Summer Concerts 2014

Virgilio enjoys sharing his love for dance via djing, teaching, and social dance.  Every year there is so much going on over the summer that Virgilio creates a concert spreadsheet and is happy to share it with you now below.  It can also be accessed via google docs.

It seems that google docs did not translate my final doc with the filters and some of the simple formatting I had done to make things look pretty.  (I did create the links with the publish changes box checked, and it does so for content, not for formatting.)  One can easily copy and paste what I have shown into any spreadsheet application and apply filters to be able to sort, for instance by band if you want to follow a particular band…

The KISS Dance Principle

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“You have to believe dance is something other than technique. We forget where movements come from. They are born from life.”
– Pina Bausch

There is a place for learning a framework within which to operate, particularly when you are dancing with someone else, as in partner dance, but often in learning we forget the important things. This is just a quick reminder not to forget our dance source: life.

Strict Tempo Ballroom Music

It sometimes is tough when you are starting out in dance. You want music that you can dance to, but are not sure what are the best songs at the right mpm. You may not want to start out buying a whole load of songs right away, so you search youtube but which are the best songs from all that you find? I will continually share appropriate youtube songs as I come across them. If you are interested in ballroom dance one source is Dj ICE who does song remixes at the correct ballroom tempo. He can be found @ http://www.youtube.com/user/icykoong/videos?view=0

 

Happy International Dance Day

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Message from Lin Hwai-min, Founder/Artistic Director, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan                                                    

It is said in the Great Preface of “The Book of Songs,”
an anthology of Chinese poems dating from the 10th to the 7th century BC:

“The emotions are stirred and take form in words.
If words are not enough, we speak in sighs.
If sighs are not enough, we sing them.
If singing is not enough, then unconsciously
our hands dance them and our feet tap them.”

Dance is a powerful expression.
It speaks to earth and heaven.
It speaks of our joy, our fear and our wishes.
Dance speaks of the intangible, yet reveals the state of mind of a person and
the temperaments and characters of a people.

Like many cultures in the world, the indigenous people in Taiwan dance in circle.
Their ancestors believed that evils would be kept out of the circle.
With hands linked, they share the warmth of each other and move in communal pulses.
Dance brings people together.

And dance happens at the vanishing point.
Movements disappear as they occur.
Dance exists only in that fleeting instant.
It is precious. It is a metaphor of life itself.

In this digital age, images of movements take millions of forms.
They are fascinating.
But, they can never replace dance because images do not breathe.
Dance is a celebration of life.

Come, turn off your television, switch off your computer, and come to dance.
Express yourself through that divine and dignified instrument, which is our body.
Come to dance and join people in the waves of pulses.
Seize that precious and fleeting moment.
Come to celebrate life with dance.

 Taken from http://www.international-dance-day.org/en/

A Great Cha Cha Cha – Salsa Song

Traicionera by Direct Latin Influence  is a song made for dancers. Traicionera was also done by Oscar d’Leon, but I prefer this version. The cha cha at the start is clear with enough meat to it, and then when it switches to salsa my ears hear the clarity carrying through. If there was too much it would lose that continuity from cha cha to salsa, which is what a lot of these salsa to cha cha and cha cha to salsa songs don’t do a good job of.

The song is on youtube @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXfygs6BsKA

 

Thinking Argentine Tango?

Sometimes tango is not what it seems.  The passion, the addiction, what drives people to dance.  Watch this 14 min Oscar nominated short film –  Tanghi Argentini by Guy Thys – to the end to understand.

It is a common to ascribe our motives for dancing to other dancers, and from that many issues arise, such as people feeling there are snobby cliques, or being upset when rejected for dances.  Let us realize that we all come to dance for different reasons and appreciate the differences that make dance interesting for all.

 

Life is Foli – Dance, Work, Rhythm, Play – Life is Foli

The Malinke say, “Life is Foli.  Everything, all work, all sound, it is the rhythm.  Every step we take is rhythm.  Every word we speak is rhythm.  So we’re all in this rhythm now.  Everything is rhythm.  There is no movement without rhythm.”

Partnered dance, that is carrying out pre-defined movements to specific rhythmic patterns, can seem completely foreign and overwhelming.  This is when I hear people say, “I don’t have rhythm so I cannot dance.”  Yet, this cannot be true, for as the Malinke say, “all is Foli, all is rhythm.”  So, let us address the underlying fear and resistance to dance – the uncertainty at the root to learning this something new.

We prefer certainty, such as knowing how we will feed, cloth and shelter ourselves and the ones we love.  And we have evolved to recognize uncertainty as a dangerous thing. Many years ago if as hunters we could not identify a new animal as prey we went hungry. If we did not recognize new predators we soon would have been no more.  Here the desire  of survival may have driven change, but we do not have that need with dance.  So, given that change=uncertainty we have a typical catch-22!

Maybe not!  Evolution has also given us the solution to this life conundrum of change vs certainty through play.  Beau Lotto in his TED talk describes “play” as the only human endeavor where uncertainty is celebrated, where it makes play fun.  After all, what’s the point of playing a game if you know the winner before it has begun?  Play is also adaptable to change, open to possibility, cooperative as we do it with others, and intrinsically motivating.  All characteristics of dance.

Playing with the music, movement, and partners I have gone from not knowing anything – even how to find the beat – to learning and teaching dance.  I have repeated this process time and time again as I learn new dances.  So learning dance via play works for me.  It might be worth a try for you too   Here are two ways of playing without the need for someone else, and without a big commitment of time on your part.

(1)  The first step in learning dance is recognizing and connecting to that fundamental that runs through life, rhythm.  (Remember life is FOLI.) Play the music as you go about your daily routine.   Let your feet and body move as it sees fit doing the tasks that you need to do.  Do not put any pressure on yourself to step any particular way.  In this way we play with the music.  And play is fun, right?

I cannot emphasize the importance of this.  When learning something new practice and time is important.  We often find that we are very busy and never can practice enough, but this requires no effort, other then turning on some music.  We all can do that.  A little effort may be needed to find music specific to the dance we want to learn, but that is pretty easy as there are 1000s of songs out there to choose from.  Just use online search tools like google and online forums like danceforums.com to help find the songs that are meant for you.

I do want to provide one caveat here.  If your music playing involves you mostly stationary, that is in the car, sitting in front of a pc, while reading a book….this is not going to work.  While this helps a little, you get the most benefit from playing music while you are doing things, being active.  After all when we dance we move.

(2) Another dance as play learning tool?  Step to the basic timing of the dance, but don’t worry about paying attention to where the stepping should be.  That is whether you step forward, or back, or right, or left, or in place….just step out the pattern.  For example, salsa is quick, quick, slow. Take two quick steps, then a slow step, and repeat.  Do this whenever you can to the music and without.  Play around with your feet and how you move to it.

There is a lot more to dance then steps 1 and 2.  There are many ways to play and learn different aspects of partnered dance, but for me these are two fundamentals that I can easily do and still do no matter how good I am in a particular dance.  And after all when it all is overwhelming and new, it helps to have a few things to make a start.

Heading off now to play, to dance.  See you on the dance floor.