Friday, August 18, 2017

Social Dancing

By Sandy Biermiest, Nanakuli
Whether we know it or not, most of us have already participated in some form of social dance. And it can be anyplace on Oahu. Gas Stations, malls, house parties, school cafeterias, district parks, community centers and night clubs. Although there are some kinds of social dance that require training, in this kind of dance, sociability is the main focus of the dancing and we are going to party.  Many us can remember at least one awkward partnered dance in our teens. But, social dancing isn't just for high school kids, and, fret not, for the under 30 it's going to be a lot more fun than your first slow dance.

"Social Dancers know that we cannot always choose the music life plays for us,
but we can choose how we dance to it."

Social dance is a major category in the classification of dance styles. Many social dances are partner dances. And as you end your teen years, you will see a large amount of choices, and you will go with the gang. The different types of social dance on Oahu include Bachata, Ballroom dance, Contra dance, Country-Western dance, Folk dance, House dance, Salsa, Samba, Square dance, Street dance, Swing dance and Tango.

"Fly Me To The Moon" by Jimmy Borges

You will find that at about age 30 you will seek your very clear preferences. And usually it will be some variation of Ballroom dancing. Simple for the fact that the man leads and the lady follows. If they can understand each other on the dance floor it is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. This limitation is not for the Real Ballroom Dancers. For them, with the right partner, the more complicated moves, the better dancers they are. And it is hard to argue against that. Social Dancers apply the KISS method, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Above all enjoy moving to the beautiful music.

"Morning Dew" by Melveen Leed

The Party is simple. You meet several of your good friends which instantly makes the affair Social. You check the music and most the time it is perfect. You drink something, short pleasant conversation and you dance. You stop by or friends stop by and exchange more pleasantries. And you dance and you eat and you drink and you dance. Photos are usually taken but most are for private albums. The night flies, - but you had a good time and you can consider yourself fortunate.

 "Social Dancers know that what you can accomplish with a nice partner
 will always be greater than what you can accomplish alone."

Monday, August 14, 2017

Latin? Wot?

The term "Latin dance" may be used in two different ways: to denote dances that originated in Latin America and to name a category of Prescribed Ballroom Dances by the International or by the American style. The International includes Paso Doble and Jive in its Latin but they are not Latin dances. The American includes the swing in their "Rhythm" division, which has the Latin dances. The Mayan Indian Civilization had over 3000 separate dances to separate music. And most of the popular modern dances were developed from the original movements in these ancient dances.

“For the Social Dancer there are many important moments in movement. They want to make those movements to the music, important, vital, and worth living.”

In Latin America the dance that seems to be standardizing is the Latin Waltz. Not only with the Even step but also with a rock step or a chassé. In fact many of the waltzes in Latin America are danced only with a rock step and a chassé. A three count measure, Indian style. The second is an American style Rumba with rock step and a slow step as basic. The Cha Cha Cha in third place, with a rock step and a chassé, can be led and followed just about anyway as long as you do the very basic. Fancy stuff is for OP. (other people.)

"Sabor A Mi" por Luis Miguel

We are talking very basic movements from these ancient civilizations that had professional musicians and professional dancers. These dances are now performed all over the world as Latin-American dances in international DanceSport competitions and are acclaimed for their artistry. They are as well being danced socially but only as practice. A discipline requires practice, practice and a little more practice. Not until they get it right but until they cannot get it wrong. In night clubs most leaders use the KISS method. Keep it simple, stupid - and enjoy the music.

"Social Dancers realize that we can move much more gracefully
than human beings really move when we dance."

Friday, August 11, 2017


Mestizo is a term that has been used in Latin America and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent. In the Casta system, the highest being the European born persons called "Peninsular", and "Criollos" a bit lower, who were persons born in the New World of two European-born parents. The Mestizos were in the middle, higher than the Indians and the Negros who were at the bottom.

"Social Dancers lead with their hearts, release their feelings and tear down walls."

Mestizos were not accepted in European society and were accepted somewhat reluctantly in the Indian communities. However with the establishment of towns and cities, they quickly became the majority in much of what is today Latin America. The word mestizo later on acquired its current double meaning of mixed cultural heritage and actual racial descent. And since they are overwhelmingly in the majority they enjoy it.

"Adoro" por Graciela Susana

Saturday Night at the Banzai Sushi Bar in Haleiwa
For us we can establish the type of dancing that we inherited from these people as Mestizo dancing because of the erroneous assumption that it is from Africa. Many changes ocurred with influence from the Europeans and Africans. But it was not from Europe or Africa. It as definitely from those that were born and raised after several generations in the Americas. Mestizo dancing was always at the bottom of the totem pole and did not begin to emerge until the end of the 19th century.

"A different world cannot be built by indifferent people."

Monday, August 7, 2017

Where in hell is Waipahu?

Just went through two very beautiful days in my short but merry life. Friday evening was at the shindig of Wahiawa Ballroom Dance Club at the Wahiawa Recreation Center.  I got so many photos I made three nine photo collages. So many nice people, such good music and terrific food. And I thank Maile for the Onolicous food she packed for me.The Handi Van (bless them) took me there and brought me back.

Then on Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend a very nice gathering of dancers at the Dance Appeal Studio in Waipahu.  Forgot to call the Handi Van but the bus is still pretty nice if I am careful. First time for me but I saw many old friends and made some new ones. Can't go wrong with that. Marie has already dubbed it the "Jewel of West Oahu" and she couldn't be more right. West Oahu has been waiting for this.

I had to put the photo of the door which is not very inviting. But that is just fine,
keeps out the rif raf.  And then those that are with it, open the door and
find these very nice reception ladies. Hey, you are in.

Marie emailed me so many beautiful pictures of the occasion at the Dance Appeals Studio that I made the blog Platinum Horseshoe based strictly on her photos. The hits are going to go through the roof. Now, I have some left over and then I have a few of my own. So I thought I would spread the word into this blog. We are one super dance group on this island of Oahu. We don't have to talk stink about anyone, we can just be happy with what we got.

Whatever is happening in the West, much has to do with Rail Disaster. We in the West do not have to go downtown to dance. Second City means nothing to the Present Rail Party. In second city you could live, work and play in your own kuleana. But those people are interested only in the Money. It's the bread Fred. They have conned a lot of people on Oahu. No one knows what happened to first five billion. The prices on Oahu will be the highest in the nation by the end of the year. Yeah, Man, the Rail Catastrophe.

"Social Dancers know that good things come to those that wait. But good deeds
are rewarded by the Universe and there is no waiting necessary,"

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Age in Social Dancing

Age is still a very important factor in Social Dancing on Oahu. The music has tried to be fair to all but it does not turn out that way in practice. For most of us we must realize and accept what the young have establish for decades, "Do not trust anyone over 30" Fine they have made the distinction. Then the elder, more experienced dancers are in a different mold. We are in process on Oahu to make our division somewhere in the over 35 age bracket. By that time the seasoned dancers will be more firmly into full knowledge of the oldies and goodies music and they will enjoying the moving to their favorite music more than making fancy dance moves.

"Social Dancers believe that dance may be the most fundamental of all art forms."

Because of their experience, their conclusions will be more easily acceptable. We can stabilize not only the dances that will be accepted but also the most common moves that are in most dances. The even step is used in most dances throughout the world. Learn the different rhythms to that and you have a good basic. Even steps forward, backward, side wards, right and left turns. Hey, you have variety of moves and you are enjoying your favorite music. This is your reason for being on the dance floor. You want to get a rock step in there? Easy as pie.

"From Here To Eternity" by Englebert Humperdinck

Many social dancers may learn special twists and turns that are taught in regular dance classes according to their syllabus. And most social dancers will be able to lead and follow in these versions. All will be based on the facility with which the steps and patterns can be done. None of this fancy studio stuff where they teach you exhibition type movements and you learn the unleadable. That is fine for what they intend to do but it is not social dancing. The young are destined to be forever experimenting. Don't get in their way. Today, "Salsa," tomorrow "Ketchup." As they get older they will become more stabilized and phase over into our Universal Social Dancing and we can enjoy some of the best music ever created.

"Social Dancers believe that perfection is not possible,
but if we chase perfection we may catch excellence."


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Line Dancing for men

By Mel Casamina, Ewa Beach

Line dancing seems to be moving in the right direction and looking very good compared to let us say 17 years ago. In any case, there is room for more men and those that are into line dancing are really finding it enjoyable. So something is holding men back because they are underrepresented in most line dancing on this island. We must find a way to get more men into Line Dancing, specially the ones who "don't dance." The equality of the genders makes for a better looking dance floor. Men! Start line dancing!

"Social Dancers know that our sins are more easily
remembered than our good deeds, that's life."

Whether you are just a beginner, young or old, you will enjoy the physical benefits of line dancing. You will also enjoy the social aspect of moving to music while you learn basic steps. And while having fun, you will be learning rhythm, timing and developing an ear for the type of music you will be hearing in most Partner Dances.

"Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus

And of course, you will carry over you new found abilities into regular partner dancing. Soon you could be "scootin" around that dance floor, ready for a night on the town. The dance levels are beginner to intermediate. Advance dancers are for exhibitions. You do not need experience in any type of dancing to enjoy this activity.

"Indian Outlaw" by Tim McGraw

Line dancing seems to specialize in people with "two-left feet," while making sure that even advanced dancers have a good time. Of course, you must try to be careful with some groups that may get contamination from the disciplines. As soon as you hear too much of that "toe, toe, heel, toe." stuff, you're dead. Yes, in some clubs, many of the dances and the music are country western, but there are plenty other styles, e.g., ballroom, Latin, Irish, disco, etc. No real rules to stop you from having fun. That is why line dancing has become part and parcel of social dancing.

"Social Dancers know that they must never condemn someone based on what
somebody tells them. There is always a lot more to the story than is told."


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Wrong Again?

Screwing up in dancing is just part of dancing like it is part of life. It happens to everyone in all kinds of dancing. But there are some of  us who make the effort to correct our faults and we are the ones that will see significant gains and improvement in our dancing. Follows who ignore their mistakes fall behind as they end up repeating and making those same mistakes over and over again, consequently there is no dance growth, so if you miss a clear lead, ask yourself, "What did I do wrong, or what should I have done to make it work?"

"Social Dancers don't dance because they are happy, they are happy because they dance."

Ladies who are eager to learn will even tell their leader, "Please do it again!", naturally most leaders will kindly oblige. As a social dancer you don't have to worry if you miss a complex lead and if you are a beginner, forget it. The leader needs to tone down his leads. If you miss a basic lead or core movement however try to make it a point to learn what you did wrong even asking the leader to lead you again the next time you dance with him as this is how you will improve and grow.

"I've Got You Under My Skin" by Jimmy Borges

Some ladies who were new to partner dancing become amazing dancers in less time only because they took lessons regularly.  Also if they also danced once or twice a week with different and stronger leaders and they learned from their mistakes each time they were introduced to a new lead or missed a clear lead. Anything is possible and attainable if you have the desire to learn and want to become better. Watch, study, practice, dance, and you can learn any new dance style. Once a person knows the basics and core movements of any dance, the biggest growth spurt comes from dancing regularly and with a variety of dancers.

"Maui Waltz" by Loyal Garner

Additional information contributed by Marie. Here is the address of the new Dance Appeal Studio: 94-307 Farrington Hwy, in the Waipahu Medical Center Unit A11. (It is across from Max of Manila) Cost of the Social : $15, payable at the door. Price includes light snack, punch & water. There will be a hootin tootin time in Waipahu, that's for sure.

Waipahu has been a little dizzy in this century, but with this Dance Studio there is already a little more stability in the dance scene.

"Social Dancers know that it isn't hard to find injustice in our dance world, but we will
never let injustice smear the many good deeds that do occur everyday."