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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Comments

We are getting comments but? They have mostly been from Anonymous and half of those are spam. So we move slowly. Some have told me that they do not know how to comment. But I just say read and follow the directions. It is quite simple. If you do not want to use your name, use a pen name and make it the same one each time.

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil
to one who is striking at the root."

Of course, it is subject for moderation. I have the final say so, yes or no. As I have mentioned before, many I have to mark as spam and they are not published. But that is a good entry level of opinion sharing. Just a word, "fine" or "lousy" will do, but it still an opinion. Later on you will want to add a few more words and there you go.

Then there is the Information Contributor. Every one has a different point of view. What you saw is not the same thing he saw or I saw. That is it in a nutshell. You can contribute a paragraph or two on what you saw in the dance scene that could be of interest to the reader/dancers of any blog.

"No Me Digas Adios" por Azucar Moreno

These would be two good steps in the direction of Social Media, which is the intent for all our blogs. And we will be on our way to making Town Dancer the first of the independents, being as it has the most average hits per day.

Then occasionally we must stress the age divisions in dancing. Not many people recognize it. The young have said it even in my day (several centuries ago) "You can't trust anyone over thirty." However the age seems to be creeping up. Many in their thirties still dance with the young.

"Cariño Azucarado" por Angelica Vale

Fine, just so we accept that later on in the age of dancing, we mature in our preferences. We prefer the tried and true. Fads are for the kids and many dances are still in flux. Mambo is out for the kids and has been supplanted by Salsa. Salsa in turn seems to be on the way to being supplanted by Bachata and it will go on, it alway has.

However, Mambo is still being taught in Studios and Dance Clubs throughout the world. Even in Hawaii, it is still in doubt. It may eventually become one of the accepted dances for the mature dancer. Then we are patiently waiting for the New Mexican dance that may sweep the country's kids.

Some one out there is going to define Ballroom Dancing for me. Ha!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Latin Beat

To dance Latin dances is to dance to Latin music. Sounds reasonable? Apparently not to everyone and of course everyone should have their own opinions on the subject. I offer one.

"People don't notice whether it's winter or summer
when they're happy."

Latin music has a different beat than music from Europe, or the Orient. It a a unique music that has developed over the years since the arrival of the first illegals in 1492 in the Americas.

Today it is very well divided into the classic country style and the Latin jazz that developed in the cities in the latter half of the 20th century. Both have that certain beat from the original inhabitants of the continent.

Mexico has established some of best music in the Americas, except for one thing, it is mostly very local to the areas. There is a certain "loyalty" that keeps other music out. The conversion or amalgamation is only happening in Mexico City, a city of over 20 million people. And that is becoming a force to be reckoned with. If it can be transferred to the other countries of Latin America it can go world wide.

One thing is pretty certain, the dance steps and patterns developed in the last century by the American Style dancer are some of the best for dancing any dance. So many are very natural movements for the enjoyment of the music and not for how it will look to an audience.

"El Ardido" By Larry Hernandez

Larry Hernandez, born in the city of Los Angeles, California, at 4 years age his parents took him to Culiacan, Sinaloa where he lived during much of his youth. His musical influence comes from family, his grandfather is a musician and several cousins as well as relatives are known artists.

"I never went to music school, I thank my God for giving me this talent. It is more beautiful when you bring the music of heritage blood, it's the honest truth, this album has it all "

His beginnings as a musician were in school in Culiacan, a group with who represented the state of Sinaloa. Larry started writing songs from the "nose" as he says. Remember: "For eight years, I taught my corridos, my cousins and uncles who are musicians which gave me tips. Which is when I noticed changes here and there."

"El Toque de la Jairo" por Larry Hernandez

In addition to composing songs and corridos, the talented singer-songwriter also plays the accordion and drums. The first professional group with whom he worked with, were Los Amables del Norte whom he learned how to appear on stage. "There is nothing easy about standing on stage, grabbing a mic and sing in front of three thousand people ".

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More on the Rhythm Section

The basic conga pattern is the pulse of the Latin rhythm section. Usually accents the 2 and a light bang on the 3 and open tones on the 4 and. Light on the one. The old time dancers never worried about what count to start.

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks
of changing themselves."

They broke on the accented tone. Later in the US, the music was accented on the one count, European style and they broke on the one. So the break for dancers has been on the accent (da moosic) not on the count.

So in Mambo, the rock step was on the 2 and 3 count and the slow was on the 4, 1. In Cha Cha Cha the rock step was on the 2 and 3 count and the Chassé was on the four and one.

Of course this was danced a little different when they began to accent on the one count American Style. Now you broke (rock step) on the 1 and 2 count, with the slow on the 3 - 4. In the Cha Cha Cha you broke on the one count (rock step) and 2, and you Chasséed on the 3 and 4.

"Me Gusta Estar Viva" por Paloma San Basilio

Of course the fun really began when musicians began to accent the three count. This acquired the name of San Juan. (Puerto Rico?) The rock step was on 3,4 and the Chassé was on the 1 and 2. Later on still, they accented the 4 count. It then acquired the name Guapacha. The rock step on the 4, 1 and the Chassé was on the 2 and 3.

There has got to be a more difficult way of dancing. These have even been used in International Style as unnatural step patterns. In this day people can and will dance on all counts. As long as it is one consistent basic throughout the music, the couples are in sync and having fun. That is the name of the game. Unless you are a competition dancer.

"Magdalena" por Sergio Mendez

Now we also have two other drums to worry about. The Bongos and the
Timbales. The Bongos are needed in any rhythm section of Latin music. They are two small drums, one slightly bigger than the other, and different pitch, which are fastened together. They are traditionally played while seated and cradling them between the legs.

If the Congas are basic, the Bongos are a little bit of gingerbread. They were the only drum used in the early Son groups in Cuba. They can flower up Latin music very nicely. In larger bands they are mainly used as an ad-lib instrument playing around the more fundamental rhythms of the congas and timbales.

The Timbales are late comers to the Latin sound.  They are two single headed drums with shells made of brass or steel, mounted on a stand, and played with dowel type sticks. The heads are on the average about 13 or 14 inches in diameter and were created as a smaller less booming kettle drum.

They usually have a cowbell and a wood block mounted to give another choice of sound to the timbalero. He strikes the cowbells or wood block with one hand and he strikes the heads with the other stick according to the conga drummer's "tumbao" (or basic rhythm) on the 2,3. Sometimes he will play on the sides or shells of the timbales and this is called cascara or paila rhythm.

Sorry folks, I don't remember ever seeing anyone in Hawaii play the timbales.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Rhythm Section

A few hundred years after Christ the Mayan civilization in Mexico with professional musicians had developed entities for grouping their musical arrangements. They worked mostly in conjunction with the dance professionals for the music and dance usually went together.

"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing
in our own sunshine."

In Western music even in the 1600's, composers didn't even think of the orchestra as an entity unto itself. Performing music was largely an unorganized and casual event. Composers often never knew who would show up to play. Sound familiar?

Composers wrote music with melody and harmony parts, and just assumed the appropriate instrument would play the right part: the high instruments (flutes, oboes) would take the melody, the low instruments (cellos, bassoons, basses) would take the bass part, and chords and filler material would be taken up by midrange and chording instruments (harps, lutes, harpsichords).

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Iz

Then in the early 1700's, during Bach's time, composers started specifying not only which instrument should play what (like the violin playing the melody and the cello playing the bass notes), but how many instruments should be playing a given part. It was the beginning of the symphony orchestra.

This ensured that the proper balance was achieved, and that the right instrument got chosen for the job. Gradually, the professional orchestras formed, and along the way, the standards for writing pieces for it.

"No Me Voy Sin Bailar" por Ana Belen

In all Western music organization, there is a rhythm section consisting mainly of drums. The piano. guitar and the bass are also considered part of the rhythm section.

In Latin music the Rhythm or Percussion section is the biggest part of the musical ensemble. And we have already covered a whole slew of them that seem to have disappear from modern Latin music. However the solid ones remain.

The most important are the Tumbadoras, which are three large drums. The Quinto is the smallest and loosely translates into a fifth and rarely seen. The Conga is the middle one and renamed by commercial interests in the US. And the Tumbadora remains the largest. Originally all were called Tumbadoras because the went Tum, Tum, Tum.

"Morir Por Tu Amor" por Javier Solis

Traditionally played from a sitting position but in present day use, they are mounted on stands and played from a standing position. They all have had a strap provided for carrying and playing from the old time Mayan parades. Desi Arnaz was famous for putting a strap on a conga and playing as he sang. And apparently Lucille Ball never minded him going around the house singing and banging on his drum.

The basic conga pattern is the pulse of the Latin rhythm section. Usually accents the 2 and a light bang on the 3 and open tones on the 4 and. Light on the one. The old time dancers never worried about where to start. They broke on the accented tone. Later in the US, the music was accented on the one count, European style and they broke on the one. So the break is on the accent (da moosic) not on the count.


"The work that unknown good people have done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mestizo Dancing part two

The Dances (continued) that we may dance in the Mestizo circuit, that is just around the corner. Will evolve from the current Salsa scene.

"It's easy to make a buck.  It's a lot tougher to make a difference."

Mambo:
The music and dance originated in Cuba and developed from the musical form called "Son." It began its climb in popularity in the US in the 1940's, and particularly in the 1950's and 1960's in Mexico City (Perez Prado) and at NYC's Palladium Ballroom. It had a revival in appeal in the 1990's and still going strong in classic ballroom dances. Mambo/Salsa should be your first dance choice when learning the Latin dances, as it is all the rage throughout the world today!

Merengue:
Having arrived in the US in the early part of the 20th Century from the Dominican Republic, Merengue is pure, playful fun. The rhythm is the simplest of the dances making the footwork easy, and the arms and turns more complex. Merengue is the perfect compliment to the Salsa and a must learn if you plan on going out to a Mestizo Club.

"Mi Buenos Aires Querido" por Julio Iglesias

Milonga:
This dance, (precedes the Tango in history,) was a solo cat dance by men only two or three thousand years ago. It was a song cultivated during the early 18th century by the gaucho in the rural areas of Argentina known as the Pampas. The songs were set to a lively 2/4 tempo, but despite the 2/4 formula, the Milonga developed its own distinctive, syncopated rhythm. It uses the same basic elements, interchangeable steps, and vocabulary as the Tango, however, the movement is normally faster. Stylistically, Milonga is often more playful than the more serious and elegant Tango. Note: the word "milonga" refers to both the dance and also the place one goes to dance Tango. See you at the next Milonga!

"Siboney" por Rene Touzet
 
Salsa:    
Salsa remains the hottest dance on the Mestizo Club scene today, emphasizing undulating body movement, sassy turns and compelling rhythms. This "nubile" dance originally hailed from Cuba in the 1960's, and was greatly influenced by dancers and musicians in Puerto Rico, Miami and New York. Originally, a fast Mambo was called "Mambo con salsa" (Mambo with hot sauce). Now the world just calls it "Salsa!"

Samba:    
Samba has its own personality, ranging from gutsy and primitive, to zany and fun. Hailing from Brazil with a strong influence from the Negro slaves, Samba is both a challenge in its rhythmic patterns and a physical workout. It is often referred to as the "Brazilian Waltz," since the new Samba step patterns were developed from the Waltz. Initially, this dance was called the "Maxixe," which was part of the "Animal Dances" of the 1920's. This dance is fading because of too many basic movements. One basic and you can have a ball with the dance.

"Con Un Poco De Amor" por José Feliciano

Mestizo dancing will not happen overnight. First a larger floor so that it can be easier to see the music that is being danced by the Mestizo dancer. If you have a postage stamp size floor, you may have four, or five or even six dancers for a particular style music. But you still can't tell.

This will gradually eliminate the fad dances for the young and they will dance in their own places. The Mestizo dancers on the dance floors of a Mestizo clubs will be over 30 and dancing what will still be on the agenda ten or twenty years down the road. And you will get better every time and enjoy it more.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mestizo Dancing

We will go over this in alphabetical order: Some of these dances will be in the repertoire of the DJs of Danza Mestiza in this decade.

"I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything,
but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do
interfere with what I can do."

Argentine Tango:  

An intensely passionate dance that will capture your feet and your soul. Your life will never be the same as you enter the nocturnal world of ochos, sentadas, and milongas. On any given night, NYC provides dancers with many Tango dance spots to hone their new steps and technique. Enjoyable at any level, Tango becomes more physically and intellectually rewarding as your relationship with the Buenos Aires-born dance deepens.

As the Milonga it is truly a Mestizo dance, beginning 2 or even 3000 years back as a solo Indian cat dance. With no accents, only a constant beat. They were affected by the instruments brought in by the Europeans, specially the Bandoneon by the Germans, And then the Staccato rhythm from Europe. Not really the last, but with the syncopation, it became Tango

Other versions of Tango music and dance have evolved, the Nordic Tango (Finnish) and the Oriental Tango (Chinese.)  Then there those dances which are now part of the American and International Styles of Ballroom Dancing. Whether it's the Argentine Tango or another style, this sultry dance will set your soul on fire!

"Nostalgias" By Placido Domingo

Bachata:

Bachata is coming fad fashion and is a style of dance that accompanies music of the same name. With origins in the Dominican Republic, it borrows from the Cuban Bolero, and is sometimes referred to as the "blues music of the Dominican Republic." Traditionally, it’s based strongly around the guitar and is a romantic dance. But very strongly country style.

However, many variations of the Bachata have evolved over the years. The dance is a four-step beat and; action achieved with a walking Cuban hip motion, and a one-beat unique “pop,” hip motion, or pause. The young in Hawaii are really going for it.

"Moliendo Cafe" By Azucar Moreno


Not from Africa, that's for sure.

Cha Cha Cha:

A spicy, upbeat Latin dance that is related to the Mambo (a slower version.) This dance gained popularity in Mexico City and on the streets of NYC in the late '50's and '60's. The name has been shorten to "Cha" and  "Cha Cha" and is a favorite with jazz musicians and the Latin Community for a sound, like no other.

The Cha Cha music of today is still as exciting as ever in spite of the warmed over versions being played in Hawaii. It is not "you can dance Cha Cha to it, it is you have to dance Cha Cha to it." It is such a versatile dance that it can easily be done to many different styles of music from classic Tito Puente to Santana and Ricky Martin.

"Green Eyes" By Jimmy Dorsey

Hustle:

This dance originated in the Latin communities of New York City and Miami in the early 70's to replace the Samba which had too many basic patterns. Hollywood sparked a nationwide craze when John Travolta strutted his stuff in "Saturday Night Fever." Today's favored form of the Hustle is a 3-count Latin "street" Hustle.

Easily danced to disco music and most upbeat pop music, the Hustle incorporates fun, syncopated patterns and many exciting turns…it is a sure crowd pleaser on any night of the week! Like the Brazilian samba it can be dance to slow, medium and fast music. It has been phasing into the Palladium dance.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Finally over ten

Well it took us six months to get over ten average hits per day. Most of the other blogs took about 3 months. So we can be pretty certain this is as far as we are going in number of blogs in our blogosphere. That's enough even though, according to my spreadsheet, Danza Mestiza will have the total hits to one thousand on or about July 25th. Maybe?

"Happiness is a way station between too little and too much."

So of course now we must get readers to comment. This can be done easily enough at the end of each blog. Please do not use anonymous, we have too many of those and most end in the spam section. If you do not wish to use your name, you may use a pen name and try to keep it the same so that the readers will identify easier.

If you like what is happening as a result of your comments you can then decide to contribute information and even photos for the benefit of our reader/dancers. This by emailing to any of our Contributing Editors and you may designate the blog of your choice.

Of course there is no commitment and you will understand that you are doing good for our dance community. Furthermore you do this only when  you feel like doing it. Fair enough?

"No person has made a bigger mistake than the one who did
nothing because they could only do so little."

 Calvin and Hobbes dancing the new Danza Mestiza Shag

More news from Consumer Reports on Facebook:

Senator Franken told us he is particularly concerned about the potential violation of children's privacy if Facebook implements that policy. "Kids should not be able to give that information away to strangers even if they wanted to."

Facebook recently began testing a program to use status updates and other information to deliver highly targeted ads. So if you post that you are looking for a car, you might find ads from auto dealers peppering the screen. Some might welcome such customization, but others might consider it an invasion of privacy.

Regardless, such plans raise questions about what else the service hopes to do with the immediate data of personal information it controls. Consumers' concerns might be allayed if they had more of a say, in what Facebook does with their personal information.

Pub's Note: I am certainly glad I got "outta theah" last year. Though I still have Twitter and I am not sure what it does.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Update on Salsa/Mambo

From The Famous Moshe in New York City.
Between Mambo and salsa...


First, lets clarify what musicians say.. ALL salsa is mambo.. but.. not ALL Mambo is Salsa . It's much to do with music construction ( and in many cases, time lines )

"Indeed, people wish to be happy even when they so live
as to make happiness impossible."

The physical side of the dance is where the paradigm shift took place back in the late 70s, but mainly in NYC. The rest of the "world " did not start to change their approach until the mid 80s. And the reason for the "change " was primarily the Music.

The genre began to branch out into separate styles, and the main contenders.. LA, NY. Cuban ( not as the cubans dance it ) Rueda and what is now called C Body are the most Popular. There are countries who dance a very specific style like " Cali " in Colombia.

"Señor Bolero" por José Feliciano

Mambo is still taught and danced by many of the " chain " schools, and is normally danced breaking on "2 ", whereas Salsa uses 1,2, and 3, wherever the music accents. It is the most musically complex of all the dances taught, mainly due to its poly rhythmical structure.

Incidentally, apart from Rueda and Cali, there are 5 or 6 foundational variations, that are commonly identical and are danced in the above mentioned styles. The technical and execution differences, are mainly brought about by changes in style If you are interested in learning more about the genre, go to my website.

Pub's Note: I am still trying to find out if Salsa has phased out of New York entirely.


"La Gloria Eres Tu" por Luis Miguel

Yes, we are going through another name change. Danza is just a shade classier than Baile. And at the same time, it gives me the opportunity to change the entire title from masculine to feminine. Latinos are something else.

I will continue to carry this blog on the same basis as the others. I may just add a couple of SEOs and maybe some free advertising. It is traveling slow, mainly because of the other blogs that we have at present in our blogosphere. However it is showing a regular increase. Another couple months should give us at least 10 average hits per day, then it will be on its way.

I do not intend to make any new ones, but I do intend to continue the process of making some independent (of me, anyway.) And right now we all need commenters that can write, "You can all go to hell" Well, no, not that, really.


"If we could all stop trying to be so happy
we could have a pretty good time."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Four Agreements

By Don Miguel Ruiz, “a nagual (master) from the Eagle Night lineage” of the Toltec in Southern Mexico, (ca 800-1000 CE.) The Toltec were “scientists and artists” who managed the spiritual knowledge and practices of the “ancient ones.”

In “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz describes our life as, among others, a wakeful dream state where we create many, many agreements within ourselves as our basis for relating to God, to ourselves and to other life forms. “We have many agreements that come from fear, deplete our energy, and diminish our self-worth.” On the other hand, in the enlightened state, there are only four BASIC agreements.

On the sleeves of the cover, the four agreements are briefly explained, and I share these with you, with a few very, very brief notes after each agreement:

Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Stay away from gossip, even if you’ll end up being the subject of one. Gossip exposes you to a lot of waste thoughts and waste feelings—and who needs waste?

"No Se Tu" por Luis Miguel

Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Anger, sadness, envy, jealousy, stress, and hatred are needless suffering.  Accept criticism gracefully. Again, other people’s criticism is based on their standards, not yours. So take what you want with gratitude, and throw the rest away. Don’t go about screaming murder just because someone said you’re stupid or useless. It’s a complete waste of energy–energy best used for doing more of what you love doing like writing or making music or reading a book.

If there are people who are just difficult to deal with and you are not in the best condition to keep carrying on a “fight,” you may want to stop seeing them for the time being. You are not being unkind….in fact, you are being kind—to yourself.

"Nostalgias" por Placido Domingo

Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Our reactions to other people are mostly the result of the stories–mostly invented–that we write in our minds. To change your reaction from bad to good, change the script in your head. Only you can do that, no one else.

"Cuando Calienta El Sol" por Javier Solis

Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Never tell yourself “my best wasn’t good enough.” Your best is your best. Period. Other people’s best may not be congruent to yours, but so what? Your perception of yourself is so much more important than others’ perception of you. Hold your head up high. Rejection simply means a better opportunity is waiting.