Wednesday, July 26, 2017


This blog has been intended for those interested in Mestizo (Latin) music and the Latin dances on the island of Oahu. As social dancers we must find a common ground where we can lead and follow in a comfortable fashion. This does not necessarily exclude those that are not Hispanic or those off island. Even then it's not clear who is Hispanic. On this island, Latinos are predominantly Puerto Rican, but the Mexicans are not far behind and the rest of the Latinos will be come, Central American more than any other. So it is getting quite diverse.

“Social dancers know they are living moment to moment and their idea of time is related
to those infinitely short moments when they are on the dance floor moving to their
favorite music and being their superselves.”

Also the Hispanic market is multi-faceted, maybe 95% Mestizo, and the mix verges from the almost all European, to the almost all Indian blood. There are also, Oriental and Negro strains and mixes to make it merrier. In Hawaii, there has been and will be more intermarriage with all the ethnic groups available. Some of us speak English only, some Spanish only and some both languages equally well. Some of us were born in the US and others are foreign born. We span socio-economic classes and shades of brown. Many can and do pass for Haole.

"No Sé Tú" por Luis Miguel

There are two peripheral dance groups, Tango and Salsa. many of which are very good dancers. They are part of a larger group that do not want to be part of the ballroom dance scene simply because of the reputation for "correctness." They abhor the rootzi tootzi attitude and they paint the entire ballroom dance scene with the same paint brush. We are not all the same. There are many more real social dancers that just want to enjoy moving to the music of their choice. Should be quite understandable.

"Social Dancers never explain themselves. Their friends don't need it
and their enemies won't believe it."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Ballroom Dancing

"Ballroom dancing" has referred to traditional partnered dance forms that were done by a couple, often in the embrace of closed dance position ("ballroom dance position"). These include waltz, rumba, swing, tango and salsa. "Ballroom dance" in the past century was an overall umbrella term, covering many developing divisions. Social/ballroom dance forms are important. Many of today's performative dance forms, including ballet and jazz dance, evolved from social dance forms that came first.

"Social Dancers believe that they become in some area an athlete. Practice only means dancing, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.”

The three main worlds of ballroom dance, social, exhibition and competitive, share the same historical roots, similar step vocabulary and music, so the three forms are considered siblings, related by birth. Yes, siblings are known to fight, but they can also be mutually supportive. American Style of dancing has its fans, the ones that love the dance and socialize as people with the common interest. Many of us in the other styles use their current steps and patterns. Latin Dances too?

"Fly Me To The Moon" by Jimmy Borges

I believe those that wish to dance have the perfect right to do as they please. Social Dance based on the American Style is just a little bit different. It also has its fans, the ones that love the music and dance and socialize as people with the common interest. This is morphing into the largest dance group on Oahu. I am a fan and those that wish to dance for the pure joy of moving to music have the right to do as they please. So the question remains intentionally provocative, and is easily answered. All three forms are valid, each enjoyed by their adherents for good reasons. But it's helpful to know how and why they differ from each other.

"To Watch Us Dance Is To Hear Our Hearts Speak." Indian Proverb

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Latin Palace

No, not yet, things are going slowly for Ritmo Mestizo blog, averaging too few hits per day. Town Dancer and Platinum Horseshoe are still leading the parade. The comments and the information contributors will make the decisions and they will give us - the reader/dancers. They should make few commitments and just do it whenever they feel like it. Of course, a few good candid photos of our fellow dancers on Oahu would be icing on the cake.

"Nothing ever built could arise to touch the skies unless someone dreamed that it could,
someone believed that it should and someone willed that it would."

We welcome anyone in our dance environment and they may determine how appropriate they should be. Most of the readers are interested in dancing in all its aspects, dance classes and some Nightclubbing. Some are "not strictly" with us and we should respect their preferences. We have too much other ground on this entire island to cover - over 30 thousand possible dancers. Just heard Placido Domingo singing a beautiful Waltz, "Maria Elena" from his album, "De Mi Alma Latina." So the new Latin Palace will have Latin Waltz, that is for sure.

"I'll Remember You" by Don Ho

Ever dance a Waltz using only the rock step and a chaissé? - With Latin Waltz, Rumba. Cha Cha Cha and a little Tango, you have a solid Latin start. Something like "Da Reel Teeng." Latin Dancing has its fans, the ones that love the dance and socialize as people with the common interest. Unfortunately most of us are slow in picking up on the idea. Many consider themselves fans and certainly approve of it. However we seek a more stable definition for our use in Hawaii. There are close to 20 different good Latin style dances and we only need about 6 to 9 different dances with clearly different music styles. The Latin Dance Palace in Kapolei?

Ambivalent? Well ... yes and no."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Learning Latin

A common concern of most dancers in Latin dancing is partners who hardly move their lower body either because they don't shift their weight during the dance or they don't move their feet, this quiet lower body movement (or lack thereof) does not create any observable rhythmic flow for their partners and is a source of confusion for them. That is why line dancing is so good for the beginner. Just move to the music in your own fashion.

"Social Dancers know that putting forward their positive energy
connects them back to basic human values which we all share."

In Line Dancing they cover the Latin music very well and you learn foot moves from teachers that know what they are doing. But the best thing about it is that since you do not have a partner to worry about,  you develop your own unique moves as you enjoy moving to the music. Partner dancers can become out of sync not only to the music but with each other when the other person does not feel their partner's rhythm.

"Adoro" por Graciela Susana

If one of them is not on the beat, developing rhythm starts first with paying attention and listening to the music, recognizing the underlying beat and using appropriate weight shifts. It should be pretty plain for most of us and it is rapidly spreading across Oahu. We must find more places for us to dance and leave the "ballroom" dancer to dance in their ballrooms. Makes sense, they go together like peanut butter and jam. Meanwhile, we "Da Group" are going to have a ball and our bunch is growing daily. Most dancers are able to see it, can you? We Shall Overcome!

"Social Dancers find that dance, music, and literature is how we can make sense of the world and it can push us to think of things beyond what is immediate or convenient."

Monday, July 10, 2017

What is Rumba?

So much is written on the Mainland and yet no real answers. This entire Caribbean scene is losing its way except with the new fad dances. Salsa has done very well to date but we all know the Bachata is coming in strong and most know that it is fad.  A strong Latin dancing scene is coming slowly from Mexico, Central and South America. Any one ever heard of the Latin Waltz? The Bossa Nova? If accepted they will not be fads but become established as musical and dancing enjoyment for the social dancers.

"Social Dancers don't just dance. They perform, they breathe,
they watch the rest of the world disappear."

Rumba is in chaos. Too many different versions and the music too, varies too much. Many dances are clearly referring to American rumba, which again is not even in the rumba family. Ballroom rumba is an Americanized version of the Cuban son. This may be highly dubious claim and yet ballroom rumba is in this same family, sharing among other things a similar basic, which is why you can reinterpret figures easily between the dances, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha and Salsa. The dance "cha cha chá" is a clear derivative of the mambo, which is in turn a member of the Cuban "son" family of dances.

It certainly isn't in any way a parent dance. Congolese rumba, also known as Rumba Lingala, is a popular genre of dance music that originated in the Congo basin during the 1940s, borrowed with strong similarities to Cuban son. The style gained popularity throughout Africa during the 1960s and 1970s. It is known as Lingala in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania after the Lingala language of the lyrics of the majority of the songs. In Zambia and Zimbabwe, where Congolese music is also influential, it is still usually referred to as rumba, but they know, that it is Caribbean,

"Social Dancers can stop feeling sad and lose the pain, they let go and smile.
No, they do not just dance."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Latin Waltz

By Sergio Martinez, Lahaina

So, what is Latin Waltz? It's not something I invented and we know that the Waltz music is loved World Wide.  In Latin America it is seeing a revival of the old time three count music and dance. I've never seen a class on it, but it's a classic folk dance and it is going to look really obvious once it gets started. Basically, it's a hesitation waltz danced to Latin music. A Rock Step is easy to learn if you know the rhythm, and from there, you can learn to apply the Chassé.  There is a ton of great Latin-American and Spanish music written in 3/4 time, with a fairly fast tempo.

"Good deeds should be done with intention and not for attention."

I taught a single class in Latin Waltz up in Palmdale, California not too long ago and it was a big hit.
Many of us have had fairly hideous experiences trying to dance Viennese Waltz socially. Many floors are small and crowded, and at these speeds, collisions are inevitable. Many dancers sit these out altogether. Also, unfortunately, many dancers who attempt Viennese Waltz do not have the speed or strength to dance continuously nor the floor craft to make the way for those who do.

"Cuando Eschuches Este Vals" por Vicente Fernandez

Latin Waltz is a legitimate way to dance to slow, medium and fast waltz music without becoming a hazard on the dance floor and without exceeding your own abilities. I would like to see dancers challenge themselves and have the maximum amount of fun. But just as drivers have to be aware of, and able to react to, everything happening on or near the road, dancers have to be aware of, and able to react to, everything happening on or near the dance floor.

"Alejandra" por Xavier Solis

Fast social waltzes can be dangerous. I have seen three scary falls, and know of others where people were really hurt. If you have any doubt at all about your ability to do continuous turns, take it easy. This is also your chance to get in first with a Latin style that I think could really catch on. Dance floors aren't getting any bigger, but there are more and more social dancers in Hawaii. Which I think is awesome. Let's break in a new approach to the faster waltz that's ideal for the social dance floor and I'm looking forward to it.

"Social Dancers think that with a vision based on doing good deeds, positive thinking and affirmative choice of words, feelings and actions - we can enhance goodness in the world."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day

The Beginning, the Declaration of Independence
as we all knew it before Trump:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

"Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless
you are willing to give it to someone else."

The Trump republicans in this country got the money. And their Greed dictates that they should have more. We have witnessed that they have become willing to lie and steal from the lower classes to get it. We are in the midst of this final revolution before the real thing becomes necessary. Hopefully we can do something before someone bumps him off and make him a hero.

"The Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key

Fourth of July:
"Stand up, on this Independence Day, stand upon your feet. Believe in people not money. Soberly and with clear eyes, believe in your own time and place. There is not, and there never has been a better time, or a better place to live in."

"At one time, this country pursued a noble cause and they accomplished a
revolution that had had no parallels in the annals of human society"
 What happened?