Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dancing With The Stars - Week 4

A Teacher's Perspective

By Debra Stroiney

I know, I know, I was wrong last week about who would be voted off. I did not expect such a huge fan base for Steve Wozniak! I am wondering if Denise got voted off because of some of the things Maksim said which were published.

I feel that it is always an interesting week when they have new dances that they can also perform lifts in. It kindof shows you what the instructors focus on when they are coming up with their routines and how they are teaching their students. I find it interesting that more of the men stood there in the Argentine Tango than they did in the Lindy Hop. Usually Argentine Tango would be easier to pick up on. It’s slower, the footwork is not as difficult, and there are many options. I feel all those who danced the Argentine Tango except for Gilles and Lil' Kim were filled with times of standing and a lot of lifts. We all want to see the lifts but it is also important to make sure there is dancing in there too. There was more dancing in the Lindy Hop routines than the Argentine Tango routines.

I knew when I saw Shawn Johnson’s routine that the judges were not going to like it. Mark played to her gymnastics, and I see nothing wrong with this. They created that routine for her fans and the audience. It is probably one of the only dances that they could do this with and it didn't look out of place. They put on a fantastic show, and it was fun to watch. She still danced quite a bit. In fact, Melissa probably did almost as many tricks as Shawn did but the one difference I saw is the tricks flowed better in Melissa's choreography.

Ty Murray is definitely the most improved dancer. This is what you want to see when you are working with a professional who is teaching you to dance.
I cannot believe how rude the judges were to Steve Wozniak. When they said that he stinks, you could see that Karina was also affected by this. I don’t blame her; it is a reflection on her as a teacher if they are negative. In some ways, he just does not have the ability to learn as quickly as the others but Fred Astaire always said that anyone can learn to dance. That is exactly what Steve is doing - he may not be a performer but he is learning to dance. I wonder if the fans can save him again this week.

Something will have to change in the coming weeks or the audience votes are going to be even more important. Now I feel that we have the dancers who are coming out and trying hard but just don’t perform very well. Then we have those who are mediocre, they are doing well but they just don’t have the extra uniqueness that the others seem to have. Now the judges are starting to reflect this in their scores and comments.

I really don’t know if I can pick the two that may be voted off this week. I am thinking that one of them is Holly. Her fan base is not as strong as the two Steves.

New Dance Show to Air in June 2009

The "Biggest Loser" meets "Dancing With The Stars" with the Oxygen channel's new reality-TV show, "Dance Your Ass Off."

Former Dancing With The Stars competitior Marissa Jaret Winokur will host this first-ever dance and weight-loss competition series that combines the best of both reality genres. Contestants will diet and dance to "discover their inner thin." Each week contestants will be judged by their ability to perform a dance routine combined with the weight loss they have achieved for that week. The contestants will be challenged with mastering a variety of dance styles from hip-hop to ballroom and cabaret, and will be partnered with professional dancers who will help each contestant reach their highest dancing potential.

"I am thrilled to be the host of 'Dance Your Ass Off!,'" said Winokur. "I had the time of my life learning how to ballroom dance for 'Dancing with the Stars,' and getting in shape was just an amazing extra bonus. I'm really excited to help others do the same thing. I know what the contestants will go through on so many levels, I am sure we will inspire each other!"

Proclamations of 2008 - Virgina's Ballroom Dance Week

The state of Virigina formerly recognized September 19-28, 2008, as BALLROOM DANCE WEEK, issued by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. The text of the proclamation follows:

WHEREAS, ballroom dancing is an activity that provides many physical and social benefits, promotes creativity and artistic expression, and is enjoyed by many as both a competitive sport and as a pleasurable pastime; and

WHEREAS, ballroom dancing is enjoyed by people of all ages and with one of the largest amateur enrollments in the country, Virginia is a leader in the field of ballroom dancing; and

WHEREAS, USA Dance, Inc. has over 20,000 members nationwide and more than 1,500 members in the Mid-Eastern Chapter, which serves the Virginia, District of Columbia, and Maryland areas; and

WHEREAS, USA Dance, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote ballroom dance as an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds; and

WHEREAS, ballroom dancers in the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the United States will celebrate Ballroom Dance Week from September 19-28, 2008, and will sponsor special events during the week to increase public awareness of the benefits of dancing and provide opportunities for enjoyable ballroom dancing;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Timothy M. Kaine, do hereby recognize September 19-28, 2008, as BALLROOM DANCE WEEK in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Tony Dovolani & Melissa Rycroft!

Tony Dovolani & Melissa Rycroft sign autographs after rehearsal:

"Limping" With The Stars

From people.com:

Before season 8 of Dancing with the Stars kicked off three weeks ago, contestants Jewel and Nancy O’Dell dropped out due to leg injuries. Since then, Steve-O tweaked his back, Steve Wozniak fractured his foot, Gilles Marini has tendonitis in his shoulder and Holly Madison suffered pain in her side. And those are only the ones that have been reported.
Why so many injuries this season compared to previous ones?

“Everyone seems to be competing more aggressively this year, and I think that’s why were having all these injuries,” says DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba.

And while injuries in professional ballroom dancing are “virtually unknown,” says Peter Pover, president of USA Dance Inc., the national governing body for ballroom dancing. But he also notes that celebrity dancers are training in extreme conditions in a short time and for many, this is their first time doing anything like this.

“It shouldn’t surprise Steve Wozniak that he hurts himself trying to do some of the things he’s doing,” he says about the computer whiz, who wears a temporary cast when he’s not whirling across the dancefloor. “He must be in terrific pain.”

As for Wozniak, he says he didn’t realize how serious his injury was until his partner Karina Smirnoff saw his ankle and suggested they go see a doctor.

“For a couple of weeks, everything hurt. So you don’t notice one hurt being different from the other,” Wozniak says. “They all go away, right? Well, one of them didn’t go away.”

Each week, it seems another person is going to get something checked out by a doctor. Broadway performer and funnyman David Alan Grier has avoided injury (so far) the old-fashioned way.

“I try to warm up. I take a hot bath every morning and just stretch, stretch,” he says.

Pover, who has watched the show since it started eight seasons ago, says the level of difficulty continues to rise. “I think anybody who goes into this gets a surprise when they find out what’s expected of them,” he says.

Two-time Dancing champ Cheryl Burke agrees. “People who have never danced before don’t realize dancing is a sport,” says Burke. People are dancing four to six hours a day…Even if you’re in the best shape possible, with dancing you’ve never worked out these parts of your body.”

–Elaine Aradillas, with reporting by Shruti Dhalwala and Monica Rizzo

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dance The Night Away...For A Good Cause

From wptv.com:

Reported by: Paige Kornblue

BOCA RATON, FL -- If you love to watch ballroom dancing or want to learn how to ballroom dance, head to the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Boca Raton tonight. The Fred Astaire Boca Raton team's Dance Showcase will benefit the George Snow Scholarship Fund. The Boca Raton-based George Snow Scholarship Fund provides educational grants to some of South Florida's brightest and most deserving young scholars. The scholarships are designed to bridge the gap between other financial aid and what the scholar and their families can afford.

Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Boca Raton will once again be supporting the George Snow Scholarship Fund for Boca’s Ballroom Battle.

The second annual Boca's Ballroom event transforms community leaders into ballroom dancers and is scheduled to take place on August 27, 2009.

The Dance Showcase starts at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 28, 2009. The Fred Astaire studio is located in Royal Palm Plaza.

Admission is $15.00.

The dancers will open the floor to general dancing following the event.
Call 561-391-8591 for Dance Showcase information.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

After school, Bruner students ballroom dancing

From nwfdailynews.com (Fort Walton Beach, Florida):

By Robbyn Brooks

Bruner Middle School teacher Beth Anderson walked behind a line of dancers, tugging baggy pants up. Baggy pants just aren't proper ballroom dancing attire.

Despite the tennis shoes and faded blue jeans, about 40 students are learning proper dance techniques in a voluntary after-school program. The classes began March 3, and already the kids have learned aspects of the tango, cha-cha, waltz and rumba. "This is a whole new arena for them to be in," Anderson said. "They wouldn't get to do this otherwise. Many can't do cotillion and they have no way to participate in something so expensive."

But through the special program that Fred Astaire Dance Studio is helping with, the budding dancers are on their way to a Bruner Middle School dance competition in May. The cost to participate in the eight-week session was only $18. The students pick up their new steps in the school cafeteria on Tuesday afternoons.

"I thought it would be fun," said Phillip Thomas, 13, who first came to watch his brother in the class. "I'm a football player and I think it will help with my footwork."

Thomas also said the stigma of men who dance is fading. No one has said anything to him about dancing being "for girls," he said.

Sarah Hunt, a 13-year-old ballet dancer, said she only expected a handful of people to show up."I was surprised, especially with the guys," she said. "Some of them are having a hard time, but they are trying and that is what is important."

Dance instructors Katie and Ronald Gullien make the classes fun with jokes and music and relate well to the kids, Anderson said.

"This has really been beneficial to how the children relate to each other outside of these classes and in their school life," Anderson said. "It's been amazing."

New Bets for Dancing With The Stars

From newsday.com:

Before Season 8 of "Dancing With the Stars" began, we threw out some odds for each star to win the competition. Now that we've got three weeks of visual knowledge of each star's ability (or inability) to dance, it's time to recalculate the odds.

Gilles Marini with Cheryl Burke: European swarthiness can take a man far. Old odds: 7-1. New odds: 3-2.

Melissa Rycroft with Tony Dovolani: The dumped truck dropped her at the "DWTS" doorstep a broken woman. She steps into one of those ballroom gowns and looks like she's the pro dancer, not the celeb. Old odds: 10-1. New odds: 3-1.

Shawn Johnson with Mark Ballas: She's young, which means all her friends know how to use computers and text messaging to jack up the votes, which count for 50 percent of the total score. Plus, she's pretty darn good. Old odds: 16-1. New odds: 6-1.

Lil' Kim with Derek Hough: Lil Kim, the Queen Bee, so you best take heed, shall I proceed? Yes, indeed. Old odds: 18-1. New odds: 8-1.

Chuck Wicks with Julianne Hough: He's good, she's hot, but they'll need a boost from the country music world to get past those ahead of them of this list. Old odds: 4-1. New odds: 8-1.

David Alan Grier with Kym Johnson: Even with all 250 members of the Wayans family voting for the former "In Living Color" cast member, it won't be enough to get over the hump. Old odds: 10-1. New odds: 15-1.

Lawrence Taylor with Edyta Sliwinska: LT can shake it, which is not surprising. But barring injuries to everyone above him, there's no chance he can win. Old odds: 22-1. New odds: 22-1.

Holly Madison with Dmitry Chaplin: Another latecomer to the field, and all that sympathy is now gone. She's got the backing of 50 years worth of Playmates and Mansion partygoers, but that won't do the trick. Old odds: 7-1. New odds: 25-1.

Ty Murray with Chelsie Hightower: Probably the best at the pre-dance interviews with his dry humor, but Murray just can't win, even if he looked smoother when his professional partner fell. Old odds: 6-1. New odds: 30-1.

Steve-O with Lacey Schwimmer: While it's fun to see Steve-O dressed in real clothing, that's about the extent of it. Old odds: 9-1. New odds: 30-1.

Steve Wozniak with Karina Smirnoff: The dude did the worm! It's intriguing how the worst celeb dancer ever, a guy who practically invented computers, is still on a show that counts viewers' votes as 50 percent of the score. Hmmmm. Did we mention the dude did the worm?!? Old odds: 100-1. New odds: 150-1.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dancing With The Stars - Week 3

A Teacher's Perspective

By Debra Stroiney, Former Fred Astaire Dance Studio instructor and currently taking care of franchise business at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio Corporate Office

I found this comment in an article I read this weekend:

Maksim Chmerkovskiy fueled a mini DWTS feud earlier this season when he told TV Guide that "it's very unfair" that Rycroft, 25, is competing because "she was a cheerleader and did ballet."

I don’t think there is any basis for this comment. Here is the list of former contestants whom we KNOW had previous dance experience before the show: Joey McIntyre, Drew Lachey, Joey Fatone, Mel B, Kristi Yamaguchi, Lance Bass, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Sabrina Bryan, and Willa Ford. All of these individuals have been on stage dancing while singing or have used dance as training for something else. There may be others who were on the show that had dance training as a part of a performing arts degree or some other professional training. This previous dance experience does not always translate into being successful at ballroom dancing. It does help but it does not give someone an unfair advantage. There are individuals who were trained in some type of dancing and also have a natural talent for learning physical movements and patterns. I believe this is what Melissa has, as well as Gilles, and of course Shawn Johnson. Melissa is exactly the type of dancer you would want to walk into your dance studio and say: “I would like to audition and apply to be a dance instructor.” I am sure she works very hard at practicing and the only advantage she has is that she is used to learning dance/cheer patterns and an awareness of how to move her body.

I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the Sambas and Foxtrots last night. In previous seasons, I could barely watch these dances because they were making them too hard for students who have been dancing for less than two months. It is almost as if everyone is more comfortable with their partners this season and can create choreography that works for them.

There are definitely three categories of dancers this season. The bad, the good, and the spectacular. Some of those hovering in the middle of the pack really need to do some amazing things to compete with those who come out every week and put on great performances. I was even happy to see that there were a lot of ties in the scores this week. There isn’t anyone who seems to be the judges' “favorite” yet. (They are still being very nice to Denise Richards, maybe because she was the first to dance….)

I have to say I am glad the audience clapped and cheered for Steve Wozniak. I know he is not dancing well but at least he is having a good time out there, he has not much else to offer other than that. I don’t think that he will make it past this week, how can he make up a 10 with audience votes? I am not sure if they are having a dance off again tonight but even that might not help.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Golden Dancers

The Lost Shoe

by Elita Sohmer Clayman

Ethan, Ava, and their parents (my son, daughter-in-law and two youngest grandchildren) came from Northern Virginia to visit us. It was the first time Ethan (3 1/2) and Ava (16 months) came to Grammie and Grandpa’s home. It is a long trip to come here and finally they made it.

Grammie and Grandpa cleaned and dusted and swiffered the whole home to ready themselves for this momentous occasion. They were tired from all the housework but were so eager to have the grandchildren make an appearance in their home.

After Ethan was here for an hour or so, he said, “I like being here.” That warmed Grammie’s heart. He played around, ran around and had fun. Grammie never said the word "do not" or "no" when he touched her little ornaments or china. She had not taken anything away to put out of little children’s hands because Ethan and Ava are well behaved.

There was a little china ornamental blue and white shoe on a table in the entrance foyer. Ethan looked at it and said, “That is a lost shoe.” How perceptive of him thinking it was a real shoe once and now it was misplaced. I got to thinking about the lost shoe and thought "here is a good theme for a dance article." So here goes.

Many times in our lives we may feel ‘lost.’ The meaning lost can be misplaced, missing or even lost in thought. Lost in thought is sometimes what we have happen to us. We think about something too much or not enough and we feel we have lost something. Many of us dancers think about stopping our dancing because it is too expensive, too time consuming and too much thought goes into it. We could possibly not have time for all the necessary thinking dancing entices us to accomplish.

The first night way back in November 1977 that we took our first serious ballroom dance lesson was quite different from what I expected when I thought about it that day before we got to the studio. I speculated that it would be fun, it would be different and it would be interesting. I never realized how much work went into learning new steps, new arm movements, smiling when dancing or even standing up straighter with our posture.

We took a little spiral notebook and after the class, my husband tried to remember to write down some little points we had learned. Then we went to a nice restaurant that we frequented often and were quite proud of ourselves for getting through it and still smiling.

We left the restaurant and went to a record store to buy some dance records so we could practice to dance music before the next week’s lesson. In those days, there were no CDs, no DVDs and no videos. They were ordinary large records and we found a whole section for dance music. We purchased about four of them and the next night we played them and tried to remember what we had learned. Our little Pekingese doggie named appropriately Rhumba hid under the sofa thinking, "What was wrong with these people?"

We were told we should try to purchase suede soled shoes for better and safer dancing. So I had heard about a dance shoe place in Virginia named Amber Dance Shoes. There was no Internet in those days to view the pictures of the shoes. I called the owner and she said she would send me out a brochure to see the types of shoes available.

She did and that was the beginning of me ordering many dance shoes in various colors, heights, comfort styles, etc. from high heeled silver and gold shoes, some with sequins and stones to others with flat and plain heels and leather material. When I wore my high heeled ones I felt like my favorite female dancer known to me then - Ginger Rogers. Even my husband ordered a pair and he would not admit it but I know he felt a bit like Fred Astaire when he wore them.

So Ethan thinking the china ornament was a lost shoe reminded me of our first dance shoes. Sometimes when we take a lesson, we find it hard to comprehend what we learned. We may feel lost and think why I am putting myself through this. For what? Then our sensibilities take over and we realize we are not lost, we are found. We have found something so fantastic that our journey has just begun in this dance life.

Journey it is and the word journey also means voyage and adventure. That it is and more than one can ever fathom. A trip so complex, so wonderful, so awesome and so very delightful. I hear people say that dancing probably saved their sanity and even their physical life.

By that they mean that they were just about to develop some physical ailments, some minor and some more complex, but when they decided to try ballroom dancing, many of the mental symptoms vanished. The reason being because they became occupied with something out of the realm of illness and therefore focused more on positive happenings. They did not concentrate on not feeling well and, therefore, balanced their life with more positive feelings.

All psychologists will vouch for positive thinking being a force so dynamic that it sometimes outweighs negative thoughts and negative happenings. When we are more positive, it is said our health improves. That is not to imply that illness can be cured by positive thinking alone, we still need our professional medical help and sometimes medicines but that positive feelings do override negative views.

Now if you are in a car accident like we were this past year, positive thinking cannot help the ailing knees or back or contusions but it can get you on a faster journey to wellness.

Ballroom dancing, no matter where you perform it, will enhance your life to such high altitudes that you will wonder how you lived without it all these years.

As the years roll by and you excel and advance in ballroom dancing your life will be fuller and richer than you could ever imagine.

I have a home full of ballroom dance objects. If my home was ever written up in a decorating column in the local newspaper, the theme would be dance and more dance.

The walls are decked out with photos of me dancing in showcases, of letters and tributes about dance and professional paintings of dance. My shelves are full of Lladro figurines in lots of dance positions. They are ballet figurines, Tango figurines and couple dance figurines. Anything that shows any kind of dance gets purchased by me. You could say I am obsessively caught up in the circumstance of the movement of feet, arms and soul.

In a former article I spoke of dancing for the meat bones at the local butcher shop when I was a wee little girl. Now I am a senior and dancing is the meat of my life. This meat has no cholesterol, no fat, no grease, and no sugar. It is full of the flavor of creation of movement within in the body and within in the soul. It increases the flow of thought in the brain and helps one to cope with daily adversities and sadness. It increases the desire
of accomplishment in life and as we age we need goals to achieve.

To learn is to get high without drugs, alcohol or spending money on frivolous items. To achieve in a sport or hobby called ballroom dancing at any age is, as Shakespeare said about something else, a ‘gift in thy brain.’

To ballroom dance is an endowment of genius, quality, talent and aptitude. We endorse this with all of our heart and we want everyone who wishes to dance to try it and to savor the responses they will get in their life.

As little Ethan, my number three grandson said, this is a lost shoe, but only if we let it be lost to us. We take that shoe and put it on and dance the days and evenings away and it becomes a gift in thy brain.

New Book Published on Mr. Fred Astaire

Puttin' on the Ritz: Fred Astaire and the Fine Art of Panache

Written by the late biographer Peter Levinson, Puttin' on the Ritz is a comprehensive look at Fred Astaire’s show business career. In his last work, Levinson charts Astaire’s rise from unassuming Nebraskan boy to spectacular success on stage and screen. The diminutive dancer with the thinning hair gave no indication that he would someday become one of America’s finest performers, but he honed his craft tirelessly. The book examines his relationships with his leading ladies (most notably Ginger Rogers) and his contribution to the American songbook through his association with the Gershwins, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. Astaire’s “panache” was heavily influenced by the British aristocracy; he honed his image of elegance as carefully as he did his dance routines.

From the Publishers Weekly Review: "In this exuberant biography of Astaire, Levinson — who has written biographies of Harry James, Nelson Riddle and Tommy Dorsey, and who died last year — traces Astaire's stunningly long and successful career from early vaudeville partnership with sister Adele to the heyday of MGM musicals (and, along the way, highlights Astaire's musical influence in jazz and his tasteful, understated sartorial chic inspired by the duke of Windsor). Hailing from Omaha, Neb., Astaire n Austerlitz (his family the descendants of Austrian Jews), tagged along with his older, more promising sister to dance school in New York City, where the tap-and-step team got their start on the Orpheum Circuit and in Charles Dillingham's revues, before hitting stardom in the 1923 London musical Stop Flirting. When Adele quit to marry an English lord in 1932, Astaire renounced Broadway for the bright new medium of film, and once ensconced in Hollywood, under contract with David O. Selznick at RKO then MGM, he never looked back: from being teamed up rather reluctantly with Ginger Rogers (10 films) to 'finding his muse' in choreographer Hermes Pan and spectacular, short-lived partnerships with legendary leading ladies, Astaire became a national treasure. Levinson takes a chatty, nostalgic look at Astaire's artistic collaborations, his longtime, stable marriage to Phyllis Potter, his shy nature and his underappreciated singing voice."

Champion Dancer Eric Luna Weighs In On Dancing With The Stars Injuries

Fred Astaire professional dancer Eric Luna is a 3-time World Cabaret Champion, 3-time undefeated United States National Cabaret Champion, and 10-time Fred Astaire National Theater Arts Champion, along with his partner Georgia Ambarian. He was recently interviewed about his thoughts on dance training, discipline, and the many injuries on this season of Dancing With The Stars. Listen here.

Salsa in North Carolina!

From localwineevents.com:

Date: Apr 15, 2009 (Wed)
Time: 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Cost: $10.00 cover charge

Place: Chatham Hill Winery- The Triangles Only Urban Winery
3800 Gateway Centre Blvd Ste 310
Cary/Morrisville, NC 27560

They say that the key to learning a new dance is Relaxation. What better way to relax than enjoying your favorite glass of Chatham Hill Wine before learning the hottest steps & spins out there?

Join us as we partner with the Fred Astaire Dance Studio to offer you an evening of fun and dance! Couples and singles welcome.

Prepayment and reservations are preferred, $10.00 for pre-registration and $15.00 at the door. Call 919-380-7135. Wines will be sold by the glass and by the bottle. And also available for purchase are our international cheeses and crackers.

Note: We must have 20 reservations to have this event so please call early.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Dancing Show Premieres Tonight on MTV

Taking The Stage premieres tonight on MTV at 10:00 EST. This one-hour, 10-episode reality musical series follows five students of Cincinnati’s School For Creative And Performing Arts. Each episode will feature songs and dance routines written and choreographed by the cast. In tonight's first episode, we'll meet the five cast members who are buzzing about an upcoming school talent showcase where the students will get to perform in front of judges made-up of music industry professionals including an executive from Jive Records. The five students are:

Jasmine - a prima ballerina who dreams of dancing with the famed Alvin Ailey dance troupe. "I want to be one of the best professional dancers of my generation," she says. Jasmine hopes to attend New York performing arts conservatory Juilliard after graduating from SCPA.

Malik - leads the school's only hip-hop dance group, The Definition. "When I dance," he says, "people notice. I want to inspire." In addition to his formidable dance skills, he is also a talented choreographer and a singer/songwriter.

Shaakira - a dancer and aspiring actress. "I want to be an all-around entertainer. I have really big dreams," she says. "I will do whatever it takes to be famous." Shaakira is an accomplished ballet dancer -- one of the best SCPA has ever produced -- but prefers hip-hop dance and is an integral member of Malik's team.

Mia - a singer-songwriter whose talent is matched only by her drive. "My whole life I've had the same goal, to make music and get a record contract by the time that I'm 18," Mia says. "I know I have what it takes to make it happen."

Tyler - a gifted hip-hop dancer. "Dancing is my world; it just comes out of me," he says. "I am hip-hop dance. Hip-hop dance is me."

Dancing With The Stars Talent Hunter Spills Secrets!

From www.thewrap.com:

When the show began, how did you approach the celebrities you wanted to appear?
This was a tough hurdle, because it's a live ballroom dance show. None of us were sure it was gonna work. Lots of reality shows pit people against each other -- I had to keep telling possible contestants, "It's not gonna be mean-spirited!"

What concerns did the celebrities have?
The concern was that it's not gonna be a hit. No one ever wants to sign on to something until they know who's doing it. Are we going to be showing them in the best light? I think that when Evander Holyfield said yes, he legitimized it.

Now that it’s is a hit, what hurdles do you face?
A lot of agents aren't sure they want their clients seen on a reality show at all -- I have to convince them that this will help their career. I'll talk until I'm blue in the face, but they still think their client is bigger than a reality show. I'll say, “This is better than doing pilot season, because this is your chance for everyone in this town to see you as opposed to going in and reading a script."

Has anyone seen an impact on their career as a result of being on the show?
You can be big in your own little world, but the crossover is amazing. Emmett Smith always says that people outside of football didn't really know his face before he was on the show. Jerry Springer and Joey Fatone have gone on to host shows -- Jerry was getting offers for movies he had never gotten before because people had only seen him in one way. Marie Osmond and her dolls ... they're more of a multi-million-dollar property now. It put these guys back in the spotlight.

So, has your job become easier?
It's easier because they can see what the show's done and how it can help your career. But it's also more difficult because the audience is expecting more. Not only do I have to get bigger names, I have to keep doing something different. We can't have the audience thinking the cast is boring.

Do you now have celebrities approaching you asking to be on the show?
Absolutely. I get hundreds of submissions of people who want to be on. But even if someone who comes to me isn't right for the show, it might spark me to think of someone else in their arena.

Do they get compensated?
They get compensated. But they don't get money when they win. They're just winning a trophy.

Was it difficult to get this year's jilted "Bachelor" contestant Melissa Rycroft to agree to be on the show so last minute?
She was my Cinderella story. I called her and said you have two days to learn the dance. She took a leap of faith, and it was just perfect timing. America loved this girl and (her getting dumped) happened only three days before. Everyone was talking about her already. She had hesitations about many things -- she had a job, she's not in Hollywood, she didn't want to be on a TV show again, can she pack up her stuff and get her dog to her parents quickly enough?

Melissa isn't technically a "star." Do you have a loose definition of celebrity when you're casting?
You try and get people from all over walks of life, and every season there are a couple of people who aren't as big as others. What's great is having the ability to show the audience someone new who they love to meet and make a new hero.

Fred Astaire Dance Studios Now On Twitter!

Fred Astaire Dance Studios Corporate is now on Twitter (www.twitter.com). Follow us today to get the latest ballroom dance news!

Dancing Can Improve Your Relationship

Excerpt from www.yourtango.com:

Most women love to dance. It's kind of a biological imperative. We hear music and we start to move to it. In our dreams, the men in our lives are moving with us. Dinner and dancing is a kind of ultimate fantasy date, but too often we skip the second part.

Things have been looking up for boogie-enthusiasts these past few years thanks to the success of Dancing With The Stars. Seeing macho football players like Jason Taylor, Average Joes like Jerry Springer and billionaires like Mark Cuban adeptly moving around the floor can make men feel liberated to give ballroom dancing a try. The end result can be a heightened sense of electricity between couples.

"If women are not happy, this is when we nag," jokes professional ballroom dance champion Elena Grinenko. "If you make your woman happy then she's relaxed and she's not asking for a lot because she feels very secure." One way to make a woman happy, she argues, is to get her on the dance floor.

"As far as therapy for couples, it's a great thing to do," she says. "Dance teaches us a lot about the relationship between the male and the female." Dancing requires good etiquette and communication, and the body language is unbeatable.

Now in his seventh season on Dancing With The Stars, professional dancer Tony Dovolani spends much of his time between seasons presenting seminars and giving private instruction. Wherever he goes, he sees couples reconnecting through ballroom dancing.

"It's almost like you have a newfound love for each other," Dovolani says. "Discovering new steps together teaches couples to interact with each other. They're looking into each other's eyes, anticipating the next move. It opens up energy channels of feeling and connection. It rejuvenates everything."

Dovolani says learning to dance teaches communication skills and fosters respect. The physical activity is a great stress reliever and the positive feelings about the shared experience makes couples excited to carve out alone time.

Don't let the skimpy costumes on Dancing dissuade you. People of all ages, sizes and shapes can take up ballroom dancing, which encompasses everything from cha cha and salsa to waltz and foxtrot. That's why Dovolani so appreciated being paired with actress Marissa Jaret Winokur in season six. A plus-sized woman who is only 4'11", Winokur said she never felt sexier in her life, and she encouraged all women to embrace the activity.

While not all men have Dovolani's moves, it doesn't mean they can't bring out a similar reaction in their own partners. "In dance, if you make your woman comfortable, she will love you forever," Grinenko says.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dancing With The Stars - Week 2

A Teacher's Perspective

By Debra Stroiney, Former Fred Astaire Dance Studio instructor and currently taking care of franchise business at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio Corporate Office

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today we will have our first elimination from the show. Other than the top 3 scores; it could be anyone….

I cannot believe how many injuries there are on the show this season. I would really like to see all of the footage of the rehearsals over the past month to obtain better insight as to why this is happening. A couple of theories: the stars are not learning the correct way to hold their bodies, use their feet and do tricks. They are not being taught to dance but rather are being thrown into things their bodies are not used to doing. Dancing a performance with adrenaline pumping can lead to injuries if you are not trained or used to dancing aggressively.

There was an improvement in all the dancers this week. We also started seeing who is better at Smooth or Rhythm dancing. Some dancers had a solid performance in both types but there are three contestants who I think will be at the top of the scoreboard for the entire season: Shawn, Melissa and Gilles. Each of these stars has performed very well in smooth and rhythm. The judges’ scores have also reflected it. Now we have to wait to see who the audience votes for. I think these three really have something special, and I hope that it continues through all the dances this season so that there truly is a competition on the dance floor.

Here are the things that will never change on the show and I will never understand why it happens:

  • The judges are hard on the dancers who actually put in a solid performance and did well. Are they trying to motivate them or do they just not like them?

  • Having beginner dancers perform Quick Step in the second week of competition. I will never understand this since it is one of the most difficult dances to learn. To make up for this, the choreography contains patterns that diverge from the traditional way of doing this dance. They also add tricks to improve on what would usually be a mediocre performance.

  • The music. There were some pretty interesting ideas this week as to what Salsa and Quick Step music is.

Ballroom Dancing - Not As Easy As It Looks

From the Chicago Tribune:

By Jeannine Stein

The show [Dancing With The Stars] is about dancing, for heaven's sake. How dangerous can it be? Consider this: Before Season 8's "Dancing With the Stars" debuted last week, two celebrity contestants were already on the injured list and off the program."Access Hollywood" co-anchor Nancy O'Dell suffered a torn meniscus, requiring surgery, and singer Jewel sustained fractures in both tibiae (shinbones). But wait, there's more: In the current cast, actor Gilles Marini reported a left shoulder injury, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has injured his foot, according to an ABC representative, and was recently photographed wearing a removable cast. And ballroom might have gotten the best of Steve-O, survivor of innumerable outrageous "Jackass" stunts. In a statement he released last week, dancing might be responsible for torn muscles causing inflammation and pinched nerves in his back.

They join a growing and almost alarming list of the show's previous celebs-turned-dancers who have been injured during practice, rehearsals or taping: Olympic volleyball player Misty May-Treanor ruptured her Achilles' tendon, actor Christian de la Fuente ruptured his biceps, actress Susan Lucci sprained her ankle and singer Marie Osmond fainted onstage.

As Jewel hobbles on crutches and May-Treanor continues rehab, viewers are left wondering what the heck is going on. Injuries aren't racked up this fast on "Survivor," with its camping and wilderness shtick, or "The Biggest Loser," which looks to be torturing the morbidly obese. This is only ballroom dance, right?

The "only" is the rub. Don't be blinded by the blinged-out costumes. The discipline is far more demanding—both physically and mentally—than most people realize, even for the fittest competitors. Champion dancers make it look effortless, but the audience never sees the years of blood, sweat and training."

A lot of people come into the sport and think it's so easy, that anyone can do this," says Efrosyni Iosiphidis, a Rhode Island-based champion ballroom dancer. "I'm not going to go out on a football field and think I can play football. When I ask people to do it with me, they realize it's much more difficult than they thought. The goal is to make it look easy and fun."

Celebs go from zero to 60 when they begin working out, training several hours a day (often in high heels) for about four weeks leading up to the show, then continue training during it. The regimen is more intense than that for beginners or even pros, putting enormous demands on bodies and psyches (witness Denise Richards' mini-meltdown during a practice session with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy). It's a perfect formula, say health experts, for overuse injuries. One misstep or mind-wandering moment, and pop! There goes that tendon.

Even for those in peak physical shape, practice is arduous, taxing less-used muscle groups and forcing new movement patterns.

"I knew it was going to be hard but not that hard," says May-Treanor, who was at the top of her form and fresh from the Summer Olympics when she started training for Season 7 last fall. "Physically I felt good, but [dancing] lets you know your weaknesses, like body control."

The injuries could almost be expected, says Ken Richards, vice president of DanceSport for USA Dance, which is the national governing body of DanceSport, the competitive version of ballroom dance. Ballroom dancing isn't the same, physically, as running on a treadmill, jumping around during aerobics or even dancing by yourself."

Moving with a partner takes a different kind of coordination, and that may be taking [contestants] into a different comfort level," he says.

The difficulty factor ratchets up when you add dancing in hot, restricting tuxedos or skimpy costumes and elaborate head wear; having stage fright; learning complex choreography; looking graceful; and keeping the beat while smiling. Oh, and those heels: It's one thing to walk in them, quite another to rumba.

Fred Astaire Dance Studios & Pajama Program

From the Fox 29 (Delray Beach, FL)

Bedtime Boogie, this year's annual fundraiser for Pajama Program, Palm Beach County Chapter, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, March 20, 2009 at Old School Square, Vintage Gymnasium in Delray Beach. It will be an exciting evening of great food, and entertainment.

Guests will be charmed by the Keili Kids of FiddleWorks, awed by the ballroom dancing exhibition of Eric & Nataliya, owners of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Delray Beach, and most likely swooning over Elvis. There will be terrific auction items and raffles prizes. Our honorary chairperson is Stephanie Mingo-McKoy, the President and CEO of the Juvenile Transition Center (JTC) in Boynton Beach, Florida. Tickets are $100.

Pajama Program, a 501(c)(3)organization, was founded by Genevieve Piturro in 2001 in New York. After visiting a shelter and realizing that many children slept in their clothes, Genevieve recognized a need to be filled. Last year she was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where the audience donated over 32,000 pairs of pajamas. There are now seventy-four chapters nation-wide and pajamas and books have been sent to children in South Africa, Kenya, Greece, Israel and the Ukraine, to name a few.
The Palm Beach County Chapter of Pajama Program is in its second year and has already provided over 3,500 pairs of new pajamas and new books to children in the county. Many of these children come to shelters with only the clothes they are wearing. Our mission is to provide children in need with a loving and nurturing bedtime environment. We are proud to say we provide new pajamas and new books to twenty-four Receiving Organizations, and are adding new R.O.s on a daily basis.

The community has welcomed us with open arms and our chapter volunteers are happy to support any efforts in fundraising and pajama donations. Private individuals, businesses and organizations have supported us through pajama parties, school or religious organization drives, corporate events, drop -off locations and tax-deductible donations.
The Pajama Program, Palm Beach County Chapter, is happy and proud to serve the children of our county. Please contact Bobbi Rini, Co-President, at 954-234-0385 or Carole Brewster, Event Coordinator, at 561-445-9258 for further information.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dancing With The Stars - Bets Are On!

From Sportsbook.com:

Shawn Johnson (3:2)
Gilles Marini (3:2)
Melissa Rycroft (7:4)
Lil Kim (5:1)
Chuck Wicks (8:1)
David Alan Grier (15:1)
Lawrence Taylor (15:1)
Holly Madison (15:1)
Denise Richards (15:1)
Belinda Carlisle (20:1)
Steve-O (25:1)
Ty Murray (25:1)
Steve Wozniak (100:1)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why I Dance, A Poem

Why I Dance
By Mary Kealey, a student at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Westerville,Ohio

There once was a lady from Chase
Who decided she had too much waist.
Her cruise was in June
Which seemed way too soon.
She certainly had to make haste!

The exercise program she had really wasn’t so bad.
She just needed more to turn heads galore
So started to look just a tad.

She came upon Fred Astaire
And decided she would look there.
So lessons she started,
Went at it whole hearted
And soon started moving with flair.

The activity lessens her stress
Which she will loudly profess.
Her steps she does learn
With every little turn
Amy, happy with her good progress.

Her goals now appear within reach
Both weight loss and knowledge increase
Her program
She’s learning new moves
She hasn’t been that bad to teach.

So the moral of this little ditty
Is even in this mid-west city
You too can have fun
I recommend this one
Do I get points for being witty?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dancing With The Stars

A Teacher's Perspective

By Debra Stroiney, Former Fred Astaire Dance Studio instructor and currently taking care of franchise business at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio Corporate Office

It is another season of Dancing With The Stars, and I think it is going to be a very interesting one. There are a few things that I observed last night I have an opinion on; feel free to share you opinion as well. There is already much talk of Karina’s dress in the chat rooms!

Before the show even started, I felt this season of DWTS was going to be different. When they announced the stars, it was inevitable to wonder if they wanted to add some drama to this season. The cast includes individuals that are controversial and unique. This season includes participants with criminal records, a recovering drug addict, a bullrider, a computer genius, and more recently a Playboy Playmate and a Bachelorette. Not only do we have unique individuals, we also have unique relationships on the show. Originally, Jewel and her husband, Ty Murray, would be competing against each other. There are two professional dancers engaged also competing against each other: Maksim and Karina. Let’s not forget Julianne and Chuck who are dancing together and also dating! This is starting to feel very much like a reality TV show! When the show first started, it was interesting just to watch performers with no dance background, paired with professionals competing and being judged. Now it seems they are pushing for a higher entertainment which could be for many reasons.

I was pleasantly surprised at some of the performances last night and cringed a little at others. I can’t wait to see how well Shawn Johnson does - what fun for her at that age to participate in something like this after having such a great summer at the Olympics. I am also interested in seeing how the relationship between Julianne and Chuck develops over the season. I taught my husband (a non-dancer) how to dance for our wedding. I will say that teaching your significant other to dance is challenging. I am not sure why this is but I felt it, and I know others have as well. In fact, Chuck and Julianne mentioned it on the show. I was watching this part with my husband, and we were laughing at how much they sounded like us while we were choreographing our wedding dance. I do look forward to seeing them more; it’s fun to see a romantic couple relating to each other through a new means of expression such as dance.

The performances were what I expected. There were a couple of things I was a little baffled about. For instance, if you are going to have your partner lift their leg into any type of leg line or kick, why wouldn’t you teach them how to point their toe? I mean perhaps they were taught but it was not reiterated enough for it to stick when dancing through a performance (factoring in the nerves). I also don’t understand why some of the professional males insist on dragging their partners around the floor through moves they are not ready for. You can see it and it makes the star look even more like they have just started ballroom dancing. You are in control of the choreography, play to their strengths and not only will they dance better but any natural performance skills will be portrayed because they are more comfortable.

The last thing that I will never understand is some of the comments I hear from the judges. There were a couple of performances that were good yet the comments were somewhat harsh. David Alan Grier did a very good job but the judges weren’t a fan of his dancing. Then Carrie Ann told Denise Richards she had a lot of potential which I did not see. Does she have potential because she is blonde and skinny? Potential is someone like Melissa Rycroft who came onto the show with 48 hours of preparation and performed a solid waltz. Or Gilles Marini, what a cha-cha!

It's entertainment and this season will definitely be entertaining!

Monday, March 09, 2009

What To Look For On New Season of Dancing With The Stars

From lohud.com:

March 9, 2009

TV host Nancy O'Dell - considered one of the favorites - and pop singer Jewel have dropped out of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." Replacements for at least one of the women could be announced during tonight's ABC premiere.

Both women sustained injuries during training for the show that prevent them from continuing the competition, the network announced. Jewel was diagnosed with a fractured tibia in both legs, while the "Access Hollywood" host will need surgery to repair a torn knee cartilage, the network said.
"Obviously this has caught us a bit by surprise," said executive producer Conrad Green. "The show will go on," Green said. "But really, our thoughts are with Jewel and Nancy. It's such a tough blow for them and just horribly bad luck.

"Usually the drama happens once the show has begun, not before the it starts," he said.

Jewel and O'Dell are still slated to appear tonight. Jewel's husband, rodeo champ Ty Murray, remains a contestant on the program, though he said it's "a huge bummer" that his wife had to withdraw.

"That's a big part of the reason why we did the show," he said. "It was chance for us to work together and go through this together."

O'Dell's departure makes Olympic gold-medalist Shawn Johnson the early-line favorite.

Johnson is a quick study who is picking up ballroom quickly, Green said. She is paired with former champ Mark Ballas, who can do a backflip.

"They'll be pushing the envelope physically," Green said.

New York Giant football legend Lawrence Taylor is having the hardest time.

"I think he was completely thrown by it," Green said. "He hadn't watched the show much. He just thought it'd be fun." Green says the contest is going to be difficult for Taylor, although he has trained more than any other football player at this stage.

Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go's has had an issue getting dizzy during the waltz. "Can she get through the routine without throwing up on live television?" Green asked. "That's a first I'd rather not have."

To fill the Cloris Leachman/oddity role, the show has reality star Steve-O. "He's so crazy. It's a family show, but he's sobered up," Green said. "He wants to prove he can entertain people without being self-destructive." Steve-O also has physical skills after training as a clown.

Funnyman David Alan Grier will perform well and carry the audience along with him, Green predicted.

One couple with sizzle will be Rapper Lil' Kim paired with reigning champ Derek Hough. Green called her funny and upbeat. Their routines? Dynamite, Green said.

Actress Denise Richards asked to be paired with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. "They've got great chemistry," Green said. "I'm hoping she'll really be good. The difficult thing for her has been balance and finesse."

"Sex and the City" actor Gilles Marini is paired with two-time champ Cheryl Burke. "With Cheryl, it will be sheer sexiness," Green said. "Gilles is enormously charming and fun. Every woman who meets him goes red in the face."

Country singer Chuck Wicks will dance with girlfriend Julianne Hough, a two-time champ. Don't think they have an advantage. They didn't start training until after everyone else because Wicks was performing across the country, Green said.

"It's an interesting dynamic to see a couple talking to each other about dance," Green said. "It feels very intimate. It's nice to see that side of Julianne. He's one of the funniest people we've ever had on the show. I don't know how good he'll be as a dancer."

Nancy O'Dell Replaced On Dancing With The Stars

From msnbc.com:

“The Bachelor” reject Melissa Rycroft will rebound on “Dancing With the Stars, " filling the slot vacated by Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell, who had to withdraw from the competition on March 5 due to a knee injury. "According to a source close to the production, the Dallas beauty, who has had only days to rehearse, is expected to perform live on “Dancing’s” Monday premiere."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The New Face on Dancing With The Stars

Holly Madison is replacing Jewel!

Tony Dovolani & Nancy O'Dell

My Golden Dancers

Brain Thoughts-You Light Up My Life

By Elita Sohmer Clayman

Today on February 16th, I have lost a total of 35 pounds. This is my fourth time reaching goal. This is my last time for reaching goal. I have decided that it is time that I continue on and keep my goal weight forever, even maybe losing a few more pounds.

I come each week and weigh in. I have overcome for the first time a craving for sweets and ice cream and just anything that tastes extra good. I realize now at this age that extra good is really not extra good for you as you age and maybe even before that. I no longer after these last 11 weeks need to eat pie, cake, cookies, ice cream, buns or things that have lots of sugar in them. This is the Weight Watchers program I am talking about.

I do not wake up in the morning thinking about what I will eat. I wake up thinking about what I should and will eat. I plan out my points for the day and if I have plans to go out for dinner which we do now that we are retired, more often; I know exactly what the points will be for the restaurant food. I do not think about food other than keeping within my point allowance.

I do not need food to comfort me or to thrill me or to be by my side if there is an emergency happening. I do not need food to reward me if something pleasant happens. I do not need food to celebrate a delightful moment. I do not need food to be in my mind thinking of it all the time.

When something fantastic happens to me I reward myself with the thought that this is a blessed moment and I go to my computer and write down how I feel at this moment in time. I honor myself by going to the closet and pulling out something to wear that I have not worn for years because I could not fit into it. I put the dress or blouse on and then I know as Jackie Gleason used to say on his TV show “how sweet it is.”

Sweet it is and it is not sugar sweet. It is awesome sweet and gratifying and fulfilling sweet and proves that hard work in controlling one’s appetite is surely as happy an occasion as one can desire.

Donna Weitz our dear leader instills in us her wisdom about Weight Watchers and weight watching every week. Her anecdotes on Henry her beloved husband ( oh Henry if you could hear the things she says about you) and her down to earth recollections of her own controlling moments every day helps us to attain our goals. She is dynamic and fun and makes us laugh. Mainly, she applauds our accomplishments and helps us on those days when we may not have achieved this week losing some weight. She tells us wait till next week, you will see it then. This helps us to continue on. Donna is a treasure to us as we learn to adjust our eating habits.

As Shakespeare said in Sonnet 94-“Those who have self control truly own their own beauty” In my favorite all time movie called Love Is A Many Splendored Thing starring William Holden and Jennifer Jones, he says to her as he is going off to war and fears he may not return- You and I have not missed because we have HAD the many splendored thing-meaning their love for each other. You can interpret that into your Weight Watchers experience losing weight and becoming more of what you want to be. You can say that coming to WeightWatchers is also the many splendored thing because it gives you the desire, the will and the final happiness that you would have missed.

The Weight Watchers program, the leader like Donna Weitz and the final fruition of what you have realized with your weight loss and what it means to your health is surely a many splendored thing. You have self control and you now are the proprietor of your own soul. That feeling is priceless.

As I say in my columns written for ballroom dancers that I do many of, I say to them Keep on Dancing. To my fellow Weight Watchers classmates, I say Keep on Weight Watching and soon you will be free from watching your weight. You will be in a world where you will be happier, healthier, and hopeful and you will have honored yourself by your new happiness. Another new happiness you can realize is ballroom dancing.

This column was written for the Weight Watchers class. Looking it over, I decided it would be a good column for ballroom dancers. Why? It is a column that was intended to inspire heavy persons to get with it and to start to lose weight. It could also be an advocate to steer people who think they cannot dance to try dancing. As losing weight is a new adventure so is learning to ballroom dance.

In dancing you devote your time to learning as going to Weight Watchers you devote your hourly class that is weekly to learning about food and food consumption and food loss. You learn that you do not need all the food you have been gulping down to survive.

You learn to have discipline and in dancing you also learn to have discipline to have the spirit to try and the inclination to do well. You realize that when you try this new venture, it will become an adventure. Katherine Anne Porter said an adventure is a thing you will to occur. Will is the key word. The will to try something is one of the greatest things we as adults can endeavor.

Occur it will and soon it will be so much a part of your life that you will wonder how did you ever live without it? You will experience highs of excitement and when you master a new step, it will be as if you experienced a victory. When I was not walking too well from this automobile accident we had last June, the physical therapist told me that I had accomplished a true victory because I had gone to a department store and shopped for the first time in many months.

She said it was a victory with a capital V because even attempting it showed I had the spirit and the desire to even try. So it is with dancing especially if we start at an advanced age. By advanced I mean anything over forty years. Then you will experience in the next forty years the absolute joy of going on the dance floor and executing the moves you have learned in class. Even after forty years, you will be feeling exhilaration every time you go out on the dance floor.

When first learning something new, we think we will never comprehend it, but then all of a sudden it becomes like second nature to us and it flourishes and bears fruit. The fruit being the journey we have taken and we have reached our destination. The destination is the euphoria and high spirits that take over our mind and our thoughts when we excel in this thing called ballroom dancing.

Weight Watchers preach empowering beliefs. That means if you have self doubt you should assess your goals and see how worthwhile the effort will be to achieve them.
They tell you that you are capable of achieving them and you deserve to achieve them. They tell you to think back to a past success in any area of your life. They say check out what strengths you used then that you can use now. They call this a Winning Outcome (with a capital W and O).

Winning Outcomes are according to Weight Watcher

l. Be positive by knowing what you want, rather than what you do not want. 2.Be specific what you want to achieve
3. Things are in your control rather than changes you want others to make on your behalf
4. Things you can make which will be a good fit with your life.

All of the above can be useful in learning to ballroom dance. Being positive is a plus in attitude and being specific how much you want to absorb. Knowing you are in control in your ability to learn and knowing that it will be a good fit in this new life happening you are learning.

So weight control whether from Weight Watchers meetings or dance control through your dancing classes are almost the same.The goal of one is to look better, be healthier and to be happier with your new body look. The other one is to feel good about your accomplishments at any age and the ability you have to keep your mind active along with your feet and arms.

Empowerment of you is the ultimate key that will open the door of this new activity whether it is weight loss or dance knowledge.

When I had a recent colonoscopy and endoscopy, the attending nurse checking me in swiped my forehead with this new type of thermometer. At the moment, I did not know what she was doing, since I had never seen one before. She said I am checking your brain thoughts. I said what? She was kidding but it was a good saying or motto. Checking your brain thoughts is truly lovely. If you have lost weight through Weight Watchers or have taken dance lessons at Fred Astaire Dance Studios or any other dance location, then surely your brain thoughts will be quite a radiant glow. A glow so powerful that you will have to shut your eyes for a second because the illumination will be there even in any darkness you could perceive and the light will be guiding your being.

Ballroom dancing is as the old song made popular years ago said “you light up my life.” Dancing does that.

Keep on Dancing, Elita Sohmer Clayman

You can email me at elitajerrydancing@verizon.net

It Takes Two

From localwineevents.com:

Chatham Hill Winery in Cary, North Carolina excitedly hosts Artists, Jo-C Gaston and Dr. Blaine Nashold. Their art can be viewed in The Tasting Room Gallery. A “lively” Artist Reception will be held March 8th. Since several of dancers from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Durham served as models for Jo-C’s work, the studio has agreed to dazzle guests with a Tango dance demo. Also, Janet Stolp, singer, songwriter with a folksy, jazzy style and Michael Borstelman, singer and guitar player with the Duke Street Dogs and Rebecca and the High Tones will perform during the show. The public is invited to attend.

You Make Me Want To Dance!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Coach Urges His Team To Ballroom Dance

Excerpt From Holbrook, MA:

Coach to girls: Go dancing!
By Paul Harber

Holbrook -
Greg Paone held what might be his final team meeting as a coach.
The Holbrook High School interim girls’ basketball coach met with his team last week for a final time.

They talked about the past season, bid farewell to their seniors who will not be back next year, and talked to his players who will return next year and offered some advice.

“I told them to give ballroom dancing a try,” said Paone. He wasn’t joking. “I think every athlete, and I don’t care what sport it is, should take ballroom dancing.”

There is a method to his madness. “Nothing will improve an athlete’s foot work more than ballroom dance,” said Paone. “It’s all about foot control. If you can ballroom dance, you will be a better athlete.”