Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Matsuri Goodwill Dance

Congratulations to Grace Nohara for organizing this wonderful event at the Pacific Beach Hotel last Friday evening June 19th. The buffet food was delicious (I think the Pacific Beach must be improving their menus). The ambiance was friendly and the general dancing was fun. Much of the dance music was by a visiting Japanese singer and professional dancer, which provided a very different atmosphere, and I think it was appreciated by many of our local dancers.

So, let us get to the evening entertainment and exhibitions. A local dancer who was sitting at my table saw me jotting down some notes on the exhibitions and exclaimed, “please be nice”! So, I will do my best and try to “be nice”. Please understand that my comments are my own personal views of the dancers – you can agree or disagree with them as you choose.

The first item on the program was a special presentation exhibition by the Japanese visitor, singer, and professional Kenichi Okada. He demonstrated an International Rumba and Cha Cha Cha with our local amateur lady Charlotte Bugarin. Both of them had had very little time to practice together and I thought it very brave of Charlotte to agree to dance the two numbers. The Rumba was OK but the Cha Cha Cha was not good. Mr. Okada seemed intent on proving what a good dancer he ‘wasn’t’. I don’t think Charlotte was expecting the advanced and inappropriate choreography he produced – the routine ended unexpectedly soon! Charlotte is an excellent dancer and I congratulate her on “hanging in there”. I am sure she will think twice before doing that again!

The first exhibition was that of Cole Horibe dancing a Paso Doble with Professional Yanna Samkova. This was an excellent presentation by both dancers. Cole was very masculine and dominant and Yanna very Spanish and the choreography appropriate and phrased with the music. In my opinion this exhibition should have closed the evening performances. Well-done Cole. The only comment that I have is that while I found your ponytail to be appropriate, I could not understand the many hair clips?

Next, an International Waltz demonstrated by Ed and Matilda Felix. Their choice of music and choreography was very good. They move well together but I would like to see more use of the feet and ankles to create more Rise and Fall. The characteristic of the Waltz is a pendulum action with a Rise and Fall. Matilda must also watch her footwork.

Sergio and Renna Villanuevo presented their students in a ‘formation’ routine that I found very busy and a little clumsy. I usually enjoy their special interesting presentations, but for me this one was not one of their best. Maybe they are getting to be a little too creative. However I think the audience enjoyed it and it was a welcome break from the Ballroom and Latin exhibitions.

Then we had a Professional Slow Foxtrot performance by Thomas Nakamura and Stephanie Uechi. Having just returned from the Blackpool Dance Festival I think my standards are much higher than normal. As a couple their quality of movement, technique, and footwork is very good. But they are an enigma to me. Both of them are good dancers. But not together! Stephanie is a beautiful dancer very powerful, she moves well with sound technique. Tommy is also an excellent dancer with good movement and timing. It seems at times that Stephanie is overpowering Tommy and Tommy seems to be straining to keep up with her. If he would only relax and take charge I think there would be a vast improvement. The West Coast Swing entry was very good, cute, and interesting but Tommy needs to look up to his audience and show off a little more!

Lucas Jaime has a young new lady student from Hilo (Big Island) and she really has a great deal of potential. Kristin Kunzer danced a Theatrical Latin number that was interesting and appropriate for her. Watch for more work from this young lady of dance.

Last on were Carlos Chang and Yulia Sharipova dancing a Samba. Carlos was wearing “Yulia Zagoruychenko fringe pants” which I did not think complimented his already great movement.. They made him look a little overweight! Miss Sharipova’s dancing is specious, she is a trained dancer and looks great when making lines, her ballet training gives her good discipline and technique but in my opinion, at this time, she is not a good Latin American dancer. She needs to develop a stronger foot, leg, and body action, she needs to connect more with her partner and show more personality and connection and feeling for the various rhythms of Latin dancing. She is young and I think she could. accomplish great heights by studying the basic action of each of the Latin American dances. She does have so much potential. I would like her to find an Amateur partner to progress further.

In all, a wonderful evening of good food, camaraderie, music and dancing. Mahalo to Grace Nohara.

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