Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Music for Dancers

For those who would like to dance to their Christmas carols, here is an updated playlist of danceable Christmas music.  Have a great holidays!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Swing Eclectic Oct. 6 Playlist

Thank you for all who participated in the survey to determine a focus for the October 6 dance. The results are in and it was a tie between Swing Eclectic and World Eclectic with Blues Eclectic a few votes back, then Waltz Eclectic and Tango and Tapas. So in Oct 6 we will be having a swing dance with an eclectic twist. I will working on it over the next couple of weeks and feel the playlist will be one that can be enjoyed by  those who enjoy the Thursday Fulton Park and Sunday Brunch dances. Check out the progress of the playlist here. Please email me comments and suggestions.

(Edit- 9/25/12)  Swing dance music is a huge genre that covers about a 100 years and many different subcultures. So my first thought is take a dancing journey through this diversity. One challenge I will have to keeping the energy sustainable for dancers to have become familiar our playlists. I will attempt to do this by including some waltz, blues and two steps (fox trots and night club) with the swing music. I have updated the playlist to give you an idea of what this playlist might be like. As always your feedback is welcome.

There is a slider on the right to access the full list.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Description of the different Dance Eclectic Playlists

The variety of music and ways of dancing to music are limitless. We all have individual comfort levels within certain styles of music and dance genres. Here are descriptions of different playlists that I hope will provide you with an idea of what to expect when you come to a Dance Eclectic event

The focus of Waltz Eclectic playlists is the waltz - There will be around 50% waltzes sometimes more but seldom less. They will be of varying tempo and dynamics that include slow waltzes, rortary turning waltzes, fast turning waltzes, hesitation and blues waltzes. Also with waltz will be various two steps (night club, rhumbas, mambos, zydeco, foxtrots), one steps and swing. The general tone of an evening of this playlist will be melodically aerobic, more extroverted than introverted  and upbeat.
A typical playlist for Sunday Waltz brunch and other waltz eclectic dances

The focus of the Blues Eclectic playlist is all blues: There will various styles of blues  - classic to contemporary, blues that swing, blues where you feel the rhythm in your body and that gets you to move. The tone of the playlist is sensual, moody, more introverted than extroverted with an intensity that you feel in your body. It is meant to inspire dancing that has a mutually responsive, flowing connection between partners and allows freedom for improvisation.
A Typcial Playlist for a BluesEclectic dance (updated 10/1/12)
The focus of the Swing Eclectic playlist is, no surprise, swing. This playlist will be an eclectic mix of contemporary and vintage swing plus west coast, waltz and cha cha.
Tango Eclectic: From a tango viewpoint all the music will be of an alternative tango variety and from a non tango dancer’s viewpoint the music will have latin, swing, waltz, blues rhythms. For dancers who know both tango and other dances this will be an atmosphere in which you can dance what you feel at the moment.
  World Eclectic: lots of latin, waltz, swing from around the world
A typical playlist for a World eclectic dance. I also play from this playlist during the last of hour of other dances.
Check back. I will complete the post in the next day or two......

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Waltz Ball- new music suggestions

Playlists for events like the Summer Waltz Playlist, are composed mostly of familiar music that has been played for dancers many times and has kept them on the floor dancing. But some new music helps to add a freshness to the playlist, especially if the music inspires dancing. Here is a selection of new music that I am considering for the playlist. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of the music below.

To listen to the music you will need to sign up for spotify and download and install the software. I quick (especially if you have a Facebook account), easy and free. The are 14 songs in the list so you will need to scroll down. Scroll is on right.

A number of the songs, if played on Saturday, will be adjusted for length and tempo to play them more danceable.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ari and Whitney's Blues Connection Workshop

Ari Levitt and Whitney Evans gave a workshop in Portland on June 9 that explored the blues connection. In an afternoon they went through a series of exercises that took the dancers from moving in groups where individuals connected with and allowed other members to affect their movement (a little like contact improvisation) to where at the end of the session partners were moving together, with the energy from the music flowing from one dancer to the other, both sharing the lead and follow. Attached is a video of a demo Ari and Whitney did at the dance Saturday evening. Notice there are no basic blues patterns but the character of the dance is more in the connection between Ari and Whitney then in the particular moves they are doing. The patterns are borrowed from other dances like swing and salsa. Catch Ari and Whitney the next time they are to Portland. They give a great workshop.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Playlist for First Saturday Dance - 4/7/12

The Playlist for the April 7th Saturday Night Dance includes music that will be familiar to those who attend the Thursday evening Fulton Park dances as those who have attended the Tango and Tapas dances. The music will be from around the world, and truly eclectic in mood, style and rhythm. The evening will move from latin two-steps and waltzes to west coast swing and cha chas to tangos and waltzes to blues swing and two steps and waltzes.  The following songs will be played during to evening (not necessarily in this order) along with other music.  

Name Artist Genre
Aïcha Khaled World twostep
Siempre Me Quadana Bebe Night Club Two Step
World Looking In Morcheeba World twostep
Ca Chante Smod World twostep
J'ai pas le temps Souad Massi World twostep
Busco-me Bebe World twostep
La Mitad Natalia Clavier Night Club Two Step
En el último trago Concha Buika Waltz medium
Nothing Else Matters Apocalyptica Waltz medium
Il pleut sous la mer rene aubry Waltz medium
La Dispute Yann Tiersen waltz slow
Midnight Waltz Adam Hurst waltz slow
Collarbone Fujiya & Miyagi Hustle
Somebody That I Used To Know Gotye Cha cha
Set Fire to the Rain Adele Swing west coast
I've Got To See You Again Norah Jones Cha cha
I Put A Spell On You Natacha Atlas World Dance
Ring My Bells Enrique Iglesias Swing west coast
Pa' Bailar (Con Ryota Kumatsu) Bajofondo Tango Nuevo
Postales Federico Aubele Tango Nuevo
La Ultima Curda Alex Krebs, Nick Danielson Tango Golden Age
Romance de Barrio Alex Krebs Tango Sextet Tango Vals
El Aeroplano Conjunto Berretín Tango Vals
St. Gabriel Janiva Magness waltz blues
Ain't No Way Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa waltz Blues
Leave Me Alone Eden Brent waltz blues
Walk Away Christina Aguilera waltz blues
You Don't Know Me Ingrid Lucia & the Flying Neutrinos Blues sixeight
My Drag Squirrel Nut Zippers Tango Non tango
Dry Spell Hazmat Modine World Dance
I Heard About You The Theater Fire Blues stroll
HEARTATTACK AND VINE John Hammond Blues West Coast
Coffee Papa Mali Blues West Coast
Red Rooster Brother Yusef Blues slowtwostep
Your Heart Is As Black As Night Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa Blues slowtwostep
Nobody’s Fault But Mine Beverly McClellan Blues slowtwostep

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sevillanas- a social dance from Southern Spain

Ever wonder what to do with your hands when you are dance. Check out this dance from Spain.

Angela Amillaras will be doing Sevillanas lesson as part of Richard Powers and Angela's weekend workshop- "The Allure of the Waltz".

"Sevillana is a popular flamenco-style dance from Seville. Its rhythm is 3/4 or better 6/8.
The Sevillana did not originate in Seville[citation needed]. It is an old folk dance, danced by couples of all ages and sexes during celebrations (fiestas or ferias), often by whole families and pueblos. Sevillanas choreography is very stable, and knowing it is very useful, since it is a fiesta dance. This is why learning flamenco usually starts with this particular dance: it is easier to reach a particular level and there are more occasions for practice and training (even for men).
Each sevillana is composed of 4 (or sometimes 7) parts, with each part divided into 3 coplas, and with each copla made up of 6 movements. It is a very vivid dance, often excluded from flamenco by "purists". "
                                                                                                            from Wikipedia

The video below is from a trip to Sevilla Feira in 2006. It shows the Sevillanas as it is danced socially in a festival atmosphere of the Feira.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Richard Powers - a fresh perspective on social dancing

Richard Powers is a dance historian and professor at Stanford University who has also taught and choreographed vintage and social dance for over 30 years. He is responsible to a large part for the resurgence and redefinition of social dancing and in particular the waltz in a segment of our culture. His many workshops around the country have helped to spawn a network of dance communities that focus on the waltz and other traveling dances of which Waltz Eclectic is one.

I have gone to a number of Richard and Angela's workshops and have been impressed by the fresh prospective they bring to social dancing.

Below are thoughts that I wrote down after a Waltz week at Stanford.
1. Richard taught individual moves rather than patterns of moves. Learning a move then practicing it in the your “freestyle” way allowed me to lose the move,  then find it again it while dancing, helping me to integrate the move in my body memory. This coincides better with the kinesthetic way I learn to dance as opposed to the way most teachers have you practice a sequence of moves that you do right or wrong and for me becomes more mind memory than body memory.
2. I learned a system, a way of dancing to music rather than individual dances. Understanding the continuity of waltz from the slow ballroom speeds to the fast turning and faster hesitation and tango waltzes was a breakthrough  for me. I can see the possibility clearer of waltz and dancing in general being more of a conversation with a particular partner about a particular piece of music on a particular dance floor rather than superposing  patterns onto music that they do not quite fit or my partner does not feel comfortable doing. 
3. Learning to transition between Cross step waltz and turning waltz or waltz swing also added to my feeling of breakthrough, as did learning the cross step one-step. These allowed me to forget what I learned (verbally), relaxing the work of my “left hemisphere” and just let my body “right hemisphere”  find the patterns that were appropriate for the situation. I dance for those moments my partners’ and my movements flow without any seeming effort on our parts. 
4. The concept of deep listening and the guided imagery session took dance to a level I have never been exposed to. One thing that impressed me about the week was how Richard balanced verbal “left hemisphere” work with a more body oriented “right hemisphere” integration of the work. I hope he continues with this and more teachers try to teach in this holistic way.
5. The lectures added to the balance to the week.
The way partner dancing was presented during this week made so much common sense. Why isn’t it promoted more by our cultures as the healthy, fun, community oriented, creatively fulfilling activity it is? Going to the dance should be looked upon, and encouraged just as much as gong to the show, going out for dinner or even going to church. I think our mainstream culture uses the idea of dancing as a metaphor to be done in our imaginations, when the real thing is so accessible for us if we make the effort. (Just my personal ravings)