Thursday, January 18, 2018

It is a New Year

This blog is having a hard time and all because the title is in Spanish. So what the hell do I know? Even the search engines are not sure if they should search it. So I must find a new name for this blog that covers Latin Music and Dance on the Island of Oahu. Any suggestions can use the comments section at the end of the blog or they can email me.

“Social dancers know that we have many teachers of dance on Oahu
that think that to be inspired is great - but to inspire is an honor.”

Rumba: The oldest of the standard Latin dances and remains on solid ground. It is an old standby, with a basic Mestizo style and heavy American influence omitting the basic box step. The bad, is that in the Arthur Murray School of American Style of dance, the box basic is slow, quick, quick. In the Fred Astaire Schools it is quick, quick, slow utilizing the same box step. The sexiest dance in existence without any groping or outlandish sexual overtones.

"How High The Moon" by Les Paul and Mary Ford.

Latin Waltz: An old standby for most of the world. Not the one that takes an acre of ground of course. American, Country and Latin styles are just fine. The music will last forever and in Latin America they make full use of the Rock step and the Chassé. And of the 10,000 waltzes that have been written, there are least 500 hundred, that are just the most beautiful music in existence. They will be danced over and over again in sheer joy for hundreds of years to come.

“Some but not all, social dancers sing, dance and flow on the wind. They may be one with it. they are nothing and everything - void and expanse. Even space and time does not
confine or define them. For they are pure energy itself.”

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Latin Scene

I cannot get around much anymore, I am on a walker but I do get some exercise. And this blog is not doing so good because I do not have enough information to share with our fellow readers. Bachata seems to be well in front especially with the younger crowd. Salsa staying nice and steady. Tango has always been out on its own terms. I am not aware of any other Latin specialties.

“Social dancers believe that in this life, they will dance
and sing their song until the party ends.”

The rest of the Latin is still firmly in the "Ballroom Dance" sector and doing very well indeed. Rumba leads and we have some of the best Rumba dancers in Hawaii, right here on Oahu. Cha Cha Cha is close behind and it is a dance that will be with us forever. From there, it gets a little hazy. Samba has always been there because of the music, however the Teachers at the time thought it was cute to have many basics instead of the usual one. Merengue and Bossa Nova remain as favorites of mine,

"Begin The Beguine" By Artie Shaw

There are enough popular Latin dances on Oahu to make a Latin night club here as in the mainland, Latin music and dance only. Of course, they also have Latin Waltz. And what in the hell is that? They do dance it to an even step as in the "modern" countries but they also dance the three count with a Rock Step and a Chassé from the old Indian style. You thought that was only on Cha Cha Cha?

"How do you make a tissue dance? -- Put a little boogie in it."

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Latin Night Club

It has been slow going but I am not in any hurry. Patience and I am meeting more people that understand a Latin Night Club scene. All I can do is help and most of it is out there already. I cannot get around much anymore just casually but I can go just about any place where I can blog'em. I am limited from enjoying my trips to Night Clubs and I wish to avoid paying. It is not the money, I just want to be sure that they understand that I am not making any money on their good looks, talent and good fortune.

"Social dancers believe that dancing is like taking a mini vacation
from the stress of everyday life."

And I am waiting for the another dance group in West Oahu. Age makes a difference and eventually we will have three. The young, the adults and the elders. Of course there will be a large overlap. The music seems to be already there. Waltz, Foxtrot, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Swing, and Tango. This for the adult and elder tourists with a good part of the locals joining them. So in Latin Dancing the first one to be eliminated will be the Fox Trot. All the others fit in very nicely to make a base. And none of them are fads, so they will probably continue well on into the end of this century.

"Maria Elena" By Jimmy Dorsey 

Latin dancing will not happen overnight. There must be a good sized dance floor. Most Latin dances are spot dances but the dance floor must accommodate more people. This will gradually eliminate the fad dances for the young and they will surely dance in their own places. The Mestizo dancers on the dance floors of Mestizo clubs will be in the Adult and Elderly groups and dancing what will still be on the agenda twenty or thirty years down the road. And everyone will get better every time and enjoy it more.

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, January 6, 2018

How about Salsa?

By Aristides Raul Garcia, also known as El Intruso
New York.

Salsa? Who Knows? In the late 60s in New York, people just got into it and learned to dance, (street dancers?) without going to lessons. Many people still learn to dance like that, some of them on the "2", some on the "3", and others (fewer) both ways. In any case, in New York, if you really want to mingle you have to make some adjustments. Somebody has to. It is usually the man who has to adjust to the lady. Or you tell the lady that you really would like to dance with her, but that you dance different and find it difficult, or impossible, to adjust. She will probably give it a try at adjusting to the leading man’s ways.

"Social dancers realized how full they feel when surrounded
by good music and dancing with pure joy.”

That is the way it is in New York. Once you dance outside the few places where the dance studio crowd hangs out, you are on your own; you enter the real world of social interaction; no more "lets practice the CBL with the triple combo with side kick and double time shuffle". Or the "the double underarm sniff con tres vueltas en un pie" In the outer fringes, it is "Social Basics Level One". And I still meet people that will tell me how it "should" be done. Yeah, Man.

"Oye Como Va" por Azucar Moreno

Was Mambo "the original dance"? Is there anything preceding the Mambo that we can associate Salsa with? Did people in Latin America, or to be more specific, from the Afro/Spanish Caribbean, dance anything similar to Salsa? Man, the list is so long that I really don’t know where to start. There was of course the Son, the Danzon, the Guaracha, the Son Montuno, the ChaChaCha, the Guarapachanga, the Charanga, the Bolero, the Cumbia, there was also an array of 6/8 rhythms and dances such as the Mangulina, the Colombian Merengue, the Joropo. I mention these 6/8 dances because they were executed much the same way as Salsa.

"Social dancers believe that they must dance while they still can.”

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

La Bossa Nova

By Roberto Quinlan, Pearl City.
Bossa Nova as a social movement began in the late 1950s among a group of musicians in the richest areas of Rio de Janeiro’s south zone. The musicians involved, most famously João Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Morães, took the basic poly rhythmic elements of urban samba and transformed them into a sweeter Indian sound with a cosmopolitan perspective that matched the overall mood of the period. At the time, the upper classes in Brazil were experiencing a rush of optimism as President Juscelino Kubitschek took on a series of Federal projects to develop the country in a very brief period of time.

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

The most obvious results were the construction of a new national capitol city in Brasilia and the opening of Brazil’s first national auto-plant. Optimism was palpable in the music. Bossa Nova was literally born from late-night jam sessions where people would experiment with new approaches culled from an eclectic array of influences. In additional to home-grown musical forms, these influences ranged from West Coast “Cool” jazz from the U.S. to non-teleological harmonies drawn from French impressionism.

"Blame It On The Bossa Nova by Edyie Gorme.

Recordings were made to cut across those social divisions for mass-market appeal. For this reason, the sounds of the music as recorded or practiced by musicians are as important as the performance and spectatorship of the Bossa Nova dance. This explains the rapid spread of the Bossa Nova as dance throughout U.S. popular culture, especially as expressed in print media, recordings, and television programs. Bossa Nova’s transformation into a social dance in the U.S. is crucial to its international history, but it had an established social context long before all of that dancing.

Then what happened? It is still one of the most beautiful packages of music and dance in existence.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Latin Dance.

It is looking better all the time even though many things will continue to change as it has happened for ages. Bachata is the newcomer that has made its way into our social dance. It is heavy in the Salsa scene and doing very good in the Social scene. Nice to hear it out at the Halemano Plantation by DJ Leland and danced by so many people. Wahiawa Ballroom Dance Club is not holding back.

"When you judge another person, you do not define them, you define yourself."

Salsa is doing just fine, but Mambo is still there. I always liked the Mambo music and the Mambo beat. I find Merengue interesting because the footwork is very steady and firm for me. I have Vertigo and I may lose my balance and fall. Not so dangerous anymore, now that I wear a  helmet. And I am certainly glad that Rumba is still here and we have some of the best Rumba dancers in the Pacific right here on this Island.

"Vaya Con Dios" by Les Paul and Mary Ford

Cha Cha Cha will be with us for the rest of this century for sure. Samba has been goofed up since they introduced so many basics to it, the music is moving. And the Bossa Nova was never given a good chance. I still love the music. And of course, Tango. And the only confusion is that there are so many versions. On Oahu, we have the American, the Argentine,  the International and the Filipino. Nice to see so many dancing the Filipino Tango at the socials of Wahiawa Ballroom Dance Club.

"Should you ever find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, smallness or insecurities, remember it could be worse - you could be them."


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Latin Rumba

In my day, many, many years ago, there was a beautiful rumba-bolero, named "La Sombra de tu Amor." This may have been way back in the late 60s. When I got to the States the lyrics had been changed to English and the title was just a little different. Should have been the "Shadow of your Love," but they made it the "Shadow of your Smile." At first I figured Americans can screw things up, but this was a duet. Lucky two of my favorite singers, Tony Bennett and Juanes from Columbia made the first one, it came out perfect and I liked it. This the only record of Tony Bennett ever singing in Spanish.

"For social dancers, music is an expression of individuality and how they
see the world, interpret it and move to the music to express it"

Most beautiful Latin songs that were very popular in Latin America have been imported to the US, made new lyrics in English and usually become hits. They have been coming up to the States for decades. Then this beautiful American song in English (You're My Everything) went to Mexico, they made new lyrics in Spanish and it was a smash hit in all of Latin America. Music is music and it can go both ways.The music was modified from a Foxtrot into a beautiful Rumba Bolero. This was introduce in Mexico by the famous singer Ana Gabriel, one the best and a favorite of mine.

"Eres Todo En Mi" por Ana Gabriel

Ana Gabriel
Ana Gabriel's grandfather was born in China about the 1900s. He was an oddball in his community because in his preteens he could see that there was no way out of that life.  He managed to escaped from his plantation home in China in his teens to a job as cabin boy on a boat traveling the Pacific. The Philippines nice but plantation work was a no no. Hawaii nice but no. San Francisco looked very nice. And Los Angeles seemed to be nicer. But they had one more stop in Mexico. He would make his decision on the way back.

"Mi Talisman" por Ana Gabriel

In Mexico they met some Chinese that spoke the same kind of Chinese as him and they had a "Car." And they told him that the Revolution was just over in Mexico and everybody was going to make money. This was it. They got him a job in a Chinese Restaurant working 12 hours per day but he got his three meals a day. He did not know how to read and write  Chinese very well, but now he learned how to speak, read and write in Spanish with a vengeance. He wanted to spend the rest of life there.

"Historia De Un Amor" por Ana Gabriel

He was soon one of boys among Mexicans of many descents. And he eventually married a local girl and him and his wife became partners in everything they did. They acquired a lot with a shack through his restaurant friends and they proceeded to make it into a home. They had several children and one of his daughters married a middle class man and their first born was Ana Gabriel. 

"Destino" por Ana Gabriel

Geographically, Latin music usually refers to the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of Latin America and territories of the Caribbean. It also encompasses Latin American styles that have originated in the United States such as salsa and Tejano. The origins of Latin American music can be traced back to the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the Americas in the 1500s, when the European low class and sailors became interested in the Indian music and dance and throughout the centuries a few changes have been made.

"We had a good year. If people are not thankful for what they got, they are not
likely to be thankful for what they are going to get."