another evening with showcases. I'm not inspired. Good social dancing.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Thursday night

I meant to do Jammin' Jensen,  a weekly street fair walking distance from our rental. But I forgot. Dinner of a local game fish,  cobia.
Then the Crystal Ballroom in Rio (pronounced Ryo), a studio dance including a showcase,  dress rehearsal for Eileen who is going on a cruise with her teacher,  Chuck,  studio owner. She began her tango with a blindfold, almost fell,  rescued by Chuck.  Very effective. The new young man  dance teacher is well over 6 feet, very thin, not yet elegant still counting after 7 months.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Salsa at the Inlet with Joe and Shari Tessier

Best salsa night yet. The songs,  the dancers, food,  all thanks to Joe and Shari just a half hour drive north on the deserted coast road A1A.
Darte until Beso by Prince Royce
Be my Baby by Leslie Grace
Y no se Manana by Luis Enrique
We asked for a Latino west coast swing and got Represent Cuba, a favorite by (I think) Heather Headley

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Florida songs

On my Andoid phone, the device I call a brain in the palm of my hand. It's different composing with auto-correction.  The device anticipates and may subtly change my ideas. 
Also,  I just found an entry from December!
Anyway,  here in Jensen Beach,  we went to two very nice Florida dances, both Valentine themed.  Then I attended the afternoon USA Dance. I'm a member. Joe doesn't go to afternoon dances - well  maybe if it rains.
By writing down the songs I love here,  I will be able to find them when I get back to my house computer with iTunes.
Sweet Cola by Lou Began cha cha
Whatever Lola Wants by Sarah Vaughn and the Gotan Project Tango
Sung Song Blue by Neil Diamond foxtrot
Shall We Dance by Stacey Kent
Turn Me Loose by Fabian
Pause by Pitbull
Vaya Con Dios by Freddie Fender waltz

We had a few days off - movie,  Presidents Day shopping with the landlady,   fancy restaurant.
Tonight is our favorite teachers.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Snowed Out

The snowy weather has kept many a dance event from happening. Three Mondays in a row and one Ron's Sunday classes at the studio.
Happily, the Zeiterion in New Bedford was not deterred in presenting the Flamenco Vivo program Sunday at 2:00. The intricate rhythms and fiery attitude were there, complete with castanets and a whole set of ruffled dresses with long trains that the dancers would drag, kick out of the way, lift or twirl into.
Sunday evening's class at the studio ran even though the rain turned to snow.
I have a bucket of sand in my car, half a bucket on the driveway, and five buckets at the house.
This should be fine, I say, but cancelled anyway. It's about whether other people feel safe driving.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Road Trip RI

Joe took off for the sunshine state, so I went to see Randy and Kathy's new space, a former Gold's Gym. They put in a floor with special cushioning layers - so comfy on the feet. An elegant upper level has showcase and practice rooms, office space, and a balcony overlooking the main dance floor.
Kitchen area offered healthy treats, as well as cake.
Kathy was the perfect hostess on this Country night with plenty of Texas Two-step. "Dang," I said. Never did that dance, and with the low ratio of men in the mixer, I let them take the ladies who enjoy it.
Nice West Coast Swing tunes and Alan Gaskell was there. I asked him for a dance and only after we were leaving did I realize who he was. He taught a Dance Teachers Club of Boston workshop.
Thanks Dawn, for driving!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Juno's Storm

Juno was top female god in the Roman pantheon, wife of Jupiter. Top storm here with as much snowfall as I have ever seen and winds like a hurricane.
One big pine missed the car. Those tall pines just snap.
Fewer trees came down than the hurricane, maybe because so many have fallen already, or maybe because there weren't the mini tornados. Also, the snow was relatively light as it came down, though it packed down quite a bit. Luckily I have been working out, so I could do a lot of shoveling.
They say there were fewer power outages because the snow was light. But I also believe a lot of work has been done on the poles and wires recently
Those who ski are sad that the snow is so useless here in the flatland.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mind/Body Weeekend

Before the really busy season starts, I got myself to Sujata's yoga class at the Cape Cod Dance Center Friday. I can recommend it as she is cheerful, knowledgeable and careful. I still don't like Yoga much. As I say, "Maybe if there was music?" But most Yoga people prefer the concentration to be silent. She spoke of "Bliss vs. Contentment", and hoped we were finding it.
I went on to teach three hours Saturday. Contentment.
Sunday was equally lovely. I started with Dunya's Dance Meditation. Recovered from flu, she had her energy back, so we moved steadily to great music and ended with a meditation on gravity and breath.
Then, our Quickstep class was just hard enough to stretch my brain.
A private lesson did the fine tuning for the all important frame.
On home to pick up Joe, and we went to an excellent Swing band, part of Woods Hole Jazz at the Community Hall. Dance space at the side is enough for Swing, especially since three couples in all used it. Hetty Kate on vocal and Gordon Webster on piano are the charming band leaders, singing tunes from the thirties that should be standards, but are completely new to us.
We bought two CDs and hope to see them again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Unexpected Waltz by Kim Wright

I got an advance copy from my librarian sister-in-law, and it's now published.
Nice story, continuing characters from another novel, I saw at the website.
Somehow I thought a ballroom dance themed novel would be a first try from someone in love with the activity, but I think she just did her research, taking classes in order to weave a story around plausible plot lines involving young Russian dance teachers and middle-aged women.
For the newly widowed rich protagonist, dance is better than sex, and she does not fall into a relationship with a younger man. The "studio whale" (a woman who keeps the studio afloat with all her private lessons and competition fees) does.
I learned Kim Wright's favorite dance songs: Chris Issak's "Wicked Game" for Rumba and "You Give Love a Bad Name" Bon Jovi's Tango.
I liked the phrase, "Optimal Frustration", a state where you work through difficulties with vigor.
I liked how she congratulated the men who dance even if they are no good at it.
Descriptions of heels, thousand dollar dresses and make-up did not make me want to do competition.
Three new dance quotes:
Neitzsche said, "I would only believe in a God that knows how to dance."
Confucius said, "Never give a sword to a man who can't dance."
And Groucho Marx, "Wives are people who feel they don't dance enough."
That last from the golden age of partnered dancing.

A side plot with a Hospice patient was nicely written as well. A discussion of CTD, an acronym for a doctor's phrase, Circling The Drain, "funny, cruel and accurate. Because I've always imagined our lives to be funnel shaped. They grow narrow as we age and we all begin to swirl faster and faster."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Startin' back up

I got things going quickly this January - no trips to work around this year.
My dance regulars are almost all there, looking good.
The beginners haven't got it together yet after the holidays, as Mary used to say.
Night School has a nice feel for the rhythms of people's lives. Those classes start the last week of January. I look forward to them - you never know who you'll get.
I just read Len Goodman's (head judge, "Dancing with the Stars") breezy autobiography. He writes how great it is to get a cross section of society in dance class.
I loved his description of the camps by the seaside that the English all used to go to - perhaps still do. They would have contests: ping pong, Miss Lovely Legs, singing, and all, including dancing, so he and his partner cut their teeth against social dancers before going on to win championships. I went to one as a dance camp back in the nineties when my oldest boy attended college in England - Junior year abroad. That was the year of a comet, shining above the hills.
The TV show is almost done - has to be before I start back at FHS tutoring MCAS, also the last week of January.
Took a class in the new software - Wow! The improvements are fabulous. This show will be without the upgrades, no post-filming zoom yet...
Can't believe I forgot to update the website until now, since the beginning of December.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hips etc

My dance experience with Dunya , Sufi dancer, goes back decades.
She is a local girl, and we shared a dance teacher, the inestimable Klara Koenig, who took her as a young woman to New York City for auditions.
Dunya is presently living in Woods Hole, and offered a dance meditation series for January, an opportunity I would not miss, and it started yesterday.
I scheduled the ice skating on our pond early so I could skate until my toes and fingers were cold, and then drove down to the little quiet (in the winter) village.
She is recovering from two hip replacements, so we started easy, standing in free movement to her superb music. I love following her, like going to a performance but you don't have to sit still.
What was the problem that she had to have the surgery?
Shallow hip sockets - known also as hip dysplasia, a condition that can make it easier for the ballerina to lift the leg "to the ceiling" with what is known as extension. The doctors told her the dancing had allowed her to continue with normal movement longer than would have otherwise been possible.
Hypermobility of the joints can be a problem - not mine!
Her website

Friday, January 9, 2015

The New Year 2015

Fast away the old year passed.
Starting off cold, here on Cape Cod, causing my husband to dream of the southlands as we approach the age to become snowbirds.
This year, classes started right up with students eager for their favorite activity.
Ron Gursky's Argentine Tango dancers are back.
New dancers are putting together their options.