|Rolando Sanchez and the Brown Sound Orchestra performing at the |
Aloha Dancesport Center with guest singer.
|Damn, they were good!|
|Yanna and birthday boy Lucas. How old did you say you were, Lucas?|
It was truly a wonderful evening held at arguably the best dance studio in Hawaii, a live band (Rolando Sanchez) – see below, just enough but not too many people there to dance with and to fill but not crowd the ballroom, a pot luck food amalgamation that was very good and plentiful, a little unexpected entertainment from what was advertised as a belly dance (who am I to know; I’m only Middle Eastern), and lots of happy faces enjoying the evening sipping on wine (some of us were gulping) and other refreshments.
What blows my mind (as this stupid saying goes) and baffles me beyond reason is how nonchalant the Hawaii dance community is about dance venues at a time when there is VIRTUALLY nothing to compare to the Divino Ritmo Aloha Dancesport Center (ADC). In fact, to me there is really nowhere to go to dance that is anywhere close to providing the proper atmosphere as the ADC.
The Elks Club? – open humidity runs through your clothes and underwear drowning your flesh and filtering sweat and salt into your veins as you travel the unforgiving grooved tiled dance floor. And I’m told we can’t even get in any more if you are not a member unless you go through many more hoops…all of which is totally not worth it.
The palladium? – Speaking of unforgiving floor…hardwood on concrete….How can anyone dance weekend after weekend in that train station sized ballroom or whatever you want to call it? – it was not designed as a dance venue!…..metal chairs on the perimeter, cliquish groups fortified in protective zones, substandard sound system not made to command this huge open expanse with meaningful sound and melody, and generally not the comfortable environment that is relaxed and friendly - that you would find in a smaller, more intimate venue.
And I refuse to say too much about the Pacific Beach Hotel because of the near impossible situation with parking that seems to greet me like a migraine every time I attempt an outing. Even when successful, having to contend with an overworked and musty ballroom wreaking from overuse is no joy. With exception, other hotels are better but not much better. And to get better, you have to spend a lot more than a few bucks to gain entrance. There is no free lunch!
Restaurants? Like Sistina – again, sort of good for Salsa but nothing else. And you have to wait until late for the restaurant food eating folks to end their part of the evening before you get a chance to show off your dance moves.
So what’s so special about the ADC. Well, I must admit a lack of equipoise on the subject. After all, I am a student of one of the owners so take my statements in any way you like. Consider my opinion tainted and biased. To me, it is the unmitigated truth.
The studio is huge, new, and newly floored with beautiful Danish wood that is cushioned to the point that you can see the wood give way as you navigate the dance floor – just look in the mirror – the bending of the wood beneath your feet is plainly visible even for an old poorly sighted guy like me. Is this important? Maybe not to 20 year olds, but you can’t continue to dance on a hardwood dance floor that feels like concrete without consequences. It’s the same principle as running. Pretty soon the treads on your tires… hip, knee, ankle and feet joints get a beating and from there, it’s down hill. Braces and ice, ibuprofen and swollen joints, reduced mobility and knee replacement and your days are numbered. My advice; keep dancing on immovable floors at your own risk. For me it’s not worth it! The dance floor at the ADC is spectacular; that’s where you should be dancing!
|Those who didn't come to the Valentine party should be RED with envy|
The event last Saturday was also special because there was a live band…..Rolando Sanchez & the Brown Sound Orchestra – 6 in all. Now I can’t say I was looking forward to Rolando. He is after all getting on in age and I’ve heard him before a million times as I started my nighttime avocation dancing salsa at venues he starred in. And the “nightclub” at the Kahala Mall was the greatest part of it; I loved going there on weekends, it was still my favorite place until the ADC.
But instead of the playing dead old songs of past, the musical selection was mostly new, brilliantly play, overall simply outstanding. Not all what I expected, not all salsa or merengue but lots of varied music that was quite lovely. I remember once in the evening when I thought they were on break because the music sounded so atypical - thinking it was the DJ playing some cd, when I turned my head, I was shocked to see Rolando’s band at the helm!
|Its tough, but someone's got to do it!|