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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Pau Hana Dance

Wednesday Evening in Honolulu, Oahu, after work - What's doin'? Same old thing, go home or stop for Happy Hour and have a drink somewhere to wait for highway traffic to die down. Dancers are not drunks, everybody knows that. So Wednesday is a nice time of the week to take a break.

The secret of a happy life is not buried in a treasure chest ...
it lies within your own heart.
It's the little moments that make life big.
Don't wait. Make memories today.


For some reason or another we cannot have a Pau Hana dance in Honolulu or Oahu?. So be it. But rumbling around town is a little chatter of the Pau Hana Dance. This definitely does not involve "Ballroom" dancers now that another group has assumed the responsibility for Social Dancing. Sounds to me almost like the original Tea Dance, because it is in the middle of the work week and it starts right after work.

"Rags To Riches" by Tony Bennett

Pau Hana Dance, a Happy Hour but with much more dancing, less alcohol and more juice drinking. And with a Live Band, Wow! The dance floor would not have to be huge because this would be for Social dancers. There are other places for your quick stepping. This would be an amalgamation of the American Bronze and Night Club Dancing. Whatta Fun Crowd they would be!


Beside the break from everyday work, (specially for Cultural dancers) it is also a respite from the every day freeway headache on the way home. And on Oahu it is going to get worse, because of the Rail tragedy. Dancing, a few drinks, a few snacks, a little talk story and it could be a very pleasant interlude in the middle of the work week. The women would find the preparation for the dance, fairly easy and a common thing. The men would also find it easy to freshen up a bit and some would even change to a fresh shirt. There shouldn't be anyone showing up in slippahs

"Fly Me To The Moon" by Jimmy Borges

Down Town would be the most efficient. The working density is heavier and parking would be closer, and there are quite a few places available. The dance could be pau at eight and nine for the late comers and it could go even more if dancers would still be there. It would be a complete day and the freeway home would be a breeze. Enough time to get a good nights sleep and you would have a very comfortable next day.

You got anything more perfect than that?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Anyone interested?

Live Music and Dance
by James Miyashita, Kalealoa

Ever wonder how a band gets a particular sound? Maybe some of us want to learn how to be a better performers ourselves? One of the best ways to learn is by watching other artists to see what they do. On the island of Oahu, we might discover a cool guitar move, a way of engaging a crowd, or a combination of instruments or effects that we never thought of.

"The new century has certainly brought us into a fast age. The impossibility of yesterday has become the luxury of today and the necessity of tomorrow."


Spending time with friends enjoying live music is a great way to bond. Shared musical experiences can become memories that will last a lifetime. We will always remember the times with our friends when we enjoyed our favorite band or the new artist who surprised us with their talent. It also feels amazing to be completely absorbed in the music and dancing it our way. Then glance around the club to see that we are surrounded by so many others who feel the same way!

"La Golondrina" por Placido Domingo

Although it is becoming more and more common for audiences on Oahu to listen or watch performances through other methods, attending a live music event is actually a great opportunity to unplug from our devices and enjoy the present moment. There is so much to see, hear, and feel at a performance, so we don’t want to spend our time glued to earbuds. We might find that the time we spend enjoying music in the moment with our cellphone switched off refreshes our mind and gives us a new perspective on life. We may just live in Paradise.

"Contigo A La Distancia" por Christina Aguilera

It has always been hard to make a living as an artist, and it is particularly difficult on Oahu, now that so much music is available for free online or courtesy of the many good DJs out there. Many musicians now make more money performing than they do from their recordings, so if there is an artist whose work moves us one of the best ways to show our support is to attend their presentations. Especially for independent artists playing in smaller venues, a supportive audience is one of the most wonderful things a musician can see. And we are so fortunate to have so many good artists musicians on this Island of Oahu.

"Dancing? We may not be there yet, but we are closer
today than we were yesterday."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How About Live Music?

I meet plenty people who want to dance to live music on Oahu. Why? When most of us social dancers think about music, we think DJ music. Let us face it, they do pretty good in their presentations on Oahu. They have the latest and most current stuff out there. And we are accustomed to listening to music while traveling from one place to another? On every bus on Oahu, you can see several people with earbuds to their ears

“We are going to die, sooner or later, whether or not we have even spoken
for ourselves. Our silences have not protected us. Your silences will
not protect you .... What are the words you do not yet have?


But most of us know that music doesn’t come out of a machine, a cloud, or a search engine. People make music, and it takes a lot of energy, dedication, and commitment. If you rarely see live music, it is easy to forget how much work goes into that killer beat, sweet riff, or catchy melody. Go to a live performance in any night club and get close enough to see the passion, energy, and yes, sweat, that goes into making music. You will definitely walk away with a deeper appreciation for what musicians do. If you are dancing to it, no need explain the many benefits.

"What are the Oldies but Goodies?"




"Fly Me To The Moon" by Jimmy Borges

Unfortunately, many of the performances of live music are for the listening pleasure of the audience. That is somewhat different than the people that want to move to their favorite rhythms. Even some listeners can feel the need to move to the music. You can see young kids that have not learned to control their bodies good enough to keep from moving to the music coming into their ears.

“Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Time

 By Steven Kirishima,  Nanakuli
 
Though even thinking on the subject of time may prove discomforting, it is not a bad idea — especially now when we are well into the new year. On Oahu, as we look back into 2015 we look at a block of time. We see 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. And all of it is a gift from God. We have done nothing to deserve it, earn it, or purchased it. Like the air we breathe, time comes to us as a part of life.


“We may be like all dreamers and confuse disenchantment with truth.”


The gift of time is not ours alone on Oahu. It is given equally to each person, rich and poor, educated and ignorant, strong and weak — every man, woman and child has the same twenty-four hours every day. And another important thing about time is that you cannot stop it. There is no way to slow it down, turn it off, or adjust it. Time marches on.

"I Am Walking Behind You" by Eddie Fisher

And you cannot bring back time. Once it is gone, it is gone. Yesterday is lost forever. If yesterday is lost, tomorrow is uncertain. We may look ahead at a full year’s block of time, but we really have no guarantee that we will experience any of it.Obviously, time is one of our most precious possessions. We can waste it. We can worry over it. We can spend it on ourselves. Or, as good stewards, we can invest it in helping the people around us.

"Tiny Bubbles" by Don Ho

This year is full of time. As the seconds tick away, will you be tossing time out the window, or will you make every minute count? Yes, on Oahu, we are still trying to make contact with information contributors.

Friday, March 18, 2016

African Myth

In Argentina the only blacks slaves that witnessed the high class Spanish Argentine's dance were the house servants. A favorite dance was the Andulasian Tango which had no resemblance at all to the Milonga that was danced by the poor in those days. It was prominent with the upper classes in the beginning of the 1800s and fizzled out about 40 years later.

"All truths are easy to understand, once they are discovered;
the point is to discover them."


"Nostalgia" por Placido Domingo

The myth established by some, is a painting dated 1832 and entitled "El Tango de los Negros." Proof that the Negros were dancing Tango before the whites. It was a nice picture of a bunch of blacks having a great time dancing. But the title will tell you more if you look for it. And it was not Tango that they were dancing. It was not even the Andalusian Tango, it was the Negro version of the Andalusian Tango that the blacks were dancing.


"La Media Luz" por Julio Iglesias

But the poor whites, mestizos and Indians were not dancing the tango at the time. They were dancing the Milonga which was renamed Tango late in the century and even then carried for a couple decades as Milonga-Tango. Some have expanded the myth to include the word Tango and that it also comes from Africa and it means bla bla bla. Yeah, right.

“Dance may be the oldest, noblest and most elegant of the arts. It may be the
most perfect symbol of religion. It may be that true education in the art
 of dance is education of the whole person.”


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Music That Is Alive

El Palacio de Bellas Artes  Mexico City
(The Palace of Beautiful Arts)


This breathtaking building was completed in 1934 and has been the most important center for fine arts in the country ever since, with much influence on the entire Latin World. The main hall boasts works of art such as the crystal curtain with an image of the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes, and a beautiful crystal chandelier. The National Opera Company and the National Symphonic Orchestra hold their season performances here.

"La Golondrina" por Placido Domingo


We, in Hawaii can never aspire to such heights of these musical arts, but we can certainly understand their appreciation of  the beautiful  music produced by a live orchestra. And we can certainly have a place on Oahu where we can lay down some leather to some nice Latin music on a nice dance floor. For sure we will dance Latin Waltz, Rumba and Cha Cha Cha. Those are a must.


Social Dancers are increasing all over the Islands. However there are too many different dances. When social dancers go out, they are mainly interested in moving to their favorite music. There are many dancers on this  island of Oahu that are aware of the total portion of their dancing is Latin dancing to Latin music. And there are many good dancers that are aware of the similarities of the steps in the different dances  Ever do a cross body lead in a Waltz?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

How about the Chassé?

By Daryl Chong, Waikele:

I agree that we must have definition to know what we are about. Dancing to music is pretty much like walking, except that with dancing you can let the body and the rest of it move according to the way the music, "moves" you. So slow and quick steps do not have to be explained to anyone interested in a cultural dance on Oahu.

"Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant.
There is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks."


From there you really have only two very very basic movements.  The Rock Step and the Chassé are basic, basic. The Rock step has already been covered in several blogs but I would like to put in few words for the Chassé. It also has six different normal basic dance moves. And like everything else in Cultural dance, there are variations, in Brazil perhaps only a dozen or so. But in Brazil most people dance Basic only, divided into basic basic and intermediate basic and anything more is for the Professionals.

"I'll Remember You" by Don Ho


"Native Child" by Amy Hanaialii

In International there is only one way, the prescribed way, anything else is "incorrect." The Chassé has been formally defined as moving the leading foot followed by stepping with the other foot that stays behind, then stepping forward again with the leading foot. The distinguishing characteristic being that the lead foot stays in the lead.


"Lonely Summers" by Carol Kai

So in the first move the leader moves his left foot forward and puts full weight on it. He brings up his right foot behind the left foot and puts full weight on it. Then he steps forward again with his left foot to complete the Chassé. How they move their knees, hips, body, shoulders and head are all up to the dancers and how they feel the music, We are talking music aren't we?.


"Warehouse Blues" by Willie K

In the second half he goes back and repeats the action. This is the basic, basic and can be repeated and varied to your heart's content. How about a left turn or a right turn. The degrees of direction may be off depending on how the lead interprets the music. The moves can even be curved left or right. He can even lead the lady in a left turn or right turn without even touching her. The ladies are a marvel at following.

If you learn the right rhythm by dancing it to any kind of music you wish to dance it to. You will know your Chassé and no one, on Oahu, can tell you how to dance it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Filipino DI

The "Dance Instructor" has been with us on Oahu all these years but under different names and not just Filipino. In Waikiki, they have been known (from the Beach Boy days) as Gigolos, Play For Pay Partners and Dally For Dough Daddies.

"A lie can travel twice around the ballroom before the truth
can even get up the stairs."

Most involved with the dance clubs have referred to themselves as "semi-professional." But as has been pointed out on several occasions by an experienced professional, "There are no "semi-professionals." You do for money or you don't.

Lately it has become more readily acceptable as carried over from the Philippines even though it has been here for decades. For some wealthy women in the Philippines, ballroom dancing has risen from a mere social pastime to being almost a way of sustaining life. They love it. The phenomenon had been chronicled in Baya-rang Puso (Heart for Hire), a blockbuster film from the 1990s showing to packed houses.

"Dahil Sa Yo" by Cora and Santos Beloy

Afternoon-tea gatherings of the bluebloods of Manila society, known as the "Sparklers," are rich with gossip about the ballroom scene. Which matron has fallen in love with which DI? Which one has bought her DI a new car? Sometimes it is just gossip. Sometimes the ballroom has clearly led to the bedroom. Says a known dance regular: "You can always tell who's having an affair. It's in their eyes and in the way they dance."

"Mi Amor Para Siempre" by Julio Iglesias

Some are shocked, but not newspaper columnist Barbara "Tweetums" Gonzales. "I'd rather have my mother dancing the night away with her DI and having the time of her life than wasting away on her lonesome," she said.

Nearly all Manila hotels offer ballroom dancing, but only one, the Heritage, combines high tea and twirls. Also available there are female DIs. "Men want to dance too," says Geena Zablan, an executive at the hotel. "We have an increasing number of men coming in."


"Adoro" por Armando Manzanero

The Heritage's DIs are paid a regular salary. On top of that are the "hire charges" -- up to about $60 for an evening -- and tips. "You also have to feed him or her and provide drinks," says Zablan. "Like someone who drives for you, you feed your DI because they provide a service."

It seems to be staying in town and does not seem to be moving to West Oahu? Why?


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Holding On Nicely

This Oahu dance blog has remained very nicely right about where the old one, "Live Music" was. And every one all around us on Oahu seems to be gearing up to a good year 2016. Most of us in the blogs have short attention spans and most of the dance action that we are interested in will occur currently and we are not interested in "Marking our calendars for next year."

"Happiness in your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts."


Receive this a little late but all of us are still learning. The Waialua Carnival
Waialua High School, March 4 from 6-10 p.m., March 5 from noon-10 p.m. and March 6 from noon-6 p.m., free. Enjoy EK Fernandez rides and games, live entertainment from Culture Nation, Na Wai Ho‘olu‘u O Ke ‘Anuenue, Rodney Lopez, Pineapple Squeeze, Cover 5 and more, plus food, games and fun. (waialuacarnival.org)


"Adoro" por Armando Manzanero

Would be Paradise, living on the North Shore if there was some place nearby where you could work. But going all the way to Honolulu, Auwe. Some lucky ones can be home in 20 minutes. Now that is living in Paradise. Perhaps someday, we can all hope for the best. Anybody got something to say to da folks, Dis Da Place.


With just a few of these we coulda had it made in the shade. One tenth the
cost of the Rail Catastrophe and ten times more efficient. But we know,
It was the bread, Fred. Millions and millions of dollars in profits.

"The Following Sea" by Don Ho

The Shorelines of Hawaii, are the best attraction for living in Paradise, but the money is in the big cities and they want more. Keep the country, country was for the benefit of the very rich in Hawaii not the ordinary law abiding citizens. On the North Shore it means less money for schools, streets and no sidewalks. Definitely no shoe stores and no place nearby to work. The residents could live, work and play in their own kuleana without kissing okele in Honolulu. That would be Paradise.

"The only dancer you should compare yourself to, is the one you use to be."

Still In Question

Steady as she goes but this blog is still at the bottom of our blogs on Oahu. Comfortably in double digit average hits per day but with only me and my SOS. Think of what could develop if we had one good steady information contributor. Wow, we would have more live music data to share and the hits would go through the ceiling.

"On Oahu, by doubting we can be led to question,
and by questioning we may arrive at the truth."

Fortunately the dancers that love to dance to live music on Oahu, are getting to recognize the basic steps in Social Dancing. Sure.they learn tricks and fancy moves but those are not for everyone. I am even seeing more choreographed basic moves in the Mariachi Bands. The Rock Step and the Chassé, especially now that more dancers are coming into all Latin Music. Anybody ever dance a Latin Waltz?

"Morir Por Tu Amor" por Xavier Solis

For sure there will be a Mariachi group forming this year. The normal for years when only as a concert, was four guitars,four violins and four trumpets for a total of about12 people in the band. Later on they found it easier to have three of each. Less Cost but still big crowds to appreciate the music style and they could play anything. Rumba, Cha, Cha Cha etc.

"Cuando Eschuces Este Valse" por Vicente Fermandez 


Then in this century, there are more bands and they have come down to two guitars, two violins and two trumpets and they are playing more danceable Latin music. They may be the first group to play strictly Latin for a dancing audience on Oahu. Latin Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Samba and Tango. Times, they are a changing.

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never
do any harm to the world.”  ― Voltaire