Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rumba, Japan

The rumba dance forms originated throughout the Caribbean and the dance that was exported to the US and Europe was from Cuban cultures. They have been popular since the 1930s and there is more than one type of rumba, the most common in the social dance scene in Japan being the “American Style Rumba.” This sensual and romantic Latin dance is not too difficult for beginners to learn because they have good Instructors.

"A lie can go around the ballroom a couple times before
the truth can get up the stairs."

The Latin Music sound in Japan has been around since the fifties, but it has been more to the specialty class as fans and not very public. Can you believe, large groups of fans of the Bossa Nova in Tokyo? To date, Latin Rumba has never been adequately defined anywhere, Only as it is danced according to styles or the country where it is danced. I personally like the American with the alternative basic instead of the box step. And I have seen much of it in night clubs on Oahu.

"El Reloj" por Luis Miguel

Generally, the International style is also danced in Japan and other parts of Asia. Also, this form uses slightly slower music. Additionally, it uses a side motion followed by a breaking action. Furthermore, the International style is more staccato than the American style and is preferred for dance sport. The dance world will establish a better definition of Rumba in another decade. The frame for Rumba is more relaxed than any other of the ballroom dances. Also, the American style uses a Cuban hip motion. Alternately, the International style uses a Latin hip motion. What is the difference?

"Adoro" por Graciela Susana

Latin street dancers use the figure eight hip motion. How you figure? The American ballroom style basic is Arthur Murray, slow, quick, quick, or Fred Astaire, quick, quick, slow. The alternative is the rock step and a slow step, similar to the International. The rumba is a medium tempo dance with a smooth sound, and is distinguished by its sensual rhythmic percussion. In contrast, the mambo and cha cha have faster tempos and are more energetic. And the cha cha uses a staccato type action or movement.

"Social Dancers know that no matter how badly people treat you - you must never drop down to their level - you can just walk away, because you are better than that."

Friday, June 16, 2017

Chilean Music And Dance

Many musical genres are not so native to Chile; one of the most popular was the Chilean Romantic Cumbia and the Nueva Canción originated in the 1960s and 1970s and spread in popularity until the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, when, Trump Style, most musicians were arrested, killed or exiled. This music was based on the very popular Rumba - Bolero form from the Caribbean and Mexico. And the dancing contains the basic moves that originated from the Inca Empire in Peru.

"Social Dancers do not dance because they want to,
they dance because they need to."

In Central Chile, several styles can be found: the Cueca (the national dance), and the Vals, almost as popular as the Vals in Peru. In the Norte Grande region traditional music resembles the music of southern Perú and western Bolivia, and is known as Andean music. This music, which reflects the spirit of the indigenous people of the Altiplano, was an inspiration for the Nueva Canción. The even step is the same in any language. The rock step is not much different in any country.

"Time After Time" by Placido Domingo 

Then there is the famous Viña Del Mar, a coastal resort city northwest of Santiago, Chile. It’s known for its gardens, beaches and high-rise buildings. Quinta Vergara Park is home to the Quinta Vergara Amphitheater and the annual Viña Del Mar International Song Festival. It is now so internationally well known that it has had a very big influence the Chilean music of this century. In fact this is even more so in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. The net result is the southern part of South American is coming to a world wide forefront in standardizing the best in Latin music.

"Social Dancers know that it is good to have an end to journey toward;
but it is the journey towards that end that matters."


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Brazil Music

By Robert Chun, Lahaina
Some of the most beautiful music and beautiful simple chassé movements in Brazil developed very nicely in the late 1800s. Three very distinct Sambas and all with a two count chassé. Northern Brazil, the Indians and Mestizos along the Amazon had something pretty nice and Southern Brazil Indians and Mestizos had another and slightly different. The dancers were not experts but could really enjoy moving to the good music. There was third one in the large area in and around Rio De Janeiro, danced by the Blacks that had been newly freed. And all three were named Samba.

"Social Dancers believe that every time we dance,
we turn into a better version of ourselves."

Samba came into the industrial world just before WWII. It went to hell for dancing in the Dance Studio style of social dancing and screwed up by the Gr-e-at teachers of dance in the US and England adding and adding. Can you believe four different basic steps in each dance? Some even had five and it was promoted by the professionals for the rest of the century.  Years later, in the 50s came in the Bossa Nova based on another very basic Indian rhythm and still one of the most beautiful sounds in our musical world. Both very much appreciated in Europe and the Orient with much simpler dance movements.

 "Chica, Chica, Boom, Chic" by Carmen Miranda

Bossa Nova was higher class and indeed, Bossa Nova songs often spoke of love, the beach, and beautiful women but the music flows nicely and smoothly. The rhythm follows a nice beat mainly around 60-90 bpm depending on the song. Very easy to dance with a partner – in the style of slow dancing with a little flair added in, the pleasant piano and brushed drum with the muted horn.  Some will add some strings to the back layer to expound on the depth. The music gives the listener a sense of laid back relaxation. Just enough of an upbeat to keep the listener interested but not overpowering to take over the foreground of a setting.

"Girl From Ipanema" by Astrud Gilberto

"Fly Me To The Moon" is an American song, but nicely played by Lisa Ono in Bossa Nova style. I have the song video, Lisa singing in English in Tokyo, Japan. There is nothing in the world that can beat that. Anyone music fan will long remember that one.

Friday, June 9, 2017

South America

There were approximately five million inhabitants of South America when the first illegal aliens arrived.  Their music and dance was very varied and most of the higher class music and dance was centered in the rather new Inca empire in Peru. For the first hundred years, there was little direct Spanish influence in the native music and dance though many changes were made by the Indians themselves as they became more integrated with the Spanish culture.

"Social Dancers know that they can rise, simply by lifting others."

Most music and dance throughout the US comes from the Caribbean simply because it was promoted from the most peaceful of the areas in Latin America. Mexican music is much too diverse and even in the US played and danced differently in California and Texas. From South America it is relatively new and somewhat sporadic in the last century.

"Adoro" por Placido Domingo

South America has a very large and diverse Indian music and dance spectrum and some dances in the big cities have become very popular. The lyrics are in Spanish and Quechua. The songs have various subjects like earth, seasons, harvest time, love, family, children, and stars. The instruments used in South American music are pan pipes, flutes, rattles, guitar, a native guitar-charango and the drum.

"Sabor A Mi" por Luis Miguel

Valses (waltzes) thought to have a European origin have emerged in a unique manner in Peru. The three count from the Incas could also be danced with a Rock Step and a Chassé. The famous Salsa music and dance is an acquired cultural characteristic of Peru. Other popular South American dances and dance music include the Samba and the Bossa Nova from Brazil.

"Social Dancers are convinced that every time they dance,
they turn into a better version of themselves." 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What is Latin?

Latin music and dance is spreading out slowly on all the islands. Led by Bachata and Salsa as peripherals, not in the regular course of social dancing and preferred by the younger dancers. The more experienced dancers still go for Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Merengue and Tango. Tango may be dance socially in the American style, International and even the Filipino. Why not?

"Social Dancers are amazing, they can do anything - positivity is a choice,
they celebrate their individuality and have fun on the dance floor."

The Latin waltz has never been acknowledged in Hawaii though many Latin waltzes have been played but never recognized as such. The dancing is to the three count, naturally but they use the rock step and a chassé too. A common dance movement in all of Latin America. That is why it was so easy to morph the slow Mambo (rock step and slow step) into the Cha Cha Cha, a rock step and a chassé. Also used in a least a thousand other dances in Latin America.

If there is one place many of us dread to go, it is the dentist’s chair. The sight of a large needle being injected into tender gums can bring tears to the eyes of even the most red-blooded person. Fears about the dreaded needle, as well as the sight and sound of the high-pitched drill are enough for many to avoid the dentist until we are in considerable pain ourselves. Recent advances in dentistry, however, along with age old relaxation techniques have gone a long way toward riding people of their needle phobia with the result that many patients are now leaving dental clinics without little or no pain whatsoever. However in Hawaii these dentists are still hard to find, they just don't care.

"Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth."

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mariachis Anyone?

The first Mariachi Mass was the concept of a Canadian priest, Father Juan Marco Leclerc, and has been celebrated in Cuernavaca since 1966. It originally took place in a small chapel, but news of it spread so rapidly, and the crowds grew so large, that the regular Sunday Mariachi Mass had be moved to the Cathedral of Cuernavaca. It is now frequently performed throughout Mexico, and In many areas in the United States where people of Mexican origin live.

"Dance to feel good, dance to feel better,
dance to mend a broken heart or just dance."

Mariachis have come a long ways in the 21st century. They are played in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. They are played in  Europe. There no record of any Mariachis in the Islamic countries. But the Americas are being over run from Alaska to Argentina and Chile. Big inroads in the US and not only in Latin sections. Relatively unknown in the entire Pacific Basin.

"Jalisco No Te Rajes" por Jorge Negrete

It is still uncertain as to where the name "mariachi" came from. In Jalisco, where it evolved most heavily it had several names and similar, like the name, Maria H. pronounce Maria Ache, also Marietti, When the French arrived in the 1860s, most of the groups were playing at weddings. The French applied what they thought they heard, and the French word for wedding is "marriage" and pronounced "Mari ahge." It became standardized as the name of the one person or the groups into Mariachi or Mariachis.

"The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music,
and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

South America

Most of the music and dance in the Americas came from the civilizations in Mexico starting from the Olmecs, 4 thousand years ago. They had professional musicians and dancers and thousands of different dances. Much of their musical culture spread south, but of course South America had many people there that enjoyed the activity of music and dance. Much of the music in South America originated in the Andes. The late developing Incas were also a big influence.

"Social dancers know that you don't stop dancing because you
grow old, you grow old because you stopped dancing."

There were approximately ten million inhabitants of the Americas when the first illegal aliens arrived. The Spanish and much later the slaves did not have that much influence on the native music and dance.  The even step, the rock step and the chassé were universal dancing moves. The mixture of the different races was essentially the difference in the developing Latin music and dance.

"Fly Me To The Moon" by Lisa Ono

In South America music makes up the daily lives of the people. There is music for everything such as agricultural labor, building houses, funerals, marketing cattle, sheep and goats etc. There are also a number of traditional dances and traditional dance songs in South America. The region in and around Andes including the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile have a diverse range of musical traditions. Does anyone in this world think there is something strange about dancing?

"Social dancers know that if you dance from your heart and love your music,
your body and feet will follow all the way."