Join “ALOHA BALLROOM DANCE ACADEMY” on Facebook for Rita’s Dance Journal updates as of October 2012! Connect with your fellow students and see what’s happening in Rita’s Dance World! Aloha & Happy Dancing!
West Coast Swing Dancers - Have you been a participant in AWARD-WINNING West Coast Swing Professional Rita’s classes? If not, then you are missing out on the FEEL of the dance (it ain’t your grandparents step patterns)! Learning from untrained people never shows you how to dance; but, you learn a few foot patterns to memorize (I guess). In conjunction with Rita’s PRIVATE LESSONS and GROUP CLASSES in West Coast Swing (Rita’s been teaching it since her New York City teaching debut decades ago), you can practice at home with other real pros … OR…You can “learn to dance” the same way some people on Maui who are teaching the West Coast Swing get THEIR“training“…by youtube.com or a video/DVD (this doesn’t mean that they are professional or trained or qualified, but…they watched a video or attended a class with a few other hundred people at a large convention). Are they kidding? Remember, learning from a DVD does NOT constitute “professional training” or an ability to understand, execute or impart good technique or even an ability to move beyond mimicking steps they see. How can someone who has not been trained or coached on a professional-level take YOU to the next level? Maui, you’re smart enough to answer that question! Hard to believe that some people are having you pay them to teach you about what’s on the DVD. Really?
NOTE: A DVD or the like cannot replace sound teaching from a qualified instructor. This doesn’t make you or someone teaching a class a “professional” any more than it would make a Baggage Handler who’s worked at the airport since the late 1970s qualified to fly a plane. Silly concept, huh?
One of my former students, who now teaches on the mainland at a prominent studio recently wrote: “To receive qualified, personalized technique training specific to enhancing your dance skills in West Coast Swing or any of 30+ dances (from social dancing through competitive through professional teachers’ training), make an appointment with Rita O’Connor, NDCA: atrained & qualified dance instructor and well-respected professional. Unless you have an ability to coach consistently throughout the year with WCS Professionals Jordan & Tatiana directly, Rita’s talent & skill-set with one-on-one coaching and small group classes are PRICELESS. Rita can impart the techniques the professionals teach on the mainland like no other on Maui – Rita IS the ONLY TRAINED & QUALIFIED Dance Professional on Maui! Rita does not have to apologize for her 30+ years of award-winning competitive dancing in the International and American styles of dance (swing, salsa, hustle and theatre arts, too) or her professional status with three of New York areas top studios. I trusted my dance training to Rita and I am proud to say I’ve been trained by her!”
NOW is the time! Take your dancing to the NEXT LEVEL! Be part of Maui’s EXCLUSIVE group of Rita’s most highly-trained social Ballroom & Latin dancers on the Island of Maui!
Whether you are a Beginner (and that’s PERFECT) or beyond, EVERYONE will benefit from dancing with partners who are serious about dance and looking to have serious FUN on the dance floor with other like-minded Dancers! If you VALUE DANCING, this is the place to be – even if you just come to Social Dance & mingle with Rita & her Dancers!
I’m looking to create more “win/win” situations for my students to expand their dance abilities in a quality way, under my expertise & professional tutelage, and for them to gain the knowledge of how to dance with other educated dancers! My classes serve to reinforce the beauty of each individual dance as well as the fun, social-appeal of partnership dancing! Prices have never been more affordable for professional instruction in an intimate dance setting!
Remember, “learning” is not just in the classroom! Dancing with other well-trained Leaders & Followers is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Ballroom, Latin, Swing & Salsa dances in a light, fun, happy atmosphere under the stars of paradise! That’s why I also offering social dancing under the stars at monthly dance parties @ my home studio on my spacious wood parquet dance floor (outdoors) for you to practice what you are learning in my workshops; I’m also be available to dance with everyone! Light refreshments served; pupu potluck optional – BYOB [water will be provided]!
Have you become a FAN of Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy on FACEBOOK?
Rita is Awarded FIRST PLACE @ West Coast Swing Teacher’s Intensive on May 14, 2011!
Rita Featured Dance Professional at Maui Tangofest’s “Inspiration Del Tango” at Maui Arts & Cultural Center!
DOCUMENTARY: Love of Tango (Argentine Tango):
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1042753710/for-the-love-of-tango Trailer (2:04 min) …More to Come!
102.NINE RADIO SPOT for Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy – Click on Links to “Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy” – Home Page!
YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddd-eaA7ybA&feature=player_embedded# (Rita & Noe Garcia Robles, 2008)
Rita’s the Spotlight Guest on “LIFE ON MAUI” TV Series w/Steve Fried: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b4gpLCnXpw (4 individual youtube clips)
MAUI WEEKLY ARTICLE 04/15/10: http://www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/501315/Aloha-Ballroom-Dance-Academy.html?nav=11
MAUI NEWS ARTICLE 06/24/12: http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/562311/Dance-academy-hosts-Diamond-Ball.html
NEW to DANCE? Watch this 5 minute animated video to learn…you are not alone! http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/6956297/
ELEGANT ARGENTINE TANGO with RITA: Drawing from 3 decades of Latin & Ballroom experience (from competitor to professional instructor) Rita’s clear, concise and contagiuously enthusiastic approach enriches every student’s learning experience in understanding the sublime and subtle sexiness, grace & elegance in the intimate dance of Argentine Tango. From close-embrace to the more fluid open-embrace styles, Rita takes you on an inner-journey into the joy of dancing! Please join her on the dance floor!
ACADEMY CLASSES EVERY Wednesday, starting at 6:30 pm (until 9 pm) at Kihei Community Center (online forms available at www.alohaballroom.com). NEW CLASSES every 5 weeks! Beginner and Intermediate levels, but Rita fills the classes with technique all the way through Advanced! ONLY $35 TOTAL per person for TWO (2) MONTHS of Professionally-instructed group classes …with Maui’s ONLY Ballroom & Latin Dance Professional (don’t let the others fool you…Rita’s the only qualified & trained Dance Professional with Professional Accreditations! NO partner necessary – Singles & Couples! ALL levels! A healthy alternative for 2012! Click link on (Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy) right side bar for more information!
MISSED the BEGINNER CLASS to a Dance? Want to LEARN what YOU want to LEARN – SEMI-PRIVATE LESSONS? Take a Semi-Private Lesson (4 people) for only $20 pp and get 1-on-1 instruction to get you up to speed for class! Contact Rita @ 344-4452 to book now!
*~*~*~*~*~Are you our “Friend” on FACEBOOK? Look up “Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy” and become our friend! We’d love to have you join us! *~*~*~*~*
Don’t forget to read Rita’s “DanceOGraphy & Philosophy” link for INSIDER’S TIPS!
September 26 – NO DANCE CLASSES at Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy, Kihei (FACILITY CLOSED)! We’ll see everyone next week!
August 10th – DOCUMENTARY: Love of Tango (Argentine Tango): http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1042753710/for-the-love-of-tango Trailer (2:04 min) …More to Come!
June 13th – Academy Dance Classes! It took the class a while, but Hustle & Tango started to take form! Just like learning how to play an instrument, practicing in-between lessons isparamount, otherwise you relearn the same thing each week without any improvement or progress. I truly hope that students learn the PROCESS of dancing (since we are a bonafide dance school with professional instruction) and not just hope it somehow “sticks” …it doesn’t work that way. PERFECT practice makes perfect, otherwise you are reinforcing bad habits or are “winging it” and hurting your partner. Any true professional instructor with training (such as my almost 30 years plus my teaching experience) makes no mistake about dancing: there’s no such thing as “push” or “pull” or being “thrown” by a “strong leader!” Forgive them for they know not what they do. I will pray tonight that my students have the intelligence and perserverance to enjoy the FUN part of dancing through correct technique. Mahalo to all the Diamond Ball attendees who shared their enjoyment through testimony with their fellow Academy class students during the break!
Diamond Ball Guests’ Comments:
“I very much enjoyed my time at the Diamond Ball. The mayor and his wife exuded a warm and caring energy, as did you. I liked your choice of tunes and dances. I’m impressed that everyone there thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were happy they made the decision to attend.” – Jim Dupree
“I wanted to let you know that Christos and I had a fabulous time at the Ball. The best time I have had in a long time. Thank you for being a gracious hostess. The place was elegant and welcoming with a friendly atmosphere.” - Your friend, Normajean Burns
“It was great to be back on the dance floor – all thanks to you!” – Nancy Mateja
“The Diamond Ball was great! I had a very good time dancing and enjoying talking story with everyone. The remarks made by Mr. Arakawa about you Rita and how he looks at ballroom dancing being a part of our community tradition, really touched my heart. I had seconds with the prime rib and mashed potatoes, those dinner items were delicious … and the banana cream pie for dessert.” – Brenda St. Cyr
“The Ball was elegant and wonderful. Good food and great atmosphere shared with nice people. The dancing was lovely and everyone was courteous on the dance floor. …This event was a complete success. There was a great dance floor with lots of room. The warm and intimate setting was highlighted with the delicious food and desserts. The “Ball” event [is] differentiated from other “Dance Party” events by it’s grace and grandeur. Not to mention women get the chance to wear ball gowns! You get what you pay for. Dancers should know the difference so they can make an informed decision when deciding on attending.” - Blessings, Donnalee Singer
The Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy hosted their semi-formal Diamond Ball on Saturday, June 9, 2012 at the Kahili Golf Course, Waikapu. The evening featured Ballroom & Latin dancing throughout the evening, along with dinner and large screen displays of past dance team and solo performances. Award-winning Ballroom & Latin Dance Professional, Rita O’Connor, NDCA thanked & celebrated the dancers in attendance and those who have supported the Academy’s 11 years of non-profit service to the Maui community with an impromptu, imrovisational dance to “I Hope You Dance” by Leeann Womack.
After Rita’s dance of gratitude, Mayor Arakawa addressed the guests: “We ask ourselves, ‘What is it we want to get out of life? What does it mean to really enjoy life?’ Some people never take the time out to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. With dance, you can take it with you…from your younger years to your older years. This is what Rita has brought to Maui and what the Academy provides to you and the community! You should be proud of yourselves learning to dance! Mahalo Rita!” Mayor Arakawa danced a Waltz with Rita O’Connor while Mrs. Arakawa enjoyed dancing with Co-Founder Brian O’Connor.
June 9th – Diamond Ball @ Kahili Golf Course! Elegance is back on Maui in true Ballroom fashion! Tuxedoes, Tails & Suit Jackets…Full-length evening gowns, cocktail dresses & bling-bling filled the Nahele Ballroom tonight at the DIAMOND BALL! Huge tropical floral arrangements (compliments of Rita O’Keane – Argentine Tango) adorned the ballroom’s entrance. The outdoor bar was situated under the stars with a breath-taking view of the Kahului nightscape! Mahalo to our Registration personnel: Maribeth & Pierce and Lisa & Mitch – you all looked stunning and your warm, friendly greeting set the tone for tonight’s event! The tables were tastefully decorated with candle & gemstone arrangements, with alternating tables displaying crystal vases with silver & gold contemporary arrangements. Disco balls cast reflections of glitter on the 4 walls while the large screen TV displayed Rita’s choreography as danced by Academy students from 2004 to the recent past! Rita designed the costumes and orchestrated these amazing routines which included students who had never danced before to dancers who had danced for quite a few years. Mayor Alan Arakawa (former Academy student and private lesson student of Rita’s) and his wife, Ann arrived and were promptly greeted, seated and dinner prepared. Tonight, we enjoyed prime rib, fish & chicken entrees along with salad and vegetable side dishes, along with flaky crust cream pie assortments! Keoki spoke the praises of Rita’s talents and in leiu of other live performances originally scheduled for tonight’s event, Rita took to the dance floor and did an improvisational dance to “I Hope You Dance” (Leeann Wolmack) with flavors of Bolero, Bachata, Night Club, West Coast Swing, Waltz, and interpretive “hand movements.” Many were brought to tears during Rita’s outpouring of dance-love and expression! Mayor Arakawa spoke to the guests about the importance of dance in the Maui community and upon his conclusion, Rita invited Mrs. Arakawa to the dance floor and a waltz was played (as per Mrs. Arakawa’s request) and Brian danced with Ann while Rita danced with Mayor Arakawa while the dancers filled in the remaining dance floor! The 4 hours were filled with dancing, smiles, and great fellowship! This was a night to remember! This evening could not be possible without the following volunteers: Keoki, Barbara Flowers, Julie, Dean, Larry, Jason, Marty-Jean, Donnalee and Claire! MAHALO from the bottom of my heart! Aloha & Happy Dancing!
June 6th – Classs #2 in our 6 week session!The purpose of ”The Academy” (as we are affectionately known) is to be first and foremost a SCHOOL! With my accredditation as a trained instructor, we are not a social club, but a recognized school of learning! It has always been my desire and passion to teach people the correct way to dance and each Wednesday night the students also get an opportunity (30 minutes for each dance) to practice what they learned and have available my almost 30 years of professional teaching experience. What a deal for only $35 pp for 7 weeks – that also includes the 2 dance parties we host: 1 at the beginning of the session and a special theme party in the middle (holidays permitting). Tonight, the Hustle was looking AMAZING! Congratulations to all the dancers learning it for the first time! You look great! Looking forward to watching the more seasoned dancers develop their technique, too! The (good) drama started happening in the American Tango warm-up – drive, passion, drama and pounce! LOL Keep up the good work! I’m so looking forward to seeing many of you at the Diamond Ball on Saturday (6/9). Tickets still available online and at Topaz Jewelers (Dolphin Plaza, Kihei).
May 30th – WOW! Everyone’s off to a great start with the Hustle! I’m very proud of everyone and tonight was fun and playful! The American Tango class was equally impressive! Mahalo to Al for the dramatic Tango demo and to Terry Hans fo rbeing my teaching demonstration partner! A special thank you to the Volunteer Coordinators who have graciously donated their time weekly to make sure things are running smoothly: Keoki, Julia, Dean, Marty-Jean and Barbara! A special mahalo to Chef Ron, Larry, Clarie, Charles, Daniel and others who help make it all happen! Don’t forget to click on “Academy Dance Class Steps” to read about what was taught tonight!! 5-6-7-8 (or) &-1-2-3! Aloha & Happy Dancing!
May 23rd CONTINUED…Some of you may have noticed you missed reading the class schedule or hearing the announcements, etc. and that we didn’t have class tonight — but, we’ll see you next week for Class Week #1 of Hustle & American Tango! MAHALO to the Academy Students from Oct 2011 - April 2012 who volunteered their time, talent & resources to help the Academy fulfill its mission! Tonight’s exclusive, private party @ 780, which was catered by Chef Ron, was one of the BEST M.V.V.P.s (Most Valueable Volunteer Party) EVER! Wine flowed, laughter and smiles filled the room, and when the moon went down the dancing started! Mahalo to Larry, Keoki, Daniel, Jason, Kalon, Ron, Brenda, Julie, Nancy, Claire, Sandy, Lisa, Kachina, Sara, Donnalee, and Art & Flossie for joining us this special evening! Chow fun, veggie options, wonton cups with crabmeat, hand-rolled sushi to order, katsu chicken, shrimp, spring rolls, potstickers, asparagus wrapped in bacon (heh, we’re dancers…we’ll dance it off) and the cookies, cakes, haupia (with Molokai Sweet Potato & sugar cookies) and mango!
May 23rd – NO CLASSES @ Kihei Community Center (Facility Closed this Week)! NEW CLASSES start May 30! Join Rita on FRIDAY May 25 @ MACC for Technique Class, International Rumba & Samba! Sunday Night is Starlight Dance Party @ MACC – ONLY $5 for month of May!
May 16th ACADEMY REGISTRATION NIGHT! A small group of dedicated dancers, ranging from beginners to seasoned to newcomers enjoyed intimate fellowship, lots of mixers, line-dances and smiles…along with laughter & ono potluck! Reminder: there are no classes next week 5/23 due to facility maintenance, but we’ll start our American Tango & New York Style Hustle classes after a fun Memorial Day Weekend (on Wednesday, May 30th)! C U then! (don’t forget the “P” word!)
April 29th STARLIGHT DANCE PARTY! Another fun Sunday evening at the MACC with special guests Stephen & Eliza (who are getting married on December 30th)! I taught some Waltz tonight and some advanced Cha-Cha! Mahalo to Keoki & Claire for taking a break from Argentine Tango (with Rita O’Keane) and helping me pack up my twinkle lights and decorations at the end of the party! I’m so blessed to have such wonderful people surrounding me! Ahhhh!
ACADEMY STUDENTS – FREE!Don’t forget to don a mask and join in the festivities! GEUSTS – ONLY $10ppPupu Potluck encouraged! Are YOU a NEWCOMER to DANCE?JOIN US FOR FREE after 7:30 pm on Wednesday April 25 (Masquerade Dance)! NEW GUESTS ONLY!
April 25th: MASQUERADE DANCE @ Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy! Fun evening with dance classes & party (a few pupus and a lot of peole; a few masks but lots of dancing)! Mahalo to everyone who got in the playful fun of donning a mask and making the event more fun! It was only a handful of you, but YOU made the difference that evening! Everyone had a blast with the mixers and a special note of gratitude to my top male students who danced with the VIP newcomer guests! Made me beam with pride! I was also VERY proud of my “3-D” Technique class students: they stood out head-and-shoulders above the rest on the dance floor! It’s an obvious difference, not only to me, but to the mainland visitors who picked each & every one of YOU out of the crowd of dancers;they knew that you were getting specialized training from me! “Proud” is an understatement about how I feel about your dance achievements! You rock, you rise, you know the difference between haphazard dancing and ‘stepping’ (I’m so grateful you don’t dance like that) and “having fun while harming your partner” AND proper technique, timing, frame and grace! Even my beginner Academy & Private Image students made me proud tonight!Oh, tonight’s FUNNY: learning that a non-Academy couple had an urge to come to the Kihei Community Center parking lot on Wednesday 4/25, sit in their car and play i-spy. Really? IV-D
APRIL 20 – FABULOUS FRIDAY Dance Classes with Rita @ MACC! I’m still speechless after last night’s classes! My “3-D” Technique class was not only well-received, but life-change (or at least “dance-changing”) for everyone! Congratulations to all the beginner through advanced dancers in the class – you outdid yourselves! The International Rumba was a HUGE success as was the Samba and I couldn’t get over the smiles still going strong @ 9:30 pm (even though the dancers’ legs and hips were feeling the 3 hours of classes back-to-back)! UNBELIEVABLE! INCREDIBLE! These classes are open to everyone, so I hope you’ll join me next Friday!!
APRIL 15 – AIPONO AWARDS featuring Private Image Latin & Ballroom Dancers! Resturant Awards @ Hyatt Regency! 1940s style night club dancing Foxtrot, Rumba, Cha-cha, Swing & Salsa! Mahalo to all of my amazing Dancers: Terry, Barbara & Larry & Claire & Keoki! Another outstanding evening of dance!
APRIL 13 – FANTASIA BALL featuring Private Image Latin & Ballroom Dancers! 65th Anniversary celebration for Imua Family Services and I, along with 9 of my Dance Students graced the dance floor at the Grand Wailea! Terry, Kitty & Eddie, Julie & Les, Barbara & Larry & Claire & Keoki! An elegant fairy tale of tails, tuxedos, dinner jackets and ballgowns! BEAUTIFUL!
APRIL 11 – Impressive night at the Academy! West Coast Swing class was DANCING like I’ve never seen Mauians DANCE! UNBELIEVABLY beautiful to watch! DWTS has nothing on us! Smooth flow and effortless lead/follow – STUNNING! Foxtrot tackled the Promenade Pivot, too! Mahalo to everyone who made the Academy’s FUNDRAISER last week (Garage Sale @ Larry’s) a success! This week’s FUNDRAISER Garage Sale will be at KEOKI’S (3523-A Malina Place - Maui Meadows, Kihei) – we’re happy to arrange pick up of items to be donated! Please tell your friends, stop buy and support a great non-profit! Hopefully, the money raised will lower the ticket cost for the Diamond Ball! We can do this as a group effort and make elegant dancing more affordable! Mahalo to all of the students who made DONATIONS to the Academy’s “Aloha Fund” to support our mission and goal of lowering ticket prices! We can’t do it without you! Receipts of your donations (items and/or financial contributions) are available upon request (see Julie @ Front Desk)!
APRIL 4 – First night of classes @ ALOHA BALLROOM DANCE ACADEMY! Tonight we blew the roof off the KCC with the most high-energy group of enthusiastic dancers who were SO INTO the dancing! WEST COAST SWING was da bomb and my dancers flowed (almost) effortlessly through the grapevine & sway. I’m so excited to have such an amazing group this session! The new students were TOTALLY into the dances tonight – first night of classes! We had an Easter Egg hunt (eggs filled with chocolate treats) with one “very special” egg (filled with a private lesson gift certificate)! The winner was a brand… new student – Kellie! CONGRATULATIONS! Proud Teacher Note: OUTSTANDING dancing by my 3-D Technique honor students…and now some of the new dancers are joining the elite group of dancers who know that dancing is more than just steps! Move those bodies! 5-6-7-8! Only 2 more spots left in the Friday night 3-D classes! email@example.com Aloha & Happy Dancing!
MARCH 29 – Our FUNraiser is taking shape and we’re excited to hold Garage Sales to raise money for the Academy’s semi-formal Ball in May (King Kamehameha Golf Course) to help off-set the ticket costs so that we can offer a glamourous event with half-price tickets! YOU can help by DONATING items to a Garage Sale (FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Flowers Phone: 808.875.7020 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can ASSIST at a Garage Sale or (EVEN BETTER) you can HOST a Garage Sale (the weekend of April 7-8…or any weekend of your choice) and donate the proceeds to the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy’s “Aloha Fund”! Contact Barbara to arrange pick-up/drop-off of your items to repurpose! MAHALO for your contribution & support!
MARCH 28 – Academy REGISTRATION NIGHT~Socializing~Potluck~Dance Party! A stellar evening at the Academy with many of our “Guest Night” attendees signing up for the 6 week series in West Coast Swing & Foxtrot! A few more new faces and many familiar faces, too! Mahalo to those who brought a potluck item – ono food! A special mahalo to my Ambassadors & Volunteer Coordinators Keoki, Julie, Barbara, Dean & Marty-Jean who made tonight happen! Special thanks to Chef Ron, Larry, Claire and all of our volunteers! The Foxtrot Mixers (yes, we had 2 tonight – just in case you didn’t stay until the end) were way too much fun, as were the merengue & cha-cha dances! I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves and a special shout out to my dance partners: Loi, Josephine, Brian, Terry, Steve and Joe! AWESOMENESS at it’s best! I’ll see some of you at my Fabulous Friday Night Classes @ the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, I’ll see most of you at the APRIL FOOL’S DANCE on SUNDAY night (@ MACC) and I’ll see the rest of you April 4th @ Kihei Community Center for the dance classes @ the Academy!
Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy was the FIRST ONE ON MAUI to secure a special 50% discount for their students – Mahalo to the Maui Pops Orchestra! I’ve been told “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” – (quote by Charles Caleb Colton) – I’m flattered! Willie K knocked tonight’s performance out of the ballpark! Willie is a phenomenal talent on Maui with such diverse skills and a true love for his art! Jim Borges is amazing and truly an “icon” (beyond a legned)! The Maui Pops Orchestra & the Moonglow Swing Band had an stellar show tonight and it was nice to see so many friendly faces at the performance (including Paul Janes-Brown, Nancy & David Fairclough and some of the Board of Directors & friends of the Maui Pops)! And tonight was a beautiful evening at the Starlight Dance Party and the new “Swing” move (from International Jive) was FUN! We were without a few of our weekly regulars (the other outstanding dancers on Maui), but we look forward to having them on the dance floor the next time we meet (“Dance Ohana”…that’s in 2 weeks, in case you want to check us out again)! THE BEST DANCERS on Maui (without a doubt) glided, swayed, and danced the night away tonight with grace, even with the unexpected (well, actually expected & transparent) visitor who stopped by to “check out” Argentine Tango (and BTW, I LOVE Rita O’Keane’s energy and what she has brought to the dance community); that incident was laughable to say the least! C’est la vie! Join me & Maui’s BEST dancers on my dance journey and be a part of my Maui Dance Sizzle!
MARCH 11 – The Starlight Sunday Dance Party was elegant and filled with the most beautiful of dancers! What a smile it brings to my face to see everyone having such a great time dancing, in fellowship and participating in the class! This week I presented 2 new Salsa shines! Mahalo to Larry & Barbara for the extra help tonight – I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you for everyone’s assistance in the breakdown – many hands make light work!
MARCH 9 – The 3-D Series is blowing my mind! I’ve already seen changes in the dancers in onlyu TWO WEEKS! Beginners through seasoned dancers are taking their dancing to the next level and all I can say is “WOW!” The Rumba & Bachata classes are impressive, too! It was great to have an appreciative “audience” this week as well! NEXT WEEK 3/16 there are NO CLASSES @ MACC! See you on March 23rd!
MARCH 7 – Tonight’s Foxtrot & Salsa classes were PHENOMENAL! My students ask the best questions – all technique! Keep them coming! Happy to share 30 years of knowledge & training as a professional with Maui! Mahalo to all the wonderful dancers who demo-ed with me at class tonight! Visit www.AlohaBallroom.com to pre-pay Session #2: WEST COAST SWING (level 1) & FOXTROT (level 2) and receive a DISCOUNT (only valid thru 3/27/12)! PayPal! Only 23 more days to SAVE & BUY ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP!
MARCH 1 – This defines a beautiful day: Private lessons with my 11 year old student (Sol & his Mom Donnalee are working on their Salsa for Sol’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah); Novice dancer Terry & his Girlfriend Clarissa work on Technique in Tango & Hustle; Jerry introduces me to the reason he didn’t take a dance lesson a few weeks ago (yes, another woman) and he’s walking on cloud 9 during his Foxtrot and Swing; add in a student from Tokyo (75 years old and she doesn’t look a day over 55) who dances International style, but usually only with the professionals or semi-professionals – I worked with her on her Foxtrot technique (and she’s grateful to have found a coach in the Hawaiian islands)…then the lights went out, so I continued my lessons by candlelight); Lisa & Mitch enjoyed the added romance to their West Coast Swing (and they are pretty awesome at it), while Ernie & I did some impressive moves in the Salsa & Foxtrot! Add in an at-home massage by Chelsea Deane (she’s amazing), Physical Therapy by Heather Adroin and putting the finishing touches on tomorrow night’s Rumba & Bachata classes (let alone the beginning of the “3-D Dancer Program” – Developing Dancers by Design) and WOW, life can’t get much better! Lovin’ it!
FEBRUARY 29 – LEAP DAY! The ladies got to chose their partners in class tonight…sometimes! It was a great night of awesome energy as the class reviewed the Foxtrot steps (after a 2 week hiatus) and I added a new step (don’t forget to click on “Academy Dance Class Steps” link!) Then everyone practiced for a half-hour while I happily shared my professional expertise with those students who wanted it. Mainland students are shocked to see that I give away invaluable tips and hints with my personal asisstance during the practice breaks; they are shocked to see that very few students ask for help from the qualified dance Professional for FREE, but would rather ask the student who is LEARNING the step, just like them, for “instruction” on how to do what the teacher is showing. The most commonly asked question by mainland dancers: “Do the people on Maui haveany clueas to the quality & level of teaching you provide to them?” The salsa class conitnued to learn the Arm Catch to Shoulder Catch step. I would like to congratulate our brand-new, first-night student Josephine who not only excelled in the Foxtrot, but also did very well in the Salsa. She had NEVER taken dance lessons of any kind before – I was blown away! AWESOMENESS continues to inspire! Announcements tonight were colorful! Jim Dupree touted the benefits of taking the Fabulous Friday Dance Classes I offer at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC) starting at 6:15 pm: smaller classes, more personalized attention, wood floor, professional hints to make dancing easy and fun (this month: Rumba & Bachata). Keoki praised the Technique Classes I offered in January (2012) which I am now re-starting under the new program called “3-D Dancers: Creating Dancers by Design”…a 5 or 9 week program covering technique in all aspects of all dances for ALL LEVELS; subjects cover: balance, movement, partnering, connection, turns/spins, foot actions, musicalilty, muscle control, and insider Pro-tips! Larry promoted the Sunday Night Starlight Dance Party (last week was our “Oscars” night) encouraging everyone from beginners to novices to have a wonderful place to dance (MACC) and practice what you learn in class in an atmosphere with studio ambience, optional pupu potluck (light refreshments served), and some of the best dancers on Maui! I can’t thank all of these students for their support, love and encouragement of others to bring their dancing up a level for more enjoyment! Then, Barbara appeared seemingly “out of the blue” in her glorious stunningness in sky blue sequined, body-clinging elegant dress, white boa, opera gloves and Cinderella perfect high heels to announce our MAY 26 SEMI-FORMAL BALL at the King Kamehameha Golf Course (aka “Marilyn Monroe House”) in Central Maui. More details to follow! What an AMAZING night of classes, dancing, announcements and smiles! So cool!
FEBRUARY 22 – NO DANCE CLASSES TONIGHT – Remind your friends, too!
Join me this SUNDAY for the Oscars Starlight Dance Party!Starlight Dance Party * Sunday, February 26, 2012 * Celebrate Academy Awards Night Dancing the Night Away with Rita!
You are welcome to bring your award-winning Pupus…I’ll have the Martinelli bubbly flowing! DJ DANCE MUSIC: Contemporary Ballroom, Latin, Swing, Salsa & Hustle Mix! And the winner is…An Elegant Dance Move Lesson @ 6:30 pm!
FEBRUARY 15 – Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy extended the love this year with a (day-after) Valentine’s Party “For the LOVE of DANCE!” Foxtrot & Salsa classes, Pupu Potluck, Performances & Social Dancing! What heartfelt and beautiful performances we were treated to tonight! Ron Baybayan & Marilyn Jackson did an endearing Night Club Two Step to Jim Brickman’s “Valentine” (sung by Olivia Newton-John) and Les Grimes & Julie Katz dance a passionate American Tango to Sobre Luna des Andes! MAHALO to both couples for sharing their LOVE of DANCE with us during these performances! Thank you to everyone who participated in the potluck (and we had a lot of desserts, didn’t we?) I donated the extreme sugar-high left overs to the County workers at the Kihei Community Center first thing the next morning; they were graciously appreciative! I hope that everyone’s Valentine’s extension continues through the weekend!
!!!REMINDER!!! NO STARLIGHT DANCE SOCIAL @ MAUI ARTS & CULTURAL CENTER Sunday February 19th!
!!!!REMINDER!!!! NO CLASSES Wednesday February 22nd @ ALOHA BALLROOM DANCE ACADEMY!
FEBRUARY 7 – A lot of phone calls from people interested in learning to dance…”I’ve always wanted to…,” “it’s on my bucket list…,” “my wife always wanted to/my husband never did – and now they’re gone….” These comments reminded me of one of my students who passed aways December 8, 2011: Jack Berberich:
“John (Jack) Lee Berberich
Jack Berberich of Rancho Mirage, CA passed away peacefully on December 8, 2011 at Desert Regional Medical Center. He was born on September 29, 1937 in Oakland, Ca to Jack and Freda Berberich.
… Jack had a great sense of humor and loved life and people. In addition to skating his passions included ballroom dancing. While in Maui Jack ventured into the world of competitive ballroom dancing and placed first in ten and second in two dances at the Hawaii Star Ball Ballroom Dance Championships in Oahu in 2008. Recently he began taking ice dancing lessons at the Desert Ice Castle in Cathedral City, CA.”
FEBRUARY 5 – “Fabulous Fridays @ MACC” turned into Post-Super Bowl Sunday Dance Party @ MACC! I’m bringing elegance back to Latin & Ballroom dancing with my Sunday evening Dance Parties from 5:45 pm – 9:15 pm @ Omori Studios! Tonight’s intimate crowd of dancers included American & International style dancer (my student), Art Baxa – back on Maui after traveling the world (most recently Mexico)! Subtle lighting, light refreshments and beautiful wood floors made tonight’s opening night special! I’m thrilled to be alongside “the other Rita” (Rita O’Keane) as she hosted Jorge Torres (Argentina) workshops for Argentine Tango! What a beautiful way to share dancing on Maui! I hope to see many of you there next Sunday – feel free to bring a little snack or finger food to share with your fellow dancers!
FEBRUARY 3 – FABULOUS FRIDAYS @ MACC! A stellar group of dancers participating in the Cha-Cha, West Coast Swing & Salsa made tonight a success! Because of the group’s focus on fun & technique for easier dancing, I was able to handle many different levels of dance progress, as well as go to each and every couple and give positive feedback and suggestions to make their individual dancing even better! It was almost like a semi-private…for only $6.25 PER CLASS! You can still join us NEXT FRIDAY for the classes @ a DISCOUNTED RATE! Everyone’s EXCITED about the Sunday Dance Party starting February 5th, 12th & 26th (NO Dance on 2/19 due to facility closure). Only $10 pp or $15/couple. Light refreshments served!
FEBRUARY 1 – ACADEMY OPENING NIGHT – Registration – Socializing – Dancing – Pupu Potluck – Mixers & MORE! The new Volunteer Coordinators were ready and so was I – eager to start a new year, fresh, vibrant – full of energy and a strong desire to create AWESOMENESS! Mahalo Karina (and I’m not talking Smirnoff, below, but rather Scarborough-Scheidt)! Julie Katz was assisting her team of volunteers at the Registration Desk: Mike & Nancy Mateja, Brenda & Richard Albright, & Brenda St. Cyr! Donnalee Singer had the good eats under control with Art & Flossie, Mai & Brenda, Dean and Chef Ron manning his battlestation in the kitchen! Well done! Keoki handled all facility needs tonight and much, much more: sound system (with Dean), vinyl banner, beverages and all things necessary…then he engaged us in a lively chant with clapping (sounded like a Q-Q-S to me)! Mahalo to everyone who helped with the set up and breakdown of the event! Our cozy seating arrangement encouraged a lot of talk (and talking amongst new & old friends – that was our goal) and the name tags made it more comfortable for everyone to know who they were talking to! We’re going to keep doing the name tags and soon EVERYONE will know EVERYONE’S name! I must tell you, I was blown away by our MIXER: 4 Foxtrots and no one wanted to sit down…so I added 2 Merengues…and the crowd was still energetic! Still, I thanked everyone for participating and then announced “and now back to our standard music mix…and the next dance is a salsa!” And to my surprise, most people switched partners with those next to them and did ANOTHER mixer to the Salsa! WOW! It was super cool! We had many mainland visitors tonight, also, include an International couple who graced our floor with Vienesse Waltz & Quickstep (along with some of our dancers, too)! Always a pleasure to have visiting dancers enjoy our dance community! Mahalo to Beverly Hills (MI) couple Lori & Rasheed for making Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy your first public dance “experience” in Salsa! You rocked! What a great kick-off to a new year of AWESOMENESS!
JANUARY 29 – Rita & Karina Smirnoff meet in Wailea and ”talk story”! And wouldn’t you like to know what we talked about? How about Private Image Dance Studio and Karina Smirnoff making something happen when she returns to Maui….doesn’t that sound AMAZING? She’s not only adorable, she’s so sweet!
JANUARY 26 – The last Thursday in my TECHNIQUE INTENSIVES and these semi-private lessons focused on the pure body mechanics of balance, control, styling, body expression, timing, foot work, connection & communication, flow, rhythm, and more! No “Steppers” here and we’re proud of it! Interested in being a part of my EXCLUSIVE TECHNIQUE INTENSIVES in the future – contact me @ email@example.com!
A TESTIMONY from a MAINLAND STUDENT (couple) who participated in my Technique Intensive (and does Medal Tests in OR at their studio): “Wowee Maui you really are so lucky to have a top notch dance instructor! Rita teaches the right stuff to make you look and feel like a polished ballroom dancer! Rita’s technique classes are the foundation to really start making dance fun, so much less frustrating, and successful! Some dance classes look like a room full of drunken kangaroos — But NOT Rita’s classes! You’d be able to pick out a Rita student on a crowded dance floor on Maui!” – Rachelle & Stan, OR
JANUARY 25 – Last Wednesday @ MACC in January Dance Workshop Series and OMG…I couldn’t help myself! I was having such an amazing time with my focused students that I didn’t want to end the classes…and I went over-time for all 3 (with permission by students, of course)! I LOVED everything about the Wednesday night classes and I’m so excited to be creating better dancers – people who know how to move their body, understand connection in lead & follow, who are learning the basics well enough to dance with a mainland visitor and feel confident knowing that they aren’t robotic steppers! My goal is to create 3-D on the dance floor by DEVELOPING DANCERS by DESIGN (intentionally teaching proper technique to make dancing easy & FUN…only a trained Dance Professional can impart this)! Everyone who took my MACC classes in January – CONGRATULATIONS on your great work & progress!
JANUARY 21 – DanceSport Championship Party TONIGHT! Wine – pupus – Front Row Seats – Q&A afterwards – Dancing under the stars on my outdoor wood dance floor – ANOTHER pretty awesome night! Mahalo to Keoki for putting down the floor for all my parties and for the Kama’aina and Visitors, Teens and Off-Island Dancers who graced the dance floor with their unique styles of dance! Such a special evening!
JANUARY 19 - Hustled first thing this morning – nothing like NYC dancing to wake you up! Then my day was filled with ECSwing & Salsa! The high-energy dancing was a great prelude to my Thursday Technique Intensive tonight! WOW! I was blown away by my Latin & Ballroom Technique Intensive dancers! Mind-bogglingly beautiful! I’m SO excited to share so much with my students and everyone worked hard tonight to create the dance from within and then share it with their partner! So blessed am I! Anyone can put their left (leader) or right (follower) foot in these classes…you can still RESERVE your spot NOW! firstname.lastname@example.org
JANUARY 16 – Last Day of SWING MAUI’S West Coast Swing series. It was an honor and pleasure to be asked by Swing Maui to teach the West Coast Swing! I’m excited about our partnership and cross-promotion of events to give the Maui community more dance variety! To all of the dancers who did the October and December/January WCS workshops with me – MAHALO from the bottom of my heart and to the tips of my little dancing toes! What a great opportunity this was for me to share my love of dance and my expertise in technique and teaching to students who REALLY wanted to learn “how to dance”! This makes all of my hard work, planning and teaching efforts worth it! And-a-1-and-a-2-and-a-3…let’s dance! BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!!!! I’ll be holding two ADDITIONAL Monday night workshops under Private Image Dance Studio (the first week is in the Kenolio Building – where Swing Maui held the WCSwing workshops – and the second week is to be determined…stay tuned)! I’m LOVIN’ 2012 and ready to Swing, Salsa, Bachata, Waltz, Cha-Cha, Foxtrot, Rumba, Quickstep, Hustle, Tango, Merengue, Vienesse Waltz…you name it…even Polka (yes, I taught that in NYC, too), Peabody (my original reason for even taking dance lessons in the first place) and Paso Doble! No one can say I don’t watch my “P”s (and “Q”s: Quickstep)!
Kenolio Open Room, Kenolio Rd., North Kihei
JANUARY 13 – Friday “the 13th” - a LUCKY DAY if you are me! I finished up my lesson week with 2 of the most stunning students a Dance Professional could ask for: Loi and Mai. They just can’t get enough – we dance for 2 hours and their dance-attitude is ideal: they want to learn, they practice, they ask questions, they talk about “real-life” situations that come up on the dance floor and seek advise for improving their dancing while ‘handling the situation’ the next time. They take constructive criticism very well knowing that in the short amount of time that they have danced (a few months), they already have a really good “FEEL” for the dance…we made Skippy and my professional colleagues in the West Coast Swing world very proud tonight! Congratulations Loi & Mai!
TOMORROW JANUARY 14th – DANCE PARTY & viewing PBS’ DanceSport Championships (with commentary by Rita)! Pupus encouraged and BYOB! Only $10 pp! Indoor and outdoor dance floor! Don’t miss this special night! RSVP is a MUST! Dancing starts at 7 pm, program at 8 pm…dancing under the stars until midnight or the last dance star goes home! 808-891-8747!
JANUARY 12 – A dance-packed week between my regular private lessons, my returning mainland private lessons and a whole new group of mainland-trained dancers (from American style to International style) AND my Monday night West Coast Swing workshops through SWING MAUI, my Wednesday night Workshops @ MACC and now my Thursday night TECHNIQUE INTENSIVES: Latin Technique and then Smooth/Ballroom Technique! We almost maxed out the Latin Technique Intensive and still have available spots for the Smooth/Ballroom Technique Intensive! Curious? Then sign up and find out WHY you don’t use your feet to dance (once you know the secret it’s so easy to pick out the steppers from the dancers)! Join those who are care about their dancing, want to look better themselves, want their partner to have an amazing experiences of effortless dancing and boy, do my dancers want to have FUN! You should see Eric’s face when his turnout is “latin” more than ballet, or Joni when she & I effortlessly floated with long, elegant steps around the dance floor! And hearing Brenda exclaim in excitement about the technique she never quite got years ago when she competed or the new methodology I showed her and how easily her body “got it!” How about when Dan, John, and Keoki created a powerful frame (and the lightest, most heavenly embrace) and maintained it without shoulders going up or elbows going down. That’s WHY I have a hard time squeezing in more privates weekly. You REALLY should learn more about how to dance, and leave the step-happy people “happy!” It’s not a crime to want to be better than where you are in your dancing…it’s a privilege you have to CHOSE to be better and grow as a person, a dancer and a partner! Contact me at email@example.com if you want to improve your dancing!
Oh, this is going to be a great year with some serious up-and-coming dancers! You better watch out…we’re giving you something to aspire to! I’m the only one on the island of Maui who can get you there! I’ve been teaching Latin & Ballroom dancing (in American and International styles) for almsot 30 years and that includes Swing, Hustle & Salsa, too! If you really want to know, I also teach Polka, Peabody, FreeStyle & Paso Doble (International Style a la DWTS), Theatre Arts and all forms of dancing from club dancing, social dancing, wedding dances, performance dances, competitive dances and teachers training! Let me know how I can help you reach your next level of dancing (or your first level if you are a newcomer)! Steps are for amateurs – I only want to teach students who want to learn how to dance! Are you on-board?
JANUARY 11 – Week 2 of 4 of the MACC Wednesday Workshop Series and we growing & going strong! Tonight we worked on body movement and dancing between the beats, fluid arm leads and press/catch compression/extension and the rolling count (contact me to find out what that’s about if you aren’t already “in the loop”)! I was so happy to see new faces and help all the dancers who stayed into the social dance practical! Tomorrow night is the start of the Technique Series at Private Image Dance Studio – are YOU a part of this elite group of dancers who want to become more educated about HOW to dance? These dancers also want to continue to grow and dance with only the BETTER DANCERS and those visiting from the mainland! I LOVE their dance goals – these dancers are going to soar to new heights and I’m loving the fact that I’m going to help them get there through these intensives! Let’s put on our dancing shoes and get busy!
JANUARY 10-13 – 2nd week of 2012 and today, my private lesson students (ranging from 5 years old to…well, I’m not going to divulge that) had so many “Ah-Ha” moments at their lessons that I was on CLOUD 9 until I went to bed! It’s so exciting to be a part of someone’s elses progress and I am thankful for the blessing of using my talent to help people realize their abilities on (and off) the dance floor! Congratulations Jim on turning around the misisng-link in our West Coast Swing (I was so happy to be there cheering you one when you “got it!”); Daniel we embarked on your lesson series with such wonderful fine-tuning that I know you are going to enjoy your dancing even more! Donnalee, I was happy to help you feel the lead of a better dancer so you can do your dance magic when you are in the arms of Mr.-Right-Hustle and/or Mr.-Right-West-Coast-Swing! I’m super proud of Les & Julie switching back and forth with lead and follow and ‘getting’ the technique of the dances (and it looking soooo good)! Congrats to Ron & Marilyn as they continue to polish their upcoming routine for the Valentine’s Dance!!!! I can’t wait! And to all of my rockin’ Keiki who competed in the Private Image Dance-Off today (competitive numbers and judging sheets, too)! I think you are THE coolest kids on Maui! My dear friend and teacher, John – it was so wonderful to be back in your arms dancing the rumba and getting you ready for your world-wide dance travels! My NYC girlfriend Marcy got her turns and spins down in the Salsa and is now working on Hustle…she and I are “Studio 54″ back-in-the day club goers, so we’re just reliving some wonderful memories on the dance floor! And Lisa & Mitch…working it on Wednesday night at the workshops and weekly at their private dance lessons: WCSwing and Salsa and those hips – so cool they are HOT!…check out January 13 to hear aobu tmore students and their progress!
JANUARY 9 – Swing Maui West Coast Swing Series! I’m a Guest Instructor at Monday night’s Swing Maui classes and we’re on week 5 of 6 and the movement and compression/expansion is astounding @ tonight’s class! OMG! Fabulous! Check out http://www.mauiparty2012.com. It’s going to be an amazing event hosted by “SWING MAUI!” Dancers Unite!
JANUARY 5 – ANNOUNCEMENT: 1 week from tonight – on January 12th – I’m holding very limited class size Technique Workshops in Latin and Ballroom – concentrating on elements of dance that only a qualified and trained Professional can show you: balance & control, body movement, isolation, rhythm movements, flight, weight change techniques, dancing in high-heels, partnering skills ranging from frame, connection, leading and following, arm styling, turns, spins and foot actions, grace, beauty and dynamic “snap”! Try and get that from someone who isn’t trained and award-winning in the dance professional industry…all you get is steps (pretty unexciting, huh?)! I want a life that lives and dance is an awesome means of expressing individuality and connecting with another person in a meaningful way! Come on…dance with those dancers on Maui who WANT to be the BEST DANCER they CAN BE (and are tired of pulling, pushing their partner or being pulled or pushed by their partner) – WHY would you ever want to do that? Why would a teacher even suggest it? I’m here to share my passion and professionally-recognized talent iwth the dancers on Maui who want to be educated in proper technique and want to dance with the educated dancers…RIGHT ON!
JANUARY 4th – Wednesday Night Workshops @ MACC: Cha-Cha, Salsa & West Coast Swing! What an amazing turnout tonight! I’m blown away! Most of the dancers tonight expressed a direct interest in learning the techniques for better dancing and are excited to learn and practice the body movements and rhythms of these popular dances! New through seasoned dancers have joined together to take a more concentrated and smaller group class and enjoy the social dancing afterwards. I worked individually with many dancers throughout the night’s classes and at the after-party! I’m so excited for everyone and their new dance journey! What a way to start off the NEW YEAR!
JANUARY 3rd: The excitement is building for my Wednesday Night Workshops at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center! I’ve been getting phone calls and emails and students pre-registering, so I’m hoping I don’t have to turn anyone away due to limited class size It’s going to be a blast and the smaller classes mean I can work more one-on-one with students and improving their technique – my expertise as a 30-year veteran of teaching professional Latin, Ballroom, Swing, Salsa (etc.) to thousands of students! What a great way to start off the New Year! I’ll see you tomorrow night – don’t forget to pre-register to save your spot! firstname.lastname@example.org
2012! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
DECEMBER 28 – Last Classes for 2011//Guest Night – everyone’s admitted FREE//Starlight Dance Social//Pupu Potluck//Officer Recognition Awards! What a night! The emails are still coming in exclaiming the FUN night that was had by all! Turn-out was great and there was plenty of learning, dancing and socializing! The Salsa class kept everyone turning and spinning and while the standard class students practice I conducted a Newcomer Intro Class to Salsa with some amazing Dancer-wannabes – they were AWESOME! Then the Quickstep class took to the floor and we finished the amalgamation with a Reverse Turn in S-Q-Q timing to link to the beginning Chasses! How cool was that? VERY! A special MAHALO to Terry for demonstrating the steps with me and for the social dances in Quickstep, Foxtrot & Waltz (FUN)! Mahalo Jim for the WCS, Helena for the Salsa & Brian for the Hustle!
END of YEAR ANNOUNCEMENTS: * West Coast Swing Classes continue in January on Monday nights at the Kenolio Room (S. Kihei Rd) @ my workshops through Swing Maui (as Jason & I collaborate) * $20 Private Lesson gift cards were distributed for the final time since implementing “Rita’s Gift Back to the Dance Community” * There will be NO Academy classes in January, due to facility closing ; resume in Feburary **** NEW NEWS!**** Rita will hold 4 consecutive Wednesday WORKSHOPS with limited student enrollment during those weeks at a venue tba. Watch your emails for the list of dances and the venue! If you are interested in even knowing what the dances are, please email me direct (email@example.com), otherwise you will miss out on the announement! * special Volunteer Recognition Award given to Keoki Sousa for going above and beyond the Volunteer “call-of-duty” – Keoki was presented with a lei and Academy gift certificate for a free classes by the Academy and I personally presented & honored Keoki’s contribution with a private lesson at Private Image Dance Studio! * Special Recognition for 2011 Officers with presentation of leis & gift certificates:
Since our inception in 2002, there have been different groups of 4-9 core people who donated a year of their time to make my dance vision a reality. These dance “Super Heros” are the Officers and in 2011 they were “The Fab Five”:
Juan Dawson, Cindy Dawson, Marilyn Jackson, Donnalee Singer and Ron Baybayan! This group has served as a team for 2 years together and Juan & Cindy have served the Academy for five years! This is dedication and hard work!
Juan has tirelessly set-up the facility for us to take classes and promoted the Academy everywhere he went; Juan has believed in our cause and our distinction among all the other dance clubs on island: to provide qualified, professionally instructed group classes through an educational school and he has proudly served the Academy’s mission. Even if Juan called me up before class and said “We have a situation” – which is usually not a good thing – Juan was at the ready to remedy it and march forward to its satisfactory completion. Juan has a strong love of dance performance and theatrics as evidenced in their 6 years of multiple showcase team performances and solo dance routines I’ve choreographed just for them! Turn up the lights and it’s “Showtime” for Juan!
Cindy has kept all of us in order and highly organized. She has been both Treasurer & Secretary (depending on the year). She has been a major party-decorating source (meaning she’s either out shopping for decorations for our parties or pulling her personal items together to decorate our hall)! She has been my right hand on the nights when a 1 am phone call was necessary – all to make it seamless, and seemingly effortless, to you, the students, and guests attending our events. Cindy loves using her creativity to create costumes for her performances and is a diligent student learning technique when it comes to the showcases and solo performances they’ve done!
Juan & Cindy have been remarkable people that I’ve had the honor to call “my friends!”
Marilyn has been the Academy secretary, keeping our meeting notes in order and helping at the front desk, & greeting new students. Marilyn has been going for her RN degree at University of Hawaii – Maui Campus for more than a year now and has had to juggle her studies and Academy duties simultaneously. Marilyn has always wanted to do dance performances and when her and Ron met as dance partners, she finally found someone she could see herself performing with! Last year, they did a waltz and next year they…well, that would give away a secret, wouldn’t it?
Ron aka “Chef Ron” has brought a smile to many of our dance functions these past years with his culinary magic and kitchen know-how! A quiet, unassuming man who is quick to pitch in wherever help is needed, whether it’s setting up the sound system, working the front desk or welding our storage locker when “something” wasn’t working properly; personally, I think he used his creme brulee blow torch ! Ron helped us get the word out about our dance classes through flyers posted in Paia, Kahului & Wailuku and has done a solo dance performance at a previous semi-formal ball…and I know a secret: he’s working on another routine which I’ve choreographed for him and Marilyn! So stay tuned!
Donnalee, our soft-spoken angel with a big heart and strong desire to serve the dance community has always created harmony and new alternative ways for us to look at situations, always respecting everyone and everyone’s feelings. She has many times been the coordinator for events, a strong & steady front desk registrar and a newcomer’s dream when she agrees to be their partner for their first night of dance. Donnalee is a yoga teacher, belly dancer, Argentine Tango enthusiast and an overall beautiful person inside & out. Donnalee has shared with us her one of her other passion: her paintings! Creating many one-of-a-kind pieces exclusively for the Academy, Donnalee’s gentle touch on the canvas, as well as her gentleness in her partner’s arms is genuine and sincere!
With great pride and appreciation, I presented each of the officers (present) with their private lesson gift certificates & leis in recognition for a job well-done!
And so this concludes our tenth year of service to the Maui ohana, including kama’aina & visitors! And what a journey this has been! As Mayor Alan Arakawa calls the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy a “Maui success story” – we were built on donations of financial resources, time & talent by the community. We manage our week to week expenses through student fees and we rely on the kindness of everyone pitching in to make the Academy their dance community as we come together in fellowship!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Looking forward to new & exciting DANCE HAPPENINGS in 2012! Aloha & Happy Dancing! ~ Rita
DECEMBER 21 – Tonight we celebrated all the December holidays with Salsa & Quickstep Classes AND a Holiday Dance Social! When you walked into the hall, the lit Christmas tree dominated the stage with a skirt of wrapped gifts donated by Academy students (and the public) for the Keiki of the Homeless Resource Centers in Wailuku & Lahaina! What a wonderful outpouring of generousity by our dance ohana! We were fortunate to get newspaper publicity by The Maui News this past week and with that came contributions from visitors to our island, including a Massachusetts couple who donated $250.00 to the cause! I was speechless! Tonight’s classes had many visitors and we added the Hammerlock pattern with safety techniques! Remember, in partnership dancing there’s no such thing as the “four-letter” words involved in leading! I’m delighted and surprised to see the enthusiasm in the International Quickstep! Luckily, we have 8,000 sq. ft. to dance in, so it’s a perfect space! After the classes, announcements were made, including that one of our officers, Juan, has been absent due to (a) broken rib(s) and on Monday night, Jason McGuire was in a vehicular accident (on his moped) and has a fractured collarbone and (luckily) minimum “road rash” (and no internal injuries). Hopefully these two great guys will be back on our dance floor after they’ve given their bodies time to heal properly! Miss you both! I was surprised to see Anthony (a former teen student who took private lessons from me with desires to perform a la DWTS) visiting from college; I even got to enjoy 2 waltzes with him! Mahalo to Terry Hans for demo-ing with me in both classes and the lovely foxtrot & quickstep we enjoyed during the dance social! Thank you Barbara Flowers for the salsa and Blu (from the Big Island) for the WCSwing! A special thanks to officer Ron (aka “Chef Ron”) for the holiday punch & cookies and all of the volunteers that pitched in for tonight’s event! Don’t forget we have our last classes NEXT Wednesday 12/28 on our FREE GUEST NIGHT and Starlight Dance Social (saying good-bye to 2011 and a warm welcome to 2012)! It’s a pupu potluck, so participation is encouraged by all!
DECEMBER 14 – What a night! Salsa dance class was rockin’! And, as promised, I had a little holiday GIFT for everyone in attendance tonight! It was my pleasure dancing with visiting International dancer Art Lashbrook in an impromptu demo (just pure lead and follow – heaven)! Wearing a ”little something” of a costume dancing International Rumba & Cha-Cha, Art & I swayed & swiveled hips a la “DWTS.” Then with a snap of a finger, I changed into my elegant smooth gown & bling-bling accessories and Art & I danced an International Foxtrot & Viennese Waltz! Hana Hou & we did a short Night Club Two Step! So, WHY do I practice my dance technique nightly? Because gifts like this don’t happen every day (or night) and I want to savor every minute of my time in the arms of fabulous leader moving to music and letting my heart sing! So when the class starting warming up for their Quickstep class, Art & I jumped in and flew around the floor! DIVINE! MAHALO Art! Quickstep is turning out to be a blockbuster hit @ the Academy! Who knew? I guess the fast feet helps in keeping up the speed-shopping at holiday time, too! Right now I’m listening (www.Pandora.com) to Harry Connick, Jr.’s “Jingle Bells”…a Quickstep! WOW!
Speaking of GIFTS…Toinght some gifts for the Keiki of the Homeless Resource Center were brought in – wrapped gifts with tags indicating the gender and age range for the children (ages 0 – 17 years) in the Wailuku & Lahaina Homeless Shelter (Ka Hale A Ka Ole)! We will collect these gifts through December 21s (NEXT WEEK) and then deliver them to the Homeless Resource Center for distribution in preparation of Santa Claus’s arrival for the children on Christmas ‘morn! Please give generously!
DECEMBER 7 – Academy quick-stepping Salsa and sassy Quickstep! WOW! Everyone’s LOVIN’ the Quickstep…how cool is that? We moved onto the lock step from the Quarter Turn of last week in the Quickstep (I really think it’s the Barry Manilow song you love to dance too) and we’re starting to turn in the Salsa: tonight was the Ladies’ turn, next week the Men’s turn! Don’t forget the “P” word…turns take PRACTICE to seem effortless! I’ve been dancing over 30 years (OMG, did I just print that) and a few times a week I practice my turns (in addition to my spins, lunges, flight, frame and other cool techniques)! WHO do I practice with? Me, Myself & I…and I’m on balance (I can stop on a dime or a micro-chip), musically attuned and holding my frame consistently…and YOU? Tonight Cindy & Donnalee kept vigilant watch at the Reception Desk and kept everything running smoothly all night! MAHALO! Keoki, Mahalo for coming early and staying late to help with the set-up/break-down of the equipment as well as general Facilities management. We miss Juan (out due to a broken rib…luckily, not a dance injury), and we are grateful to have Keoki step in for him! Thank you Terry & Mike for “volunteering” your good form and dancing talents to the Quickstep class (and Terry to the Salsa, also); please thank your ladies for “living without you” when I needed you! Mahalo to Julie Katz for spending your Salsa class as a leader and then happily accepting my invitation to be a follower in a smooth demo dance with me! It is wonderful that I can pull my private lesson students from the group and feel confident in their dance skills! I’m so proud of each of you and all my other private lesson students, too! I’m putting on some relaxing music and praciting my dance tonight @ 10:30 pm…!
DECEMBER 5 – West Coast Swing Beginner & Intermediate Classes! What an amazing showing at Swing Maui for my West Coast Swing classes! People from Argentine Tango (Mahalo Rita, Thanaid & Katherine) and Lindy Hop, Blues, and Ballroom & Latin communities and even a dancer from the Big Island (hey, Blu)! It was a pleasure to introduce so many people to the contemporary West Coast Swing trends and see the smiles grow! We’re going to do it again for five more classes! Come and join us! There’s an after-class practice, too! I’m also available for private lessons (firstname.lastname@example.org) – your fastest way to learn a dance! 5-6-7-8!
NOVEMBER 30 – I’m so happy to be back dancing with my students, friends and new dancers who joined us for the first time tonight at the Academy (and some of our “Snow Birds” are back, too)! It was my pleasure to be teaching after my month-long vacation on safari in Africa & visiting family & dear friends in California! Special recognition and praise goes to the Officers who tirelessly help keep the Academy running week-to-week and especially during my vacation: Ron Baybayan, Juan & Cindy Dawson, Marilyn Jackson and Donnalee Singer. I’d also like to thank my silent helpers who help promote the Academy throughout the year: Charles Dougherty – places the lawn signs every week; Daniel Kruse – Web Master www.AlohaBallroom.com; Jason McGuire – posts flyers around Kihei town! MAHALO! Tonight the energy was stellar from start-to-finish! What fun we had dancing the Salsa and then the Quickstep (a first for group classes on Maui)! A special thank you to Terry Hans for assisting me during both classes and a warm & appreciative thank you to Mike Mateja for showing off his quick steps in the Quickstep - What a pleasure! I’m always available to help students if they have a question or need assistance during the break, so feel free to raise your hand and I’ll come over and help you move smoother on the floor! Helpful hints from a qualified & trained profesisonal can make a world of difference in your dancing! Just ask any of the students who’ve taken private lessons with me, or click on “Kind Words & Testimonials” on this website (Mike & Nancy Mateja’s comments are there, too)! A gentle reminder to anyone who tried to book a private lesson with me at the end of October (I’m sorry that I didn’t have available time) – please contact me as soon as possible and we’ll book your lessons before the end of the year! Curious to know what a PRIVATE LESSON can do for YOUR DANCING? Call me! 891-8747!
NOVEMBER 2 – NOVEMBER 16 – Rita’s in Africa dancing with the wild life and listening to the rhythms of the jungle! What an amazing trip but I miss everyone at the Academy! A BIG MAHALO to Officers Juan & Cindy Dawson leading the group through the remaining Beginner Bachata and veteran dancers (Mr. & Mrs.) Les Grimes & Julie Katz for guiding the class through the balance of the Waltz Level Two dance steps! OUTSTANDING!
Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy has the HOTTEST dancers on-island!
HALLOWEEN PHOTOS by Daniel Kruse…for your’s contact Rita!
OCTOBER 26th – BOO! A SPOOKtacular HOWL-O-Ween dance party! Creatures & Beauties of all kinds were out tonight in full force! Pilots, ripped bodies as cavemen, boxers and polka-dotted dancers, hippies, doctors (guys-in-lab-coats), rock stars, ghouls, and even a Wall Street protester came along with princesses, Candyland girls, goddesses (well, we knew that), storybook characters & Pocahantas! Mahalo to all of the volunteers who helped decorate the Kihei Community Center (KCC) into a FRIGHTFULLY BOO-tiful atmosphere! Thank you to everyone who brought potluck tonight (Mai – I loved the banana lumpia) and everyone who helped throughout the evening! A special shout out to the Officers of the Kihei Chapter – outstanding job! Our 2 contest winners (both couples) for tonight were Les Grimes & Julie Katz (aka: “Miss Leslie & Mr. Julian”) kept everyone guessing as to who that thin “man” was with the impeccable lead and who was that “charming old lady”! Too funny! I full character were the other winning couple Larry Zolezzi & Barbara Flowers (Flamenco Dancers – and yes, Larry, you still looked handsome with the pom-pom balls hanging from your hat)! Congratulations on winning the Private Dance Lesson gift certificates! We had mixers, “line” dances and way too good of a time! It was a night of smiles, laughter, dance and decent fun! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
OCTOBER 19th – Our Bachata class is going strong and those hips are keeping it smooth & sexy! Tonight was the guy’s turn to…well, um, TURN! A little “behind the back” action and a smooth landing had the ladies smiling! Still working on the fluid arms in the Hammerlock – I didn’t hear any “ouches” so I think we’re all good! The Bachata practice session had the dance floor full! Right on! Our current Waltz step – Left/Right Turn Combination – is progressing and we’ll continue to work out the kinks over the next few weeks, but I’m proud of all the dancers perserving! Our goal is to do it as close to correct alignment with the proper technique – doesn’t have to be perfect, but we’ll get it danced well! Right now I’m working on 4 choreographed routines for students who are going to perform at the December 17th Anniversary Dance (details to come soon) and I imagine everyone else is working on their HALLOWEEN COSTUMES for next week’s Costume Dance Party! Bring your friends – Prizes for Best Costumes! Dance Classes – Mixers – Stage Line Dances – POTLUCK & More Fun! I hope you’ll BEWITCH us!
OCTOBER 12th – What an AWESOME Bachata class to start the evening! A special welcome to all of the new students (the young ones and those young-at-heart)! Smiles filled the room and laughter was plentiful! We got a little more “serious” in the Waltz class, but with a pinch of fun, but we upped the “game” of learning to dance! Have you become our FRIEND on FACEBOOK? “Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy” Remember “Perfect Practice” makes perfect (or at least gets you dancing in the right direction. IF you have questions, email me – I have happy to help! You might as well get the advice from a qualified Professional, right? 5-6-7-8! Two more weeks until HALLOWEEN! Costumes – Classes – Contest – POTLUCK and fun, Fun, FUN! BOO!
OCTOBER 5th – Were YOU there? Well, if you were, then you know how much FUN it was tonight at the Registration/Social Dance/Potluck Party with Intro Bachata lesson! But, if you weren’t there…we’re sorry and hope that you’ll join our new, exciting classes next week in Bachata & Waltz! We had dance mixers (Foxtrot & Bachata), “Stage” dance moves in the Cha-Cha…and move those hips…did anyone catch my extra ones…totalling 12 or more during the cha-cha-cha bridge? Christine & Joy did! You should have been there! We even had “Birthday Steal-a-Dance” for 3 Birthday Boys: Daniel, Les, & Juan! Mahalo to all the ladies who “stole a dance” from the lady before them; these guys were smiling from ear to ear! Welcome to all the new students and those that were having way too much fun – Joelene, Robert & Toni, Sam & Christine, Mark, Rex & visitors Doyle & Vickie! A special thanks to Loi Le for assisting me on stage tonight while my “formal assistnat” Juan made the music more magical! Mahalo to my dance partners: Jason, Julie, Joelene, Juan (heh, wait a minute…everyone’s name begins with a “J”), Ernie, Daniel, Les & Mark!TWENTY-ONE DAYS until HALLOWEEN Costume Party – start planning because we’re giving away dance prizes, too! We’ll see everyone next week (and your friends can still join on the first night of classes – Spread the word)!
OCTOBER 4th – ANNOUNCEMENT of my West Coast Swing WORKSHOPS through Swing Maui (Monday nights) October 17 & 24 (see flyer above)! Contact me to register for the workshops! “Experienced Partnership Dancers” from any dance genre: Swing, Lindy, Ballroom, Latin, Argentine Tango…Everyone’s welcome! 808.891.8747 email@example.com
OCTOBER 4th – Keiki & Teen OCTOBER CLASSES started today! We learned another cool step in the East Coast Swing – mahalo Addy for stepping up as the “Big Girl” Student Assistant and helping show the younger dancers how to do the step! You are so patient and helpful and they all enjoyed you! Welcome back Jacob & Zayden and my “Count-me-in-Girl” Izzy (“5-6-7-8″)! We all had fun coloring in our Swing Dancers and learning how to “spot” ourselves in the mirror to add more snap to our turns! Right on! FYI: Adults, these kids are uber-awesome and the class is a lot of fun, but if you’re over 12 years old, you can’t join…Sorry!
SEPTEMBER 21st – A celebration at a private party to honor the Spring Dance Course volunteers! Tonight was one of the most spectacular & well-attended private dance parties EVER! Mahalo to EVERYONE who made tonight’s “Most Valuable Volunteer Party” the star-studded event that it was! The smiles on your faces and in your hearts here on earth filled the night sky with an added beauty that was breath-taking! I was so happy to see everyone having a good time both on and off the dance floor(s)! With the Milky Way as our canopy, and the soulful Maui breezes as our “air-conditioning,” we came together as dancers and volunteers celebrating our participation in the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy’s April – June success! Mahalo to each and every one of you for your contribution to the Academy (and for many of you it is testimony to your many years of service)!
A special “Mahalo” to the Academy Officers for your dedication (Ron,Donnalee, Juan, Cindy, Marilyn) and tonight, especially to Chef Ron for theamazing array of ono pupus and alarm-worthy crème brulee filled ramekins – my favorite
With indebted gratitude and appreciation to Keoki & Jason for coming early to set-down my “new” wood parquet dance floor while foregoing tonight’s sunset (which I heard was spectacular)! The dance floor was a hit and you worked together engineering it beautifully! Thank you from the bottom of my heart & feet!
Everyone seemed to enjoy the camaraderie and opportunity to get to know others better as well as take a new dance partner onto the indoor or outdoor dance floors! Mahalo to my dance partners: Jason, Les, Terry, Eddie, Connie, and Donnalee!
Thank you to everyone who pitched in at the end helping Jason & Keoki disassemble the dance floor, put away tables & chairs, breakdown decorations, take out the garbage and help in the kitchen.
“The ultimate expression of generosity is not in giving of what you have, but in giving of who you are.” – Johnnetta B. Cole
Aloha & Happy Dancing until we meet again next Wednesday 9/28 at the Academy’s Open House/Guest Night (bring a friend – it’s FREE – spread the word)!
SEPTEMBER 14th – Another amazing Waltz class! I’m very proud of everyone taking the smooth elegance of the Waltz to new levels! Mahalo to my dance partners who demonstrated with me tonight: Eddie, Daniel, Eddie, Julie & Charles (who demonstrated the entire new step with me from start-to-finish)! WOW! You were all “on” tonight! Thank you for making me look good tonight! I was happy to help everyone during the break, as well…posture, frame, flow, etc.! Everyone’s learning new skills weekly! A special thank you to Juan & Cindy who graciously demonstrate one of their favorite dances: East Coast Swing! Mahalo Juan for dancing the Whip with me, even though the room was spinning & spinning with our cool centrifugal force. I hope everyone remembers: “To Feel is for Real!” Thanks Charles for the quote! And thank you Eddie for helping me by carrying out the TV/player post-class; what muscles! REMINDER: NO CLASSES on Wednesday, 9/21/11!
SEPTEMBER 7th – Are you our “Friend” on FACEBOOK? Look up “Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy” and become our friend! We’d love to have you join us! Tonight’s Waltz class was spectacular with everyone dancing in sync and WOW – those Slow Hesitations were beautiful! Congratulations to all the new dancers and the more seasoned ones who are improving their technique. Lots of fun dancing in-between the classes and a special Mahalo to Juan & Cindy for demonstrating the East Coast Swing! You are a great asset to the class and especially to me! Mahalo to all my Officers for your teamwork each week and for helping out tonight in Rotation – it means a lot to me & the students, too! East Coast Swing was especially fun tonight (in addition to having Juan & Cindy dancing for us) – cool kick steps (and no one got hurt)! Mahalo to those students who gave me feedback – truly appreciate it, as always!
NO CLASSES Wednesday, August 24th!!!!!
AUGUST 17th – “HOT SUMMER NIGHTS” Dance Party – The evening started sizzling with a FREE Bachata lesson of basic steps with slow, sultry hips! Mahalo Juan & Cindy for helping demonstrate! Mahalo to all the volunteers who helped set-up the event, worked during the event and those who stayed and helped with breakdown. Each and every lending hand was greatly appreciated! Once again, thank you to Officer Donnalee Singer for sharing her beautiful artwork on canvas and for spearheading the festive bright-colored latern lights decorations on the stage and around the room! Mahalo to Officer Juan and long-time Academy supporter Keoki for setting up the facility & sound system and Chef Ron (accompanied by Chef Keoki…the man who wears many hats…and apparently “aprons,” too) for keeping our kitchen running smoothly! We had some new faces join us this evening: Dave, Lori, Don, and John & Josephine! And some familiar friends – Dennis, Valerie & Barbara! Thank you to my dance partners tonight: Les (we miss Julie), Art, Jason, Terry, Ernie & Marcus! It was a delightful evening and I’m thrilled I got to share it with so many friends!
AUGUST 10th - Hopefully you were there and caught the excitement generated in our last class in the ECSwing/Rumba/Hustle series! The energy was HIGH and everyone did a great job! Welcome back (after a long off-island trip) Juan & Cindy! It was great to have you up front demoing with us again! Mahalo for my student demo partner, Terry! It’s exciting to see my students doing so well! I’m very proud of all of them, including Rich & Marina, Charles, Ernie, Joy, Keoki, Donnalee, Jason, and others! Mahalo to everyone who helped post our flyers around town and those who are donating a little bit of time to next week’s “Hot Summer Nights” dance party! Dress hot latin summertime and we’re going to dance the night away! CONGRATULATIONS to Claire Florio who was the HIGHEST BIDDER at the Julie Claire Holmes Fundraiser “A Dance to Remember” for the private lesson with me! As Maui’s premier and only qualified Latin & Ballroon experienced Dance Professional, I’m excited to help Claire (and others) become the best dancer she can be! One lesson will make transformational changes she’ll notice immediately! 5-6-7-8!
AUGUST 3rd – HAPPY BIRTHDAY Officer Cindy! What a surprising night – in all ways! We had DOUBLE the number of men to women tonight! Mahalo to all the wonderful men who stayed throughout despite having to wait in Rotation for
a partner! You are all such troopers! Mahalo to all of my spontaneous “Demo-Partners” – Al, Larry, Keoki, Ron, Maribeth, Donnalee and especially MARCUS (former Marine Corp – new student of 4 weeks) who was the first one to step forward to demo ECSwing with me (Back Walks to Flicks). Awesome lead Marcus – GREAT JOB everyone! And did you watch the “Mighty 3″ dance the ECSwing? Mahalo Mitch & Lisa, Pierce & Maribeth, David & partner (oops, sorry I don’t remember this beautiful woman’s name – my bad)! Welcome Haile, a brand new student who joined tonight (with no dance experience) and blew me away with picking up all 3 dance classes and leading me in a social ECSwing and class amalgamation in Rumba! I was uber-impressed – well done! Missing 4 (of our 5) Officers this week with Juan & Cindy and Ron & Marilyn on vacation; Donnalee you did an amazing job as the sole Officer tonight assisted by Keoki (former Officer) from start to finish! Mahalo Jason for coming early and helping set-up the facility with Keoki! Hoping Terry Hans feels better quickly and he’ll join me in the center of the floor next week! Fun night!
JULY 30th – “A Dance To Remember” Julie Claire Holmes Dance Scholarship Fundraiser. Julie Claire gave back so much to the dance community & Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy! MAHALO to all who helped us create a memorable event in her honor to benefit the youth of Maui through dance scholarships @ MAPA (Maui Academy of Performoing Arts)! The morning started with dedicated Academy volunteers helping to set-up and decorate the Kihei Community Center Hall into “Julie’s Forest” with amazing foliage brought by Kimo and others! Each table was decorated with large hibiscus, smaller florals & greenery! Donnalee Singer’s artwork graced the stage wall - her Angel Series, including “Julie’s Angel” which was part of the Silent Auction! Dr. Marco Biancardi – from Italy (Julie Claire’s boyfriend until the very end) created wonderful video footage in memory of Julie’s life with the many photos from the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy’s event, showcases & solo performances Julie Claire was in, as well as photos of her as a younger woman and a young Mom to Christian! Her son Christian (and his fiance) joined us from California (where Christian is attending Culinary School) and shared stories about his time at MAPA during his youth and his gratitude for the outpouring of the Maui community to memorialize his Mom’s legacy! The Silent Auction raised around $4,000 (first count) for MAPA dance scholarships in Julie Claire’s name. If YOU want to make a donation to the scholarship, you can send a check to MAPA with “Julie Claire Holmes Dance Scholarship” in the memo line (A MUST)! Every contribution counts! Mahalo to all the volunteers that helped at the Silent Auction, the Buffet tables, the clean-up & breakdown! A special thank you to my dance partners: Terry, Jason, Eric, and Angie. Thank you Julie Claire for guiding me through this and I know you are dancing in heaven!
Early Registration JULY 6th – Tonight’s Registration Night, Social Dance, Potluck Dinner & Introductory East Coast Swing lesson was fun, Fun, FUN! A super big MAHALO to all of the Officers who help week in and week out with running the Academy! I can’t do it without you! With everyone’s upcoming vacations and stay-cations our Summer Dance Classes “slow down” a little bit, but the smiles and fun NEVER end! Mahalo Keoki for the Hawaiian & English blessing! A lot of new students joined us on the dance floor and with one teen couple (Heidianne & John) to start, John promises us that MORE of his friends will join them next week! How cool is that? It was great to see our returning students Cindy (Cynthia) J and Larry Z and Dan B! And our newer students who are “hanging in there” and have too much fun…like Joy F & Tamara D & Eddie! I even treated Juan & Cindy to a “dirty dancing” Bachata (and enjoyed one myself with Jason – thank you)! Mahalo to all of the volunteers who came early, helped throughout the night (registration, potluck, kitchen, etc.) and all the gracious students who helped with breakdown! It was awesome to see Juan & Kendall from CA dancing and having a blast, too! Mahalo to my dance partners: Charles, Ernie, Jim, Jason, Terry, Al and Larry! You guys are awesome partners – what a privilege! Don’t forget to tell your friends that next Wednesday is the FIRST NIGHT of CLASSES! Everyone’s welcome to register!
July 5th – Private Lessons! What an honor & privilege it is to work with mainland students who have their own coaches & teachers, but who say “MY teacher never told me THAT! It’s so much EASIER! Thank you, Rita!” “You’re Welcome!”
JULY 4th! – Hope it was a reflective weekend of the celebration of FREEDOM!
JUNE 29th – NO CLASSES TONIGHT! We’ll see everyone at Registration Night on July 6th … SOCIAL DANCE, Mixers, POTLUCK & Dance LESSON!
June 22nd – Class tonight, but it was the last one for the quarter! New classes start in July! Tonight’s Rumba class worked a new pattern and on slowing it down, Hustle worked on a new step and on speeding it up (with correct form) and the Foxtrot class worked on technique! A small, but dedicated group tonight with some returning out-of-town guests! A special mahalo to Greg for the beautiful sunset painting he made for me!
June 15th – I wonder if the “Man in the Moon” saw my dance classes tonight? They were pretty awesome! Rumba Rocks ROCKED – so sexy! Hustle is getting better weekly & hopefully if everyone continues to practice the correct technique we can smooth out the “hops” (OMG) and “back-rocks”…it was a DREAM dancing with Terry as my demo partner…Terry & I LOVE the Rumba, the Hustle AND the Foxtrot (our 3 faves)! The Foxtrot found us working on walking and caring about how we move, how good we look, how good we make our partner(ship) look and how much FUN dancing is when done correctly! How cool is that? See ya at Lulu’s!
June 12th – Sunday MAUI NEWS – Currents: http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/550391/Kihei-dance-professional-earns-gold-during-recent-competition.html?nav=12
June 8th – Morning walk & then I taught private lessons all day! Today’s students (among many) a mainland Personal Trainer who got turned onto Latin dancing when she took a private lesson with me while on vacation a few months ago: Judy’s back and we’re doing back-to-back lessons for a few days in International Style Latin; a newer student has been practicing her “Princess Walk” (forward & back) and her frame is coming along elegantly (way to go, Joy); and a new 20-something student who LOVES the feeling of dance & has picked up quickly (in only 2 private lessons) the Hustle! He’s already on step #5 – second lesson (you ROCK Garrett)! And so many more success stories! Tonight’s Academy classes kept the energy high and the Rumba is looking good; the Hustle is still a challenge (it’s a different “animal” for sure); and the Foxtrot is full of new surprises. Great job everyone, but remember to PRACTICE! “Practice doesn’t make perfect, but PERFECT PRACTICE will help you reach your dance goals quicker”! I have some private lesson times available over the next 2 weeks – please inquire (808-344-4452).
June 7th - Another early morning & the sun hadn’t peaked over Haleakala when I got up…a warm cup of tea & honey and I’m off to “The Breakfast Club” on KNUI AM900 talk radio for the 8 am show! Join me…call in 808.856.2836 or log-on (streaming live) http://knui900.listentomyradio.com/. I’ve done enough radio talk shows over the years to know that the listeners can’t SEE you, so I was thrown into a spin when Kellie says “we going to videotape” a segment & put it on FaceBook! It’s 8 AM – I’m a Dancer – a Night Owl! Go to FaceBook, “Like” Maui Breakfast Club Radio Show & you’ll see Gylian & I in one of the segments! Don’t forget to “friend” me on FaceBook, too! More information about the Julie Claire Holmes Dance Scholarship Fundraiser & Silent Auction coming soon!
June 3rd – Academy Student, Former Officer & Friend Julie Katz celebrated her Retirement (from Education) at Lulu’s tonight with live music, friends, dancers, her life partner & #1 dance partner, Les (and some delicious custard-filled chocolate topped sheet cake) – EVERYONE had a great time! Mahalo to my dance partners: Franz, Les, Jason, Robert, Patrick and of course, Les! Julie was so busy dancing all night, I never got a chance to whirl her around the floor! Congratulations Julie!
June 1st – 29 more days until halfway through 2011 (and I’ll be celebrating another “belly-button birthday” as a dear friend calls it (my belly-button…3 diamond jeweled drop and all that bling)! So, the Academy’s June class kick-off was nothing less than firework spectacular! The energy was through the KCC roof tonight! We had couples joining us from the mainland, new students and many of our Academy dance family! The Rumba was a sweet start to the new dance session as we learned latin motion from the feet to the hips (and even the solar plexus)! Then the Rumba box step (basic) – not to be confused with a Foxtrot box, but my students know that! Then we glided (even without the $100 bills) into the slow UAT for the Ladies – a “free massage” for the men and “a look around” for the ladies during their UAT! Great job everyone! We started the Outside Partner (“parallel breaks”) ending with a half-box, but we’ll refine that more next week! Thank you to Terry for assisting me throughout the Rumba – always a pleasure! MAHALO to everyone who asked questions during class and to those fast hands that went up when I went around helping couples during the practice break! Awesome! Then we moved onto the Hustle – a new dance for most! A club dance unlike others. “Back in the day” in NYC Village Clubs (“Studio 54″ and all those great dance places) we had the smoothest sexiest Hustle dancers! Uneducated dancers hop and back-rock, but not in my class…we’re dancing it smoothly and with correct form (as only a qualified professional can impart to her students)! A challenging dance for many, but “hang in there”…P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E and email me questions between now and Wednesday of next week so I can get you on the right (or left) track! Straight time (1-2-3-4) is the best way to practice (and without a partner), then syncopated rhythm (without a partner)…we’ll hook up again next week – no worries! And, last but not least: Foxtrot Beginner Level II: Grapevine….Fwd-side-back-side-fwd…it’s all good! Looking forward to dancing with my private lesson students this Thursday and Friday…call me if I can help you with one-on-one instruction (10% discount for new private lesson students)! 808.344.4452!
May 30th – We’re days away from the Academy’s new dance series with HUSTLE, RUMBA & Level II Foxtrot! I’m so excited to be teaching my New York Style Hustle (no “hopping” or “bouncing” that’s for sure – just smooth and sexy)! Looking forward to seeing everyone on the dance floor! We’ve got some new dancers joining us and I’m stoked!
May 27th – Private Lessons and the Memorial Day Weekend Kick-Off! It’s amazing what the body can do and today’s private lesson students are hungry for becoming better dancers, by understanding what the body and their center of balance does to create a great dancer! The joy of moving your body exquisitely (whether it’s a flowing foxtrot, a sassy sultry salsa or the smooth New York style hustle (BTW, there is ‘no such thing’ as a “Hopping Hustle”! Accept no imitations! There’s no “Hoppers” in my group of private students, that’s for sure!) The reality is: good technique is good technique. I’ve also been asked to do some West Coast Swing Intensives integrating my body movement techniques and the West Coast Swing basic patterns from which ALL WCS patterns are based! I was teaching WCS “back in the day” in NYC…and it feels great to still be recognized as a technique teacher to improve every dancer regardless of level! If you’re interested in knowing more about these WCSwing Intensives, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Mahalo to all of my visiting mainland students – it’s been an honor to continue coaching you for your competitions and performances! You rock!
May 24th – WOW! Did you miss out on THE private dance party of the Spring Season tonight? Well…did you volunteer during the first quarter at the Academy? It’s not too late to be invited to this prestigious private party mid-summer IF you volunteer your services, time, talent or offer a financial contribution to the Academy before the end of June! Tonight’s MVVP (“Most Valuable Volunteer Party”) was the happening place to be! Chef Ron made ono pupu delicacies worthy of a 5-star restaurant (decorative cucumbers stuffed with seafood, or egg salad; toasted baguettes with seasoned beef, roasted peppers and cream cheese, grilled pineapple, stuffed tomatoes, toasted french bread with cream cheese, sun dried tomoatoes & fresh basil with a drizzle of olive oil…oh, everything was divine! Mahalo Terry for the pumpkin patch ravioli with basil and goat cheese (OMG – I could live on that)! The wine flowed freely, smiles filled the dance floor (and the outdoor night sky) and the desserts were scrumptious! Mahalo to all of the guests who graciously made the desserts: Marilyn: fruit tart; Lynann: famous banana bake; Flossie: Lilikoi fluff merengue; Donnalee: chocolate lava cakes; and all the other cakes and sweets! Thank heavens we danced the night away (and burned extra calories)! Mahalo to the Officers for their efforts in making this intimate event happen “seamlessly,” especially Juan & Cindy for coming early and helping me with the set-up (and staying later and helping me put everything back)! Mahalo to my dance partners: Keoki, Jason, Terry, Lynann, Art, Ken and my “Air-Dance-Partner”! It was great to see such happy faces throughout the memorable evening! Ken, thank you for the beautiful flowers!
May 24th – Private REMINDER: NO CLASSES on Wednesday, May 28 (facility closed). CLASSES RESUME June 1st with Level I Rumba, Level I Hustle and Level II Foxtrot!
May 24th – Private lessons with outstanding students! I’ll see everyone NEXT Wednesdsay at Class (KCC-Facility closed Wednesday, May 25th). I’ll be attending a very prestigious private dance party (By Invitation Only) – I’m SO EXCITED!!
May 20th – The Keiki (ages 5+) and I had a BLAST today! East Coast Swing AND Salsa! These kids rule! Little leaders and followers that don’t think touching their partner is “yuckky” (this is a good thing)! The adults did very well today, too! Whew!
May 18th – Academy SPRING FLING DANCE PARTY! Started this evening with two mini-classes in Foxtrot and Cha-Cha! Mahalo Don for checking online & printing out the Academy steps taught so far so you could be up-to-step with the class (we missed you this quarter). The event was well-attended and Keoki’s blessing and further congratulations for my “gold medal” this past weekend was appreciated! Thank you to ALL of the volunteers who came early to help set up – a special Mahalo to Kalon, Paul & Donnalee for the fresh flowers and Joy for floral arrangements this evening! It was a pleasure to dance with all of my partners: Keoki, Terry, Jason, Les, Julie, Maribeth, Daniel, Angie, Fernando, Art, Paul …and.. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out! A special thank you to Daniel and Jason for carrying out my piles of “stuff” to my car and Keoki for transporting some to my house! You guys are wonderful! Aloha & HAPPY DANCING!
May 14th - I’m off-island for a special West Coast Swing Teachers Training Intensive. On Saturday evening, I was presented with a GOLD MEDAL for FIRST PLACE during a 4 dance heat! Everyone did amazing dances -colleagues from the mainland, Sweden, Australia & Singapore! Judges included US dance champs Jordan & Tatiana and Sharlot & Mark. I had a blast meeting everyone! I’m so happy and honored to share my 30+ years of dance knowledge with everone on Maui! 5-6-7-8!
May 11th – Academy Classes and I was taking continuing ed classes as a professional instructor! A BIG MAHALO to my stand-ins this evening: Brian & Julie for teaching the Foxtrot class in my absence! Brian has always been Maui’s smoothest dancer and is no stranger to being in front of the Academy classes (as he assisted me in teaching for many years); Julie has been a long-time student and demo-assistant, too and their comraderie and enjoyment of each others dance style was evident – there was so much positive feedback from the dancers – you are greatly appreciated! Thank you to Officers Juan & Cindy Dawson (you may have seen them perform at the Valentine’s Dance in February – WOW)! Juan enthusiastically showed the new Cha-Cha step with Cindy and I’m excited to see everyone dance the patterns on Wednesday! MAHALO Juan & Cindy for your dedication to the Academy and helping me out (365)!
May 6th – Another perfect day at my studio! It’s so exciting to watch a student take the “first step” when they feel the dance and see the smile on their face! To know you facilitated a positive change in someone’s dance ability that takes them to a higher level…AND they are getting compliments from others about their ability to lead or follow or have flight or stylize their arm movements! Or watching another 5 year old take their first dance class and “get it” – the step pattern, the rhythm, the music and holding the girl’s hand and staying focused (okay, he’s only 5 years old)! WOW! Makes you wish you started dancing sooner! Well, right now is what we have and that’s soon enough! Learn it right the first time from a trained and highly skilled professional and you can save yourself A LOT of time! The sooner you start getting instruction from a trained professional, the quicker you will learn. If you wait too long, until you feel you “get it,” you will spend a lot more time and money unlearning the bad habits you learned as short cuts – scary? You bet! And it’s not Halloween yet! Don’t forget to find me on FaceBook!
May 5th – Cinco de Mayo @ Lulu’s! Big dance crowd tonight listening and dancing to the sounds of Neto & Barbara! Latin and Ballroom for the first hour and then more Latin sounds on the next few sets! Mahalo to Julie for the fluid West Coast Swing, Tamara for the brief Salsa, Daniel for the Merengues and Franz, Brian and Minami for the Salsa dances! It was fun to socialize with new friends Phillip (Tamara’s husband) and their friend Kathy!
Received from a Dance Student: “Thank You for your dedication and talent that you share with the dance community of Maui. Many of us are in deed grateful! I send my love, Barbara Flowers”
May 4th – Academy Classes! What a super fun night watching all of you dance…really DANCE the Foxtrot! SO COOL! Walking right through the partners, graceful side steps, on-balance turns and quiet “dips”…I’m with you all the way! My questions: “How do you…?” “What makes ____ happen?” “How do you turn?” Cha-Cha dancers got the answer right (almost) every time…HIPS! Congratulations to my private lesson students who improved in leaps and bounds: Sean & Stacey, Garrett, Tamara, Jason, Paul, Ernie, Jim, Charles, Julie & Les, Keoki, Mike & Nancy, Fred & Peggy, and so many more! Woohoo! I’ll see everyone at Lulu’s on Thursday – right? RIGHT!
May 3rd – Private Image Dance Studio! A full day of heaven for me…sharing my passion and expertise in latin & ballroom by teaching others to dance! Wedding couples, brand new students, techinique-happy students – young, mature, singles and couples – I enjoy ALL of you! A new welcome to Garrett (lesson #1 today and lesson #2 tomorrow w/Tamara) and Paul for being such enthusiastic (and good) students as you begin your new journey in dance! I’m very proud of you! Mahalo Jim for sharing the video clip of how my professional colleagues (from the mainland, of coure) and I teach similar styles from our training and thank you Charles, Terry & Ernie for your support throughout the years! Wow, I had a lot of men to dance with today! Lucky me!
April 27th – Academy Classes! I’m SO PROUD of the students who started taking private lessons to accelerate their learning process and start their journey to better dancing through proper techinques which will make the dancing easier and ultimately MORE FUN! Congratulations, your efforts tonight were much improved already – with just one lesson! Thank you again to my student Terry for demonstrating at class – you are a great asset! Tonight’s Foxtrot class did AWESOME! It was all about communication: Don’t forget to CLICK ON “Rita’s Dance-Ography & Philosophy” link! Mahalo for all the in-class questions, and I was happy to help everyone who needed a little more personal attention. Mahalo to our guests from Canada (who invited me to teach some in their neighborhood) and elsewhere and a special welcome to Garrett – you picked up very quickly! Wishing everyone a dance-filled life!
April 20th – Academy Classes! Our Foxtrot class is still growing and what fun we had tonight! I was very proud of everyone learning the new variation of the Promenade and even more delighted with everyone who asked me questions! I’m so eager to help everyone! I’m very impressed with the new students who joined this quarter – I see a smile on your faces and a pleasant eagerness in your step! Keep up the good work. It was very encouraging when Keoki shared his thoughts with the others about the benefit of private lessons – it was well-received! Don’t forget to CLICK ON “Rita’s Dance-Ography & Philosophy” link! A special MAHALO to Ron Baybayan (the only officer who could make it tonight to class) for single-handedly setting up the music, handling the front desk and being a “Super Hero”! I’d also like to once again thank Terry for assisting me in the two classes, as well as staying later tonight to help with the extended clean-up! I’d also like to thank Keoki and Daniel for being a part of the consistent and trustworthy volunteers helping us finish up the last of cleaning the facility!
April 15 – Private Lessons and Personal Achievements! As I reflect back on an amazing week of teaching students through my Private Lesson practice, I am once again reminded of the many rewards of being a Dance Counselor, a Professional Instructor, a Personal Motivator and Supporter and a Facilitator. Yes, it would be easy to say “I teach dance steps,” but that’s not what I do! Students ranging from wedding couples to the Father-of-the-Bride and his daughter learning to dance together; from the solo men learning salsa to the solo ladies learning what it feels like to fly across the room or improve their arm styling; from the 5 year old keikis delighting in a partnership activity to music to the talented teens who take private coaching from me…where does this abundance of sharing my expertise, passion, and encouragement end? I hope it never does, because this week was another “one of those weeks” and I’m grateful for and to each and every student who makes me a better teacher! Mahalo!
April 13 – First Night Of Classes! We’re back in the groove with new students, returning students and people wanting to learn how to dance (not just mimicking step patterns – that’s not dancing!) It was refreshing to have such enthusiasm and see everyone having a blast on the dance floor! Although the Academy is celebrating it’s TENTH YEAR as a 501(c)(3) non-profit (a specific section of a non-profit category most common among educational institutions and religious organizations – this status is not to be confused with common non-profits), the county is no longer co-sponsoring our program and the Academy is having to pull from it’s student fees additional monies to collect for facility fees. More than ever, additional donations to the meager $50 standard fee for three months of PROFESSIONAL INSTRUCTION are needed for us to continue at the Kihei Community Center (since we are the largest dance class in the state of Hawaii and broke the Guinness World Record in 2004). Any and all tax-deductible contributions to our “Aloha Fund” are greatly appreciated! Don’t forget to CLICK ON “Rita’s Dance-Ography & Philosophy” link!
April 6 – Registration Night at the Academy and all the new faces! We are drawing positive energy people, a younger crowd and a new excitement to start off the new dance quarter of Beginner Foxtrot, Intermedaite Cha-Cha and then Beginner Rumba & Beginner Hustle with Intermediate Foxtrot! Mahalo to all my dance partners Ernie, Brian, Julie, Jason, Kimmie, Juan, Jim and all the new students I had the honor of dancing with! Let’s get this party started – Let’s Dance!
April – The past few weeks have found me teaching higher level students from the mainland (US & Canada) and teen high school students, too! Those students wanting to learn how to dance better – be on balance, be musical, lead or follow with ease, add styling, etc. – all in all ENJOY THEIR DANCING MORE and BECOME THE BEST DANCER THEY CAN BE – are my joy in teaching! I always want to see a student grow, learn good technique (for their level), to enjoy their dancing more than ever and know that they are FLYING, MOVING and loosing themselves in the music, their partner and …the DANCE! As a trained and qualified Dance Professional for over 20 years (dancing on the competitive and performance circuit in New York City for 30 years), seeing a student “get it” is my highest joy! To live is to dance, to dance is to live! Eat, Pray, Love, DANCE!
March 30 – Three months have gone by, we’ve made another hundred friends, we’ve danced for 30 hours at the Academy and we’ve learned new life skills that make us and those around us happy! Is life grand or what? Tonight’s Guest Night had a wonderful turnout of interested friends of our students who took the Newcomer Cha-Cha class and stayed around until closing trying to pick up some new moves, new dances and watch the current students dance – they even joined the Mixers, too! Enthusiasm was high and everyone had a great time!
HAWAII SALSA FESTIVAL March 17 – 20, 2011 @ Hilton Prince Kuhio, Oahu - Rita taught SALSA classes, TECHNIQUE classes and HUSTLE classes at the event, along with 30 other International Salsa instructors! Workshops, performances, live bands & DJs, after-parties and worldwide attendees! SOLD-OUT EVENT!
February 23rd – “Most Valuable Volunteer Party” TONIGHT – Private/by invitation only 25 guests enjoying Chef Ron’s delectable pupus, pulled pork, ham, chocolate fondue and bananas foster – flambe! Mahalo to Flossie who made an absolutely ono lilikoi chiffon cake which went very quickly, too! Tonight we couldn’t seem to keep Fred & Peggy off the dance floor as they tried out every move they knew (way to go Fred)! Many of our new volunteers and aloha-fund donors joined us (for their first MVVP event): Jim, Jason, Pierce, Neto & Barbara! Congratulations for making “The A List”! Some enjoyed sitting outside watching the lightening and eventually enjoying the stars which peaked through the clouds while the “other half” danced the night away: Julie & Les, Keoki & Barbara, Art & Flossie, Jonathan, Kachina, and more! What a glorious evening!
February 22nd – NO CLASSES on Wednesday 2/23/11 due to facillity closing. There is a private party for Q4 2010 volunteers tonight by invitation only….everone’s RSVPd and the list is final! Wondering how YOU can get invited to the NEXT ONE? See an officer next week about Volunteer Opportunities before March 31st and you could be on the Academy’s ”A LIST”! Next week MARCH 2nd begins: BEGINNER Cha-Cha, INTERMEDIATE Tango and Intermediate/Advanced Salsa…..
February 14-18th – I’ve been teaching at a private school this week and and enjoying every minute of working with 14-18 year olds who are absorbing and dancing pure lead and follow while learning a NEW dance and the basic steps in 2 hour clips! WOW! These kids are AMAZING!! I contribute my time and talent anjually and it’s always such a rewarding experience!
February 16th – Academy Classes - The Beginner Tango class is impressive. We got the “drive” back into the step and people are DANCING and not just “stepping”! I hope to instill the feel and exuberance of dance as “FEEL” and not the steps so many try to teach. Excellent work everyone! The “Intermediate” Salsa class was again split into two groups: (1) to have those wishing to learn how to be better beginner dancers and understanding the basic in one group lead by Juan & Cindy (mahalo) and (2) those who felt they were ready for the challenge in the Intermediate class. “Some” students might be “in-between” the two classes, but very few are really ready for the Intermediate class; unfortunately, I had to “tone down” what I had hoped to teach. Said with love in my heart and with the belief that everyone shold become the bast dancer that they can become, I asked many of the “Intermediate” students to give great thought as to whether or not their basic steps exhibit good technique (without harming their partner, moving on their own when direction was given, being able to keep a salsa rhythm WITH the music – on time, not dancing “around” the partner or ”faking” the steps, etc.) to determine whether or not they should be in Intermediate/Advanced Salsa for the next five weeks of classes. Good technique is good technique – worldwide. I’m not looking for perfection, or even the students meeting NATIONAL standards, but for safe and timely dancing basic should be able to be executed. Further discussion with my professional colleagues brought up the same issues in their classes, so it’s a universal responsibility that qualified dance professionals hold in high regard in their profession – adherence to class pre-requisites. Not every teacher is for every student. I have always gravitated to the BEST teachers provided in the area and I am blessed to say that I have coached with some amazing ones! Mahalo to all of the gifted and talented instructors before me who have given so generously of their time and talent to my dance growth, professionalism, standards of excellence and ability to inspire and teach others! “What you are is God’s gift to you…what you do with your gift is YOUR gift to God!”
February 14th – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to all the DANCE LOVERS on Maui and worldwide! Dance from your heart!
February 11th – I wish I could adequately describe the sheer joy, love, and magic of teaching my students during private lessons! Knowing that I positively impacting someone’s life, one-on-one is an extraordinary life-experience! Today I taught students from Oahu, an athlete, and couples who continue to grow together by learning dance, and the keikis from age 7 – 11 (we had our “Dance Your Heart Out” Valentine’s Dance party with “kiddie cocktails,” exchange of valentine’s and waltz dance class – with a little salsa, too)! What an awesome Pau Hana!
February 9th – DANCE YOUR HEART OUT Party in celebration of Valentine’s Day! Tonight’s ambience was breathtaking with pink and purple table cloths, heart glitter garland, red/white/purple/pink balloons, glossy red bags holding handmade glitter hearts, candles everywhere and the beautiful canvas artwork of Academy Officer Donnalee Singer adorning the stage (with a sea of balloons) include her masterpiece “Two Hearts Dancing”! Mahalo Donnalee for sharing your passion of dance through the talent of your art! What a special touch! With the set-up volunteers arriving by 5 pm, everyone got busy making the hall festive and intimate. Meanwhile, Chef Ron and Sous Chef Keoki had donned their aprons and chef hats and had the stove and oven pumping out delicious bite-size finger foods for the evening! Tonight we had volunteers bring the platters to each table in order to eliminate long lines and running out of food. We would love everyone’s feed back on our new culinary strategy (we’re looking to improve upon it)! Email me email@example.com with your thoughts!
The evening started with Beginner American Tango class, continuing the process of learning the lead/follow and finer techniques of the Open Fan to UAT. Rita kept the energy up with the introduction of the Cha-Cha – the brand new beginners took to the floor and had a great time learning the basic step to some awesome Santana music. Immediately following the 2 classes, everyone gathered, hand-in-hand around the room – almost 180 people – as Keoki offered an Hawaiian blessing for the event! Mahalo Keoki for always bringing the Aloha spirit and the love of dance to the Academy. Afterwards, everyone was seated (including tonight’s “overflow” of new guests) and the platters of Chef Ron’s culinary magic were brought to the tables! By the 2nd song, people started dancing and soon the dance floor was flowing LOD or generating a lot of awesome energy with latin hips! At 8 pm the featured performances began!
First up was Jim Dupree (Academy student and Rita’s private lesson student). Jim’s dance of choice: West Coast Swing! Dressed in a red shirt, black tie with red lip-kisses motif, black suspenders and pants, Jim matched his teacher Rita in her red & black zebra striped, spaghetti strap “little dress” – she was all legs (with high heels to boot)! A little bit of country with a hint of blues and a playful attitude (as the title “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About” implies) had this dance vamped up as Rita’s choreography combines variations of basic West Coast Swing steps with a little twist here and a little sassy there! Jim Dupree has been taking Academy classes and private lessons for 3 years and loves the versatility of the West Coast Swing music and dance steps. This is Jim’s VERY FIRST performance ever and he considers it a great gift to be dancing with his teacher, Rita. They did hip circles, hammerlocks, a whippet & even a little salsa step with the spice of some slow grinds and hot hip rolls! Jim was beaming at the end of the performance as the crowd encouraged and complimented him on a job well done! Rita was very proud of Jim and she was glad he added a dance performance to his “bucket list”!
Next up was Juan & Cindy Dawson (Academy Officers) doing a Cha-Cha. Juan & Cindy’s coordinating black and silver costumes drew “ohs” and “ahs” from the crowd when they did some solo dance moves at the beginning of their routine, eventually dancing toward each other and the center of the room. The name of their song said it all: “I Like the Way You Move!” Mr. & Mrs. Dawson exemplified a couple truly enjoying the dance at a different level and enjoying each other through the process. Not to say that there aren’t “discussions” along the way, but their love of performing shines through it all! Juan & Cindy started dancing like many of you, so that they could learn a few basic moves and to look better on the dance floor. They signed up for their first showcase in 2006 because as Juan said “I didn’t know any better,” and Cindy said it would be a great opportunity to get more personal direction from a professional instructor like Rita and rapidly improve their dancing. There were high kicks (over Juan’s head), Rudolph Rondes, fast drops and even some hip-hop moves sprinkled in the middle (and a few measures of Rumba for additional spice)! A dynamic routine tonight! During performances, Juan & Cindy’s love sharing the journey of learning with the audience through their ever-growing dance process!
After the performances, the dancers presented Rita with a tuberose lei and a glass vase filled with long stem roses! Rita thanked the dancers for their hard work and the audience for supporting the dancers through applause. Rita’s choreography only becomes a reality when the students learn the technique, practice the patterns and put life into her vision of the music through dance! Jim, Juan & Cindy did a great job of doing the choreography justice! MAHALO!
The attendees enjoyed the next 1.5 hours dancing to a 10 dance song rotation mix, as well as the Foxtrot Mixer mid-evening! Even some of the dancers from the flash mob came over to join the festivities! It was lovely to have so many people attend! The Academy is able to put on these free events from time-to-time because of financial donations made throughout the year. As Maui’s only 501(c)(3) charitable, educational non-profit the organization offers professional instruction to the community-at-large at rates as low as $1.15 per class – UNBEATABLE and the best value on Maui (and the best professional instruction by a qualified teacher)! Celebrating our TENTH YEAR of giving back to the community – through Rita’s dance instruction – we hope to continue to be the driving force in bringing quality dance instruction to Maui! Mahalo to everyone who volunteered before, during and after tonight’s event! Because of the volunteers – these events are outstanding!
February 2nd – Groundhog Day! And who would have guessed that my Beginner American Tango students would learn TWO new dance steps today! AWESOME! Tango Rocks and Open Fan to UAT and you are driving the Tango around the room so well! Keep up the good work and don’t forget we’ll have a class next week before the “Dance Your Heart Out” party! Bring your video cameras and still cameras to capture your fellow students’ performances! The Salsa students continued to smooth out their moves – keep those hips moving! It was great to be back at the KCC and thank you Juan & Cindy for helping so many of the newer students get a better understanding of the basics! Don’t forget to wear RED, PINK, WHITE or PURPLE for next week! Let’s “Dance Our Hearts Out!”
January 28th – How do I describe the ecstasy of sharing my love of dance through teaching to my private lessons students? PRICELESS! An amazing week with my private lesson students on Tuesday (even managed a few on Wednesday) and Friday…my students ROCK! Social dancers, wedding couples, Academy students, performers, brand new beginner students and ALL of them are amazing and wonderful people! My life is blessed to be able to do what I love (in addition to my “Positive Growth Inc.” company which handles business solutions from strategic planning to marketing, publicity and advertising through video interface and social networking to interviewing potential employees for companies on the mainland)! My heart sings when I can create a feeling for a student so that they can use their bodies as an instrument of the music…tripping the light fantastic! “To FEEL is for REAL!” Only a Professional can teach you that!
January 26th – My dancers are doing an AMAZING job of getting the idea of how the Tango should look – THANK YOU Julie for the Pre-Demo – and I’m especially proud of those putting in the extra efforts to make their dance experience easier and more fun by taking private lessons! Everyone (group class and private students) is progressing each week! The enthusiasm level at my classes is high and I’m excited to learn that so many of my beginner students will be at the “Dance Your Heart Out” event on February 8th – don’t forget there’s a class at 6:30 pm that night, as well as performances, light refreshments and a dance party! MAHALO to those who VOLUNTEERED…there are still areas we need extra help…so please…! How do we offer the entire island FREE dance events? These events are only possible through YOUR DONATIONS – we appreciate each and every contribution and the Academy is proud to be able to give back to the dance community through these FREE events (as well as other charitable non-profit Maui organizations throughout the year)! Mahalo to all of my demo assistants tonight, the “dream team” of Officers (Marilyn, Ron, Cindy, Juan & Donnalee) who make so much of this possible year-round. A special mahalo to Keoki for assisting “big time” with our new location set-up and breakdown, as well as our “after class” volunteers who help us put the room back in order (my strong, tall, handsome students: Dan, Jason, Eddie, Daniel, and Keoki moving all those tables back – whew)! All recorded VOLUNTEERS at our classes will be invited to a special “By Invitation Only” dance party at my home in the near future…do you want to come to Rita’s EXCLUSIVE PARTY? See one of the Officers to Volunteer! And last, but certainly not least, by popular demand – repeating last week’s “Basic Technique for Salsa Dancing,” I’d like to once again thank Juan and Cindy Dawson for assisting and guiding the students through the necessary basic movements in the Salsa to better prepare them for future classes. Well done everyone! BTW Neto & Barbara are back again at Lulu’s in Kihei tomorrow night!!! 5-6-7-8!
January 19th – Another AWESOME, off-the-charts night of great dancing and awesome smiles! The Tango is going very well and am hopeful that the “drive” behind the Tango becomes stronger everyday through the dancers bodies – I hope to impart correct technique (through my professional experience with top NYC coaches & professional partners) and easy ways for everyone to learn, so that when they go places to dance, they already know how to dance 1 (or more) dance basics REALLY well! I’m eager and happy to share my 30 years of dancing experience from New York City (over 20 of them teaching professionally at top studios)! I always believe that good technique can make any dancer at any level be their best – and I pride myself in being the best and the most professional ballroom & latin dance instructor on Maui with an amazing opportunity to give back to the community through my dance! Life is good! MAHALO to Al, Keoki, Juan and Julie for helping me demo tonight and a special thank you to Cindy & Juan for working on the basics with many students during the Salsa class – you are both a great asset and very much appreciated! Where to practice your good form, new steps learned at the Academy? Latin & Salsa at Lulu’s, Kihei on Thursday (8-11 pm with live music by my dear friends Neto & Barbara); Saturday at the MACC - a group of students enjoy practicing there; and occasionally dances held at the Maui Beach Hotel by a social dance organization: HBDA. Of course, there’s all the Academy fun events, including FEBRUARY 9th @ KCC – FREE “DANCE YOUR HEART OUT” Event – Free classes, free performances, free event, free light refreshments, free dance party – invite your friends! The Academy continues to be the uniting force for all dance communities, making Maui a better place to dance!
January 12th - Today’s downpour didn’t stop my dancers from tip-toeing between the raindrops to make it to class tonight! Even my former student Karina and her husband (from CA) came to the dance class! Mahalo Karina, Julie & Juan for demonstrating throughout the night! What an awesome Tango class we have! We drove that Tango in L.O.D. and created some excitement on the dance floor with the Corte! Ole! Everyone outdid themselves in working the dance technique and feeling the music (which is what it’s all about)! First class and an A+ for everyone! The Salsa class reviewed the basics, U.A.T.s and added the Hammerlock; a little tricky for most, but it’s only the first class and I know everyone’s going to look great in 5 weeks! Don’t forget what we do in latin dancing: “H-I-P-S” (latin motion) and the all-important “P” word (“P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E”). Don’t have a partner? How lucky are YOU! Practice your steps and technique (and leading arm movements for the Leaders) by yourself! You’re one of the best dance partners you’ll have right now! Dance is a process…you’ll get out what you put in! Private lessons will accelerate your growth, and to show you, I will give Academy students, who are first-timers in taking private lessons, a 10% discount so that they can see an immediate change in their understanding of dance, their technique and what they, individually, need to work on specific to their needs! 1-2 people can share a private lesson and if you want to get a semi-private (4 people) together, you can do so for only $40 per person (individual private lesson [1-2 people] is less per hour)! Call me at 344-4452 to set up your lesson! Beginners are ALWAYS the ones who gain the most from the privates early on in their dancing – before bad habits, or social “make-dos” are formed.
January 5th – 2011 already! Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy is celebrating its 10th year anniversary! Brian & I co-founded the “Academy” as a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit as a means to give back to the community of Maui and bring the art of partnership dancing through professionally instructed Latin & Ballroom group classes (the ONLY one on Maui) to elevate the art & culture of DanceSport, create a healthy and health-full environment with alternative “exercising,” and a way for people to build self-confidence while learning a life skill! Welcome to one of our milestone years of magic in the making!
Tonight – WOW! The energy was high, the new faces were abundant and our returning students welcomed in 2011 with joy and some new dance steps! Everyone was so happy to be here tonight and I couldn’t have been happier myself! At our new (temporary) location (Lokelani Intermediate School – Liloa St.), the room quickly filled up and we enjoyed an Introductory American Tango class (A+ to all the participants and mahalo for the brilliant questions during and after the class), then a scrumptous pupu potluck (a special thank you to those who participated and made the buffet table rich with food…we apreciate everyone’s participation) and it was evident that everyone enjoyed my impromptu Merengue, Foxtrot and Cha-Cha “classes” throughout the evening! But the special interaction of meeting new people and making new friends happened during our Foxtrot Mixers (2 tonight)! What FUN!
A special thank you to Julie for demonstrating with me tonight (thanks Les for “loaning” her to me), to Keoki for this afternoon’s prep work and post-event work (and everything in-between), to Charles for our outdoor signage, and ALL of the Academy’s Officers (Cindy, Juan, Marilyn & Donnalee – Front Desk and “Chef” Ron) for volunteering throughout the year to make these classes (and events) possible! One final and very important thank you to everyone who added a “little something” by way of a DONATION to our non-profit tonight, in the past and in the future; your contributions make so many of our events and contributions to the Maui community at large possible!
Some of my favorite and endearing comments this evening: “I had such a great time! I smiled so much my cheekbones hurt!” “I enjoyed every minute and can’t wait to come back next week!” “Another successful evening – we did it!” “We wouldn’t miss this for the world!” “We’re happy to be back!” “I wasn’t sure if I would sign up, but everyone looked like they were having so much fun, so I did!” “Rita, how do you remember so many names?”
And I leave you with these two caring thoughts: 1. Ladies, compliment your partner on something they did right - have patience with your partner as they are learning a new life skill…everyone learns at their own pace – learn to follow (it’s not about the steps, it’s about staying with your leader and making him look good and the partnership look good by dancing with him - ladies, use your kinetic skills to feel when, where and how the man moves (whether it’s correct or not) and do your best to make him know he’s leading you! - and ALWAYS say “yes” to a dance invitation! 2. Leaders, compliment your partner on something they did right, especially if they “followed your lead!” (whether your lead was what you intended, if they followed, then they did well) – as hard as you think it is to learn to lead (and it is difficult), think how hard it is to learn not to lead (give the ladies some slack…they are trying)! – do your best to give clear, smooth, gentle leads “inviting” the lady to move this way or that…this has nothing to do with muscle, force or strength (have you seen my colleagues… those slim ballroom professionals on TV?) – and ALWAYS say “thank you” to the lady you are dancing with !
Don’t forget to click on “Academy Dance Steps” – on the bar to the right for week-by-week dance steps (or referrals to previous dance course steps). MISSED the BEGINNER SALSA CLASS? Take a Semi-Private Lesson (4 people) for only $20 pp and get 1-on-1 instruction to get you up to speed for class! Contact Rita @ 344-4452 to book now!
Happy New Year’s (Eve) to Everyone! Enjoy the dancing and after-parties…I’m celebrating the New Year’s in-Style – bling-bling…Cha-Cha-Hellooooooo 2011! See you on the dance floor in January!
December 24th – Happy Holidays and Happy Dancing to All!
December 22nd – FREE HOLIDAY DANCE…and Classes…and Refreshments…and Gifts for the Homeless Keiki of Maui…a MAGICAL NIGHT!! Mahalo to everyone who attended the Academy tonight! The generous gifts for the keiki, the shared dances, the excellent classes (Salsa & Merengue), the sharing of great food and after “The Last Four Minutes” our closing Rumba, Foxtrot and Waltz! The energy tonight was a perfect ending to a perfect year of dancing! New students – a younger vibe, a more positive-thinking returning group of students all made for a wonderful year of dancing at the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy in 2010! Special thanks to my officers who have made the weekly classes run smoothly and events like tonight nothing short of spectacular! “Charlie” has nothing on me…”Rita’s Angels” – Cindy, Marilyn and Donnalee and “Chef” Ron and (Don) Juan handle everything from soup-to-nuts (literally: culinary skills (Ron) and the nuts-&-bolts of facilities (Juan)! This dynamic team does it all! Mahalo Donnalee for sharing your beautiful angel and dancer paintings which adorned the hall this evening and Chef Ron (along with Sous Chef Keoki) for the spectacular culinary delights which danced on our palette! A special “Mahalo” to all of our volunteers: front desk, kitchen, buffet tables, decorations, breakdown, and everything else in-between! Although I was playing hostess and DJ most of the evening, mahalo John D for the waltz, Don for the Foxtrot, Maribeth for the salsa and Brian for the hustle tonight! Now into our tenth year, creating an island-wide dance community that didn’t exist before which has brought so much happiness to thousands on Maui, it’s an honor to be the co-founder of such a giving and caring non-profit that brings health, arts & culture and social skills to Maui! Happiest of Holidays to everyone…we’ll see you January 5th for the American Tango & Salsa followed by the Cha-Cha…visit www.alohaballroom.com for more information!
December 12th – With re-visiting Argentine Tango Pros Murat & Michelle (whose fluid, sexy Tango style inspired me to resume teaching Argentine Tango after a 20 year hiatus from my NYC dance career), I joined the milonga tonight and had a most glorious evening dancing with so many! With thanks and gratitude to my dancer partners tonight including: Kurt Miyajima (Chi Kung Instructor), Gawain Bantle (my Argentine Tango Partner in previous years’ International Tango Fest and video documentary producer), Chris Schaefer (a computer master-mind on Maui), Nadama (a talented musician), Frank Saab (soft-spoken gentleman with a love for Argentine Tango), Brian (whose latin & ballroom experience shows in his smooth style), Thainad (who has also assisted me at the Academy classes), and others…AND MURAT who in his gentlemanly and world-class charming ways not only paid the highest of compliments, but who was also very playful in his use of timing and balance; I thoroughly appreciated the creative dance process with him (and for him allowing me my own “creations!” What a GREAT NIGHT – A special mahalo to “the other Rita” (teacher Rita O’Keane - also a massage therapist at the Four Seasons) for bringing Murat & Michelle to Maui!
December 3rd – Crazy, busy dance week with mainland visitors continuing their private dance lessons while on vacation! AZ, Canada (BC), CA, NY, and wedding couples, too! I’m so happy to bring a smile to people’s faces when they learn a new technique, make their dancing easier, sharper, better and even more fun! WOW! I’m so eager to share my gift of dance with everyone – private lessons, group classes, keiki semi-privates, wedding couples and the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy!
November 24th – ‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving…oh, wait a minute! That’s not how it goes! Well, it IS the night before Thanksgiving and some of you wanted to make sure you were pre-burning calories in anticipation of tomorrow’s feast (and being that there was no Academy classes tonight)! It was my pleasure to dance with so many today and especially my new students from AZ who are trying to figure out “how” after their Maui vacation they are going to be able to keep taking lessons with me. I told them “we’ll work it out!” Again, another night of joy teaching visitors to our beautiful island!
November 19th – There are coming and boy, are they happy to find a professional dance coach on Maui! Maui’s visitors (mainland USA & Canada) are starting to arrive and I’m excited to see some returning faces who booked their private lessons well-in-advance of their travels and many new dancers who were referred to me by their mainland coaches or other friends who have continued their lessons while on vacation in paradise! At’s all good – International (Dancing with the Stars) style, American Style and Club style (Salsa & West Coast Swing – both at high levels) – it’s ALL GOOD! So, if you’re thinking about improving your dancing, learning better ways to lead and follow so you can start dancing with the mainland dancers who are visiting Maui, please book your lessons early, because I’d like to see everyone make improvements in their dancing, regardless of their level of dancing. Remember, good technique is good technique…without it…you are just learning steps – you’re not dancing!
November 13th – Volunteer Party (MVVP - “Most Valuable Volunteer Party”) held in honor of 2nd & 3rd dance quarter volunteers! Many of us retreated to the outdoor seating under the stars (3 “shooting stars” noted at my table) and the slow-setting half-moon! Others gathered around the kitchen watching Chef Ron work his magic and still others took to the dance floor with salsa, waltz, rumba, cha-cha, swing and more! Chef Ron pulled out all his culinary stops delighting us with turkey nuggets with cranberries sauce, pork dumplings sautéed in wine, teriyaki tofu w/sesame seeds, and many more delights, but the creme de la creme was the individual chocolate molten souffle cakes topped with ice cream! So, we do a few more dances this week to burn off the calories – it was well worth it (I overindulged in the last one!) The party ended at 9 pm, but I said the final good nights at 1:30 am – so happy to socialize and mingle with everyone on and off the dance floor!
November 10th – Final classes in Academy’s 5 week dance series in Beginner Waltz, pre-Salsa “warm-up,” and the Intermediate East Coast Swing – What FUN we all had! I’m very impressed and proud of the dancers this quarter who diligently took the classes and showed great improvement this last week! Keep up the good work! Next Wednesday, November 17th we start: BEGINNER SALSA & INTERMEDIATE WALTZ – longer classes! See everyone then – and Happy Veterans Day!
November 9th – I’m so happy to see so many students taking private and semi-private lessons – it’s really showing in their dancing and their group class learning curve is way ahead of the rest of the class! What an honor and privilege to work with, dance with and be friends with through my “private practice!” Don’t forget, semi-privates are even more affordable at $20 per person with 1-on-4 instruction! See you on the dance floor!
October 28th – It got hot and steamy at Lulu’s tonight with Neto & Barbara’s Halloween Dance Night! Living in the moment – and getting down (but keeping it clean) I danced with “my guys” from CA who know how to move those hips on the salsa dance floor! MAHALO to John & Mike for the sexy, spinning salsa dances (a former Pro-football player & 20-something smiling salsa partner with a great lead – but you better be able to move it girls)…and Israel & Memo our Maui special Salsa dancers) – you guys rock! A special thanks to Neto & Barbara for the “mainland speed” Salsa music so I could “feel the heat” with John and Mike!
October 27th – Academy HALLOWEEN Dance CLASSES & PARTY! Spook-tacular night from start to finish! First, MAHALO to all the volunteers who helped set-up and breakdown our “set” and those who helped at the front desk & costume # organization, as well as the food & beverage areas! A special THANKS to the dedicated Officers: Cindy for masterminding the decorations from start-to-finish, assisted by Donnalee. Our Facilities VP Juan created the new party-look tonight and Chef Ron (assisted by former Officer Keoki), with help from Marilyn, too did an AMAZING job of catering our event! BTW, “catering” and decorations, etc.
The Waltz & Salsa classes added embellishments (for the ladies) and an easy “fake” (for the guys) respectively! Then we kicked-off the party with a high energy merengue (taught “on-the-spot”)! There were vampires, a zoot-suit man, pirates, cats, angels, a samurai, a deacon, a prisoner, an elf and a whole cauldron more neat masqueraders, including special guest appearances by Santana and Marilyn Monroe! Our WINNERS in the Costume Contest (receiving gift certificates for Private Lessons) were: Charles Dougherty (ghoul) and Barbara Flowers (“Marilyn”)! Congratulations to our winners! HAPPY DANCING HALLOWEEN!!!!
FYI: The Academy parties and “extras” (i.e., light refreshments) are only possible with help from YOU (the students and dance community-at-large) and your PRIVATE DONATIONS! – including a New York City visitor who comes to Maui for only 5 days annually who contributed to our “ALOHA FUND”! These are donations (no matter what amount) which allow us to budget for extras the Academy might NEED or WANT to do, since the student fees are mostly for the running of the organization throughout the year! YOU can DONATE any time (many do so at Registration – it’s on the form)! It’s the only way we can keep these special events going! Please be as generous as you can to keep our non-profit serving the Maui community!
October 21st – Oh-la-la-Lulu’s! Latin dancing with Neto Peraza & Barbara! Danced with some hot mainland salsa dancers and mingled with many Maui friends! Many requests for SEMI-PRIVATE LESSONS in SALSA (4 people), so get a group of your friends together and call me at 891-8747 to schedule a semi-private lesson in the dance and level of your choice! Reminder: Next Thursday at Lulu’s Neto & Barbara are encouraging dancers to wear a costume (Hollywood-themed – even better)! So, keep your Halloween spirit from the Academy’s Costume Dance Party on Wednesday night, then keep the party hopping on Thursday!
October 20th – Two weeks into the dance classes and we’re rockin’! AWESOME persistence and dance moves by the brand new beginners and welcome back to our consistent dance friend students! Tonight we grew again in class size (YEA! We must be doing something right for almost TEN YEARS!) Tonight we also recognized and honored the 5 summer substitutes who helped me out by teaching the Academy class while I was visiting on the mainland. MAHALO Terry Hans, Julie Katz, Les Grimes, Juan & Cindy Dawson! You rock! Don’t forget: next week (October 27th) is the Academy’s HALLOWEEN DANCE CLASSES, COSTUME PARTY and DANCE SOCIAl! Boo! We’ll see everyone there dressed up and ready to dance!
October 1st – I’m taking to the friendly skies and planning a dance vacation in California: Santa Cruz, San Francisco (Boogie by the Bay), lunch at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), wineries & Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon” restaurant in Napa Valley and maybe even Yosemite National Park…okay, I probably won’t be doing any ”formal” dancing there. I’ll miss the party at the Academy on October 6th Registration Night (and more importantly the pupu potluck with all the good food), but there will be music and mixers and lots of fun…AND, I’ll see everyone on Wednesday, October 13th for the first half of our Quarter 3 dance series! Happy Dancing!
September 22nd – GUEST NIGHT = HUGE SUCCESS! It was so cool to see so many of the Academy’s previous students (and many of them bringing guests) to tonight’s FREE dance class and dance party! Everyone got up and did the condensed East Coast Swing class where I taught a syncopated “back rock” variation and the class got even bigger for the Salsa class! WOW! Mahalo to all of my “demo” partners this evening (I know you didn’t quite “volunteer” but thank you for playing along: Terry, John D., Juan & Cindy, Daniel, Steven, Eric, Jonathan, and especially Brian for the great salsa demo at the beginning of class! You all rock! It was a pleasure to meet so many new smiling faces and I look forward to seeing you in October (Registration Night/Pupu Potluck on Oct. 6th and classes begin on Oct. 13th)! This great evening of classes was followed by a swinging good time at Bocalino’s with live music by Neto & Lydia! Neto’s beloved, Barbara was their to support her honey and she even got in a few dances, too! Mahalo to Terry, Daniel, Robert, Brian and Rod for the great dances and as always it was a pleasure to see David & Nancy Fairclough (Topaz Jewelers) on the dance floor(s) “doing their thing!”
September 1st (already)! – My, how times flies! The Academy is on it’s last 1/3 of the dance quarter and the true die-hard dancers are still hanging in there! Kudos to some of the brand new beginners who have shown remarkable improvement as of tonight! Congrats Fred & Peggy Silverman! Many of the other newer dancers are showing remarkable grace and agility as well! A special welcome to Eugene, my international student who takes lessons with me annually – flying all the way from Canada just to take lessons from me (learn more about Eugene’s professional dance background in “Kind Words & Testimonials”)! What an honor! Tonight the swing dance classes learned how to handle the faster music (“together-together-side” triples), and how to add in those hips in the back-rock (tight-tight-TIGHT)! Everyone did an amazing job tonight! Although very few of you did so, you can vote (voicing your opinion) about what dances you’d like to see next quarter at the Academy! Write down your choices along with YOUR NAME and drop it in the suggestion box…OR, you can drop me an email and let me know! Mahalo to my private lesson students (under Private Image Dance Studio) who performed last week and tonight presented me with a tuberose and rosebud lei (my FAVORITE fragrant flowers)! Juan & Cindy, Ron & Marilyn you all danced so beautifully last week and it’s an honor to work with you! MAHALO! REMINDER, there are NO Classes on September 29th!
August 25th – If you thought the full moon was exciting, well then you missed out on an even greater energy: The Summer Dance Party at the Academy! The spacious room was transformed with U-shaped table seating and floor rope lighting designating the more intimate dance floor. Tables were decorated with summer sarongs, artisian hand-blown glass fishes, leis and floral arrangements. The stage was set with beach umbrellas, towels, hats and summertime fun beach toys! Not only did we have a room full of our expected ECSwing & Foxtrot stars, but a few other “special stars” graced our dance floor: sweet Kimberley Day (who will once again be my partner at a New Year’s Eve show – tba), Anthony Rummel (now a college student in CA) and Barbara Flowers (a seasoned dancer who has participated in showcase performances)! And tonight we featured the out-of-this-world dance performances by Ron Baybayan & Marilyn Jackson (Waltz) and Juan & Cindy Dawson (ECSwing) as they lit up the skies with their grace and dynamic brilliance! Mahalo to both couples for sharing their solo performances with the Academy! Tonight we had 2 half-hour classes (new steps in both classes) followed by social dancing which included a Foxtrot mixer! Mahalo to “Chef Ron” (who also danced tonight) for the Turkey & Cranberry Pizzelles, Ham & Cucumber Roll-ups and the fresh fruit salad (among other ono refreshment options)! Almost everyone stayed until the very end and we can’t thank all of you enough who helped us breakdown and clean-up at the evening’s end – the Academy is 100% volunteer run, so many hands help make everything run smoother! Only four more classes to go for the remainder of the dance course…Keep on Dancing!
August 18th – Mahalo again to the substitute instructors Juan & Cindy and Terry with Julie and Les & Julie – everyone did a great job of getting the class primed and ready to learn more dance steps and technique! Thank you to the Academy Officers who made sure the classes were smooth running! I’m so happy to be back on the dance floor (albeit with a wrapped sprained ankle). Tonight, I added 2 new steps for East Coast Swing and refined the Foxtrot. AND NEXT WEEK – August 25th – we will have condensed ECSwing AND Foxtrot classes – new steps in both – AND 2 dance performances – AND a social dance party celebrating summer – AND light refreshments! You don’t want to miss this night! Guests are welcome to take the classes and enjoy the dance party, too…only $10 (per guest).
August 16th – I’ve returned to Paradise and am adjusting to the time zone changes s-l-o-w-l-y! It feels so good to be home and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone (especially the new students) on Wednesday, 8/18! NEW: On Wednesday August 25th (next week), there will be two (2) performances by 2 Academy Student Couples which premiered at the “Elegant Dance Affair” on June 5th at the Hotel Wailea! We’re excited to have Ron Baybayan & Marilyn Jackson showcase their Waltz routine and Juan & Cindy Dawson dance their Cha-Cha solo! Both couples are also Academy Officers for 2010! EVERYONE, regardless of level, is welcome to join Academy showcase performance teams and/or do solos of their own choosing (with their selected partner or with Dance Professional Rita). It’s a wonderful way to take your dancing to the next level! Some have performed because it was a dream of theirs, some got “talked into it” by their partner, some challenged themselves and some have even had this on their “Bucket List”! So, SHALL WE DANCE?
August 5th – My ankle is being stubborn and weak at the same time – still sidelined from dancing . I’d like to thank Juan & Cindy for continuing to cover the East Coast Swing during my absence and Terry & Julie for guiding everyone around the floor in the Foxtrot. A special note of CONGRATULATIONS to Les Grimes and Julie Katz on their marriage! Another dance partnership (many dozens) that started at the Academy, blossomed into romance and culminated in the celebration of MARRIAGE! Our best wishes and all of our love goes out to the dancing love birds!
July 28th – I’m still having some residual issues with my sprained ankle and doctor’s orders are to stay off of it for a while; I’ll be returning to Maui in another week or two, so the timing will be perfect! Tonight, the students at the Academy worked on refining their Swing steps and leads under the direction of Juan and Cindy (a special thank you to them for their continued assistance while I’m off-island). Terry was under the weather this evening, so Les & Julie jumped in last-minute to help lead the Intermediate Foxtrot class through their steps and hand out some pointers they’ve accumulated over the years from taking private lessons (and doing competitions) with me – mahalo for being such wonderful people and dedicated dancers and helping us out tonight! Aloha & Happy Dancing – Rita
July 20th – Visited a local upscale establishment and there was salsa dancing (DJ), so I did some salsa & merengue tonight and got to dance with the local dance pro – what FUN!
July 17th – Dad & I went to a private club for dinner and dancing – we danced the waltz, polka and rumba for 3 hours and are resting our dancing feet at 1 am!
July 15th – So, what am I doing on the mainland this week? Tonight, I ventured into New York City (my old dancing grounds), with a dear dancing friend and went to Lincoln Center’s “Midnight Summer Swing” – three weeks of non-stop dancing in the streets (with an open-air bandshell with live music) at the famed location! Tonight was HUSTLE night and, in addition to some familiar faces from 30 years ago, this place was hopping with hustle dancers on the dance floor and on the street! I did a lot of dancing in the street (around the elevated dance floor) for 3 hours in flip-flops under a crescent moon with some amazing hustle dancers! The live band was beyond amazing playing the BEST disco hits of the era with vocals that made you do a double-take to see if the original artist was onstage! What a high energy night! Afterwards we had dinner at 11:30 PM at an outdoor cafe (sushi, but NYC has NOTHING on Hawaii – that’s a given), then we went to 42nd Street and Times Square (a la Las Vegas lights and bling-bling) and then I treated myself to a Vanilla Latte at 1:00 AM in the City that Never Sleeps! LOVIN’ IT and missing Maui, too!
July 14th – First night of dance classes at the Academy and a special mahalo to Juan & Cindy Dawson for guiding the class through the first night of Beginner’s East Coast Swing and Terry Hans & Julie Katz (and Les Grimes for “sharing” his beautiful dance partner) for helping everyone learn the “base” diagonal steps (turning R & L) in the Intermediate Foxtrot! Summertime dancing is in full swing and flowing beautifully!
July 10th - Classes and social dancing at a 28,00 sq. ft.NJ dance studio with all wood dance floor and balcony seats as well! Beautiful! Two classes (I assisted with the instructor – the head coach of hte Rutgurs Universaity Dance Formation Team which appeared on DWTS this past season) in the American Tango and the Hustle. Danced a fast and smooth style hustle with the in-house professional as well – we had a great time! $25 for the 2 classes and social dance – hoping to visit again before I leave!
REGISTRATION – PUPU POTLUCK – SOCIAL DANCE on Wednesday, JULY 7th! $10 DISCOUNT if REGISTERED by 7/7/10. New Classes: Beginner EAST COAST SWING & Intermediate FOXTROT! 6:30 – 9:00 pm! Feedback has been overwhelming positive with regard to the kick-off of our summer dance classes! The social dance went well and mahalo to all of the volunteers who made the event a success, especially the officers!
We’ll see everyone tomorrow night at the Pupu POTLUCK, REGISTRATION & Social DANCE!
HAPPY JULY 4th! Workshops in the morning followed by the finals in the competition all afternoon! The grande finale was the “Champion of Champions” with the Professionals dancing to Contemporary & Blues music one final time in the “Jack & Jill” event (where they draw the name of the partners from a basket)! AWESOME dances! Tonight there were fireworks which I viewed from teh main lawn of the Biltmore Resort & Spa – right outside my private cottage! Then I went back to dancing until the wee hours of the morning (my dance card was full)! I ended my evening with one of my favorite dancers, Kevin, from New Mexico – WCswing, a Hustle and Texas Two-Step (we flew around the room, turning and turning and spinning – what fun)! I hope everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July! We’ll see everyone at the Academy registration (social dance & potluck pupus) on July 7th!
July 3rd - I slept as late as I could this morning after dancing to the wee hours of the morning. Workshops throughout the day, but my evenings are for dancing!
Today I watched many of my new-found friends compete in the amateur “Jack-n-Jill” competitions at various levels (you don’t know who you partner will be – like a “mixer.”) Some made it to the finals so I was happy to cheer them on!
Tonight, I packed my Swing AND Argentine Tango shoes and headed to the ballroom (WCSwing, first)! I’m so lucky to have met and danced with so many awesome dancers who are so musically-inclined in their WCS and create such dynamic spaces for leverage and compression as we travel 6- 10 feet in our “slot”! LOVE IT!
Watched the pro WCSwing dancers compete tonight – they are unbelieveable! They also do a “Jack-n-Jill” style competition! So inspiring! I tried a few styling moves myself this evening, but I chose to NOT do the handstand onto the partner’s leg trick one of the pros used (wasn’t sure my landing would be a perfect 10)! LOL!
I then switched my 1.5″ swing heels for my 4″ tango spikes and did about 1.5 hours of Argentine Tango with some talented social dancers in close embrace. There were a few more guys waiting to dance with me, but I wanted to get back to the WCS dance floor where I promised some of those partners I “wouldn’t be too long” at the Tango event (oops)!
HAPPY JULY FOURTH!
July 2nd – A little side-trip to the medi-center this morning…gratitude to my new friend in Phoenix, Ray for picking me up at hte Resort & driving me! Luckily, it’s “just” an ankle sprain, so I just sat in on the workshops this afternoon (instead of participating), resting my ankle in hopes of dancing a little bit tonight (doctor said it was okay…but ice & elevation need to be consistent)! Classes with some of the WCS greats including Buddy Schwimmer today. My long-time professional colleague (“back in the day” in NYC) Angel Figueroa and I got a chance to do a little catching up – he’s an accomplished dancer in Hustle, Salsa, Ballroom & Latin AND a WCS champion! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to dance with him tonight on the social dance floor (of about 500-700 dancers)! WOW!
July 1st - West Coast Swinging from morning till night on Day 2!
Started my dance day a 4 hour intensive with Skippy Blair – 86 years old and she’s an amazing wealth of knowledge (a legend in WCS)! I demo-ed quite a bit in the 4-hour intensive workshop a few times, especially in the body movement and styling parts where she had me dance “solo” with one of the other dancers! What an honor to be cited by Skippy! WOW!
I got a few offers to compete this weekend (WHAT are they crazy?), but the WCS isn’t into costumes with feathers, rhinestones and lots of cut-away sections (of what little latin costumes I’m sometimes wearing), I figured “why bother?”
Did workshops from 12 noon – 8 pm (kelly Caswanove, Arjay Centeno & melissa Rutz)and have been having a blast dancing with some amazing partners!
I left the dance floor around 12:45 am (early night), since I have 9:30 am workshops tomorrow! My partners tonight varied from very good to excellent and I barely sat down! What FUN!
There’s also an Argentine Tango event going on simultaneously in the hotel (along with workshop & milongas), so I might stop by for the milonga before going to the WCS (social dancing from 11:30 PM – 5 AM)! Aloha & Happy Dancing!
June 30th – No dance classes, but I’m dancing with amazing partners in Phoenix, AZ at the GPSDC West Coast Swing dance convention at the Biltmore Resort & Spa! 110-113 degrees so far! OMG!
My evening is winding down at 1 AM (and the dancing is STILL going on – but I want to be rested for tomorrow)! Tonight’s workshops were on Night Club 2 Step and not only did I participate in the class, but the female partner of the teaching couple had me demonstration “just how good it could look” with the male (husband) partner teaching with her! WOW! A room full of dancers and she chose me – I was honored!
After the dance workshop, it was open dancing and I rarely sat down during my 5 hours of dancing! What fun and what amazing dancers! I danced West Coast Swing, Night Club 2 Step, Cha-cha, Hustle with partners from Australia, Phoenix, New Mexico, and Vancouver among others! What a great way to spend my birthday!
Tomorrow, there are 4 hour intensive workshops, a break, then another few hours of workshops with some West Coast Swing icons. I’ve already been asked to compete with some of the dancers, but I’m here for fun, so I’m graciously declining! Aloha & Happy Dancing!
6/23/10 – ACADEMY GUEST NIGHT – EVERYONE’S FREE! Our largest Guest Night participation to date! In addition to the standard Academy Beginner classes, I held a FREE Introductory Dance class for newcomers and we followed it with a dance social Many of the newcomers stayed for the dancing and what fun we had! Mahalo to all who brought friends and we are looking forward to seeing everyone on July 7th at the Registration-Social Dance-Pupu Potluck event! A special MAHALO to the Officers and friends who adorned me with tuberose leis, sang “Happy Birthday” to me and had me blow out less-than-the-chronological-number of candles on the cakes – yes, cakeS! Thank you for the hugs and kisses and birthday dances this evening – it was so special!
6:30 pm Beginner Foxtrot
7:00 pm Introduction to FOXTROT for NEWCOMERS**
Current & Previous Dancers – Foxtrot Dance Practice
7:30 pm Beginner Level Two Argentine Tango
8:00 – 9:00 pm OPEN DANCE PRACTICE SESSION for EVERYONE!
NON-STOP DJ MIX: Foxtrot, Argentine Tango & Rumba ONLY
Share your love of dance with Friends! Previous Academy Students and previous Academy Guests FREE for the evening. Academy Students are welcome to join their guests on the dance floor OR practice their own Foxtrot steps to the non-stop Foxtrot music between 7 – 7:30 pm.
6/18/10 - MAHALO for the warm welcome from the Argentine Tango community when I went to Fred’s milonga on the Big Island! It was a pleasure dancing with so many of you and I look forward to visiting, dancing and teaching with you in the near future! Mahalo Cedric for the glass of wine and Fred, Gordon & Ed for the lovely tangos!
6/11/10 – Among all the other amazing students in my life (from age 5 – 90-something), today I started lessons with Joseph – a teenager, who is learning the Foxtrot & Swing for an upcoming cruise with Nana and Papa on their 50th Wedding Anniversary at the end of June. Joseph wants to surprise Nana (who loves to dance) by learning how to dance to the “Big Band sounds” and asking Nana for some dances on the cruise ship! How much better can life get with a wonderful story like that? Impressive and so sweet!
6/9/10 – Academy Classes. The dance course is down to the last 3 lessons and unlike the bar-scene where the pickin’s are slim at the end of the night, the dancers who have perserved and braved all the Wednesdays before are better than ever and dancing with those who also keep on dancing! Kudos to all who attended this evening! You’re all improving and working on the skills some of you have discovered this quarter and skills some of you have been working on for “a little bit longer”! During on of the dance breaks, right after announcements, Cindy & Juan, on behalf of the solo dancers at Saturday evening’s “Elegant Dance Affair” presented me with a tuberose lei (my favorite) in appreciation for the choreography and lessons which helped them reach their dance goals of performing at the event! I am grateful and honored! MAHALO!
ACADEMY “ELEGANT DANCE AFFAIR” – Saturday, June 5th @ HOTEL WAILEA! Dance Event of 2010. What an amazing night of beautiful dancing (and our perfect Maui sunset viewed from the ballroom)! With over 70 guests in attendance, we had new students, first-time off-site dancers, outer-island guests and mainland guests…and a few curious onlookers from the Hotel Wailea’s ”VIP Lounge” wine and cheese party upstairs! Guests were checked-in and personally escorted to their tables by college students Caleigh Barlow (a former student of Rita’s and the daughter of Juan & Cindy Dawson) and her girlfriend Kiley! These young ladies looked fashionable in their dresses and heels and were lovely ambassadors of dance for the evening (as well as an integral part of our set-up and clean-up group)! MAHALO Kiley & Caleigh! Despite the slippery floor which, unbeknowst to us the hotel apparently waxed prior to our event, guests started to arrive and began dancing before the sunset set around 7 pm! By evening’s end, and in their dance finery, some guests were dancing “local style” in their bare feet, their “slippahs,” sock/stocking feet or carefully managing in their dance shoes! Our apologies to everyone, but this was our of our control (and everyone seemed to adapt well to the dilemna and still have a grand time!
“Capische?” catered our event with a trio of pupus: Caprese Forks: mini caprese salads served on forks made with buffalo mozzarella from Italy and Maui Grown Tomatoes; Fried Beet Raviolis: handmade beet dough with herbed goat cheese and ricotta; Mushroom Tarts: Wild Mushroom duxelle served between lightly baked puff pastry. Everything was ono and eaten quickly! There was also a four cheese assortment and crackers in the pupu assortment provided by the Academy. Desserts (by the Academy) pleased all palates with chocolate fondue (thank you Ron), cakes, cookies, cheesecake, fruit and cream filled pastries! Yummy!
Academy Offier Ron Baybayan and (new) Officer Marilyn Jackson performed a beautiful Waltz to a featured song in the “Shall We Dance?” Soundtrack! “Sir” Ron looked handsome in his ballroom-made tailsuit and “Princess” Marilyn was stunning in her jewel-tone coral “princess” ballgown with beaded embellishments ! They looked effortless as they glided across the floor and danced some beautiful variations of waltz steps in shadow, in different embraces, with added embellishments (rondes) and the unforgettable “picture line” Promenade Throwaway Oversway which paused in perfect sync with the music – the crowd gasped! Congratulations Ron & Marilyn! BEAUTIFUL!
After more social dancing, the next performance was about to begin! When Juan and Cindy Dawson took the floor in his “cut-down-to-there” silver metallic latin shirt and she sashayed in her sequin-trimmed bustier costume, the crowd went wild! Juan & Cindy (“The Dynamic Duo”) took the energy from the audience and made their knock-out Cha-Cha a showstopping hit! They had drops, high kicks, AND Cindy high kick over Juan’s drops! Juan and Cindy did an A+ job of banging out the Hip-Hop section in the routine, including gyrating hip actions. And with hot outfits like that, how could I resist a little playful flirting in the choreography by having Cindy slither and Juan dancing some latino hip moves! Congratulations Juan & Cindy! HOT!
The guests danced the night away until 10:10 pm enjoying the evening to its fullest potential – friends (new and old), dancing, food, sunset views and lots of smiles! This event would not have been possible without the Officers of the Academy and their devotion and dedication to helping me create my dance vision on Maui! MAHALO to Current Officers: Juan & Cindy Dawson, Ron Baybayan; MAHALO to New Officers: Marilyn Jackson and Donnlee Singer; MAHALO to Past Officer: Keoki Sousa!
Another elegant and splendid dance event for all of Maui! Aloha & Happy Dancing! Thank you to my dance friends who joined me upstairs in the VIP lounge sharing laughter and cocktails! What a great night!
6/2/10 – Academy dance class and it’s only days before the Academy’s Elegant Dance Affair! Most students in class are going to the dance event this Saturday, June 5th at the Hotel Wailea from 6:30 – 10 pm! I’m so excited about our first off-site 2010 dance event and I am looking forward to dancing with as many of the attendees as possible! What a joy! Still have a few tickets available…please contact Cindy Dawson direct at 442-2223!
5/28/10 – MURAT & MICHELLE - Argentine Tango Dancers/Teachers/Extraordinary People! Tonight was the kick-off of “M&M”‘s (as they are affectionately called) 3 evening workshop series! I strongly encourage anyone interested in Argentine Tango to attend…I never want to miss their events! M&M were the nuevo inspiration I needed to bring me back onto the Argentine Tango dance floor…BRAVO!
5/25/10 – Congratulations Nicole Scherzinger – the winner of DANCING WITH THE STARS! Hawaiian-born & bred! AWESOME!
5/19/10 SPRING DANCE @ Academy! Our colorful evening began with 2 half-hour dance classes in Foxtrot & Argentine Tango, where the students learned a fancy (but simple) variation in the Foxtrot and two trickier balance moves in the Argentine Tango! Many dancers were in their pastel and floral finery and a special MAHALO to Steve & Diana Douglass for their rainforest size tropical florals and greenery – what special Spring decorations! Each table was adorned with fresh flowers which students and guests enjoyed while eating the light refreshments prepared by Chef Ron (Baybayan) and Chef Keoki (Sousa) and other delights that students brought in! Mahalo for the ono pupu choices! The Academy’s 2 hours of open dancing included a wide variety of all ballroom & latin music mixes and a foxtrot mixer which everyone enjoyed!
Sorry I haven’t written in a while…busy with private lessons and of course, working in the Hollywood movie “Just Go With It” featuring Adam Sandler, Dave Matthews, Jennifer Aniston & Nicole Kidman…I met them all and sat next to some of them in the resturant scene…we’ll see what makes it to the silver screen and what hits the cutting room floor! I had a few walking scenes also, but no dancing in this movie!
4/21/10 – Academy classes continued to grow tonight and the beginning Foxtrot class is moving along smoothly (heel leads and toe releases)! The Argentine Tango class is working on using the spine/chest of the leader to lead the ladies to a swivel action (ochos) and the intermediate rumba class is learning new patterns while keeping the integrity of the dance in the feet and hips and not just “stepping” the patterns (as so many dancers do that aren’t getting quality instruction). My personal and professional goal is to make every one of my students the best dancer they can be – and it’s about fun and technique (anyone can be a “stepper”)! Don’t forget – back by popular demnad, but NEW & interesting: Saturday’s TECHNIQUE CLASSES for all levels – brand new to advanced (and International Rumba, too)!
4/17/10 – Technique Classes on Saturday were a HUGE HIT! I’m so excited to see so many students desire to be better dancers beyond the steps…anyone can show steps – very few can teach them – and even fewer have ability or qualifications to teach you how to actually dance the patterns. Learn HOW to dance! That’s what you set out to do…learn from a trained professional and your eyes will be opened! I’m teaching the same classes again NEXT SATURDAY 4/24, and with new techniques to apply and new exercises for you to practice! If you somehow missed 4/17 classes, be certain to join us SATURDAY 4/24!
4/15/10 – Private lessons and private school dance classes. The sun may not have been shining but I got to interact with amazing dancers today! A special “mahalo” to my new Keiki students John & Yasmina – they learned East Coast Swing with turns & cool kicks — you rock!
4/14/10 – First night of Academy classes! Welcome returning students, long-time students and new students to the Academy! I’m very excited for each and every one of you! Your foxtrot was gliding around the floor in just one lesson (okay, some of you came to Registration Night’s “Intro” lesson and picked up a few pointers there) – great job! A special Mahalo to Terry for demonstrating & assisting me! Level 2 Beginner Argentine Tango reviewed a few basics and I appreciate Rita O’Keane & Thanaid’s help in assisting the students & Thanaid’s demonstrations with me! Intermediate Rumba and Terry & Julie step up to help me illustrate some fine points in front of the class! Mahalo! Keoki reinforced the use of the online “Academy Dance Steps” blog and their usefulness, highly recommending it to new and sesonsed dancers for clear and concise instruction!
If anyone has SUGGESTIONS on how we can make the classes better, more fun, more informative, or otherwise please feel free to drop me a line or drop an anonymous note in the suggestion box at class. As a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit, SOLUTIONS and SUGGESTIONS are welcome and most beneficial – we can’t please everyone all the time, but meeting 100+ student’s individual’s needs is not easy…that’s why we neeed YOU to HELP out in any and every little way you can whether you are suggesting a SOLUTION to make things easier, or HELPING out at an event or at the front desk, or able to CONTRIBUTE consistent time and talent by becoming an Academy Officer (Secretary position is an immediate need, but other VP positions are available – see a current officer for an application and more information) – PERKS: 2 FREE private lessons every month, FREE ball tickets, FREE quarterly dance classes and the ability to shape and direct the Academy for the benefit of the majority! Interested? We hope so!
4/10/10 – KeikiFest @ MCC Great Lawn – GREAT TIME with the little ones! Mahalo to my awesome volunteers who shared the joy of dancing with the keiki and adults: Donnalee & Sol, Julie & Les, Terry & Natasha (and Eriko)! In addition to Sol (10 year old student – see above), Maui pageant title holder Brandi, “Miss American Starlet” joined the dancing activity as well as “Game Kids” dancers Ivana & Sabrina (also my Keiki Salsa Dancers)! I got to meet new kids & teens throughout the day (and their Dad & Moms, too) and well as some TV producers! Our disco ball was spinning (and the sunlight kept our disco dancing signal shining all around us)! Fun day!
4/07/10 - Academy’s first night of Spring Dance Quarter! Registration, Social Dance, Foxtrot Lesson, Dance Mixers, Pupu Potluck and an awesome time meeting all the new dancers! A special mahalo to the volunteers who helped set-up and breakdown tonight’s event and thank you Terry Hans for volunteering to assist me at the Foxtrot class! Everyone brought ono pupus and enjoyed the social time getting to know their fellow dance friends (new ones and familiar ones)! I’ll see everyone next week for the first week of all three classes: BEGINNER FOXTROT, BEGINNER LEVEL 2 ARGENTINE TANGO, INTERMEIDATE RUMBA! I’ll be at KEIKIFEST (MCC Great Lawn) this weekend – no Saturday classes other than the FREE ones for the Keiki & Teens on Saturday at Keikifest!
4/01/10 – No “April Fool” Day in my dance world! From Idaho to Alaska and a few states in-between, today I enjoyed teaching mainland visitors ranging from social dancers to competitive dancers – WOW! That was a surprise Thursday! Hope your April Fools Day was as much fun as mine!
“LOVE OF DANCE” Essay Contest WINNER is…Sol Singer (age 10)! CONGRATULATIONS to our future generation of dancers! AWARD: Free GIFT CERTIFICATE for a PRIVATE LESSON!
WINNING ENTRY: I love to dance. It is fun. Merengue is my favorite because I can do all these creative, complex moves with a simple step. East-coast Swing has some nice moves too. I look forward to learning new steps and hot dances at class. As I hear that music, that rhythm- I am overcome with the urge to dance. My feet start to heat-up with anticipation as I eagerly make my way to the dance floor. 5-6-7-8 DANCE! I am instantly filled with happiness. Everyone should learn to dance, especially my mom and dad who I love dearly. If I win the essay contest, I choose to gift the private lesson to my parents. In this way, I can share my passion for Ballroom Dancing with them, Sol Singer (Age 10)
3/31/10 – Last Night of Academy Classes! I had the opportunity to work more intimately with the smaller group class and I stressed the elements of dance – not just the steps; an obvious distinction between people “teaching steps” and professionals trained & qualified to do so. It was a great initial experience for the students to get a better understanding of how dance movement is worked in a dance partnership. There are no Saturday classes schedule this weekend and next Wednesday marks the Registration Night & Pupu Potluck/Social Dance Party for the NEW Dance Cour
3/27/10 – After the Maui casting call for Jennifer Aniston & Adam Sandler’s upcoming made-in-Maui movie (and be accousted by 2 professional photographers), I taught the amazing Saturday classes from 6 year olds to 80+ year olds (and all those in-between)! Ms. Brandi did an amazing waltz at the 12 noon class and this beauty-pageant title-holder returned at the end of the day to grace our floors once again with a slow waltz of pure lead & follow! Hana hou! The club dance Bachata (from the Dominic Republic) was an instant hit with the students – turns, cuddles, cuello, and some slow, grinding moves with awesome hips! But, once again, it was the Technique Class which drew the greatest interest! A special welcome to Kimmie and our upcountry friends Fred & Peggy!
3/24/10 – First time ever…Academy GUEST NIGHT! Mahalo to all the students who brought their enthusiasm and their friends (for FREE) to the Academy tonight! The guests (none of which had EVER taken a dance class before) watched the current students’ Beginner Rumba class, then I held a special Introductory Rumba class for the new guests while the students practiced and danced to continuous Rumba music. The new students did an amazing job of learning 2 steps in a half hour – congratulations! The new guests joined the Academy students on the main dance floor for the last song of the Rumba music set! It was magical! Then, Rita O’Keane was my demo partner (Lead) for the mini-Argentine Tango lesson and the last hour of the evening was a DJ mix of Rumba-Argentine Tango-Salsa for everyone to practice! Mahalo everyone for making it a special evening!
3/20/10 – Disco InFURno @ the Maui Humane’s Society’s fund raiser (Grand Wailea)! What an amazing night reliving the 790′s disco era (and yes, I was there the first time around dancing hustle and disco – OMG)! Mahalo Julia (my 15 year old student) for the turquoise blue lycra bell bottomss (the absolute hit of the event)…long, big hair, 7″ platform shoes, sequins and heavy make-up! It was awesome! Dance contest (performance) with Terry (Mr. John Travolta himself…and he completely looked the part) had the attitude and huge black platform shoes, white suit & vest, the hair, the look and all the right dance moves! Mahalo Lynann & Ron (good to see you back on the dance floor) and Willie & Freya for performing on stage with us this evening – what fun! After the main ballroom event, we all went to Tsunami’s Discoteque and sang every song from that era, danced almost every dance and at 1:00 am, I called it quits (7″ heels aren’t made for 3 hours of disco dancing anymore!) What a memorable evening! Let Hustle Live!
3/17/10 – Wednesday – St. Patrick’s Day at the Academy and everyone was celebrating in green! “A wonderful dance partner is like a four leaf clover – hard to find and lucky to have! May the luck of the Irish be with you on the dance floor!” Smaller, concentrated group of dancers worked on turning 360 degrees in Rumba, turning left & right in Argentine Tango, and turning, turning, turning in Intermediate Salsa! Next week is GUEST WEEK…Contact Rita (891-8747 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information! NEW April-June dance classes announced: Beginner Foxtrot, Level Two Argentine Tango, Intermediate Rumba – Registration on April 7th…LAST day to receive $10 OFF the registration! Online registration forms at www.alohaballroom.com. Pupu Potluck & Social Dance that evening!
3/12/10 – Friday – Crazy busy day/night, but loving every minute! Sharing all my experience from New York City to Maui….creating one beautiful (or handsome) dancer at a time! I’ll see everyone on Saturday…Keiki, Teens & Adults! Dance to Live – Live to Dance!
3/10/10 – Wednesday – Academy classes despite the upcountry torrents! Learned some new moves in Rumba & Salsa and reinforced our dance steps in the Argentine Tango…REMINDER: Saturday Classes 1 pm Argentine Tango; 2 pm Night Club Two Step; 3 pm Advanced Intermediate West Coast Swing; 4 pm (for EVERYONE — HIGHLY RECOMMENDED): Technique (non-dance specific) – Requires PRE-REGISTRATION!
3/5/10 – Friday – It’s amazing that a full day on my dancing feet can fly that fast! Mahalo to all of my loyal and amazing students! It’s a dream to dance with you (whether I’m in your arms or you are in mine!) This week I’ve been getting more requests from mainland competitors to coach them while they are on Maui – one couple is going to a top level national competition and they’re already scheduling their lessons for three weeks with me while they are here for the second year in a row! I’m so excited to be there for them in any way I can! REMINDER – NO CLASSES tomorrow, Saturday 3/6…ONLY 3/13 & 3/27! Keep on practicing, but remember that practice alone does not make you perfect…but perfect practicing makes you better!
3/3/10 – Wednesday – Welcome back to all the students who are continuing forth this dance quarter! Sorry about the week off, but you may have noticed a shiner (albeit stickier) newly waxed dance floor. Rumba dancers did an outstanding job of learning a new variation “on the fly” tonight – Fifth Position! Congratulations! Tonight was also the one-and-only night to vote for the dance or dances you’d like to see continue to the next level at the Academy – Argentine Tango? Ruma? or both? Mahalo again for Brian & Rita O’Keane joining Thanaid & I up front and guiding the students through the myriad of steps we’re in the Argentine Tango! Another “rock” variation: the cortado! Hang in there…you’ll love this step more and more! Then we were on to the fast-paced Salsa at week number 7 (already)! Another walkaround variation and some head loops and free-spins! It only gets faster from here!
3/2/10 – Tuesday – Freestyling (without the steps & dancing with the music & your partner), grounded – dancing into the floor, spotting, flowing with energy of your partner for complimentary patterns, cross-dancing amalgamations, hips without end, and creating your own niche through floor craft…that’s how I spent MY day! How do you know you’ve made it to the insider’s club of ballroom & latin dancing? You’ll know what these mean and what they feel like…just ask my private lesson students!
3/1/10 – Monday – Continuing my months-long efforts to make donations to as many 501-(c)(3) organizations on Maui with today’s donation going to the Homeless Resource Center. The Academy has made charitable donations to the Senior Nutrition Program at the KCC - Kaunoa, Hale Makua, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lokelani & Kamali’i Schools, among others. Private Image Dance Studio is also making donations to St. Theresa’s Church, Valley Isle Keiki Fest, Maui Humane Society and more! I believe in giving back to the community through dance, financial and item donations – 9+ years through the Academy & Private Image!
2/28/10 – Sunday – Hotel Wailea Tea Dance greeted 4 mainland couples and Spokane dancer Jim Draggo (who contacted me on FaceBook weeks ago). What a fun night – a special mahalo to all my awesome dance partners: Richard, Terry, Jim D., Les, Rod, Milam, and Julie (and the 2 mainland gentlemen whose names are forgotten – but not our dances)!
2/27/10 – Saturday – TSUNAMI WARNING!!! I didn’t plan on the “early wake-up call” this morning…follow public announcements, but I would imagine that the Kihei Community Center & related facilities will be used for emergency shelter…I have no official word…I am going to slightly higher ground momentarily (7 am). Stay safe! CLASSES CANCELLED TODAY due to facility use as potential shelter/refuge.. Unfortunately, next Saturday, March 6th, the Saturday dance class facility is NOT AVAILABLE. More information to be posted regarding rescheduling of classes or new classes for March 13 & March 27 (the only two Saturdays the KCC-Aquatics Building is available).
2/22-2/26/10 – No Academy classes this week (“facility maintenance”), so I hope that everyone still got their “dance-fix” or took the night off and attended one of Maui’s other great options on Wednesday evening! My night was quiet and relaxing, but I missed all my Academy students! FYI: I went to KCC-Main Hall on Friday to make a donation to the Senior Lunch Program on behalf of the Academy…looks like the floors were cleaned & waxed! New shiny dance floors for next Wednesday. Keep on practicing!
2/21/10 – Sunday – Lulu’s Dance & Cultural Night – 19 dance & music acts from 6:30 – 8:00 pm! Amazing talent on Maui in many forms! Jason & I danced an improvisational Argentine Tango…I in a black lace mini-dress with rhinestone accents and fish net stockings (not to mention the 4″ stilettos) – sexy and smooth dancing! Our second number was a Blues Fusion in a burgundy halter-jumpsuit and a very high scissor-kick extension – Thanks Jason for the lift! Afterwards, I went to the Sunday Tea Dance @ Hotel Wailea! Danced International Foxtrot, International Tango, International Rumba, Hustle & West Coast Swing smooth style with a visiting guest. Even did an International Quickstep with runs, kicks, pivots, slides and all! I was flying and in heaven! Sandy Barker was brought to tears by the International Tango! WOW!
2/19/10 – Friday – My last day of teen classes at the school…Reviewed all the dances and then added the Cha-Cha! Yesterday we also ended our smooth dances in a promenade throwaway oversway and today we added the “back-bending” around-the-world dip with all the safety features instructed! We listened to traditional ballroom/latin music, as well as the music they selected from their favorite listening pieces and identified the latin/ballroom dance(s) that were appropriate! Some amazing “ears” out there! Then I drew a boy’s name and a girl’s name (Jack & Jill style) and the girl drew a dance out of the box. After lunch, each of the students danced a demo of their chosen dance for the group. A special MAHALO to the 3 boys who had to fill-in and dance twice! I had a BLAST this week working with these teens and I look forward to teaching them (and their friends) in the very near future! After class…5 more hours of private lessons! I’m not a teen anymore, but I feel like I have the energy to boot!
2/18/10 – Thursday – Today my teen class learned MORE dances! Three days, SIX DANCES! Foxtrot & Waltz were the dances of the day (although I lost a few guys to the basketball practice & game at the school) – watching the students glide around the dance floor like Prince Charmings & Cinderellas! So beautiful! A few comments here and there about achy bodies and feet…explaining that I “had a few years on them” and I wasn’t tired or achy, they quieted down and danced! I’m so proud of their focus, attention, ability to remember and the sheer joy they have on their faces! That’s a lot of dancing!
2/17/10 – Wednesday – A full day of teaching teens Tango and East Coast Swing – two dances which couldn’t be MORE opposite, but the students switched gears and handled it well! With a few hours “in-between” my teens & adults, I taught more private lessons, then went to the Academy classes in Rumba, Argentine Tango & Salsa…REMINDER: next week we do NOT have any Academy classes due to facility maintenance, so I hope that everyone will practice all the new steps and join me again on March 3rd for the continuation of the Academy classes!
2/16/10 – Tuesday – 8 boys & 9 girls…my teen dance intensive has begun! In 4 hours these talented teens learned enough steps to lead and follow in time to the music…the slow Rumba and the fast Salsa! What a privilege it is for me to work with these students!
2/15/10 – Monday! Overflow of lessons this week, so I rescheduled many of my Tuesday “standings” to Monday. I’m also teaching at a private school during their Winter Break to a group of teen students – how cool is that? WAY cool! Mahalo to Jeff & Lydia dela Cruz & HBDA for hosting a lovely Valentine’s dance party tonight at Maui Beach Hotel! A special thanks to my dance partners: Jeff, Robert, Brian O., Terry, Les, Jack, Brian N., John T.,and the one and only Miss Julie!
2/14/10 – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! Question:How many Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year? Answer: Hallmark, which knows a thing or two about greeting cards, says that about 152 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year — and that’s not counting packaged cards for children’s classroom exchanges. Obviously, they aren’t counting my huge Valentine’s wish to all of the dancers, my students, my dance partners, my Pro-Am competition partners, my professional partners, my showcase partners, my Keiki & Teen dancers (and their parents), my vendors, my coaches & mentors, the social club dancers and my future students…may you find pure love in yourself; enough love to give to others and to share the happiness you experience when you take to the dance floor! Always keep dance in your heart, a smile on your face and a gentle & sincere “yes” reply at the ready when someone gets the courage to ask you to dance. Share the joy of dance throughout the year!
2/13/10 – SATURDAY DANCE CLASSES! I got to the facility early to decorate in red, pink & white for the keiki & teen dancers in celebration of Valentine’s! Hearts, foil garland, glitter, red and snacks! AND…all the girls were in red, pink or white – perfect Valentine’s celebration-wear! AND, it looks like we have another young man, Alex joining us (2 weeks now)! And welcome back to Sara (you’ve grown into a beautiful young lady) and my Salsa girls, Sabrina & Ivana. I had the privilege of picking up Addy before class and we arrived together! And Miss Brandi (wishing you the best of luck in next weekend’s Little Miss Maui competition) and her Mom gave me a beautiful potted floral plant for Valentine’s Day and they brought Valentine’s cupcakes for the dancers! Much Mahalo! Welcome back Miss Cindy – we missed you (and we look forward to seeing Juan soon)! Thank you Terry for helping out at the classes, too! The rest of my group classes were great and ended with another should-not-have-been-missed Technique Class in Lead & Follow! A gentle reminder that the KCC-AQ building is hosting a swim meet next Saturday, so there are NO SATURDAY CLASSES FEBRUARY 20th ONLY! We’ll see everyone on 2/27/10!
2/12/10 – FRIDAY private lessons. I’ve been coaching a competitive couple from the mainland this week and they will be competiting next week! The fine tuning and dance techniques we worked on will do them well as they take the floor with their Pro-Am teachers! I’m so excited for them! One of my students celebrated his birthday with a private lessons – how honored am I? VERY! Mahalo to all my wonderful students and the great joy you bring to me when I share MY dance happiness with YOU!
2/10/10 - VALENTINE’S DANCE - LOVINGLY AWESOME!!!! A super-loving and max-capacity group of dancers at the ALOHA BALLROOM DANCE ACADEMY tonight! Driving into the parking lot, you could see the huge red hearts adorning every window of the facility and as you walked in there were clusters of Valentine’s balloons and huge tropical floral arrangements turning this usually plain hall into a festive heartland! The students behind this stunning theme were volunteers Brenda Albright & Nancy Mateja! And behind these creative & organized women were their husbands, Richard & Mike (respectively) and a lot of volunteers, including Steve & Diana Douglas and the Academy’s team of Officers! Daily & weekly efforts by the Academy Officers makes every class, every event, every dance party of the Academy happen; Juan, Cindy, Keoki, Ron & Freya have made a committment to the Academy (and some for many years) – you are my right (and left) hands! Thank you also to all of the volunteers who helped set-up, decorate, adorn, coordinate and breakdown the party! A special mahalo to everyone who brought a potluck item! It was a beautiful buffet with ono food and desserts — all made (or purchased) with LOVE! I was so impressed! But the most spectacular sight tonight was all the red, pink, white and lavendar outfits in the room…everyone dressed their part to dance with their heart at the Valentine’s party! Both beginner classes were fun, with new steps in each one! Thank you Thanaid for your gentle leading and demonstrating with me in the Argentine Tango! And as a special loving gesture for the class, Brian O’Connor lead a brief Intermediate Argentine Tango class with Rita O’Keane: “Learn How to Incorporate the Steps You Already Know From Other Dances Into the Argentine Tango”! Brilliant! Although surrounded by beautiful women all night, Academy photographer (and webmaster) Daniel Kruse took a few snapshots of the soiree! AND, in less than 10 minutes, the “LOVE OF DANCE” essay contest will be closed to entries vying for the coveted FREE Private Lesson. The winner will be announced on Sunday, February 14, Valentine’s Day! Good luck to all the entries! Don’t forget to treat your Valentine’s to dinner and dancing at the Hotel Wailea Sunday Tea Dance for only $20 pp ($10 pp without dinner, but Valentine’s evening dinner will be over-the-top)! Contact Sandy Barker: 249-8484.
2/7/10 – SUNDAY – Do you know what you’re missing out on by not being on the dance floor at the Hotel Wailea? It’s elegant and gorgeous and such dedicated dancers! My 5:30 pm Tango class was exciting with a shadow dance step (raved by the Silver-level dancers) and my dancers “DANCE” the tango (not just mark the steps)! YES!!! It was even more exciting to dance with my partners throughout the evening: Mike, Audrey, Franz, Rod, Terry, Julie, Les, Elizabeth, Glenna and others! Mahalo Sandy for the buffet tonight! I did have to leave early to attend another student’s birthday party: HAPPY BIRTHDAY Adeline…she turned 6 years old and she’s an amazing dancer who’s already performed at the MACC on stage! Addy, thanks for sharing the end of your birthday party with me! I felt SO special!!
2/6/10 – SATURDAY – The much-anticipated return of my Saturday group classes was “all that” and more! As most of my students know, I’m less interested in having people mimick/mark steps then having people actually DANCE (you’re not dancing as you learn patterns, but rather, as one student said “getting your money’s worth” and memorizing patterns…how curiously true)! Dancing….Connection without Conflict…Freedom in Movement while in an Embrace….that’s the reward! My Keiki & Teen classes had some former Keiki performers returning, some mainland visitors (even at age 5) and a curious boy who turned out to be quite the gentleman with the ladies…um, girls! So cute! One adult assistant commented that the 5-10 year old girls were ACTUALLY following! Yep, I teach them at an early age when left-brain isn’t a competing factor! The guys were GREAT in the class with accurate and clear leads! Salsa was a larger class filled with great energy and West Coast Swing class added two leadable and very danceable steps that cleared up the East Coast Swing starter step (it’s NOT) and we added a cool move with a free spin anchor! Enthusiastic students took the floor and quickly danced the Quickstep with smooth style and elegance! But the best class of all: TECHNIQUE in Lead & Follow! Mind-blowing and enlightening! I wish I could have bottle the essence of the dancers in my class! AMAZING! Awesome everyone!
2/5/10 – FRIDAY – Mainland visitors, returning students, continuing students…the dancing bug is alive! After my full day of amazing private lessons, I’m preparing for my Saturday Community Classes in Beginner Salsa, Intermediate West Coast Swing, Beginner Quickstep & (one of the MOST important workshops I ever do): TECHNIQUE in Lead & Follow! The Adult classes start @ 1 pm (preceeded by the Keiki & Teen Dance Class at 12 noon)! Let’s Dance! I’ll see all of my elegant dance firends at the Hotel Wailea on Sunday (starting @ 4 pm) – I’m teaching Tango 5:30 pm.
2/3/10 – WEDNESDAY – ACADEMY – We’re going strong at week #4! The class remained enthusiastic and took on the challenge of new steps in the both the Rumba & Argentine Tango! Hang in their newbies! EVERYTHING takes time, patience and most of all consistent practice! I’m so excited when the class as a whole “calms down” in its dancing…the energy flows so much easier and the steps will “feel” right! Salsa is tricky and the new step was a challenge for most. Remember, I’m teaching a beginner Salsa class on Saturdays from 1 – 2 pm so you can brush up on the basics (which are always the foundation of every and any dance)! Wanna get even better quicker? EVERYONE should take the Technique class in Lead & Follow! “FEEL” the dance instead of memorizing steps…My 30 years of training & teaching will have you “feel” the dance in the smaller group classes, or even better…a semi-private (with 3 of your friends), or DA BEST…in a private lesson (you alone or you & your partner)! You’ll leave a better dancer…the dancer you’ve always aspired to!
2/2/10 – TUESDAY - Ground Hog Day and Private Lessons from Morning ’til Evening! The sun may not have been shining outside (rare on Maui), but there was one happy Dance Professional beaming from ear-to-ear as she taught her private students today! From the mainland, to South America, to Maui, we danced to our hearts delight! Did you ever want to know what you were missing by not taking private lessons? Just ask a mainland student visiting Maui who gets to coach with some of our contry’s best, THEN they take a lesson with me working on technique in movement, partnering, musicality, styling, turns/spins, or “tricks”…and they’ll let you know WHY it’s important and why they don’t book just one lesson while they are on vacation (the average mainland student books 2-3 lessons with me)! OR you could click on “Kind Words & Testimonials” and see what some of the Maui & mainland students say!
1/31/10 – SUNDAY – Another wonderful Sunday Tea Dance hosted by Sandy Barker at the Hotel Wailea! Tonight I taught a new, fun and challenging Bronze variation Foxtrot step to a dozen dance couples (+ a few extra dancers). It was a pleasure meeting all of our out-of-town guests joining us these evening! A special mahalo to my dance partners: Mike, Terry, Rod, Eric, Lynann, Maribeth, and Jade! What a beautiful and delightful dance evening!
1/30/10 – SATURDAY – Today I completed my final hour of mentoring LahainaLuna High School student Jenae on her senior project: “Salsa Dancing!” Congratulations to Jenae on her excellent learning and practicing skills, dance application, research on the history, volunteering at a professional dance event (and watching & observing a rare Maui occurence: a Russian-trained Latin & Standard Ballroom dancer performing with me) and attending group classes for teens and adults! Best wishes on her presentation!
1/28/10 – THURSDAY – LULU’S - Hot, happening night on the dance floor to the fantastic latin sounds of Neto & Barbara Peraza! I got to dance with some of my favorite dance partners (in no particular order): Karina, Brian, Jason, Daniel, Paul (Karina’s husband), Lee and Rafael from Argentina! I also had the pleasure of meeting some new friends and socializing with some former dancer partners, including my first Arizona Two-Step partner Jack! Happy heart & happy feet!
1/27/10 – WEDNESDAY - ACADEMY- You’re really dancing! Congratulations to Week #3 Academy students! Keep on practicing…and “by yourself” is truly ideal as you learn new techniques and skills…YOU will always be the best dance partner because YOU will better learn how to stay on-balance on your own! Rumba dancers (women AND men) should practice their “spot turns” (or underarm turns) by themselves remembering to work on the complete weight changes and keeping the legs “in line.” Argentine Tango dancers continued to work on connections & movements while walking, “crossing” and “rocking!” It’s beautiful watching the class! Salsa – keep it light, easy, flowing and fun! Finishing the step instructed last week leaves us ready to add back in the salsa hips and add a new step next week! We’ll see everyone Salsa dancing at Lulu’s tomorrow night!
Remember, you will get more 1-on-1 instruction at the Community Classes I teach on Saturdays (resuming February 6th) at the Kihei Aquatics Building (by the pool). 1 pm Beginner Salsa (ideal for basic techniques and steps as a pre-cursor to the Intermediate Salsa); 2 pm Intermediate West Coast Swing (Learn the Smooth Style West Coast Swing – like the top WCS dancers & professionals do!); 3 pm Beginner Quickstep (fast Foxtrots? No problem!); 4 pm – Strongly Suggested for ALL Dancers at ALL Levels! I coach beginners through professional levels, so if you are on either end or “somewhere in-between” this class will enhance your ability to communicate and dance with a partner (isn’t that what it’s all about?)
1/26/10 – TUESDAY - BUSY, busy, busy day of private lessons! What fun (for me and the students)! So, WHO takes private lessons? All levels (from never-danced-before to my-wife-made-me-come to people taking private lessons on the mainland for years), all different dance interests (club salsa, wedding waltzes, cruise ship social dancing), kama’aina & visitors, amateurs & professionals, singles (both men & women) & couples, teens & adults, social dancers, class students, competitors and performers…I’m sure you fit in one of the categories! Today’s lessons consisted of 2 couples, 2 solo men and 6 solo women (way to go ladies)! It’s all about personal growth, balance & control, musicality and fun! Why not treat yourself to a private lesson by a qualified professional with almost 3 decades of latin & ballroom experience? You get what you pay for! Dancing correctly should be easy and every student I’ve ever taught walks away after the hour feeling a sense of accomplishment and ease in their dancing. When’s the best time to start private lessons (in my opinion)? At the very beginning…learning the proper technique and reinforcing it makes dancing easier and more enjoyable for you and your partner! You’ve been dancing for a while and are “waiting” for the right time to learn how to dance (not just the steps)? NOW is the perfect time for you and you’ll see instant results with qualified teaching! Join me on the dance floor and be the envy of your friends. It’s NEVER about the steps…it’s about DANCING!
1/25/10 – MONDAY – Back on Maui – refreshed, relaxed and reinvigorated! Inspired and ready to dance tomorrow with my full-day/evening of eager students improving their dancing weekly through private lessons! It’s great to be back!
1/20/10 – WEDNESDAY - ACADEMY with Guest Teachers! A special mahalo to those teachers who stepped in tonight to teach my Academy classes so that I might enjoy a week’s vacation off-island: Brian, assisted by Karina Scarborough, a former award-winning student of mine who I’ve competed with, performed with and social danced with and who herself is starting to train for her professional status in latin & ballroom dancing instructed the beginner Rumba and intermediate Salsa classes! Argentine Tango teacher Rita O’Keane, along with her partner & Rita O’C's demo assistant, Thanaid Uralwong lead the Argentine Tango beginner level class! I am so grateful for your assistance and kind donation of your time! MAHALO!
1/16/10 – SATURDAY WORKSHOPS w/SERGEY! With gratitude and applause I thank the dedicated dance students of Maui in supporting this rare opportunity to do workshops with a dancer of Sergey’s level and similar in background to my training! The workshops in Swing, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Waltz & Salsa were outstanding (and it’s always good as an experienced and accomplished teacher to hear the “next generation” explain the same tried-&-true techniques with a new, fresh voice and spin!) Congratulations to those students who took all five dance courses and made it through! Sergey enjoyed his time on Maui and I hope to be on the mainland and have an opportunity to dance with him again! I’m hopeful that one day soon I will be able to bring another dance professional of my level of expereince, background and training to Maui! Hopefully those who missed this chance will find it possible to take advantage of the next one – it was a great loss to miss the show and workshops!
1/15/10 – FRIDAY – WOW! Tonight I hosted a FULL-DANCE PARTY EVENING (latin, ballroom, swing, hustle, tango) at the Kihei Community Center to introduce Russian Ballroom & Latin Dance Professional Sergey Nekrasov! This was a not-to-be-missed event! With no male dance role models on the island, Sergey was an inspiration to those who saw his power, latin gyrations, eloquent leading and smooth style indicative of world-class International Latin & Standard Dance Pros! It was my honor and privilege to accept Sergey’s offer to do 2 dance performances with him tonight! With less than 3 hours (total) of dancing together, Sergey & I did a sultry, sassy and snappy Rumba (to one of my favorite songs I had always dreamed of dancing to with a Professional and in a costume I wore 28 years ago when competing with my Professional Teacher…WOW) and then Sergey & I danced a fast-paced, dramatic and electrifying Tango (complete with “running out of floor space” and improvising the ending…Ladies, learning to follow is REALLY important!!). Prominent dance forces, like Sandy Barker (Hotel Wailea Tea Dance on Sundays) were all rave reviews for the evening; Sandy had competed in International style before and was impressed to see Sergey & I dance (mahalo Sandy)! There were also mainland guests who attended this evenings’ events as well as current & new students! My dance shoes off to all of you who came out this evening to dance, watch a rare professional performance and share laughter with friends while enjoying catered pupus in addition to the potluck!
Mahalo ”Chef Ron” for the delectable appetizers (along with Keoki) and to our 3 teen greeters: Julia, Malia & Jenae – our future dance stars of Maui! Thank you to the Academy’s Officers and the volunteers who helped make this event spectacular! Thank you again Sergey for hitting the lines with me and the awesome Contra-check & Spanish Drag! The lift was fun, too!
Saturay, January 16th (daytime) Sergey & I will be doing workshops for the Maui Dance community. I am hopeful that more of the island’s men will take Sergey’s workshops Saturday, Jan. 16 @ YMCA from 12 noon – 5 pm (and believe me, the women will enjoy Sergey’s charms and learn from his dancing skills as well)!
1/13/10 – WEDNESDAY - For me, there’s always an unparalled excitement on the first night of classes! It was such a pleasure to meet so many of you last week at the Registration Night, but it was hard for me to get around to all the newer-new people this evening – my apologies – but we’ve got 3 months to get to know each other! Welcome back to my returning students and the mainland guests this evening! I hope everyone enjoyed themselves at the classes of their choice! Learning a new skill, be it dance, golf or a new language takes persistence, patience, practice and determination — no one becomes great (or even “good”) overnight – as I always say: “it’s a process — but so is life!” The FUN happens when you “get it” and my purpose its to help you “get it” as quickly and easily as possible…then you get to ask the partner of your choice…”Shall We Dance?” How exciting is THAT? With the Academy’s non-profit status as a 501-(c)(3) educational organization, we’re unique on this island of Maui and are able to offer affordable dance lessons by a qualified Dance Professional. While dancing is my vocation and avocation (let alone passion), I donate my time to the Academy, Furlough Friday programs and the Hotel Wailea Tea Dances as well. It’s all good! I like seeing my students have their “ah-ah” dance moment and that’s worth a lot to me! So, mahalo for joining me on this dance journey at the Academy! Let’s keep on dancing!
DON’T FORGET…FRIDAY January 15 – OPEN DANCE PARTY (Latin & Ballroom Mix – includes swing, salsa, hustle, etc.) @ KCC starting at 6 pm…with PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCES by SERGEY NEKRASOV & ME! We met on Wednesday and we’ll have less than 3 hours of dance time together and then…well, you’ll see! Lights, camera, ACTION! And SATURDAY January 16 – SERGEY will hold WORKSHOPS for KEIKI & TEENS @ 11 am, then adults: SWING @ 12; RUMBA @ 1; CHA-CHA @ 2; WALTZ @ 3; SALSA @ 4! I’ll see everyone there!
1/12/10 – TUESDAY - You can’t see what time it is, but trust me, it’s 3 AM. I just got home a little while ago after meeting Sergey for the very first time, talking story and a little dancing! LUCKY ME to have this opportunity to dance with a prominent USA dancer (from Russia, no less)! These types of opportunities usually only happen on the mainland, so I’m hoping that Maui will take advantange of this rare event to see me dance with Sergey on Friday evening 1/15/10 at the Kihei Community Center (Pupu – Potluck) AND take his workshops in Swing, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Waltz & Salsa on Saturday daytime at the Kahului YMCA from 12 – 5 pm. NEW! Keiki & Teen dance class at 11 AM – PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED! email@example.com to register and for more information!
1/11/10 – MONDAY – Overflow of private lessons this week, so I did quite a bit of lessons on Monday, too! It’s all good…VERY good! I’m always thrilled to share my decardes of experience and training in the International & American styles of Latin & Ballroom!
1/10/10 – SUNDAY – Started my day coaching Canadian performance dancers in their solo Cha-Cha routine, then I worked with another on Argentine Tango! Tonight, the guests attending the Hotel Wailea Tea Dance (Mahalo Sandy Barker), danced a turning combination step and improved their waltz technique even more…great improvement by many of last week’s dancers! I even had a NY dance professional take the class and he had nothing but accolades! Mahalo to all the gentlemen (and ladies) I danced with this evening and Sandy, thank you again for a delightful and absolutely delicious dinner! I’ll miss everyone for the next two Sundays…I’m off to the mainland for a massage/spiritual retreat followed by joining the chorus line in Las Vegas – Oh baby!
1/6/10 – WEDNESDAY - OMG! Academy Registration Night with Dance Party & Lesson (and pupus)! What an amazing and special evening! Dancers (and LOTS of new ones) came out in droves to attend the opening night of 2010 at the Academy! Singles, couples, teens & adults! Many brought pupus, but everyone brought a smile and an awesome attitude! We took to the dance floor at 7 pm for a quick lesson in Salsa to reivew the basics for returning students and to prepare the new students for the intermediate level Salsa…ALL classes start next week!
I met so many younger singles & couples and their energy was contagious! Many new students stayed late to help us breakdown the facility – a SUPER BIG THANK YOU! MAHALO to the Academy Officers for having such a perfectlyorchestrated dance event (dance hall and kitchen) and a smooth registration process! The photo boards and vinyl banners on display beautifully decorated the room and the social chatter throughout the evening was lovely! People were making new friends everywhere!
Two huge PLEASURES for ME tonight included…the surprise visit of my (once-teen) private lesson student Anthony (on “college-break” – Anthony’s attending The Academy of Art Institute in CA). He gifted me a DVD he created of Cheryl Burke (DWTS) and even better (thank you Rose) gifted me the honor of a waltz! Anthony, you rock! I also had the pleasure & honor of dancing with Jay from Portland, OR (who was there tonight, along with his friend David in attendance), who assisted me in the salsa class and in social dancing glided me across the floor in higher level waltzes, snapped me into fierce tango moves, created long, flowing west coast swing movements and our rise and fall in the bolero were exquisite! Ahhhh, to feel the wind in my hair and glide so effortlessly in a man’s arms! Mahalo Jay from the bottom of my dancing feet to the extension in my neck!
Next week’s dance classes are going to be mind-blowing with the outrageous enthusiasm from the students and I’m already looking forward to them! It’s almost midnight and I’m still on a “high” from tonight’s event! Keep on dancing everyone!
Now, to remember most peoples’ names (S,S & S; Italy, NY, CA; Brielle & Leslie; Cita, Desiree, Yvonne, Tito – wife MIA tonight, Gordon, Martin, Jen, Maria, Melly, Anne, Linda, Cindy – husband MIA tonight)…oh-oh, my face & name recognition system is starting to overload…I’ll try again next week!
1/3/10 – SUNDAY – Hotel Wailea Tea Dance! An amazing turnout for the first night of my free dance class! Intended to be for Beginners, all who attended had already learned the basic steps except for a few new dancers (a special mahalo to Les & Julie for taking the new dancers under your wing and guiding them through the basic & box)! I geared the class to the majority level and then we all worked on Technique. With mainland visitors joining us (from Bronze to Silver levels) I gave personalized instruction 1-on-1 to the couples for improving their dancing! It was a great success and a pleasure watching the improvement happen quickly! A special thank you to visitors David & Jay (Portland, OR) for the dances. I hope to see everyone at Wednesday evening’s Academy Dance Party (Pupu Potluck, too) – see Private Image Dance Studio link for more information!
12/31/2009 – 01/01/10 – HAPPY NEW YEAR! – Kit Kat Club Dance Review at Casanova’s on New Year’s Eve starting at 9:45 pm. Mingling with guests before the show, and chatting with a few of my students who came out to support me, I posed with “the girls” for a KKC promo photo session. Then it was time to get ready for my dance routine: a provocative and sexy solo cabaret number to ”Fever”! The house was packed and the audience receptive…first belly dancing, then the sultry singer, then the singer/dancer, then it was my turn! Lights, camera, cue the music! Feathers, sequins, beading, fishnets and high heels…what else could be more entertaining? A fun experieince and I hope to do another number with the KKC for Valentine’s day 2010! More acts followed and I rang in the new year with new friends, disco dancing, glitter confetti and a champagne toast! A “Blue Moon” night (2 full moons in a month – happens only every 20 years on a New Year’s Eve) and an eclipse! I wish everyone the best in 2010 on and off the dance floor! 5-6-7-8 – Aloha & Happy Dancing! Rita
12/25/09 – SUNDAY – Tea Dance at Wailea Hotel from 4 – 10 pm! I’ll be teaching beginner classes there starting next week. Beautiful dance floor! I was honored to dance a rumba with Les, a Vienesse Waltz & Contemporary West Coast Swing with Julie! Then I went to Argentine Tango milonga where I didn’t sit for s second….4.5″ stillettos and dancing the night away!
12/25/09 – FRIDAY Christmas Day – Bikini and Beach, filet mignon dinner under the stars (with my brother and visiting friend), dance party upcountry at my teen students’, then Casannova’s for the Kit Kat Club!
12/24/09- THURSDAY – Twas the Night before Christmas and I treated myself to a manicure & pedicure, downed some eggnog and then went dancing! Mahalo to all my dance partners this evening and to all a good nigth!
12/23/09 – WEDNESDAY - Local Briefs – The Maui News
POSTED: December 23, 2009 KIHEI - Continuing an eight-year holiday tradition, the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy collected wrapped gifts that were donated to Ka Hale A Ke Ola and Na Hale O Wainee homeless resource centers. The gifts were collected at the academy’s holiday dance classes and dance party Dec. 16. Rita O’Connor, academy dance professional, said that for the past eight years, the group has provided a gift from Santa for every needy child at the homeless shelters. More information about the academy and its upcoming dance classes and events is available by calling 879-0055 or sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available at the Web site www.alohaballroom.com.
12/22/09 – TUESDAY – A full day & evening of private lessons and I don’t know who had a better time…me or the students! I even got to celebrate a couple’s anniversary today as they celebrated with a dance lesson! Such a romantic! Getting ready to close-up my dance-workshop in preparation for Christmas! Wishing everyone an amazing and happy holiday! My brother’s in town, so we’re opening gifts early, then heading to the beach and more celebrating throughout the evening! MERRY CHRISTMAS to ALL and to ALL sweet dreams of dance steps and mistletoe!
12/21/09 – MONDAY ACADEMY DELIVERS JOY to CHILDREN @ HOMELESS RESOURCE CENTERS!
I’m one of Santa’s Helpers collecting toys for the boys & girls of Maui Homeless Resource Centers (Ka Hale A Ke Ola & Na Hale O Wainee) through the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy on December 16, 2009. A special mahalo to Rob & Tiffany (and Ryan, Kellan & Sean)!
12/16/09 – WEDNESDAY ACADEMY HOLIDAY DANCE PARTY! There were 2 Dance Classes (WCSwing & Salsa) from 6:30 – 7:30 pm; students learned anchor step variations and notification of my INTERMEDIATE WCSWING classes in January at the SATURDAY DAY classes were announced (other dance classes tba)! The new dances offered at the Academy in Jan-March 2010 are Beginner Open Embrace Argentine Tango and Beginner Rumba, followed by Intermediate Salsa! After classes tonight there was open dancing from 7:30 – 9:30 pm with almost 20 guests joining us including former dance students (former Maui Mayor) Alan & Ann Arakawa! Many students dressed-up in festive holiday-wear and glad tidings decked our hall! A decorated (& lit) Christmas tree (by many volunteers) adorned the stage as it was stacked high with the generous wrapped gifts (by Academy students) for Maui’s Keiki living at the Homeless Resource Centers of Maui (ages 2 – 17 years)! Mahalo to all who donated! A special thanks to a non-dancing visitor who gave generously to our cause requesting that we purchase gifts for the Keiki with his donation! I’ll be bringing the wrapped gifts to the Homeless Resource Center by week’s end to have ready for the keiki & teens on Christmas morning! Ron & Keoki whipped up a festive array of light refreshments including healthy choice pupus and 300 gourment waffle cookies with strawberry jam filling (and topped with whipped cream) – I overdid it in the sweet department! We also had eggnog and sparkling cider! We did a WCSwing mixer and were delighted to have quite a few mainland couples join in! What a treat! Mahalo to all the volunteers who stayed late to help us break-down and clean-up the event! Tonight marked the LAST CLASSES of 2009, but I hope to see many of you out and about and around town over the holiday season! Currently, I have plans to be cruising aboard the Kai Kanani Catamaran on NEW YEAR’S EVE (heavy pupus, champagne, open Premium bar, party favors, dance music and good times from 10:30 pm – 12:30 am to watch the fireworks…For Reservations you can call 879-7218!! Have a HAPPY, HEALTHY, SAFE HOLIDAY and a JOYOUS & ABUNDANT NEW YEAR! I’ll see you at Lulu’s on Thursdays and Wednesday January 6, 2010 for Registration Night at the Academy!
12/9/09 – WEDNESDAY – Don’t forget the Keiki (more details about today below!) ACADEMY HOLIDAY DANCE PARTY!!!! Wednesday, December 16, 2009. Two Dance Classes (WCSwing & Salsa) from 6:30 – 7:30 pm; Open Dancing from 7:30 – 9:30 pm. Academy Students FREE; Guests only $10 (classes and party). Light refreshments & beverages will be available. Festive Holiday Attire suggested – from casual to dress-up! SHARE THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT! Bring a wrapped gift for Maui’s Keiki living at the Homeless Resource Centers of Maui (ages 2 – 17 years); please indicate gender and age range on gift tag of wrapped gifts!)
The Holiday Season is upon us, but my group of delightful, determined and dedicated dancers dropped their holiday shopping list to spend an evening learning new dance steps and practicing all that they’ve learned over the past few months. Tonight, we had a ribbon-trimmed and lit Christmas tree decorating our stage and some students brought in their wrapped gifts for the Keiki of Maui’s Homeless Resource Centers! MAHALO! We’re collecting gifts through next Wednesday 12/16/09! Next week is the last week of WCSwing & Salsa classes (where I’ll teach a WCSwing variation and extra technique for the Salsa in preparation for 2010 Intermediate Salsa) followed by a 2-hour Dance Party! The Academy is closed until January 6, 2010! I’ll still be busy with my private lesson appointments throughout the Holidays, but I’ll see most of you next week at the party! Happy Holidays!
12/8/09 – TUESDAY – I’m very excited about the Keiki Gift Drive for the Homeless Resource Center and have been spreading the word to EVERYONE outside the dance world that I know! I hope you are, too! I’ve been wrapping up all the gifts I purchased and it’s such a good feeling inside to be spreading holiday cheer! Today I had one of Maui’s longtime dancers take a private to work on technique for hustle; she knew she wanted to look even better and understood it was going to take some professional advise (and hard work on her side) to do it…she was NOT disappointed (AND she got to dance with Brian during the hour!) My current private lesson students (from 12 years old to “mature”) continued to progress toward their dance goals and the mainland couples I worked with (for wedding dances through competitive dances) were eager to book more lessons before their vacation ends next week! It’s SO satisfying to see the smiles on everyone’s faces at the end of their lessons! Gold stars for EVERYONE today! AWESOME!
12/5/09 – SATURDAY – Last Community Classes for 2009 (as mandated by the County Program). The Keiki had their Holiday Dance Class & Party and we were all dressed up in festive outfits…Miss Cindy came in her “Santa’s Helper” costume (red velvet, boa feather trim and ruffles) and was a hit with the little girls! We even had a poolside peek-in girl-dancer-wannabe who convinced her Mom to let her take the dance class! Welcome Hana! Toys were brought for the Homeless Resource Center gift drive (thank you Brandi…& Mommy) and cookies & candy canes were enjoyed by all! With guests from Alaska joining the adult WCSwing and Salsa classes, we had a well-rounded group of dancers at all levels! I’ll see everyone in January!!
12/4/09 – FURLOUGH FRIDAY! What a joy today was teaching the first through fifth graders at Kihei Elementary School for their Furlough Friday program! Dancing to contemporary music, the students learned ECSwing…lead, follow and timing! Lined up and paired up they danced 4 steps! The partnering was “icky” at first, but then the kids wanted to pick their own partners! WOW! Every boy had to ask the girl “May I have this dance?” with their left hand extended; every girl learned how to smile, say “Yes!” and then place her hand in the boy’s hand…then they walked to their assigned spots! Every student said “Thank you” to their partner and the whole learning and socializing process was delightful (for the me, the keiki AND my assistants: Juan & Cindy Dawson, Donna Lee & Sol Singer (keiki student himself), & Netra Halperin!)
12/2/09 – WEDNESDAY - The classes are strong in numbers, students are voting for their favorite dances to be taught in 2010 and we’re smoothing out the WCSwing (adding another whip to our repertoire), syncronizing the turns in the Salsa and gliding more effortlessly in the Intermediate Waltz! BRAVO! A SPECIAL MAHALO to ALL of the students who “volunteered” to demo with me and those who, with their amazing partners, took to the center of the floor to solo-demonstrate the Intermediate level steps! Brave & beautiful! AWESOME classes tonight!
12/1/09 – TUESDAY - Another packed day of privates shares the joy of learning, dancing and personal achievement! From social beginners to accomplished competitors exclaiming “It’s so much easier when I do the right way!” reminds students that taking from a qualified and trained dance professional can make an immediate difference in their dancing! Now, how cool is that?
11/28/09 – SATURDAY - Juan & Cindy were missed today, but we hope they had a great time with their daughter (Caileigh) who was a teen performer (salsa) in our Holiday Ball 2008 show! ALL of my Saturday students are shining with the personalized analysis I can give in these smaller classes! Keep up the practicing and smiling!
11/25/09 – WEDNESDAY - Had a latte today with a lady dancer (student) who’s looking for a guy who takes his dancing seriously enough to consider competing as part of an Amateur dance partnership…she’s been competing for quite a few years – on the mainland and in Oahu…Bronze to Silver level…Looking for a man in his late 40′s to Late 50′s. If you are interested, let Rita know. What an awesome Academy class! Kudos to all the students (and there were many) who attended tonight…either dinner reservations for tomorrow were made or they’ve got everything ready for the big turkey day! We all have so much to be thankful for and it was wonderful to have everyone share their thoughts of gratitude with the partners! I’m grateful for my health, my passionate life, my dance, my friends and all the beauty of our island! My uniquely smooth style Beginner WCSwing dancers are getting better each week and the Salsa dancers are focusing on the “easier” aspect of lead & follow (keep up the practicing)! And the Intermediate Waltz was the second class (Salsa being the first) where we had MORE MEN than women! Ladies???? You wanted more men to learn to dance….and where are you? Then there’s THE DANCE WALL: We’ve ALL been there…Always as a Beginner and MANY times since then…that feeling you get during the “learning process”…”will I EVER get it?”…”when is it ‘NATURAL’?”…”everyone ELSE seems to get it” and other little dance demons we play in our head…but, that’s just it…it’s all in your head! WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE! Keep up the Academy weekly classes (and get ahead quicker with a professionally instructed private lesson …I can make a HUGE difference in your dancing in only ONE lesson)! PRACTICE (makes perfect…well, actually, it makes it better than last week!) be persistent & consistent! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
11/24/09 TUESDAY – Private lessons from morning until night! A sudden cluster of wedding couples from the mainland has been keeping me busy! Looking forward to seeing everyone at Wednesday’s Academy classes, the night before Thanksgiving! Might as well burn a few calorie before Turkey Day!
11/17/09 WEDNESDAY ACADEMY – Private lessons during the day and with only 5 more lessons the Academy dancers took the floor with smooth-style West Coast Swing (aloha to another visiting dancer from Portland, OR)! Salsa is continuing to improve with emphasis on timing. NEW: Rita has “Deep in the Salsa” (musicality) CD from Stephen Tirpak (horn player of John Legend’s band) for sale to help with understanding salsa music better (excellent for all levels of students and a great gift idea)! The Intermediate Waltz class was introduced to an open-style step which moves down the LOD in promenade position. I’ll see many of you Saturday at the Samba, Salsa and West Coast Swing Musical Syncopation classes!
11/16/09 MONDAY – Continued coaching the visiting Canadian dance pro as well as some Silver International Standard competitors from OR! It’s getting closer to Maui’s tourist season…I know this because I’m looking forward to the Humpback Whales returning and I’m getting busier giving more private lessons with mainland students who want to continue their private lessons even while on vacation! Sometimes I even get calls from their coaches insisting I work with the students in continued preparation for competitions or shows they will be doing once they return home! I love sharing my technique and insight with such talented students from the mainland in addition to all of the new, as well as dedicated dancers on Maui!
11/15/09 – SUNDAY – Last performance of “Cabaret” at Steppingstone Playhouse! excellent cast & performance. A few former students in the cast (of dancers and actors) and many former & current students in the audience! Maybe even a future student or two (teens)! One of Maui’s best performances of recent time! THEN I went to see “THIS IS IT” – the Michael Jackson documentary! What a brilliant song writer, musical visionary, singer, performer and humble man we lost too soon! The male back-up dancers were awesome to watch (for their DANCING!)
11/14/09 – SATURDAY – Most Valuable Volunteer Party!!! Many thanks and appreciation to all of the volunteers who helped us at the Academy in 2009! A special dress-up by-invitation-only party was held in honor of the (approximately) 80 volunteers who have supported the Academy and their efforts to bring professional dance instruction to Maui! Tonight’s intimate party was held at my home, with dinner under the stars at cozy candlelit tables encircled by good friends and easy conversation! Afterwards, we all went inside and danced the night away! Mahalo to all of my dance partners (male & female) this evening and to everyone who brought ono-licious culinary delights (especially “Chef Ron” and his wontons and egg rolls cooked onsite)! Party favors awaited every guest as they bid farewell this evening and on behalf of myself and the Officers and Corporate Directors of the Academy, we are appreciative and grateful to all of the many hands who have made the Academy the amazing organization it is!!!
11/13/09 – FRIDAY — No superstition here! An amazing day and evening of private lessons beginner through advanced levels and professional coaching, too! Whew! Gotta love it! Heading to Jen Moss’s Salsa Dance Party and then I’m getting ready for the By-Invitation-Only Dance party tomorrow night for the Academy’s Volunteers! I’ve got these great Italian Foccacia Bread “Club (finger) Sandwiches” I’m making for the event! Do you want to come to the NEXT MVVP (Most Valuable Volunteer Party)? Visit www.alohaballroom.com!
11/12/09 – THURSDAY Latin Night happening at Lulu’s Kihei with Neto & Barbara and LOTS of Salsa Dancing 8 pm- 11 pm.
11/11/09 -WEDNESDAY. WCSwingers are looking smooth & hot! Added a new surprise detail in a variation! Salsa dancers reviewed and refined class steps and the Intermediate Waltz dancers flowed gracefully to a balance challenge in the develope to inside turn! I’m proud of all of the dancers who are practicing weekly and persevering! You WILL be rewarded with a long life of dance! I’ll see everyone at the Saturday classes…the County will be evaluating the Saturday Community Classes to determine if they are benefitting the dance community! If you’d like the classes on Saturday to continue to be offered, come take a class @ 1pm, 2pm, or 3pm; Keiki & Teen classes at 12 noon – tell your friends (who have kids!) Ages 5 – 18 years. ONLY $10 – $15 (smaller classes = more personalized attention!)
11/9-20/09 – Next 2 weeks I’ll be teaching daily: Professional Coaching for my Canadian client: this month I’m creating an Argentine Tango showcase number for him & his partner! Always fun and challenging! Full day of teaching on Tuesday w/my standing students and some new ones, too! I LOVE what I do…making dreams come true!
11/7/09 – SATURDAY Dance Classes! My students ”rocked” on the dance floor today dancing the Cha-Cha AND Samba in the Keiki class! They soon realized you need a lot of energy and breath to do the Samba…as did the adults! The Adult Samba class went so well, I just couldn’t get over everyone’s form and technique…gentle bounce, stable frame, 4 step patterns, a little hip and lots of smiles! Congratulations to all the Samba dancers (even though some asked about the feathers and thongs like in Brazil – and that didn’t happen, everyone had a great time!) Salsa class is growing and doing well – I’m very proud of the partnering skills everyone’s learning! And the Salsa Variations class today was so exciting and my energy was so up that I could have held a 2 hour class! Cool moves and mahalo to Salsa Sammy for his reactions! Everyone had a great workout and fun! Go to “Private Image Dance Steps” for more information!
10/31/09 – HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Dance Class & Party for the Keikis all dressed up and dancing up a storm! Tango, Cha-cha, Merengue! Spooktacular dancers Sol & Abby commanded the dance floor today! So cute! Adult classes are filling up and dancers are improving with a lot of 1-on-1 connections, corrections and congratulations! The evening found Catwoman sauntering through Paia Town, attending a high-fashion, high-fantasy runway show and then off to private parties (dance bands and all)! PURR-Fect evening of fun, frolic and frivolous chocolate-eating!
10/30/09 Friday (dinner break) – What a joy it is for me to work 1-on-1 with enthusiastic students in private lessons! Being able to give my undivided attention to the student helps me pinpoint their dance dilemna(s) quickly and therefore remedy it just as fast (of course, the student has to do some dance “homework” on their own!). Nurturing and positive feedback encourage my students to want to come back for more – learning can be so much FUN!
The one comment I get over and over again from my private lesson students is that just ONE LESSON made such a difference in their dancing immediately! Sometimes students will take a private lesson to catch up on Academy dance steps, others are fine-tuning their technique to make their social dancing much more pleasurable, and still others are working toward personal dance goals, competitions or performances. Regardless of the level of the student, correctly instructed and properly applied sound technique improves everyone’s dancing at every level in just one lesson!
So, when is the BEST time to START taking private lessons? Right in the beginning, when you are learning to dance! Group classes can teach you steps, but private lessons teach you how to dance BETWEEN the steps and make learning in the group classes easier to digest. Creating the beauty of dance from the beginning only makes for better dancers who are popular dancers!
So, just like the Halloween candy we trick-and-treat for…we want more! Over 20 years of teaching dance to hundreds of students (days and evenings) makes me smile as I hand out the “dance candy!” HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
HOWLING NEWS! 10/28/09 ACADEMY
BOO! Tonight’s Beginner Dance Classes had a HUGE turn out and the Academy welcomes 9 MORE new students to it’s already seam-bursting classes! Almost everyone stayed to dance the night away at the HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY immediately afterwards! New sounds, new mix, new friends! Mahalo to Ron & Keoki for awesome finger sandwiches and cookies and other treats (especially the “surprise punch!”) There were witches, retro 1970-looks, pirates, Charlie (Al) Brown, mermaids, biker-dudes and lots of orange & black! Ms. Catwoman (moi) did the Halle Berry look (minus the $14 million salary) tonight teaching classes and dancing with Juan, Fernando, Stu, Brian, Don, and a number of new students! MAHALO to everyone who helped make tonight’s event a super success, especially my officers: Cindy, Freya, Ron, Juan & Keoki and their volunteers! MEOW!
See you at Lulu’s THURSDAY NIGHTS for the latin dance sounds of Neto Peraza & Barbara Singer 8pm – 11 pm! Then SATURDAY for more DANCE CLASSES (see below)!
October Saturday Dance Classes -County Co-Sponsored Community Classes ANNOUNCED!
WHY WAIT? NOW’S the TIME to get on the dance floor and look your BEST!!! Classes are smaller and students receive greater 1-on-1 instruction from Dance Professional, Rita O’Connor, N.D.C.A.
WEST COAST SWING 1-2 pm Beginner Level - ONLY $10!
SALSA 2-3 pm Beginner Level – ONLY $10!
TECHNIQUE INTENSIVE 3-4 pm ALL Levels! ONLY $15! What do I teach in PRIVATE LESSONS?Take these classes and find out a little more about how GOOD TECHNIQUE from a qualified Professional Instructor with over 20 years teaching experience can make you shine on the dance floor! It’s NEVER about the steps – it’s what happens in-between! Learn the basic through advanced levels of the key components to dancing through imagery, exercises, playful movement, partnering and DANCE! Technique applies to ALL the latin & smooth dances!
October 24th: Follow the Leader …and…Lead the Follower! ALL LEVELS October 31st: TURNS, SPINS, & How Not to Get Dizzy! ALL LEVELS
Click on Side Link to “Private Image Dance Studio” for more information!
10/24/09 – SATURDAY CLASSES
Brandi had her noise-making, hip-shaking gold-coin sash on and her hips were doing the latin thing in the Keiki Class! way to go girl! Mahalo to all of the new students in the West Coast Swing & Salsa dance classes! I was so excited to share more info 1-on-1 with you for individual attention! We’ll see most of you on Wednesday at the Academy class and party…and the rest next Saturday!
10/19/09 ACADEMY MONDAY NIGHT CLASS (NO Wednesday Night class this week!)
An awesome turn-out of students – mahalo to everyone who made it to class (85% full capacity)! I was traveling again this weekend, so I thought I’d just be happy to make it from the airport to class (MAHALO Nancy for the pick-up). But I was even HAPPIER when I saw all the students out dancing on a Monday night – how cool is that? The WCSwing class was smoothly moving by the end and the salsa class started working on some of the basic techniques to the lead/follow of the steps taught. Although I didn’t add a new step to the salsa, the men learned the technique for a turn…but no step to apply it to yet…that’s NEXT week’s class! And the Intermediate Waltz dancers took on the challenge of a more open pattern and learning to dance slower with control and flight and “in-between” the steps! What an uplifting night! Keep up the good work!
10/14 ACADEMY CLASSES – FIRST NIGHT!
I’m back from my mainland trip, danced until 4 AM most nights at Boogie By The Bay, San Francisco West Coast Swing dance conference! A few professional partnership offers (lucky me), spectacular dances with our nation’s top West Coast Swing dancers and hot, new music selections from the best West Coast Swing DJs! I’m excited to be starting the West Coast Swing & Salsa classes with a new, younger group of dancers tonight and of course, continuing with the waltz at intermediate level, too! A spectacular dance event: I got to dance some International Standard while in CA, as well as hustle, salsa, collegiate shag, lindy hop, balboa, nightclub two step and even some professional open dance! It’s great to be home, back on Maui, with a shot of dance adrenaline from the mainland!
What awesome energy in class tonight! A warm aloha welcome to all of our new dance students. Have patience and practice and each week you will progress! Indiscernable to you in the beginning, but your dance partners will start to notice the improvements and I will see them weekly! We all were beginners once and I hope that with my professional guidance I can help you avoid many of the pitfalls in developing bad habits! I’m always available to help, whether it’s answering a question during class (because I can guarantee that there are other students wondering the same thing), in-between classes (for a little 1-on-1 professional instruction) and during private lessons (where I devote an hour of my expertise directed only to you – and your partner – specific to your individual needs!) I am one of the lucky few who loves what I do for a living and live for what I love: DANCE!
Don’t forget to read the “Academy Dance Class Steps” link on the home page! If you have any suggestions for me, please don’t hesitate to let me know! You can email me at email@example.com! Aloha & Happy Dancing!
See everyone there tonight!
ACADEMY REGISTRATION 10/7 – visit www.alohaballroom.com for more information!
NO ACADEMY CLASSES 9/23 & 9/30…Registration October 7th; First Night of Classes October 14th
NO SATURDAY CLASSES 9/26, 10, 3, 10/10, 10/17th
9/16/08 – WEDNESDAY ACADEMY CLASSES – A small but concentrated group of dancers tonight as we mark the end of the Academy’s third quarter. A lot of personal attention and a few mainland guests! Every once in a while an amazing technically-trained dancer visits Maui and that includes my newest friend Scott (CA) who was kind enough to be my main demo assistant in the Waltz class (lucky me…he does International Standard Style!) A dream to dance with – flights of fantasy! Note to everyone striving to improve their dancing – keep practicing the techniques taught by qualified teachers, so when you get the chance to dance with a talented dancer, you will be at your best!
9/8/09 – TUESDAY - SPECIAL GUEST – John Legend horn Musician/Salsa Dancer STEPHEN TIRPAK hosted by Private Image Dance Studio held a “Salsa Musicality” workshop for Maui musicians and dancers! Stephen’s workshop was well-presented, clear and inspiring us to listen to Salsa music differently. For anyone interested, Rita has Stephen’s “Deep In The Salsa” Musicality CDs (composed by Stephen) available for sale ($20 each). Visit www.stephentirpak.com for more information.
/9/2/09 - WEDNESDAY ACADEMY CLASSES — We’re down to the last 3 weeks of class and our core group of dancers are still practicing and learning new steps! We added a new step in each of the dances tonight and I’m loving the positive energy and enthusiasm this group has…right up until these last few weeks! Keep on Dancing and Staying In Tune!
8/29/09 – SATURDAY CLASSES – My Keiki & Teen Dancers ROCK! Tango & Merengue (Tiago says he’s “…never seen hips move so much before!”), and we’re dancing! Sol & Tiago have the leads down and danced the girls (Brandi – with her flowing skirt and flower in hair – totally in costume!; Miksa - welcome back & thanks for the ipod help; and welcome to our new dancers Anika & Brianna and another beautiful tiny dancer, Adeline (Mom “Jen” dances, too!) I’m so proud of all of your smiles and dance moves! The “big kids” are coming along well in the Beginner and Intermediate Salsa classes for adults, too! The “Dancer’s Body, Dancer’s Movement” class was intense and we were so into it, I went 1.5 hours! What a workout!
8/26/09 – WEDNESDAY ACADEMY CLASSES – The overall energy of the dance classes is getting better every week, the students are getting better at their footwork and we’re DANCING more! I strongly encourage students to ask questions (no question is too small) – I love troubleshooting and helping people find dancing easier (that’s what a professional teacher can do well)! Super fun class tonight!
8/22/09 – SATURDAY CLASSES – My keiki and teen dancers are doing TWO dances in an hour now! Tango is our new dance (Sol’s request…he’s wants to wear a tuxedo!) and their Salsa is improving weekly! Compliments to Tiago & Sol on their leading (even the teen girls thought you were both pretty awesome!) Great to have so many of my former keiki and teen performance dancers back in class: Sabrina, Ivana (both already asking “when’s the next showcase performance?”) and Pro-Am dancer Julia! Welcome back Malia & Brandi, too! Today, there was County personnel onsite observing the classes and he (Cullen) seemed to have a smile on his face as he applauded the dancers (we’ve got to get him in to take a few lessons and learn how much fun dancing really is)! To all my beginner Salsa dancers (and there are A LOT of you – yeah!): keep practicing the basics, the tempo and the rhythm – it all takes time. It was great to see former teen student Kai as an adult coming to take the class along with his partner Ashley! I was also thrilled when one of the ladies said she “got it” with regard to proper frame and then how easy it was to follow! Way to go dancers! I hope that everyone leaves my classes with a little gem of information, or a bag full of “gems” – one is all you need! The Intermediate Salsa and “Turns, Spins and DIPS” classes are intimate and intense! Mahalo to all of you! See you next week!
8/20/09 – THURSDAY NIGHT LULU’S – Sweet and sassy salsa sounds of Neto & Barbara kept the dancers’ energy high and going right until the end! Spread the word about the upcoming Salsa, sultry (Rita Style) West Coast Swing and Waltz classes starting in October! Lots of new dancers and new faces joining me at those classes! I also “pre-announced” an upcoming SALSA workshop in intricacies in salsa musicality with a top musician in a Grammy-award-winning band in September…keep following my dance emails and journals for this exciting new 1-time workshop!
8/19/09 -WEDNESDAY ACADEMY CLASSES – Mahalo to Keoki for filling in for Juan in preparing the ballroom for our classes! Great job! Thank you to all the volunteers who helped break down this evening, too! The waltz dancers are flowing around the floor and everyone was pretty excited about tonight’s new step combination (see class steps link)! The energy was great and it was a pleasure to teach everyone tonight! Students are asking more questions and that is such an asset to everyone! I love being able to troubleshoot and help everyone through those questions! Mahalo to all the students who asked for assistance during the breaks! It’s wonderful to share my knowledge 1-on-1 (or “2″ as the case may be)! We reviewed our cha-cha combinations and started the first of 3 steps of the new amalgamation! Hustle (an exciting dance with a lot of fast footwork and smooth styling) is an intimate group of dancers eager to learn more steps…tonight we did a dip! Congratulations to everyone who “played it safe” (rule #1 in all dancing) and executed it well. A special mahalo to Liz for her trust and core mechanics as I lead her into the dip, kept her in an off-balance position on 1 foot, then let go of her right hand…and then her left hand…we were solid, girl! Don’t forget to join my Saturday dance classes in Salsa and special technique in Turns, Spins & Dips!
8/15/09 – SATURDAY CLASSES! Keiki/Teen classes welcome new students Samson, Savannah, Kylie, Shelia. Teen Kylie treated Shelia to the dance class for her birthday! How cool of a best friend is THAT? Last week, Sol let the mainland-visiting girl guests chose the dance, so this week I let him chose a dance…TANGO! Today we did salsa and tango! Can’t wait to see Sol in that tuxedo he’s been dreaming about! It was so great to see Tiago in classes again and 5 year old Brandi caught everyone’s attention with her turquoise-colored dance outfit complete with feathers and sequins – you go, girl! Mahalo to all the returning and new students who came to the Salsa classes and the dedicated students who stayed so focused in the Technique class, learning the intricate details of lead & follow!
8/12/09 – LUAU DANCE PARTY! The colorful decorations set the scene for tonight’s dance party with fresh flowers, pineapple “boats” at each table, leis, grass skirts and lots of “Aloha” on the dance floor! We had a lot of new students attending and quite a few visitors to Maui mixing and mingling! The energy was great tonight!!!! Two mixers, along with ballroom & latin music sprinkled with some Hawaiian music kept the dance floor full, except when everyone was enjoying the ono food, including the Kalua Pig (made by Keoki, VP Themed Parties) and the many local style delights! Thank you to all the volunteers who helped set up, handle registration and check-in, monitor the kitchen/buffet and all of those who stayed to help breakdown! A special mahalo to Daniel for taking photos tonight (I’ll have the digital files – happy to share). AND, all my gracious dance partners: Milam, Daniel, Donna Lee (mahalo for the lei), Les, Tawnya, Cindy, Keoki, Bill, Charles, Michelle, Eddie, Jesse (IN), David (IN), Al, Mitch, Brian, Art, Josh, Wayne and George! It was my distinct pleasure to dance with each of you! I bid everyone a fond “Aloha” in my bikini, tan, sarong, leis and flowers in my hair! I’ll see everyone at class next week…or SATURDAY at my more intimate and concentrated dance classes from 1 pm – 5 pm!
8/08/09 – SATURDAY CLASSES! Thank you for joining the Keiki & Teen classes Hailey & Kayla. Sol did an awesome job of leading the girls through the turns and salsa moves! I’m so proud of you! What a great turnout for the beginner & intermediate salsa classes! A small but intensive group of dancers joined me for the Technique class on posture & balance and I know everyone walked out more poised and in control of their movements! What an amazing day of dancing! Tonight at the Ale House dancing salsa to the sounds of Neto & Barbara, followed by Dr. Nat @ Casanova’s! Whew! Dancing everywhere!
8/05/09 -WEDNESDAY ACADEMY CLASSES – Waltz dancers are moving around the floor and the Cha-Cha combinations are taking fluid form. The hustle class was just the right size to allow me to give 1-on-1 personal attention with every couple! We’ll see everyone at the LUAU next week – POTLUCK & dancing from 6:30 – 9:30 pm!!!
8/01/09 – MAD HOT BALLROOM Movie Showing for Keiki, Teens & Parents! Mahalo to all who attended!
7/29/09 – WEDNESDAY ACADEMY CLASSES - Great class! Mahalo to the beginners who are doing such a great job interpreting all these new steps! Hang in there…through correct practice we all make improvements. Reminder: Private Lessons are IDEAL for beginners…you get one-on-one instruction on the areas you need the most guidance on to prevent bad habits forming (thereby making it harder to “undo”)! Private Image offers private lessons for 1-2 people AND semi-private lessons for 4 people! Read the “Testimonials & Kind Words” section to see what students just like yourself have said about private lessons! Aloha & Happy Dancing!
7/25/09 – SATURDAY KEIKI CLASSES – My 8 to 10 year olds are leading and my 5 to 12 year olds are following – what could be better than that? My kids rule the dance floor! We worked on a tough combination in salsa and everyone got it! These kids practice every week and it shows! Next week I’m showing MAD HOT BALLROOM for FREE to Keiki, Teens and their Parents @ 12 noon at the Kihei Aquatic Building! FREE POPCORN!!!! Please join us!
Tonight at the MACC, the dance floor was full and everyone was having a great time with their dance friends! Thank you Frank & Sandy Hook!
7/24/09 – FRIDAY – SAD NEWS – Julie Claire Holmes, Academy Corporate Director and a dear friend to many in the dance community passed away this morning @ 9:07 am in California surrounded by her son and her 2 closest friends. Our love is with you Julie Claire as you brighten the angel’s lives just as you have done for so many here during your lifetime! There will be many tangos to dance again later! With warm aloha, Rita & Brian
After my full day of private lessons with some of Maui’s upcoming social dancers, competitors and stellar performance dancers, I was energized and ready to perform with International Argentine Tango master, Gabriel Misse – actually, we danced a rock-n-roll swing to Elvis! Pretty awesome fun! Thanks Jason for the Tango & Salsa…2 nights in a row!
7/23/09 – THURSDAY @ Lulu’s – Neto & Barbara dedicated their first music set to Julie Claire Holmes. It was a great evening of dancing – mahalo Erin, Jason, Franz for the dances!
7/22/09 – WEDNESDAY ACADEMY CLASSES – Each week the beginners are improving and I’m hopeful that those students who have danced before or for a while continue to pick up the little “gems” of proper technique I dispense that will make them even better dancers!
Due to ongoing demand & requests, I have set-up a forum for like-minded dance students who wish to meet other dance students to practice, socially dance with, compete or perform with or anything in-between to meet, greet and try out a dance together…check out my link to DANCE PARTNER SEARCH! Aloha & Happy Dancing!
NEW!!! IN-CLASS FREE MOVIE SHOWING of Mad Hot Ballroom on Saturday, August 1st! This morning I had the distinct privilege of talking with Pierre Dulaine in NYC, where I used to teach…he’s excited to learn of my growing Keiki & Teen classes on Maui! ALL KEIKI, TEENS & their PARENTS are invited to this FREE SHOWING of MAD HOT BALLROOM! Tell your friends…and your friend’s kids!!
This afternoon I also rehearsed with Gabriel Misse from Argentina for our upcoming “impromptu” rock-n-roll swing dance at the Stepping Stone Theatre (starts at 8 pm – Argentine Tango Milonga; I’ll be performing for 1.5 minutes around 10-10:30 pm). 20-something year old brilliant dancer!
7/18/09 – SATURDAY KEIKI & TEEN CLASSES – Welcome back Sabrina from her South America trip (we missed you and your salsa hips and smile)! Welcome to Tiago’s sister, Isabella (Ella) – what a delight to have in our class and you picked up very quickly, already learning new techniques to make your turns sharper! We’re happy to have Erin, our mainland visiting student join our class and get even more advance in her salsa! Brandi wore her rhinestone dangle earrings and high heels and was focused on the steps and following! Great dancing by Sol & Tiago – you boys are learning quickly and always a pleasure to have in class!
7/18/09 - NEWS! The Academy’s longtime Corporate Director, Julie Claire Holmes has been living with Stage 3 lung cancer and is still in CA & at a very critical point. We are gathering SATURDAY July 18th @ 3pm at “Julie’s Forest” (her Maui home: 2846 Omaopio Rd, Kula) to send Julie Claire some MIRACLES…hugs, love, & our Maui family energy. If you cannot be there in person, please send out your energy to her from 3pm on and join in our gathering from wherever you are….Mahalo
07/16/09 – THURSDAY – Fund Raiser at Panda Express, Kihei! Mahalo to the Academy students and friends who supported us today while eating at Panda Express (P.E.); 20% of their purchases went to the Academy’s Aloha Fund! A special thank you to the cutest of cute, Pam Cendana, not only for the idea, but for standing with me outside of P.E. and handing out flyers in our short dance dresses and high heels (& then continuing for another 1.5 hours after I had to leave for a meeting!) Super sweet!
Thank you to the KEIKI and families who came out and supported us, too: Erin (and Tripp) and Brandi (and Mom + +)! You are our future on the dance floor!
Lulu’s was happening tonight with Neto & Barbara! Lots of visitors and HOT salsa dancers on the floor! Thanks to the 7 guys from the mainland I danced with (new, fresh and fun), as well as Gabriel Misse from Argentina, who I will be doing a jive dance number w/July 24th! Mahalo, Brian, Franz, my girls Erin and Pam and, one of my dance partners in my photos above with the hat, Mr. Jason (tango, salsa, tango – I got lucky tonight!) Stephen…save me a salsa next week?
07/15/09 – WEDNESDAY - Academy classes! Looks like everyone’s loving the beginner waltz class! The new dancers are doing a great job in the Waltz - keep up the good work – I’m proud of you! I’m inspired by the questions asked in all the classes and pleased to help everyone’s who’s asking for help during the breaks! As a Dance Professional I’m happy to share my (almost 30 years!) of dance experience! Mahalo for the opportunity to teach you each Wednesday!
07/11/09 SATURDAY KEIKI & TEENS – My boys are taking the lead (literally) and learning new steps weekly! They can even lead their Moms! Way to go Sol & Tiago! You’re practicing and it shows! Welcome back Miksa & Lola – we missed you! Welcome to our visiting Mainland keiki Erin, who had taken private lessons with me last year! Thank you Erin for demonstrating the Salsa dance with me for the other keiki! And WELCOME to Brandi, our newest little addition…shake those hips, girl! Salsa next Saturday (different location!)
07/09/09 – THURSDAY – Where else but in PARADISE? Lulu’s was happening tonight with Neto’s birthday party…AND I danced with my awesome visiting keiki student from the mainland(Erin – you were right on girl!)…AND I danced with Charlie Brown’s dance teacher Emily (the REAL Emily who taught “Charlie Brown’s” creator, Charles Schultz how to dance!)…AND I danced with Merly, a student from Paul Pellicoro’s DanceSport Studio where I used to teach in New York City…AND my student from Vail, CO (James)…AND ate birthday cake, too! LIFE IS GOOD!
07/08/09 – WEDNESDAY - First Night Of Classes! So many new faces and I was happy to help so many of you between classes with individual and personalized attention! To the new students – keep practicing and have patience…dance is a process. If you are learning from a qualified and trained Ballroom & Latin Dance Instructor, you will get the dancing quicker, with greater ease and more enjoyment (learning from other students is usually not the best way to become a better dancer and bad habits form quickly!) Best time to start private lessons from a trained professional…as a BEGINNER!
Complimentary Portrait Photos (taken by Maui Photographer and Academy Student Daniel Kruse) from the Academy Star were available for pick-up tonight (and will be available for a few weeks to come!)
The Academy is seeking volunteers for open Officer positions in 2009: Themed Parties and Assistant Treasurer; ALL positions are also available in 2010 and applications are being accepted for 2009 AND 2010! Please inquire!
07/04/09 – HAPPY JULY FOURTH! SATURDAY
Way to go Sol & Tiago - sharp looking dancers dressed in Red, White & Blue dancing some totally cool cha-cha! You guys ROCK!!! Now, WHERE are the GIRLS?
07/01/09 – WEDNESDAY
Academy Registration, Social Dance & Potluck Dinner – what a wonderful dance night! The music was better than EVER before thanks to getting qualified professional advice on how to maximize the sound system and speakers! We were blessed to have THE top sound engineer on the island, Steve, help us out! MAHALO! Tonight’s music & sound system was magnificent! Great new music mix, too!
MAHALO to all the volunteers who gave of their time tonight to make things run smoothly and to all the Officers who organized this event as well as voluntarily give of their time 365 days a year! I am greatly indebted to your commitment to the Academy and my vision of proper dance instruction on Maui!
WELCOME to all the new students joining us this evening! Give yourselves time and just do your best…every student on the dance floor was once a beginner, too! You will become the best dancer you can be over time, but it is a “process” and I am here to help you in any way I can!
CONGRATULATIONS to the performers this evening and MAHALO for tonight’s entertainment: Eric Roberts & Maribeth Theisen; Rita & Julia (14 years old) – assisted by her friend Malia!; Brian Nakano & Sally Goodness, Juan & Cindy Dawson and Larry Zolezzi & Rhonda Pang!
A SPECIAL THANKS to George Gray for my Birthday cake presentation (and candles!) You’re a sweetie!
06/25/09 – THURSDAY
Days before my birthday, but I already started partying with Neto & Barbara and the salsa crowd at Lulu’s! MAHALO to Jason for the sultry bachatas at the beginning and end of my dance night and the salsas in-between! Thanks for making me smile! Thank you to Zephyr, “Coconut” John, Franz & Terry for the fun dances, too!
06/24/09 – WEDNESDAY
Last night of dance classes for the second quarter! Next Wednesday is the Academy’s REGISTRATION, SOCIAL DANCE & POTLUCK DINNER featuring Beginner Waltz, Intermediate Cha-cha and Intermediate Hustle!
06/17/09 – WEDNESDAY
With a more concentrated group of dedicated dancers tonight, I was able to dance with and positively encourage and critique many of the dance couples on a one-to-one basis! This was a great opportunity for me to share my 28 years of experience on a more personal level with Academy students!
A special “MAHALO” again to the “Fab Five” Demo Assistant ”team” for leading the class last week during my absence: Les & Julie, Juan & Cindy, Milam & Lynann, Keoki & Bonnie, Terry & Pamela!
06/10/09 – WEDNESDAY
While I am off-island, the 5 Demo Assistants took turns reviewing the steps already instructed this quarter and introduced the foot patterns for the new steps to the class. MAHALO to all of the couples who volunteered to assist in demonstrating the steps during my absence!
06/03/09 – WEDNESDAY
Tonight I introduced 4 new dance couples to the Demo Assistant Team (in addition to Les Grimes and Julie Katz – social and competition dancers). Please welcome Rita’s private lesson students: Milam Pender & Lynann Nicely (social & performance dancers); Terry Hans & Pamela Cendana (social & performance dancers); Juan & Cindy Dawson (social & performance dancers); Keoki Sousa & Bonnie Kanae (social, performance and competition dancers)!
05/30/09 – SATURDAY – ACADEMY STAR BALL
I am so proud to bring an elegant and stylish formal ball to the islands in the traditional style of ballroom dancing! Once again, we were fortunate to hold our event at the spectacular King kamehameha Golf Course (locally known as the “Marilyn Monroe House”) with its impressive views and unparallel beauty!
This evening featured Maui dancers (and some visitors) in ballgowns and tuxedos dancing waltzes and salsa.
05/27/09 – WEDNESDAY
Extended discount ticket deadline! Over 100 dancers will attend the Academy Star Ball!
05/20/09 – WEDNESDAY
LAST DAY to buy Academy Star Ball Tickets at discounted rate!
05/16/09 – SATURDAY
Showcase Rehearsals for Keiki & Adults – 2 weeks until “SHOWTIME!”
05/13/09 – WEDNESDAY
Only 1 more week to purchase your Academy Star Ball tickets at the discounted price! Choose your own table-mates and don’t forget we’re having a silent auction with some amazing products and services! NEW this year, we are having a “Dancer Auction”! Bid on your favorite dancer and help the Academy in its fund raiser! You will get the dance of your choice with one of our women or men selected for the “Live Dancer” Auction! It should be a lot of fun!
05/09/09 – SATURDAY
Two NEW teens in the class: Caleigh & her dance partner Wesley! We danced Swing AND Waltz! Wesley was awesome! I’m already looking forward to dancing with Wesley at the Academy Star Ball!
05/06/09 – WEDNESDAY
New Section: “CLASS STEPS” – please check there for steps taught at the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy!
Tonight we honored Jack pre=”Jack “>Condy who was celebrating his 96thbirthday! We should all be so lucky to be dancing at that age! The class of about 100 sang “Happy Birthday” to Jack and when the cake with (quite a few less than 100) candles came out, Jack made a wish and blew them all out! There was an honorary Foxtrot dance with Jack started by Rita, and then other dance partners joined in: Bonnie, Colleen, Teri, Bobbi and more! Many of the students signed a birthday card for Jack, too! Congratulations Jack and many more happy years of dancing!
05/02/09 – SATURDAY
Keiki dance class welcomes our new student Shae-la! GREAT swing dancer!
04/29/09 – WEDNESDAY
ACADEMY STAR BALL ticket sales are MOVING! Remember to buy your tix early ($75 NOW; $90 After 5/20) . SILENT AUCTION fundraiser – amazing items to bid on! Saturday, MAY 30th @ King Kamehameha Golf Course (“Marilyn Monroe House”), Waikapu from 5-10 pm – Dinner, Dancing, Performances! Tix available at Topaz Jewelers (Kihei), If The Shoe Fits (Wailuku); Gigi’s (Ka’anapali Beach Hotel) and the Academy! Chose your own seat-mates; solo dance tables available!
Beginner Cha-Cha: Open Break with UAT(underarm turn); Forward/Back Basic with man’s relay (hand-pass right turn) and woman’s UAT.
Beginner Hustle: Worked on Side-to-Side Cuddle – added Traveling Cuddle with woman exiting on man’s left side with an UAT.
Intermediate Tango: Reviewed all the steps working on technique.
04/25/19 – SATURDAY
KEIKIFEST! What a great experience to reach out to the Keiki of Maui and their families! We had a booth at the event and held a free dance class (for keiki & parents) under the Private Image Dance tent! Mahalo Terry, Art, Pamela, Bill & Candi, Juan & Cindy and “my girls” Maxine, Jackie, Julia, Noelle, Malia and all the dancer-wannabes throughout the day! AWESOME FUN!
I was on-the-go all day…after KeikiFest Class I had my Keiki-Teen rehearsal for the performance group and the Adult performance team, too! It’s all looking good and the dancers are on the final stretch of choreography!
04/22/09 – WEDNESDAY
ACADEMY STAR BALL tickets went ON SALE TONIGHT! May 30th Formal/Semi-Formal Ball at the King Kamehameha Golf Course – Cash Bar, Dinner, Dancing, Performances and large dance floor for only $75 per person through May 20th! $95 thereafter. Buy your tickets early! Maui’s premier and ONLY formal ballroom event! Elegance at its best!
The Beginner Classes are growing- especially the Hustle! I’m ecstatic to be sharing one of my favorite club dances (I’ve been dancing Hustle for almost 30 years!) in a larger group format; for the past 8 years I’ve been teaching Hustle on Maui, along with other club dances (and a variety of other peripheral ballroom/latin dances) on Saturdays in smaller, more intimate dance classes! This is so exciting to be able to offer this dance (and West Coast Swing at the end of the year) at the Academy’s venue!
The Beginner Cha-Cha: Review of Week 1 & 2 – integrating more technique. In the beginning, learning proper technique and partnering skills are essential to having your class efforts pay off – and to reinforce GOOD dance habits! Tonight we emphasized partnering skills.
Beginner Hustle: (Side-to-Side) Cuddle & Traveling Cuddle. Learning the rhythm (&-1-2-3 - WITHOUT panic or backrocks) is the foundation to this dance! New to most students, we’re taking it slow and next week we’ll start picking up the speed! Keep up the practicing!
Intermediate Tango: Back Rocks (S-S-Q-Q-S-Q-Q-S-Q-Q-S) starts W ends DC; Right Side Fans (Q-Q-S-S-Q-Q-S-S-Q-Q-S) starts DC ends LOD. New twist on the rocks and hopefully the students continuing in this dance level will pick up valuable technique and be able to apply it on the social dance scene!
04/18/09 – SATURDAY
A joy and highlight of my dance weekend is working with my Keiki/Teen class and performance groups for the kids and the adults! The standard Keiki/Teen dance class featured the Waltz, chosen by student Jackie! With 4 experienced leaders in the class, Jackie was the belle of the ball (as the only girl) dancing with each and every one of us, flowing gracefully around the room – a stellar dance lesson for Jackie!
Afterwards, the Keiki/Teen Performance group worked hard for 1.5 hours learning dozens of steps, spins, salsa shines, hip “pops” for their routine…and some cool tricks, too! These girls are hot and are going to strut their stuff with “the big kids” on May 30th at the Academy Star Ball!
The Bolero showcase performance group did some beautiful movements in their initial run-throughs and then I gave them a technique-intensive start for their rehearsal for the next 2.5 hours! This routine is going to be so beautiful! I can’t wait to see it myself!
04/15/09 – WEDNESDAY
A great turnout for “Tax Day” and more new students signed up for classes, as well as some mainland guests! The Beginner Cha-Cha class added a 3 part combination: Fifth Position x 2 – Crossover x 3 – Ladies Underarm Turn! The Beginner Hustle class continued to practice the basic rhythm of the club dance with the Change of Place Basic and we added the alternating Ladies Underarm Turns (Wrap) and Man’s Underarm Turns (Wrap). Keep up the practice everyone and don’t give up…PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE and you WILL PERSEVERE! The Intermediate Tango featured the Promenade Check (SQQSQnQ).
Anthony, a teen dance student and upcoming performer videotaped the Saturday Keiki& Teen dance class in preparation for an upcoming local event highlighting Private Image Dance Studio! MAHALO Anthony for your dedication to the dance craft and for the coverage!
Today, we started the Keiki/Teen Salsa Showcase performance group with a lot of hip swiveling, shoulder shimmy-ing, flick kicks and turns! These dazzling dancers will grace the floor of the Academy’s Star Ball on May 30th!
04/8/09 – WEDNESDAY
I was on the mainland last week, but I heard that the registration night with social dance and potluck was intimate and fun! Sorry I missed everyone, but I’m thrilled to be home and dancing with everyone again!
Tonight was the Academy’s first class for the new quarter featuring THREE (3) dances ($1.11 per class – WOW): Beginner Cha-Cha; Beginner Hustle; Intermediate: Tango! LOTS of new students in the beginner classes – that’s awesome! In-between the classes I walked around the room and helped as many dancers as time allowed. I enjoy working one-on-one with students, so please keep asking all your questions!
The steps we covered tonight were:
Cha-Cha: In-place basic; Side basic; Outside Partner
Hustle: Change of Place (2 handhold)
Tango: Review of Open Fan; Double Corte (quarter turn pivots)
Keep on practicing your steps ALONE, with NO MUSIC to reinforce the action in your body! Hang in there…practice makes perfect (or better than the last week!) I’m here to support the brand new dancers with technique, encouragement and an open-door policy (just ask) and to help the former students become the best dancers that they can be!
I’m also available for semi-privates (4 people) for $20 pp and private lessons for singles or couples (1-2 people); discount packages available, too! As Maui’s ONLY professional Ballroom & Latin dance instructor, competitor, choreographer and member of N.D.C.A. I’m so happy to share my passion with the Maui Ohana!
Keep on dancing!
03/18/09 – WEDNESDAY
Thanks for “hanging in there” 2009 Academy students! We’re down to the last 2 lessons and what great steps we worked on tonight! Beginner Tango featured the Open Fan and Left Turn. The Intermediate Swing reviewed all the fun steps we did weeks prior and then I added the Inside/Outside turns, the Sailor’s Shuffle and the Sliding Doors! Remember “small” backrocks and “side-together-side” triples!
After class, the showcase performance team rehearsed and I’m so impressed with the level of dancing from these 5 couples, most of whom have done previous showcases with me and/or have done private lessons with me to improve their dancing over the years! It’s going to be an awesome performance on May 30th! Dancing with the Stars should see my MAUI DANCING STARS!
03/11/09 – WEDNESDAY
Academy classes – our last 3 weeks for the dance quarter. Tonight’s Tango class featured the right promenade review and then we worked on the Reverse Turn for improved partnership alignments. The ECSwing added 2 new steps: 2-hand catch to solo spin and behind-the-back.
03/08/09 – SATURDAY
The March Keiki& Teen Classes will feature 2 weeks of new steps for East Coast Swing and then 2 weeks of Cha-Cha! This week we worked on the back-to-back with flick step, the extended hip step and Stop & Go! The girls in my class are AWESOME!
Then the “big kids” came in for the Adult Showcase Performance Team – BOLERO! Five couples ready to combine the techniques of the Waltz, Rumba, Tango, Samba and Foxtrot in one dance! I have a group of seasoned showcase performers and that’s VERY exciting!
03/04/09 – WEDNESDAY
After the Valentine’s Dance we had a 2 week hiatus, but now the Academy dance classes are back in full swing – East Coast Swing, that is! Tonight, we had extra men in class and not enough women – now that’s rare! Tonight’s beginner Tango class introduced 2 new steps: Right Promenade and (we just started on) the Reverse Turn (but never really got to practice that step).
Keeping partnership dancing skills simple in context, as only a professional instructor can do, I enjoy seeing the general dancer learn good technique to become a better social dancer – tonight I saw a few transformations during class! I sometimes can’t believe that through my volunteering& donation of time through my non-profit, that I can give back to the Maui community at large, offering professional ballroom & latin dance classes for ONLY $1.66 per class! That’s got to be the BEST Kama’aina deal on the islands!
Starting in March, I am “sweetening” that dance deal at the Academy by offering THREE (3) DANCE CLASSES in the NEW DANCE COURSE! Beginner CHA-CHA; Beginner HUSTLE; Intermediate TANGO! That’s $1.11 PER PROFESSIONALLY INSTRUCTED group class! Let’s keep on dancing!
In the Intermediate East Coast Swing class I taught Traveling Triples, Double UAT and just started the Toe-Heel Swivel step!
After class we had a Showcase Performance Dance Team meeting and I am pleased to have a seasoned group of dancers who will be performing the BOLERO at the Academy Star Ball on May 30th! Rehearsals start this Saturday, but it’s not too late to join – even with little or no performance experience! My goal is to make EVERY dancer, the BEST DANCER that they can be!
02/28/09 – SATURDAY
The Keiki & Teen Class has been growing and they’ve been learning more dances! Today we did merengue with hips, hips, hips to “Hot, Hot, Hot!” Lots of fun and variety! More kids signed up for the Keiki & Teen Showcase Performance Group which will appear at the Academy Star Ball on May 30th at the King Kamehameha Golf Course (locally known as the “Marilyn Monroe House”). What an exciting year this is going to be!
02/14/09 VALENTINE’S DAY – SATURDAY
Our fabulous keiki & teen dancers were dressed in red and pink for Valentine’s Day and to learn the TANGO! Sabrina & Ivana even had fresh red roses in their hair to keep in the spirit of the holiday and the dance! Ole! A special Valentine’s dance partnership of Summer and her Dad Gary brought smiles to our faces, while our newest male dancer Bernardo (8 years old) bravely took the floor and not only danced with each of the girls, but also did a solo dance with me, Rita! Awesome dancing everyone!
The girls snapped their head (and hair) around on the promenade pivots and did a quick “look away” when we dipped into the corte! Dancers Kimberly, Jaylee, Rebecca, Sarah, Sage, Summer, Ivana, Sabrina, Bernardo, Sebastian moved fluidly in line-of-dance while the parents applauded everyone’s smooth but dramatic moves!
A special Valentine’s treat by my assistant Miss Cindy was chocolate treats, heart shaped sugar candies and she hand-made dancer’s bookmarks for each student attending! Rita handed out a group photo of everyone from the previous week and our day ended with a 5-6-7-8-….DANCE!
02/11/09 – WEDNESDAY
VALENTINE’S DANCE @ Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy! Over 150 dancers, including many mainland visitors (with guests as far away as Italy & Austria) came to celebrate love and aloha at tonight’s dance to the live swing sounds of Louise & Ortiz, with special guest musicians! Latin DJ sounds by Private Image Dance Studio alternated during this 3 hour potluck event where many of the attendees wore red, pink or white complimenting the amazing heart-studded decorations by Themed Parties! Mahalo to everyone who brought delicious potluck items (I made 3 plates of Italian chicken and a tray of brownies)! A special mahalo to my dance partners Americo, Charles, Brian, Richard, Daniel, Mike, Juan, Robert, Art and Larry…and the ladies I danced with: Marty-Jean (so good to see you back on the dance floor), Sage, Julie, and Nancy Fairclough (our friends at Topaz Jewelers!) Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this event a smashing success!
02/07/09 – SATURDAY
The future dancers of Maui and I meet every Saturday at noon at the Kihei Community Centers Aquatic Building for some hot and fun dancing! Today we danced the Swing with underarm turns, flicks and kicks and toe-heel-swivel combinations! These 8 – 14 year old dancers are super quick learners and awesome dancers! Welcome to the new dancers Danielle, Sebastian and Amanda ! Welcome back to our newer dancers Summer, Dominque, Camille and Kimberly! And it’s always a pleasure to dance with my regular partners: Ivana, Sabrina, Jaylee, Jackie, Rebecca, Sarah, Alex, and Sage!
After class everyone signed the beautiful get well card Miss Cindy bought for Jacquline (Dominque’s little sister who is on the mainland having a tumor removed) - we miss her in dance class! We had the whole dance class get together to take a photo to send Jacquline along with the get well card! We miss you Jacquline – get well soon and we’ll see you back on the dance floor!
02/04/09 – 02/08/09 TANGOFEST
I’m participating in the Tangofest Maui this week and performing at Castle Theatre at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Friday with my professional partner Gawain!
Friday performance: What a special evening! Having the opportunity to be on the same stage as Carlos Barrionnuevo & Mayte Valdes (Argentina), and George Garcia (Argentine Maestro) of Honolulu – AMAZING! George said my “long legs looked like precision swords” in m Vals routine! What compliment! The post-performance cast dinner was divine at Lemongrass restaurant at the Queen Kaahumanu Center! Mahalo Gawain for a world-class event!
02/04/09 – WEDNESDAY
Small class at the Academy tonight, but a great group of dancers preparing for the valentine’s Dance next Wednesday! In beginner Tango we added the Open Fan with Underarm Turn and we continued to work on our sequence in intermediate ECSwing, adding single time count steps to our repertoire.
Immediately after class, I went to the opening milonga for the Tangofest Maui! I had an opportunity to not only dance with my professional partner Gawain, but also with some of my favorite partners: Chris & Steven. Mahalo to all of my other dance partners!
01/31/09 – SATURDAY
Cha-Cha with the dancers of the future! With keiki & teen students from public, private and charter schools us girls were moving our hips in our skirts that snapped and swirled! Welcome to our newest dancers: Camille and Summer! Great dance moves by Sabrina, Ivana, Jaylee, Anthony, Sage, & Rebecca!
01/29/09 – THURSDAY
Went on a whale watch today out of Lahaina. I was “spotted” by the first mate who happened to be at Lulu’s Lahaina about a month ago when I danced with my salsa partner Noe! Despite my wide brim hat, my dark fashionable sunglasses (and wearing a tank top and shorts), he recognized me and said he was “mesmerized” by my dancing! People are definitely intrigued by good dancing, so everyone should keep up the good work and keep on dancing!
Hot night at Lulu’s dancing to the latin sounds of Neto& Barbara! The dance floor was packed with dancers from all over the island! Mahalo to my dance partners Stephen (he braved the “first dance” of my evening and other salsas, too), Daniel has an affinity for dancing merengue with me (hope you enjoyed Robert!), Israel (slow – fast and everything in-between with spins & turns) and Brian! Guys, thanks for making my evening so sweet!
01/28/09 – WEDNESDAY
An exciting evening at the Academy! We added another step in the Tango – Left Promenade and the International Style “Chicken Walks” in the East Coast Swing! Then I got to strut my dancing with Gawain Bantle as we performed an impromptu Argentine Tango during the break between classes! I changed into my red satin tango shoes with the 4-7/8″ heels, put a cluster of roses in my hair and did a Tango & Vals (Argentine waltz) for my students! The applause and response was warm and welcoming! I wanted my students to experience another tango and to let them see a preview of what I will be dancing at the International TangoFest happening next week, as well as my upcoming performance at the Castle Theatre on Friday, Feb. 6th @ 7:30 pm! Mahalo Gawain for being my partner and having me perform onstage with you! Always a pleasure!
ON THE BIG STAGE! Rita & Gawain Perform Argentine Tango…Friday, February 6th @ 7:30 pm
TANGO EMOTIONALE @ Castle Theatre – MAUI ARTS & CULTURAL CENTER
Tickets 242-SHOW or www.mauiarts.org
1/24/09 – SATURDAY
Boys & Teenagers…THIS is where the girls are! The Kids/Teen dance classes are growing in leaps, bounds, kicks, flicks, hips and turns! WOW! What an amazing group I teach! I’m so impressed with the specialness of these kids and their politeness, respect and attention…oh, did I mention that they are great dancers? They all are!
Everyone is having a great time and today we did salsa basics and some special “Rita-Only” shine steps for solo dancing! Welcome to our newest dancers: Noelle, Leilei and Kimberly! These girls picked up so quickly and I can’t wait until next week when we do some new Cha-Cha steps! It’s always a pleasure to have teens Anthony, Sage, Julia, Shiala, and Malia in our group (Anthony & Julia take private lessons, too and are hoping to do performances…andmaybe competitions later this year)! Our other fab dancers include Sabrina, Jaylee, Dominique, Jackie, and Rebecca! Mahalo to Juan & Cindy for assistance – we missed you Terry (hope you get well soon!) 5-6-7-8-DANCE!!!
1/22/09 – THURSDAY
Lulu’s oh-la-la! Karina, one of my most talented students with whom I’ve performed with, who I’ve competed with at national competitions (who last year moved back to CA) was visiting with her husband Paul. After she & I spent the day enjoying lunch upcountry, shopping in Wailea and enjoying time with her family, ended our evening at Lulu’s, dancing to the latin sounds of Neto Peraza & Barbara Singer(who’ve been playing 4 years at Lulu’s – congratulations)!
Not only did I do salsas and cha-chas with Karina (nice “front row” seat, Jason (wink)!), but I also danced with her husband Paul and many of my other favorite dance partners: Jason (yummy “fusion” sultry salsas and lively lindys), Chris (such a comforting Argentine Tango – I love being in your arms), Stephen (very happy to see you again and your enjoy your smooth moves), Daniel (“percussion” merengues rock), Franz (fun dancing), Brian (my longtime dance partner feeling so easy), Israel (turn, spins and surprises – love it!). Hot dancing! What a high!
Academy classes and new steps, new techniques and new friends! The Beginner Tango class featured the Tango Rocks and Curving Basic and the Intermediate East Coast Swing added the Back-to-Back (double flick) and the Opposition Break - wait until you see next week’s amalgamation!
1/14/09 – WEDNESDAY
Tonight was the first Academy dance class for 2009! Welcome back dear friends and former students and “Aloha” to our new dancers! Tonight we began our new dance class format and it seemed to work out very well!
In the Tango we instructed the basic & corte and then we added a new combination in the East Coast Swing with a running basic, extended inside UAT and the whip (we’ll finish up this new combination next week with more steps!)
Announced our plans for a Valentine’s Dance Party for February 11th.
Through Private Image Dance Studio I’m now offering Academy students (those taking private lessons for the first time) a 10% discount off their first lesson. In addition, I am offering semi-private lessons (4 people) at a greatly discounted rate! Email me for more information!
1/13/09 – TUESDAY
Private Lessons with dedicated dancers who are compassionate about dancing from social to competitive to performance levels…teens through adults…Kama’aina and visitors! Starting my day with Jim (west coast swing dancer) followed by coaching visiting British Columbia dancers John & Maria on their upcoming Viennese Waltz performance (twirls, lifts, drops and fast footwork). Continued working with my wonderful social dancer Charles and our rising teen performer Julia (great hips and a killer smile). I rounded off my day coaching 3 of my award-winning competitors Yukiko, Les & Julie and ended a wonderful day of teaching with Anarug working on the subtleties of following and fluid form in the smooth dances! I am doing what I love to do!
1/10/09 – SATURDAY
My Kids & Teens class was amazing! We worked on Tango and the students added their head snaps and attitude all over the place, making light of fast footwork and dramatic dancing! It was great to see Malia, Shiala, Julia, Anthony, Sarah, Rebecca, Jackie, and Sage again and a warm “ class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”warm “>aloha” welcome to the new dancers Ivana, class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”">Jayla, and sisters Jacquiline and Dominque! Everyone got a chance to tango with style! I’m so excited to have such wonderful young dancers interested in latin and ballroom! Mahalo to Terry & Cindy & Juan (for leading the closing huddle cheer) …5 – 6- 7- 8…GO DANCE!
1/7/09 – WEDNESDAY
Academy’s Registration for the 2009 Jan-March dance course at the Kihei Community Center PLUS a social dance and potluck dinner! Tonight I introduced a new mix of music and everyone seemed to have a great time sharing laughter, dance moves and some “ono” food! Mahalo to everyone who brought amazing dishes – I especially LOVED Nancy Mateja’s chicken salad; Ron Baybayan’s Mac & “Cheese” (vegetarian style) and his pot roast, too; Keoki’s Pasta with “tofu sausage” (vegetarian style); I ate more than my fair share of “healthy” and “standard” entrees tonight!
Mahalo to the 2008 and 2009 Officers who worked well together to make tonight and our last 2 events (Holiday Ball & New Year’s Eve Dance) so special – you’re all amazing!
Tonight I danced 3/4 of the night as a “leader” dancing with some wonderful women: (some of my private lesson students): Colleen Mitsuya, Julie Katz, Rosie Alexander, Cindy Dawson, and others: Helena Hattori, Kitty Edwards, Judy Montgomery, Carol Pratt…I am sorry if I left anyone out!
AND…I had the privilege of being in the arms of some wonderful leaders, too (private lesson students): Al Yniguez, Charles Dougherty, Richard Albright, John Dependahl, Milam Pender and others: Ron Montgomery, Jack Condy and even Sunya Echternach danced a waltz with me!
What a great night of socializing, dancing, dining and seeing friends we’ve known before (even a surprise visit from Art Baxa!) and meeting new people joining our dance community!
Our new dance quarter features Beginner American Tango and Intermediate East Coast Swing and we’re doing a NEW FORMAT in scheduling – check out www.alohaballroom.com.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone and we’ll see you at 6:30 pm NEXT Wednesday!
1/3/09 – SATURDAY
Sabrina & Sage did an AWESOME job learning the HUSTLE in the Kids & Teen classes today! Mahalo to all the “boy” dancers who joined us today – you know who you are! We’ll see everyone next Saturday and every Saturday at 12 noon! Tell your friends!
12/31/08 – 1/1/09 – WEDNESDAY
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 “Happy New Year!” The Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy celebrated the close of 2008 and the hopes and dreams of 2009 with their New Year’s Eve Dance at the Kihei Community Center! Neto Peraza& Barbara Singer played their amazing dance music, while I alternated with a ballroom mix for many Academy students, Maui Dancers and a lot of out-of-town guests from across the country! We celebrated Juan & Cindy Dawson’s 11th wedding anniversary 12/31 and Anarug’s birthday 1/1 (Happy Birthday Karina, too!) There were two performances tonight: Juan & Cindy danced an East Coast Swing to Christina Augiliera’s ”Ain’t No Other Man,” and Deb Converse & I danced an open international Cha-Cha to Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloop - Flip Fantasia”! Lots of sparkly silver, feathers and sexiness!
Mahalo to Lynette Zakabi, Themed Parties VP and the Officers and volunteers who came during the day to set-up and stayed late to “de-decorate!” The hot pupus from “Rosie’s Catering” and midnight sparkling cider toast (countdown by Neto & Barbara) added special touches to this evening’s event!
We’ll see everyone at next Wednesday’s January 7th Social Dance/Potluck Dinner/Registration for the January – March dance course featuring Tango & Swing (www.alohaballroom.com)
12/27/08 – SATURDAY
Days before the year’s end and tonight’s class was the elegant Waltz! We did a twinkle chasse fallaway combination and everyone practiced it throughout the evening! Since my Saturday night classes at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center are smaller and more intimate, I get to work one-on-one with every student both during the class and afterwards at the dance party!
100% of tonight’s proceeds goes directly to Maui Hospice! MAHALO for everyone’s support in my efforts to give back to our local charities of Maui! Welcome to our new students: Jonathan & Cheryl, Brad & Adele, Mara, and Ariana! Thank you Eric, Helena, Liz, Julie, Cindy, Cheryl, Sage, Les, Yukiko, Judy, Terry, Pam and Deb for the fun dances; it’s great to lead and follow and just flow with you on the dance floor! You made my night!
We’ll see everyone at the Academy’s New Year’s Eve Dance Party!
12/26/08 – FRIDAY
This morning I appeared on Joel Agnew’s “Aloha Friday” radio talk show on KAOI with two amazing musicians: Neto Peraza & his beautiful wife, Barbara Singer (who will be playing at the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy on New Year’s Eve) and Steve Zuwala, County Music Artist – from Maui and Nashville, TN!
I always find it so fascinating to be around other creative and talented people who have created their own unique niche in their genre, and since I can dance, but not really sing well enough to want to be heard by anyone, I was just in awe listening to Neto playing his Spanish guitar and listening to Steve’s deep and captivating vocals! Joel’s off-the-cuff remarks had us laughing most of the way through the show and I’m always grateful to Joel for allowing me to promote my passion on air: latin& ballroom dancing!
12/20/08 – SATURDAY Day & Evening
12 noon and I’m excited! I’ve got my Kids & Teen Dance Classes in full swing at the KCC-Aquatics Building! We worked on some new cha-cha steps! Welcome to our new student Rebecca (cool hip movement) and returning student Sabrina (you go girl with that arm styling) and Sage (did a great job following)! Thanks for your assistance Mr. Juan, Mr. Terry & Ms. Cindy! These kids sure kept you on your toes!
My Private Image Saturday Dance Night was a success! 100% of this week’s proceeds will go to benefit Women Helping Women! Mahalo to everyone who came to the cha-cha class and then the dance social! We did flicks and kicks and swivels and “step-taps”/”step-drops” and solo turns with the new combination! I even held a mini-technique class (impromptu) in the middle of the dance social (by popular request)! I danced with every man and lady in attendance (many, more than once) and was thrilled that some of my 8-10 year old students (and “Mom & Dad”) attended, too!
Dancers loved the music selection tonight and everyone cast their vote for the SECOND dance to be taught on Saturday nights in January (Hustle is the 6 pm class; “Mystery Dance” pending final voting will be at 8 pm). The class was well received with plenty of basic and sound technique as well as special advanced embellishments for the more seasoned dancers!
Great compliments tonight about the “ambience” and “lighting” and our healthy food options are a success (except for those extraordinary fudge truffle candies made by Judy! My latin hips love you!) I love to dress up, so pretty dance dresses, glittery accessories and smiling faces are always welcome! Mahalo Deb & Helena for joining my dance party in your pretty finery!
100% of next Saturday’s proceeds go to Maui Hospice and the Waltz will be the featured dance at 6 pm!
Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Joyous Kwanza!
12/17/08 – WEDNESDAY
ALOHA BALLROOM DANCE ACADEMY – Last class of 2008! It’s been a great year of teaching at the “Academy” and I am so privileged to be able to share my professional training as a latin& ballroom instructor with so many people on Maui! We added some “fun” embellishments to our East Coast Swing class with the “kick-ball-change” and some optional arm styling! The Foxtrot also added a new feature – a “picture line” with the Promenade Throwaway Oversway! Mahalo to all my students for making 2008 a great year!
Next up: NEW YEAR’S EVE DANCE PARTY 8 pm – 12:30 am Catered Pupus and Live Music with Neto & Barbara alternating with Rita’s DJ mix! Only $25 pp. Contact Cindy Dawson for tickets 442-2223.
12/13/08 – SATURDAY
HOLIDAY BALL at the King Kamehameha Golf Course! Elegant, sophisticated and a success due to the hard work, efforts, and coordination of the Academy’s officers and many “special elves”! Mahalo to everyone at the Academy, the KKGC and the many businesses who helped make this a success!
Tonight, the attendees brought wrapped gifts for the children of the Homeless Resource Center to open on Christmas morning. We have encouraged this tradition for 5 years now and have always had enough gifts for every child in the Wailuku (and now) Lahaina Centers!
The Academy also made an additional $500 donation to the Homeless Resource Center from their “Aloha Fund!”
And last week, when I learned that 2 companies were unable to donate money to the Homeless Resource Centers for the newborn to 10 year olds for gifts, I donated 100% of the proceeds from my Private Image Saturday Night Dances at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center to help out!
The evening started @ 5:30 pm with cash-bar cocktails, complimentary photos and the silent auction; meanwhile the dancing had already begun in the ballroom on the large black & white floor! The gentlemen looked so classy in their tuxedoes& tails with beautiful women in their arms, dressed to the nines in flowing ballgowns, baubles & beads!
Keoki did a Hawaiian blessing and gratitude prayer and then the dinner service began. A varied and plentiful array of wonderful food and yummy desserts!
The silent auction had over 70 items most with active bidding. The Academy had four teen volunteers: Caleigh, Julia, Sheila & Malia (the last 3 are teen dance students in my Saturday classes!) MAHALO girls! When the silent auction was closed, the girls along with the other volunteers went to the ballroom and watched the dance performances!
Juan & Cindy Dawson did a most darling East Coast Swing in adorable “Cindy Lu Who” and Elf costumes (curled shoes and bells and all!) It was true entertainment and surprise! Job, well done! I did a sexy jazz/ballroom cha-cha number with my student Deb Converse in little, itsy-bitsy holiday costumes with fringe that snapped with every movement of our hips! We “razzled-and-dazzled” them tonight!
Before the evening’s end, the silent auction items had their winners! I got three fabulous items: Bev Gannon’s HaliiMaile General Store autographed cookbook; personal trainingsession with Sharon Johnston; a day spa treatment at Maui Body & Soul (Kihei)! All for a good cause – the Homeless Resource Center!
I’ve worked very hard over the last 9 years to create a dance ohana on Maui and know that many have taken advantage of my passion and generosity in this dance community. It’s been my pleasure and honor to meet, teach and coach so many wonderful people in my world of dance on Maui! I am proud to have been such an integral part of the existence of ballroom & latin dancingon this beautiful island we call “home!”
Next event? NEW YEAR’S EVE! Happy Holidays!
12/10/08 – WEDNESDAY
The Academy’s dance class before the Holiday Ball and the intense concentration of the students is so apparent, as they hope to pick up one or two more techinque gems to make their Ball experience that much more enjoyable! Only one more dance class (next week) and then there is is the holiday break until the Academy’s New Year’s Eve catered dance party! Tickets wemt on sale for New Year’s Eve tonight!
Class steps included an open-style tuck-turn and simple head loop in ECSwing. The Intermediate Foxtrot class reviewed the right rock turn andwe added the promenadetwist turn withbox ending!
Daper looking men in tails, tuxedoes, suits, dinner jackets, shirts & ties – YES, on Maui THIS Saturday at the Holiday Ball! Ladies donned in full length gowns, cocktail dresses and glitz & glam of a bygone era! Maui Kama’aina & guests dressed to the nines at an elegant affair at the King Kamehameha Golf Course…Ladies & Gentlemen….
12/07/08 – SUNDAY
What a great idea! Lynann& Sally hosted a “Clothing Swap” this evening, along with pupus, dessert & wine! Ladies of all styles, shapes & sizes brought in clothing (skirts, tops, pants, dresses, gowns), jewelry, shoes & other fashion accessories to exchange! It was a wonderful evening for the girls to “shop” for free! MAHALO Lynann & Sally!
12/6/08 – SATURDAY
Kids & Teen Class – Today we had Foxtrot lessons specializing in following- we welcome Sage to the class! Other students include Sara, Alex, Julia, Malia, Sheaila, Anthony, Jackie, Sabrina, Kiara & Ivana! Heh, boys – thid is where the girls are! Come and join us!
Tonight was OPENING NIGHT for Private Image Dance Studio’s Dance Party! A great turn-out for the salsa class at 6 pm and many dancers stayed for the live latin sounds of Neto and Barbara starting @ 7 pm – 10 pm. A huge MAHALO to Neto & Barbara for their contributions to tonight’s success! The open dancing session offered wood floors, live& DJ mix music, open space, professional assistance on ANY dance or step or technique! AND I danced with almost EVERY man and women at the dance party! Healthy food choices were offered as well as cold water and plenty of “ALOHA!” Mahalo to Juan & Cindy Dawson, Lynann Nicely, Deborah Converse and Yukiko McClure for your efforts in tonight’s success!
I’m very proud of the dance community’s support of the new dance venue!
ALL of the monies collected at the door will be DONATED to the Homeless Resource Center for the holiday season! I will donate ALL the monies collected to different charities throughout the month!
NO Event next week – Academy’s FORMAL HOLIDAY BALL @ King Kamehameha Golf Course! Tickets: Cindy Dawson: 442-2223
12/5/08 – FRIDAY
Tonight I performed at the Westin Resort’scompany party! Their theme was “Dancing with the Stars” andI judged alongside Noelani & Juan (I think I was the “Len Goodman” as head judge); we had numbered paddles andall! What an amazing group of people! And the guys can dance!
The Westin’s GM, Craig Anderson also donated oceanview accomodations, gift certificates for spa treatments and dinner for two for the Academy’s silent auction! MAHALO Craig!
Then my dancers Juan & Cindy did their dance number (you’ll see it at the Academy Holiday Ball) andDeb & I were shakingour ”groove thing”…or we did what the judges said Kim Kardashincouldn’t do on “Dancing with the Stars”…all in good cheer! Mahalo Christos Kalesperides, Cody & Caleigh Barlow for your photo & videography skills!
Tomorrow I will start with my kids/teen classes at 12 noon @ KCC Aquatics Building and will also mark the openingof Private Image Dance Studio’s Saturday Nights Dancing at the MACC! Only $5 - includes 6 pm dance class (this week salsa) and7 - 10 pm open dancing to the latin sounds of Neto Peraza & Barbara Singer and Ballroom DJ mix! It’s goingto be a memorable night! 100% of proceeds go to charities duringthe month of December (this week: Homeless Resource Center)!
12/4/08 – THURSDAY
TWO DAYS until OPENING NIGHT for PRIVATE IMAGE DANCE STUDIO at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center!
6 pm – I’ll teach a Salsa lesson; 7 pm – Ballroom DJ Mix alternating with the LIVE LATIN SOUNDS of class=”mceItemHidden”> NETO PERAZA & BARBARA SINGER until 10 pm! ONLY $5 p.p. for the entire evening!
100% of proceeds will be donated to the Homeless Resource Center on 12/6/08.
PRIVATE IMAGE DANCE STUDIO SATURDAY DANCE NIGHTS continues throughout the month of December (excluding12/13 – Academy Holiday Ball – formal) with different dance lessons (12/20 – Cha-Cha; 12/27 – Waltz) and different charities featured (12/20 – Women Helping Women; 12/27 – Maui Hospice). January dance classes will feature HUSTLE!
I’m excited to bring this dance option to the community on Saturday nights! 2009 is going to be a dance-expanding experience on Maui and the dancers benefit all the way around!
Tonight I had a dress rehearsal on the West Side for a Holiday performance at the Westin; afterwards, I stopped in to hear the amazing latin sounds of Neto & Barbara @ Lulu’s anddanced with some of my favorite guys…Israel, Jose, Franz and a few others! Ladies, there were a LOT of men there tonight.
Friday night I will perform a holiday cha-cha with Deb Converse and Juan & Cindy Dawson will delight the audience with an energetic east coast swing (repeat performances at the Holiday Ball NEXT weekend). Dancers spreading joy throughout the island – Happy Dancing & Happy Holidays!
12/3/08 – WEDNESDAY
Only a few more classes before the year’s end and my Academy classes are goingstrong! Next weekend is the Holiday formal Ball and everyone’s practicingtheir dance steps in preparation. Tonight’s East Coast Swing class really looked great and we added a 3-step amalgamation: Closed Tuck Turn, Shoulder Turns, Open Tuck Turn! The Foxtrot Intermediate class worked on the Slip Pivot andtonight added a new step: RunningBasic (with passing feet). Private Image will host Silver level steps in 2009 on Saturdays (tba), so the new skills learned in the continuity steps andoutside partnering will come in handy!
Tonight was also the last night for discounted tickets to the Holiday Ball on December 12th at the “Monroe House” @ King Kamehameha Golf Course! Tickets still available next week at the Academy, as well as Topaz Jewelers!
Students not attending havestarted to bring in gifts for the 10 -17 year old children of the Wailuku & Lahaina Homeless Resource Centers (a tradition we have done for 6 years now to help the children of Maui havegifts duringthe holiday season!) Attendees to the Ball are encouraged to bring wrapped gifts (labeled for gender and age range) to the Holiday Ball!
We also are hosting a silent auction at the event and tonight we received more items for the auction: 1 year membership to PowerHouse Gym, jewelry, spa & massage treatments, ceramic/metal/painting artwork, golf course certificates, Mercedes-Benz golf tournament passes, perfume baskets, Bed-n-Breakfast accomodations, pedicures & hair salon certificates, personal trainingsessions, automotive services, and more! The first $500 collected from the auction goes directly to the Homeless Resource Center and the balance will go the Aloha Fund for charitable causes on Maui (tba).
11/29/08 – SATURDAY
New series of Kids & Teen dance classes kicks off! Cha-chathis week withSamba next week! Let’s keep moving those hips! Of course, just like the adult classes, we are looking for more boys to join the growing numbers of girls! Let’s get the word out to the boys at a young age…DANCE is where the girls are at!
11/27/08 – THURSDAY – HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!
I don’t know about you, but my Thanksgiving was plentiful and I’d like to thank my Hostess Lynann Nicely for the amazing “Martha-Stewart-like” sunset soiree under the stars, glowing by candlelight and a feast for the eyes, as well as the palate!
And then, it hit me…HOW am I going to work this all off? Easy solution: dancing salsa, swing and more to the live latin sounds of Neto & Barbara Peraza at Lulu’s Latin Night in Kihei! Different group of dancers, but a fabulous evening! Mahalo to my dance partners: Zach from Seattle, Terry, Franz, Brian, Jose and a few other late-night salsa dancers!
11/26/08 – WEDNESDAY – NEW OPPORTUNITY for DANCERS on MAUI!
Thanksgiving Eve @ the Academy! Great attendance (I guess everyone’s already got their Thanksgiving dinner planned)! We reviewed steps and worked on technique and danced, danced, danced!
FREE Kids & Teen Dance Classes held at the Kihei Aquatic Center Building (at KCC) this afternoon! What fun it was dancingEast Coast Swing with the younger generation (ages 8 – 18 year olds from 3’5″ – 5’9″) – we covered 7 steps in one hour! They are such fast learners! The regularly schedule Kids & Teen classes will be offered every Saturday from 12 – 1 pm covering a different dance each week!
11/20/08 – THURSDAY
Salsa night at Lulu’s Kihei with Neto & Barbara Peraza’s live latinsounds! A magical night for me with2 of my favorite dancers to play with! My salsa performance partner Noe is headingback to the mainland, but stopped in for a few dances & sayinghello to friends! I was lucky enough to be in his arms for some fast & exciting salsas & a steamy bachata - mmmm - mucho gracias Noe! Keeping an eye on the dance floor at all times (this is my night out to just cut loose!), I got some dips, kicks, lifts andsurprise moves in withJason (a performance partner also) during our salsa & bachata dances! Jason’s ability to constantly mix it up and create new steps, lifts (anddrops) on the dance floor is amazing! Great to be in your arms again Jason! Mahalo to my other special dance partners: Daniel (merengue) & Franz (Swing & Cha-cha)!
11/19/08 – WEDNESDAY
After the Academy classes tonight, I droveto the west side to check out Neto & Barbara’s openingnight for Salsa dancing at Lahaina’s Lulu’s! Beautiful place andbig dance floor (smooth cement) – great sound system and more trendy decor (witha surfboard theme flair). The salsa music plays from 9 pm – 12 midnight withcontemporary sounds from a DJ duringbreaks. I won’t be there every Wednesday, but I’ll definitely be hitting their dance floor from time to time!
11/15/08 – SATURDAY
Saturday classes for the Kids, Teens and Adults continued today from 12 – 5 pm and then the Academy hosted its “Most Valuable Volunteer Party” – by invitation only! About 40 dancers joined us tonight at a special dance party held in their honor – for their volunteer services to the Academy! The dancers were volunteers from the 2nd and 3rd dance quarters of 2008 and we danced for 3 hours, socialized, ate light pupus & desserts (thank you Lynann for the special surprise dessert treat!). Tonight I danced with every man and woman at the event (sans 1 lady who was quite popular tonight!) Welcome back Julie Claire, Corporate Director, from Argentina! What great fun! Mahalo to all my dance partners, but especially to the Officers of the Academy who hosted this event and gave of their time to host a party to celebrate the Academy’s volunteers! The warm aloha on the dance floor tonight was stellar!
11/13/08 – THURSDAY
HOT Night at Lulu’s! Despite the last few months having a lot of “on” and “off” nights insofar as the dance crowd, tonight was a packed dance floor with some awesome dancing! We celebrated birthdays and welcomed NOE home (my most recent salsa dance performance partner – see the third pic above) for a quick Maui visit! I had to “wait in line” with the other girls, but I got a chance to dance a few cha-chas, salsas and an awesome bachata with Noe! MAHALO Noe! I also got to have some impressive and fast turning/spinning dances with Israel – you’re amazing! Then there were my dances with Steve, Stephen, Brian, Andreas, Ron; swing with Franz and an Argentine Tango with Lee! Mahalo to all my guys for making it a fun evening out on the dance floor! JC& Bethany of Elise Clothing Company (Kahului) also came out to enjoy after-dinner drinks and watch the dancers!
Don’t forget SALSA lessons on Saturdays from 3 – 5 pm (beginner classes followed by intermediate/advance classes)! Kids & Teens classes from 12 – 2 pm; Adult Latin class at 2 pm! See you at the classes and don’t forget to save me a dance!
There was a lot of talk about the Academy’s Silent Auction which is happening at the upcoming Holiday Ball on December 13th at the “Marilyn Monroe” house at the King Kamehameha Golf Course! I’m excited about the donations from local businesses including Elise Clothing Company, Power House Gym, jewelry stores, golf courses, art galleries, personal services (massage, hair, nails, etc.) and more! MAHALO Maui for your support of my dance vision for Maui!
11/12/08 – WEDNESDAY
The Academy classes are keeping a steady attendance and we’re at the half-way point in our dance course! Tonight, I instructed the Men’s and Ladie’s Wrap Turns in Beginner East Coast Swing, and introduced the “windmill” step as well. Soft bounce in the knees, toned, but loose hand-to-hand connection and stable arm connections!
The Intermediate Foxtrot class continued to work on the Grapevine with Underarm Turn, the Promenade Pivot and the newest variation: Promenade Pivot with Underarm Turn. Maintain the Frame and chin up…looking good!
Tonight, we had a special guest vendor: Nancy of “Pawsitively Purrfect” selling her handmade jewelry at all price points! Nancy typically gives 100% of her profits to the Humane Society, but tonight, she was splitting 50/50 profit between the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy and the Humane Society — MAHALO for your generosity, Nancy!
There were acrylic and glass bead items, cubic zicronium, sterling silver, and even gold! Bracelets, anklets, necklaces, earrings, finger and toe rings and more! A beautiful and impressive array of beautiful accessories from $4 and up! I purchased four beautiful sparkly bracelets (at $4 a piece — what a deal!) and two earrings — all “purrfect” for special nights of dancing! Thank you Nancy for sharing your craft and contributing to the Academy’s “Aloha Fund” – for charitable causes!
Nancy is also going to donate a piece of her hand-crafted jewelry to the Academy’s Holiday Ball SILENT AUCTION!
11/8/08 – SATURDAY
Group classes are held at the Kihei Community Center’s Aquatic Building, next to the pool. Today’s classes included Kids Swing, Teens Swing, Adult Latin – Cha-cha, Beginner Salsa & Intermediate Salsa. Students get an opportunity for a lot of one-on-one with me as the classes are smaller (almost semi-private lessons) and more focused on the partnerships and leading/followingskills! Next Saturday is the last weekend of the 4 week course! New classes begin the following weekend for the adults and Private Image will offer FREE Kids & Teen classes for the first two hours on November 22nd!
11/5/08 – WEDNESDAY
It’s great to be teaching class again after our fun eveningof dancing at the Halloween party last week! I continued to teach technique (nearest and dearest to my heart) and hope that I can impart the knowledge students need to make dancing easier and more fun!
Tonight we worked on cuddles & hammerlocks in the Beginner East Coast Swing and the Intermediate Foxtrot introduced a pivot (with the second version including the ladies’ underarm turn)! The class is coming along well and I am always most proud of the new students who are “hanging in there” after 6 weeks (and a party in-between, too)!
New Officers are being sought for the 2009 Kihei Chapter and with such amazing volunteers and hard-working helpers, we are looking for a few good men and women who can make a commitment to help shape the future of the Aloha Ballroom Dance Academy!
11/03/08 – TUESDAY
I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world whose work is their passion: dancing and teaching! After a bout with laryngitis last week and plenty of bed rest, I’m back teaching my private lessons to singles and couples! It’s such a rewarding day; hour by hour my “job” is to help the students find their own expression of music through partnership dancing…and to make them feel a sense of accomplishment and leave their lesson happy – eager to dance! I’m blessed with amazing students who range from social dancers to club dancers, from group class students to competition-geared dancers, from performance dancers to wedding couples! Kids/teens – boys & girls; adults – men & women, singles & couples! My youngest student is 8 years old, I’m coaching a teen dance couple for performance dancing and my oldest competitive student is 81 years old and placing first in his age category at silver level! I can’t think of a better life-long activity that brings people together in a positive, healthy way! Aloha…and Happy Dancing!
10/29/08 – WEDNESDAY
PHOTOS to be posted at www.alohaballroom.com
Tonight was the Academy’s Annual Halloween Costume Party & Potluck dinner at the Kihei Community Center! Dancers entered the 8,000 square foot facility which was cleverly decorated by the Academy’s VP & Assistant VP of Themed Parties, Lynette Zakabi & Rosie Alexander and their volunteers! They also transformed the stage area into a photo opportunity and student, Daniel Kruse was kind enough to volunteer to take photos at tonight’s event! Keeping us safe on the dance floor was VP of Facilities, Juan Dawson and his team of volunteers (and a special MAHALO to those who stood late and helped clean the facility)! The front desk was under the direction of the Academy’s Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, Cindy Dawson and Sally Goodness and their staff of volunteers! Checking in guests were President Julie Katz & VP of Volunteers Keoki Sousa. MAHALO MAHALO ”>Keoki for also doing the Hawaiian-Halloween blessing at tonight’s event! MAHALO to all of the volunteers who helped make the Dance Party a success!
Throughout the evening, guests (Kama’aina& visitors) were treated to live latin music by Neto & Barbara Peraza and I DJ-d the smooth mixes in-between! Neto & Barbara are so energetic and excited to play for the Maui dancers! They themselves met at a dance venue years ago! MAHALO to Neto & Barbara for their energy and awesome salsa, rumba, cha-cha & merengue music which electrified the room! Special thanks to my dance partners this evening: Larry, Brian, Terry, Daniel, Richard, Mike, Fernando, Jack, Julie Claire, Sunya, and Cindy!
Another party, another costume: tonight I went as Goth/Punk Girl, donned in black (leather, lace, chain, fishnets and boots) from (braided & spiked) head to toe! A little internet-research and I captured the Goth fashion concept. Definitely outta character for me and outta this world fun with all the other Trick-or-Treaters on the dance floor!
There were dancers as felines with ears, paws & tails; pirates & wenches; jailbirds; vampires; cavemen and cavewomen; spooky and kooky characters; sheriffs & cowgirls; fairies, angels and devils; Fred (Flinstone) and the “King & Queen” Neto & Barbara!
Every guest had two opportunities to cast a ballot for their favorite costumes. The Officers tallied up the ballots (no shads, no computer glitches in our election)! Our costume contest’s three top winners:
1st – Rey & Perfecta Ramos as a priest & nun at a funeral procession (with a body in a coffin, too);
2nd – Theresa Johnson who wore a hand-made “wedding gown” made of plastic shopping bags and balloons which cost $1.99 total (quite creative);
3rd place to Jack Condy(95 years old) the Tin Man – kudos to his daughter Colleen on an amazing costume)!
Each winner received a gift certificate for a private dance lesson at Private Image Dance Studio! Congratulations and MAHALO to all the guests who came in costume!
The potluck selection tonight was vast and varied! We also did a Foxtrot Mixer tonight which was enjoyed by all! From 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm we danced in character sharing smiles, underarm turns and even some dips! HAPPY HALLOWEEN! BOO!
Tonight I went to the HBDA Halloween Dance Party in Wailuku! It’s such a pleasure to see so many of the students I have instructed over the years enjoy their dancing in a fun, social setting! Jeff & Lydia Dela Cruz, Dance Directors of HBDA Central Maui also host such wonderful events! I was happy to offer a gift certificate for a private lesson as one of their Costume Contest prizes; first place went to Rey & Perfecta Ramos, students at both organizations! Congratulations! I went as a 1960s go-go girl and there were plenty of other “hippies” in attendance as well as ghosts, ghouls, goblins, fairies, flappers and even a tin man!
10/23/08 – THURSDAY
Salsa Dancing at Lulu’s, Kihei with Neto Peraza& Barbara Singer! I really missed the energy of their livemusic on Maui for a few weeks – almost a month- due to mainland visits every other weekend and then the Hawaii Star Ball national competition (Oahu) the first week of October! While travelling, I did some salsa dancing in Los Angeles & Santa Cruz, CA (awesome dancers there, too) andof course, LOTS of dancing in Oahu at the competition!
I was most proud of my 7 students who danced Pro-Am (with me) and as Am-Am couples as they brought home 27 GOLD medals and 3 SILVER medals to Maui! Congratulations to Leslie Grimes & Julie Katz, Ron Rinaldi & Lynette Zakabi, Jack Berberich & Deb Converse and Yukiko McClure (my only female student dancing Pro-Am with me!) MAHALO to Brian for taking photos for Private Image Dance Studio at the competition!
Meanwhile, tonight I got to do salsa and bachata with some of my favorite dancers at Lulu’s — Israel, Stephen, Jason & even Franz & I did an awesome lindy/jive! Great music, great dancing and great energy! It’s wonderful to be home!