Thursday, March 26, 2015

Floocraft: A Lost Art by Anthony Hurley

I have recently returned from adjudicating at the Shenzhen China Open and the WDC World Cup, a fantastic event attracting 2000 competitors from China and great support from overseas couples — many of them featuring in the recent Blackpool finals.

However, apart from the elite amateurs and professional couples present, the floor craft from the majority was quite frightening considering they were blessed with a large floor.
It is quite obvious to me that fixed routines with couples placing their choreography in exactly the same place every round, the complex selection of figures, plus an attitude by the competitors that the adjudicators expect everyone to be moving at maximum speed and circumnavigating the floor as many times as possible are I believe to be the main reasons for bad collisions and the lack of respect to ones fellow competitors not to mention the poor adjudicators standing on the perimeter of the floor.
Furthermore I wonder if the coaches are approaching the subject in lessons. Surely it is part of sensible coaching to point out to the students how important this aspect of competitive dancing is. Personally I always tried to include and impress on couples the importance of a sound knowledge of the basic and standard figures in each dance so that they could be attractively included to change direction and seek alternative space to continue ones chosen and rehearsed choreography. It certainly does not help the performance of a couple or their immediate rivals if they keep colliding on the floor, sometimes with considerable force. The adjudicators are more impressed to see first class floor craft when accessing a couples competitive performance. This is a quality that must be addressed before someone is badly hurt.

Therefore what are the essential ingredients for creating good floorcraft?

Essential Ingredients1) Good eyesight.
2) A reasonable knowledge of the basic and standard figures.
3) A good weight connection enabling the lady to react to your directional preferences, this maybe a sudden change of direction or perhaps a hover action to avoid the possible collision. Danced correctly will not detract from a fine performance or musicality.
4) The art of hesitation. To hesitate when avoiding another couple, use these moments to listen to the music before you set off in your new direction. Perfect these attributes and you will naturally commence in phrase with the music.
5) The ability to anticipate other couples direction of movement on the floor and to find alternative space in which to continue with the next desired figure.
6) Understand what is meant by the term line of dance. L.O.D is an imaginary line with the wall always on the man s right side. Generally we should travel in an anticlockwise direction although there are some acceptable exceptions.
7) The qualities listed above should be uppermost in ones mind even when practicing at your local school or club, even in lessons when other teachers and couples are sharing the floor.
Perhaps todays competitors are at a disadvantage in that they do not have the opportunity of practicing in public dance halls where social and competitive dancers shared the floor and usually enjoying music provided by one or two live orchestras. These conditions certainly made one aware of the importance of being polite on the floor.
I would love to think that todays younger coaches take on board the above as a priority in their teaching methods. For sure you will produce a better class of competitor if you do.
One last thought: when Fay and I were amateurs and practicing at my parents studio, my father used to slide chairs at us so we could develop the art of floor craft. Believe me it was worth the effort.
Anthony Hurley

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

 2015 New Dance Classes – Geoffrey Fells
Starting Tuesday January 13th
Tuesday Morning “Ladies Only” Class
International Slow Foxtrot

At the Sugino Dance Academy Studio, 404 Ward Avenue, 2nd Floor.
The studio is the “red” building on the corner of Halekauwila Street and Ward Avenue.
Free parking is at the back of the building - enter from Halekauwila St
 A 5-week session will begin Tuesday morning January 13th
10:00 am to 11:00 am

$10 per 1-hour class

Tuesday Evening “Couples/Singles” Class
International Rumba and Quickstep

At the Dream to Dance Studio, 1070 North King Street, 2nd Floor
The studio is above the new Palama Supermarket. Plenty of free parking

A 5-week session will begin Tuesday Evening January 13th
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

6:30 pm to 7:25 pm Basic Techniques/Groups in International Rumba

7:30 pm to 8:25 pm Basic Techniques/Groups in International Quickstep

Per Class per hour $10 single or $18 couple (leader and follower)
2 Classes per night $15 single or $25 couple (leader and follower)

Mr. Geoffrey Fells will teach these two classes.
Geoffrey is the only Highly Commended Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in Ballroom and Latin American Dance in the State of Hawai’i.

Further information call - (808) 371-8042 or email

Friday, August 15, 2014

New Class Sessions - Geoffrey Fells

I am still teaching my private lessons and classes at:

The Sugino Dance Academy (owner Akiyoshi Sugino) 404 Ward Avenue.
Dream to Dance Studio (owner Debbie Borges) 1070 N. King Street.
Dance Appeal Studio (owner Sergio and Renna Villanueva) in Waipahu.

All three of the above studios are beautifully appointed, air conditioned, wooden floor, excellent sound system, and lots of free parking.
A new Tuesday Ladies only Class starts Tuesday, August 26th from 10 am to 11 am
The Sugino Dance Academy, 404 Ward Avenue, 2nd Floor
The dance is International Waltz and the cost is $10 per 1 hour class.

An evening class for couples and singles will be starting on Tuesday evening August 26th
Dream to Dance Studio, 1070 North King Street 2nd Floor (above the new Palama Supermarket)

6:30 pm – 7:25 pm  International Samba
7:30 pm – 8:25 pm  International Tango

Per Class per hour $10 single or $18 couple (leader and follower)
2 Classes per night $15 single or $25 couple (leader and follower)

 All Private Lessons are by appointment only and on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Any questions or concerns call Geoffrey Fells for further information (808) 371 8042

Dancing on Oahu, Hawaii

Several local (Hawai‘i) dancers have asked me why certain studios and/or Professionals and teachers were omitted from the blog on "Where to Learn - Where to Dance".
The answer is that I had received a request not to post any information. An email I  received quoted: -
“I appreciate your offer but no need. Do not worry about posting anything about Cupola, showcase or any other information about our studio on the blog, we will take care of it ourselves”.
I do not hold any grudges against any Dance Studio, Dance Club, Professional or Teacher. I might not always agree with them but I do not hold grudges. If anyone would like to have me post information about their Studio, Club, Showcase, Classes, Special Events, etc. I will gladly accommodate them.
For me the most important thing is to get as much information on ballroom dancing out to the public as possible.
Geoffrey Fells

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dancing on Oahu, Hawai‘i



 Al Franz Dance Studio – Albert Franz
419 South St, Suite140
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 599-5335
International Style Ballroom and Latin
Private and Group Lessons
Mr. Franz is a former North American Professional 10-dance Champion

Arthur Murray Dance Center
1221 Kapiolani Blvd, #400
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 944-0606
American Style and International Style
Social Programs, Wedding Programs, Competitive Programs and Kids Programs.

Arthur Murray Dance Center
776 Kailua Rd, #202
Kailua, HI 96734
(808) 263-2623
American Style and International Style
Social Programs, Wedding Programs, Competitive Programs and Kids Programs.

Dance Appeal Studio – Sergio and Renna Villanueva
Located in Waipahu away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu.
Private and Group Lessons in Social Dancing and American Smooth and Rhythm
(808) 284-3619 or (808) 291-3619

Dream To Dance Studio – Debby Borges-Barbosa
1070 N. King St, #202 and 204
Above Palama Supermarket
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 372-5574
Private and Group Lessons in Social and Exhibition dancing
Mambo, Salsa, Merengue, Cha Cha, Hustle, Waltz, Foxtrot, Swing, Rumba, Samba, Tango, Bolero, Night Club & more….

The Sugino Dance Academy  - Akiyoshi Sugino
404 Ward Ave, 2nd Floor
Honolulu, HI 96814
International Style Ballroom and Latin
(808) 591-9877
Private Lessons and Classes
Practice dances with a mini class lesson every Saturday evening.

(In addition to the above Professional Studios and Teachers there are Professional dance teachers that teach at various locations such as the Dance Studios listed above)

Christopher Bayot
American and International Style Private Lessons
Usually teaches at the Sugino Dance Academy (see ‘Studios’ above)
(808) 387-6575

Charlie Castro (Salsa No Ka Oi)
Salsa and Bachata Rueda classes
Teaches at Dream to Dance Studio (see ‘Studios’ above)
9th Anniversary Bachata Workshop August 22 – 25, 2014
(808) 779-7970

Geoffrey Fells
International Style Ballroom and Latin
Private Lessons and Classes at Sugino Dance Academy, Dream To Dance, Dance Appeal Studio (see ‘Studios’ above)
Dual Fellowship qualifications with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
Complete training for the Beginner, Social Dancer, Competitor, Amateur and Professional.
(808) 371-8042

Greg “The Salsaman” Henry
Salsa and Latin Dance Classes 7 days a week at various locations
(808) 256-7556 for directions

Douglas Kesler
American Style Smooth and Rhythm
Teaches at Dream To Dance Studio (see ‘Studios’ above)
American Style Smooth and Rhythm. Social, Exhibition and Competitive
Organizer of an Annual Showcase at Pacific Beach Hotel, Friday, October 24, 2014 with a Fabulous Buffet, Dance Exhibitions, Door Prizes and Open Dancing.
(808) 436-3435

Linda Melodia
Salsa, Bachata, Mambo, Merengue
Classes and Salsa dances at Dream To Dance Studio and The Honolulu Club, 932 Ward Ave, 7th Floor
(808) 295-7481

Kyle Quintal
Bachata (Latin Dance) Classes
Dream To Dance Studio (see  ‘Studios’ above)
Sundays 3:00-4:00 pm and 4:30-5:30 pm
(808) 255-3033

Kelly Siu
Classes at Dream To Dance Studio (see ‘Studios’ above) Tuesdays 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Also holds classes at YMCA Atkinson and Nuuanu on Monday, Thursday & Saturday

Greg Underwood
West Coast Swing, Hustle, East Coast Swing

(There are many local dance clubs on Oahu. They run dances and classes usually at the Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse (aka The Palladium) as well as School Cafeteria’s. The instructors are not qualified but they do provide an inexpensive program for social dancers)

Aiea Dance Club
President: Deanie Bates
(808) 282-8430

Dance Magic 808
Contact: Richard and Lynn Nakamura
(808) 372-2256

Friends of Ala Wai Ballroom Dance Academy
Contact: Michael Yap
(808) 286-0328

Hawai‘i Ballroom Dance Association (HBDA)
President: Shirley Ota
(808) 753-8673
This dance club has over 15 locations on Oahu

Hawai‘i Gardenia Circle
Contact: Gayle Kawahakui
(808) 223-8052

Ilima Dance Club
President: Diane Wong
(808) 595 3134

International Ballroom Dance Inc.
President: Marsha Ninomiya

Pan Pacific Dance Club
President: Rudy Luat
Contact: Ed Felix (808) 478 5803

Swing Dance Club Hawai‘i

USADance – Honolulu Chapter
President: Glenn Okazaki
(808) 428-1704 or (808) 225-0915


The most popular place for dancing is the Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse, 2nd floor (aka The Palladium). This venue is very large (and I mean ‘large’) with a wooden floor and air-conditioned. In the evening it is often divided into two large ballrooms to accommodate two of the local dance clubs. There is dancing most weekends on Friday and Saturday for a very small charge.
On a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there is recreational ballroom dancing from 12 noon to 3:00 pm. No membership required and free dancing except on holidays. The City and Council Parks and Recreation Dept sponsor this event.

Saturday evening practice session at the Sugino Dance Academy, 404 Ward Ave. 2nd floor. From 6:00 - 10 pm. The cost is $10 and includes refreshments and a mini class lesson.

The Waikiki Elk’s Lodge at 2933 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815 has music for dancers on some Fridays and Sundays in the month. No cover charge, $3 parking. Full bar and food available for purchase, 2 drink minimum. Non-members can sign in as a guest of the band for admittance. Call Shari at (808) 979-5005 or (808) 395-8055 for which days and time.

 For more information on Ballroom and Latin dancing on Oahu check out the following:

Dance Fever Oahu –
Dance News of the Pacific –
Hawai‘i Star Ball –
Shari Berinobis (808) 979-5005
Geoffrey Fells (808) 371-8042 or Email:
Mary Beth Van Hoogstraten – (808) 734-7222 or Email:

America's Ballroom Challenge


The '37' year tradition returns with an
all new 3-hour prime time series!
The Ohio Star Ball is pleased to announce the return of the long-running PBS hit America’s Ballroom ChallengeThis November, America’s best professional ballroom dancers will take center stage at the Ohio Star Ball in Columbus, and once again Moreno/Lyons Productions will be there to capture it all for PBS. For two days, cameras will roll as world-class couples cha-cha, samba, waltz and tango their way to the top. America’s Ballroom Challenge will take viewers onto the dance floor and behind the scenes as ballroom’s elite go toe-to-toe for the title of “America’s Best.”
Aida Moreno, creator of the show, will return to record the 2014 event as a three-hour series, shot in High Definition at one of the world’s largest ballroom dancing competitions. “It’s very exciting to see real ballroom dance competition returning to mainstream American culture, and we’re thrilled to showcase the very best competitors in this art form,” says Ms. Moreno.
Each of the series’ first two programs will highlight two of the four major styles of competitive ballroom dancing: American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Ballroom and International Latin. The six finalists in each style will first compete as a group, performing the standard dances in their category, with expert judges scoring their performances. Then the dancers will have a real opportunity to shine, with each couple performing a Showdance solo with all eyes on them alone.
In the third and final program of America’s Ballroom Challengethe champions in the four dance styles will compete in a “Best of Show” Grand Finale, with each couple performing a pull-out-all-the-stops solo. Only one will be named “America’s Best.”
“I’m pleased that PBS is continuing the tradition of showcasing America’s best ballroom dancers and that, once again, the Ohio Star Ball will be the site for the recordings,” says event organizer Sam Sodano.
Taped November 21 and 22 at the Ohio Star Ball, America’s Ballroom Challenge will be broadcast on PBS in early 2015. Check your local listings for the exact date and time in your area. For more information and how to order tickets, please visit our web site:

Monday, July 14, 2014

New Studio Grand Opening

Debbie Borges Barbosa invites you to attend the Official Grand Opening Party of her new studio DREAM TO DANCE at 1070 North King Street, 2nd Floor, Honolulu (above the Palama Supermarket).

Monday July 21st from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. There is no charge. There is a parking lot and street parking.

There will be Live Music for dancing featuring the Son Caribe, Friends, Food, Prizes and Lots of Fun.

This beautiful new studio is well appointed, air conditioned, wooden floor, spacious and has a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Come and check it out and see for yourself.

Further information call (808) 372 5574

Saturday Night Dancing at Sugino Dance Academy

The Sugino Dance Academy is proud to announce that it is now hosting a Social Dance every Saturday night at the studio at 404 Ward Avenue, 2nd Floor, Honolulu from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
The first well-attended successful dance was held on July 5, 2014.
Everyone is welcome to join in on an evening of fellowship every Saturday night; socializing, practicing, learning and having some fun.
Admission is open to all and the cost is $10 per person.
Mr. Akiyoshi Sugino will conduct a 30-45 minute group mini-lesson in one of the Latin dances (Rumba, Cha Cha, Samba, or Jive) for all in attendance from approximately 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm at each Saturday night's dance.
A Buffet will be served only on the first Saturday of each month.
On all other Saturdays, light snacks and refreshments will be available and attendees are welcome to bring in their own food and drink items to enjoy during the evening.
The Sugino Dance Studio is large, air conditioned, excellent wooden floor, friendly, with parking facilities in the rear of the building.