Friday, September 30, 2011

Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy Dance Classes on The Valley Isle

It's been many moons since we heard any sweet and gentle news from the Valley Isle. So here's the latest from Professional Rita O'Conner for you lucky dancers who will be on Maui from October through December. Check out excerpts of the News Release from Rita and if you need more info you can contact Rita at: phone 879-0055, or e-mail at Read on.......................

Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy Offers Bachata, Waltz, Salsa & Quickstep Dance Classes for October-December 2011

Maui, HAWAII – The Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit featuring Maui’s ONLY Professionally-Instructed Ballroom & Latin Dance classes, hosts their Registration Night on Wednesday, October 5th to kick off their new dance series for October - December featuring Club favorites Bachata, & Salsa, along with Slow Waltz & (fast) Quickstep! This evening will feature a potluck as well as social dance and a FREE dance lesson! Everyone interested in learning to dance is welcome to join this Guinness World Record breaking class! Maui's International Award-Winning Dance Professional, Rita O’Connor, N.D.C.A., will instruct every Wednesday evening in Kihei from 6:30 – 9:00 pm. The total cost for the 3-month course is ONLY $50 per person with a 20% OFF Special Discount if registered by October 5th (only $40per person - that's less than $1.50 per class)! Open registration throughout the course. No partner necessary! Singles and couples welcome! Teens through adults! Beginners through intermediate dancers take the floor! Classes begin October 12th – students can join anytime! Visit or call 879-0055 for more information.

This new dance series highlights the ever-popular Club Dances: Bachata & Salsa! The smooth-style Slow Waltz, the energetic Quickstep (as seen on Dancing with the Stars - sign up early to secure a space in these exciting classes! “I make partnership dancing a fun and social event for both couples and singles,” says Rita O'Connor. “It’s a wonderful way for couples to build upon their relationship and share a new activity together in a relaxing atmosphere. Similarly, singles or those without a dance partner for the evening can enjoy the company of others who want to learn to dance without feeling social pressure to have a steady partner in order to do ballroom dancing.” `“Ballroom & Latin dancing has changed with the times,” Rita explains. “The success of “Dancing with the Stars” TV program has prompted a resurgence in Latin & Ballroom dancing. I enjoy featuring contemporary music selections as well as the traditional songs to make it easier for people to recognize a dance. Our students range from young adult to mature adult and crosses all cultural barriers!"
(Left click on poster to zoom in)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Argentine Tango @Hale Ikena

Dance Magic 808 opens the 4th Session on October 5 with the Argentine Tango with Robert and Vanelle Hirayasu at 6:45PM. Line Dance by Roxanne Kaino follows at 7:45PM. Track the trail with Dance Magic 808 Prez Lynn Nakamura's e-mail...

Hi All,
Just an update on our Wednesday night classes that will be starting up on Oct. 5, 2011 at Hale Ikena at Ft. Shafter.

Here are the dates: Oct. 5, 12, Nov. 2, 9, 16, & 30.
Classes: 6:45pm - 7:30pm - Robert & Vanelle Hirayasu/Argentine Tango
7:45p - 8:30pm - Line Dancing by Roxanne "Roxie" Kaino who will be assisted by Elsie McGrew.
Cost: $6 per class/you can register on Oct. 5.

Please mark your calendar:
Thursday night is still in session for our 3rd session classes. We have 3 more classes, Oct. 6, 13, and Nov. 3. We are still working on Tuesday nights.

Dance Magic 808's Social Dance (end of 3rd session)-Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011
Dance Magic 808's Christmas Social Dance-Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011
Dance Magic 808's 1st Anniversary Ball-Friday, July 6, 2012 at the Pacific Beach Hotel
Dance Magic 808's logo shirts-$35.00/make checks payable to OH Hawaii, Inc.

Oct. 22-Kauai Ballroom Dance Club's 7th Anniversary Ball @ Grand Hyatt Poipu Hotel in Kauai. Cost $50. Please see Lynn if you're interested. We have 34 people from Oahu who will be attending this annivesary ball. Dance Magic 808 will be performing a group quickstep (4 couples) and a solo International foxtrot and waltz.

Oct. 28-Pan Pacific's 37th Anniversary Ball @ Pacific Beach Hotel. Cost $55. We have filled 2 tables and need to fill the 3rd table. Please see Lynn if you're interested.

May 18, 2012-IBDI & Dance Magic 808's 1st Las Vegas Showcase @ Sam's Town Live at Sam's Town Hotel & Casino. More details forthcoming.

See you all next week. No classes this week.

President, Dance Magic 808

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hawaii Star Ball Feature Article

Gotta thank Marie Laderta for sprucing up this Weblog by continuing to send articles of interest for the dancing community. Get a load of her recent article on WHO's WHO gonna be at the Hawaii Star Ball..........

Hi Frank:
Finally, here it is, and thank you again for your assistance in posting:

By: Marie Laderta

IN ADDITION to the usual parade of local talent, to celebrate its 20th year, Geoffrey Fells spices it up with home-grown flavors! Hawaii Star Ball this year features "local-girl-made-good" Patrice Tanaka; the Gonzales Band; and local dance wear retailer Cammy Divers.

Ballroom dancer Patrice Tanaka, born and raised in our backyard, recently featured in Midweek, tells her story in her new book, "Becoming Ginger Rogers...How Ballroom Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, Better Partner and Smarter CEO." Her book was recently published by BenBella books and is available now in bookstores. It tells the tale of a Japanese-American born and raised in Hawaii who fulfilled her dream of "making it" in the dog-eat-dog," "scratch-your-eyes-out" world of public relations in New York. Patrice's book has been described as providing a "voyeuristic glimpse into the world of competitive ballroom dancing," as well as a business book about lessonslearned from ballroom dancing that have made one woman a better CEO.
Patrice will be here in Honolulu this coming week, not only to promote her new book, but to compete in the Hawaii Star Ball with her Professionalteacher & top-ranking American Rhythm dancer Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine.

I've recently read the book, which I found to be inspiring, touching and definitely easy-reading. I've recommended it to many of my friends and book afficionados in and out of the ballroom world, who agreed that Patrice'sstory is uplifting. Her book will be available for sale at the Hawaii Star Ball, and when she is not dancing with Emmanuel, you may be able to catch her for an autographed copy! Patrice has lined up a number of promotional events for her book including a book signing at Kahala's Barnes & Noble on Saturday, October 1, at 1pm. For more information check out her website:

Our local social dance band, an icon at the Hale Koa's Warrior Lounge for many many years, makes its debut on the stage of the Hawaii Star Ball on Friday evening, September 30th. Joining in the many festivities for the Star Ball's final & glitziest evening, Jesse Gonzales, wife Buffy, son Jesse Jr., accompanied by Bobby, will be playing their favorite tunes during the general dancing segments of the evening.

CAMMY DIVERS of Dancewear Hawaii:
Shoes, shoes and more dance shoes for your picking will be featured on the vending tables of Cammy Divers' Dancewear Hawaii. Cammy Divers, a dancer herself, the mother of 3 little girls who dance ballet and recently ballroom, is also an industrious entrepreneur who runs and manages Dancewear Hawaii, a newly opened store located at 1513 Young Street, Suite 204. Also a first timer at the Hawaii Star Ball vending scene, Cammy has brought in a good variety of dance shoes for men and women, for competitive and social dancing. Some more familiar name brands include "RAY ROSE," "SUPADance," and "Very Fine dancesport shoes." Come meet Cammy and check out her shoes! She will be at the Hawaii Star Ball Tapa Tower for all 3 days of the event.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Divino Ritmo Social Dance @Cupola Put On Hold

Just as a reminder to dancers who look forward to Swing and Sway at the Cupola on the last Tuesday of each month. Please read on Marie's e-mail......

Aloha Frank!

As soon as you are able to, I thought we should put something on the Blog ASAP to let people know that due to the Hawaii Star Ball, there will be NO CUPOLA social dance next Tuesday, Sep 27th. Divino Ritmo will resume its Cupola dance in October, just in time for Halloween!
Appreciate if you can get the word out for us ASAP so that we won't have folks disappointed if they show up and we are not there!

Mahalo Frank!

Da Good News: USA Dance "Plan B"

WOW1 Talk about moving at the speed of light! Glenn, Anne, and USA Dance must've moved like greased lightning to make "plan B" work. Now I don't want to steal any thunder from the guys who worked hard to bring the International Foxtrot Workshop with Garry Foster back. So read on Anne Ho's recent e-mail to me.............

Hi, Frank,

This is Anne Ho emailing for Glenn Okazaki regarding the International Foxtrot workshop on Oct 1, with Garry Foster is still on as originally planned. So please keep both workshop notice on your blog. Thank you very much for helping USA Dance.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

USA Dance Workshops

WOW! Another BLOCKBUSTER WORKSHOP by USA Dance Honolulu. Whoa! Not one but two this time within one week. Thanks to Prez Glenn and USA Dance Honolulu for opening up these innovative workshops for both the American style, and International style dancers. Read on........

Aloha Frank,
Can you please help us to publicize our workshops coming up next week? We would greatly appreciate it if you could post this email and attached posters on your blog site.

Glenn Okazaki


From: Glenn Okazaki
Subject: USA Dance Workshops

USA Dance is proud to present, two great workshops starting next week. American (Smooth) Waltz on Tuesday evening Sept 27, and International Foxtrot on Saturday afternoon October 1st.

To all you smooth dancers out there, this is your opportunity of a life time. Come and learn from the best of the best. Our first workshop is American Smooth Waltz with Slawek & Marzena, United States Champions. It is not often that you will receive the opportunity to learn from Champions. During this exciting one and a half hour of American Style Waltz, Slawek and Marzena will introduce a short amalgamation and work on it to improve your style, movement and technique.

Cost is $20 for members and $30 for non-members. See attached poster for more information.


Glenn Okazaki
USA Dance Honolulu

Saturday, September 17, 2011

12 Years and Still Going Strong

WoW! Has it been that long ago? 12 YEARS! Dat means the EARTH had rotated around the SUN 12 times. It was way back in 1999 that I met Joe (Pepe) Martel, the man who had a vision to promote Ballroom Dancing by way of his DANCING IN THE DARK know da blue mini-zine that was distributed FREE to anyone who was on the dancing canoe (just taking a little idiom from the gov). And believe it or not..Pepe is still on that proverbial canoe to promote Ballroom Dancing. Man! that takes a lot of energy and dedication especially for Joe who now makes his home west of the great divide in Nanakuli and uses Da Bus and da bicycle for transportation to get more further West and sometimes crossing the great divide to Waikiki. Okay, it hasn't been smooth sailing for Pepe at times.. he has had lots of pat on the back and other times some criticisms and barbs thrown at him, too but he's weatherd them all like letting water running down a duck's back....and if you neva like read his mini-zine, dat's okay too. When I joined his staff of contributing editors, Pepe already had Roger Izumigawa and Ruth Morgan on board who were excellent authors of dancing news. It was a wonderful ride associating with those two writers and "da boss" Pepe who gave us a free hand to express our thoughts in "Dancing In The Dark" pressure. The only and one simple rule we had to follow was "no bang heads with the other contributing editors". After a few years, Roger and Ruth decided to retire and Geoffrey Fells came on board as a guest author for the mini-zine. Geoffrey is an experienced writer and he came on like gangbuster with a lot of fire in his know da kine that can scorch da okole if the dancers didn't perform the right stuff in exhibition dancing or competition dancing. I don't know fo' sure if the critique lighted some burning white coal fire under da okole of da dancers. One thing is fo' sure, it was constructive with good intentions from a well-known and professional judge who knows the ins and outs of competitive dancing. In 2009, computers and cyberspace seemed to be the way to go. So the "blue mini-zine" of Dancing In The Dark gave way to Weblogs a year later but the name continued on in cyberspace publication. The Weblog "Dancing In The Dark" exchanged hands twice between Pepe and me and finally was laid to rest in Pepe's hands. I went independent with "That's Dancing" and "The Dance Connection". Geoffrey went independent shortly after with his Dance News of The Pacific. So what's up with the history lesson, Frank? Just wanted to give recognition to "da man" Pepe Martel who started me on this long journey which have become my hobby and interest to provide some news of our dancing community...that is if I'm available to attend those events. Joe (Pepe) Martel is still active in blogging, so no forget to catch up with the news of dance activities in any of his blogs by clicking on the links on the side bar when you pau reading mine. Pepe has got more guest writers and contributing editors now that covers the social media and a bit about the history of dance, so he's got more coverage than anybody now fo'sure. Continue the long journey, Amigo. Felicitaciones y Buena suerte!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Buddy Schwimmer Workshop Part II

Aloha Students of Dance. Carolyn Noah is bringing back "Da Man" for Part II of the HUSTLE, NIGHTCLUB 2 STEP, and WESTCOAST SWING. Gotta register by September 15 if you got an eye for bento. Anyway for more info you can contact Carolyn at e-mail: or phone (808)271-0418

Carolyn Noah is one of our students at Dance Magic 808 at Hale Ikena, Ft. Shafter and she is making arrangements for Buddy Schwimmer to teach the Hustle, Night Club 2-Step, and West Coast Swing. Buddy is the created of the Night Club 2-Step dance. Carolyn brings in a lot of good professionals. (Sent by Lynn Nakamura)

Subject: Buddy Schwimmer
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2011

Hi all..............

Sorry about the lateness in this. Too many things on my plate. Don't forget to register. Some people may be wondering why so soon. If you learn something and want to remember, it takes lots of repetition. Being reminded a few months after while things are still semi-fresh, would help.

We don't have pros coming through often, so it would to our benefit to take advantage of every opportunity that arises. Especially if you want to improve and not be mediocre. Buddy will be doing some of the same things as last time with new stuff in between. Pass the word on and hope to see you in September. Unfortunately I am up against Star Ball, however, if you don't attend that function please come to this.

As always workshop schedule subject to change. Privates are being held on Friday, possibly from 3 to 8, Saturday after the workshop and Sunday, maybe one before he leaves. Interested? $100/hour. Have 3 signed up so far.

Mark your calendars:
September 24 & 25...Buddy Schwimmer Part II
December 3 & 4......Robert Cordoba & Deborah Szekley

Hope you can make to these workshops. Please pass this on to someone I may have missed. Deadline for lunch has been extended to the 15th. See you soon.
Carolyn Noah

Thursday, September 08, 2011

USA Dance International Tango Workshop

Aloha Students of Dance. Just received the following email from Glenn Okazaki. A bit late but dancers have an extraordinary habit of rearranging their time to accomplish a set goal. So no need huhu 'cause get a little bit more time than one day to make up your mind fo' go to the USA Dance International Tango Workshop this Saturday. So I goin' make this wikiwiki short so you get plenty time to read Glenn's email. And if no mo' all the info you need to catch your fancy fo' the workshop, then no shame fo' give Glenn a jingle at phone numba 428-1704.



Reminder to you that USA Dance, Saturday Tango Classes is right around the corner. Class dates are September 10 & 17.

Our registration desk is open at 12:30 pm and class begins at 1:00 pm (Hawaiian Time) Be there for an exciting Tango Class.

If you haven’t attended our classes before, you don’t know what you are missing. It is filled with technique to make dancing easier. If you know anyone who has recently attended our classes, ask them about it. We don’t just give fancy steps to the students to learn. We also go many steps further to make sure they are able to dance it with their partners by using proper technique and footwork. You can balance this decision on your own, you either shuffle you way thru the floor or you dance it!

See you all this Saturday at the Palladium.
Glenn Okazaki
USA Dance Honolulu

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Happy 20th Hawai'i Star Ball

Aloha Students of Dance. The Hawaii Star Ball is just weeks away and there is more action ahead before the dance competition. But before I go any further here's a thunder of an announcement from my friend Marie Laderta. Go ahead an take a gander at the following email and get ready to rock and celebrate the 20th Birthday Party of Hawaii Star Ball. For more info on Tickets, Event Program, Registration, etc. please go to the Website at the bottom of the email. Dat's


Hi Frank:

Helping Geoffrey Fells get the word out about Hawaii's premier dance competition, and there is no better person than you to partner with in this effort!

Happy 20th Hawai'i Star Ball!

A sunset reception with leis, mai tais, and Hawaiian entertainment kick off three full days of celebration on this special birthday of Hawaii's premier dance event, the Hawaii Star Ball, brainchild of Geoffrey Fells. At 6:30p, September 27th, on the lawn of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the festivities will begin. The competition itself will run from September 28-30.

In the evenings, there will be general dancing amidst a stream of spectacular entertainment that runs the gamut. Entertainers include but are not limited to: Ballroom Champions Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, Latin Champions Andre & Natalie Paramonov, as well as our very own local Merrie Monarch contender, Kumu Hula Michael Casupang and the ladies and gentlemen of his halau; Chinese Lion Dancing and Kenny Endo's Taiko drums.

This is Hawaii Star Ball's 20th Anniversary Year, a major milestone for this annual competition that has survived the vicissitude of time, due largely to the credit of one kama'aina Englishman who stubbornly shepherded what was an infant competition 20 years ago to what it represents in Hawaii today. The first Hawaii Star Ball was held in 1992 as a one-day event at the original Hawaiian Regent Hotel in Waikiki.

Yes, the competition may be "smaller" compared to mainland standards, but definitely respectable, and not without lackluster to attract a robust enough size of competitors both local and off our shores. Of course, thanks to the support of our local teachers, their students, participants and spectators, Hawaii Stall Ball has ripened into the pride of our island ballroom community.

For your information, attached below are the special rates for kama'ainas only, as well as the program for the entire 3 days of the event.

For more information here's the link to the Hawaii Star Ball website:

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sneak Preview of "Coming Home"

Wow! Another Block Buster coming our way in December 2011. This is a SNEAK PREVIEW featuring dancers from various Professional dance studios and from Oahu's dance organizations. The photos are courtesy of photographer and patron of Hawaii's dance community Mary Beth Van Hoogstraten by way of my friend Marie Laderta. Go ahead and take a peek on what is on the program and candid photos of the cast.............(Left click on photo to zoom in)

Hi Frank!
I have an unusual story to tell. Dance-related of course! A story that conjures up the images of our troops in Afghanistan, Marilyn Moroe, the Grand Ballroom in Vienna, & the Honolulu Airport...all at once. You can imagine the hodgepodge of images.

I have photos to go with it which I will be sending in 3 separate emails. Please feel free to "organize" these photos into a sequence that makes sense to tell the story and for the blog. You do such a good job with photos anyway! I have permission from the author of the photos to use them for the blog. I also gave her credit in my article. Very much appreciate it. Here's the story:.........
By: Marie Laderta

A SOLDIER COMES a flash mob waltz, danced to the tune of the Blue Danube played by a String Quartet.

The Vision: Producers of Lifetime Television had a vision for a reality show. An unusual, even spectacular, but touching story of a husband's welcome for his wife, a soldier, a Major in the US Military, coming home from her 2nd tour of Afghanistan. The troops from Afghanistan will arrive at Honolulu airport on a military plane. Major Elizabeth Casely, after her more than 24 hour flight home, will step off the tarmac, escorted past the USO office, up the escalator and voila....into the arms of husband Chris Casely, fully clothed in his formal tail suit, pacing and anxiously awaiting the arrival of a wife he hadn't seen in months, a wife whose safety he had worried about, a wife he had longed and pined for, a wife whose duties to her country commanded personal sacrifices of life and death, and separation from home.... There on the top of the escalator stood a jittery husband relieved that his wife is "coming home..."

There was the sweet reunion, the kissing, and the embracing, the sighs of relief and finally the husband says to his soldier wife, "May I have this dance?"

This was our cue to begin dancing our waltz to the tune of the Blue Danube played by a string quartet. Husband whips wife into his arms, he in tails and she in army greens, and swept her into the world of a grand ballroom in Vienna, except this was the Honolulu airport! This was the flash mob waltz that we were a part of, a routine we had been taught and rehearsed just for this moment!! Finally it came and we were all exuberant in our dancing!!! It was like riding a merry-go-round and not wanting to get off the ride!

The show will be called "Coming Home," scheduled for airing in December 2011 by Lifetime television channel. Tune in!

The Preparation, Rehearsing and Filming of Coming Home:
Out of the clear blue, about 2 months ago, an email from a good friend, and a call from the soldier's husband, Chris Casley asking if Paul and I would be interested in being a part of "Coming Home." Wow, I thought what a really cool thing! I don't know why but I suddenly had visions of being Marilyn Monroe, welcoming home our troops! A silly thought but I did have a wave of this vision...except I played Marilyn Monroe! Yes, what a fanciful thought! It tickled me thinking of it, and made me very excited about the whole thing. I thought what a life experience this would be, and how fun and how it would allow me to dance, dance and dance, something I totally LOVE to do! And what a privilege, to pay small homage to our soldiers who give their lives for us so that we can live so comfortably, so that we can dance.

I found out a little later that similar calls were made to our dance
instructors Lucas Jaime & Yanna Samkova, to Geoffrey Fells, to some Arthur Murray folks, as well as others from HBDA and Honolulu's Salsa circuit. It was such a nice variety of dancers recruited from different "walks" of dance! One thing though, we were all sworn to secrecy, not allowed to talk about it, didn't even know who all the other dancers were until the rehearsals began a few days before the flight arrived. Without giving out the rest of the story and all the details which I will leave for you to tune into in December when the show airs, I would however like to share some photos taken by good friend and patron of Hawaii's dance community, Mary Beth Van Hoogstraten who played the part of a grandma traveler in her polka dot dress and laden with teddy bears.

The filming by Lifetime Television's crew flown in from L.A. was at
Honolulu airport last Wednesday, on August 31st.

A PHOTO collage of the making and filming of "Coming Home:" (Photos taken by Mary Beth Van Hoogstraten)