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?