My 2 Cents!


Video with Josh Turner. This video is a fabulous version of the song originally recorded by George Jones.  Fabulous.  He Stopped Loving Her Today  My 2 Cents (Feb. 21, 2017)

That’s our Alfonso!  I think I will always remember him (Alfonso Ribeiro–Carlton) on The Prince Of Bel Air.  This particular recording was from Dancing With The Stars. I wanted to post this just for fun. My 2 Cents (Feb. 3, 2017)


my2centsIncredible new song by Reba McEntire.  Reba is certainly doing her part to bring folks together with songs.  This is released 2017.  (Liberals take note, since you apparently do not defend freedom of speech (see UC Berkeley “riots” on 2/1/17 forcing a scheduled speaker to cancel.)  My 2 Cents (Feb. 2, 2017)
    

Scotty McCreery. I couldn’t resist posting this video. Incredible, that’s all I can say.
My 2 Cents (Oct. 28, 2016)


Good Sayings.  I just couldn’t resist posting a few of these because they are so true (and I’ll be adding to this list as time goes on):
1.  The only way to win with a toxic person is not to play.
2.  Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story. (love this one)
3. Unless you are willing to pick up a rifle & defend our country, I suggest you stop criticizing those who will.
4.  Don’t ever let anyone stop you from being true to yourself. If negative people are around you then you need to distance yourself and surround yourself with positive friends and family. Jealousy is ugly and those kind of people will get back ten fold what they give out!
5.  Sometimes the first step toward forgiveness is realizing the other person was born an idiot.
6.  You don’t need 30 rounds to hunt. True, but the founding fathers didn’t write the 2nd amendment because the deer were coming.
7.  Be decisive.  Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.
8.  If you can’t do anything about it, then let it go. Don’t be a prisoner to things you can’t change.
9.  Sometimes all you have to do is “forget” what you feel and “remember” what you deserve.
10.  Don’t waste your time on revenge. Those who hurt you will eventually face their own karma.
11.  Don’t wait for things to get easier, simpler, better.  Life will always be complicated.  Learn to be happy right now.  Otherwise you WILL run out of time.
12.  A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are.
13.  If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.
14.  The New Year lies before you, like a spotless track of snow; be careful how you tread on it, for every mark will show.
15.  Take pride in yourself that you can correct yourself.
16.  Difference between ingest and digest:  (a) ingest–take in as much information as possible; (b) digest–be able to sort through the garbage of information and dwell on only the important, constructive stuff, then get rid of the rest.
My 2 Cents
(Aug. 19, 2016, added more Aug. 29, 2016, Dec. 9, 2016, Jan. 5, 2017, Feb. 16, 2017)

Levels of Dances Over the last few years a “new” category of dance levels has appeared on step descriptions.  This category is “Improver.”  To me there is no such level.  Now we have a level between beginner and intermediate.  Give me a break. The traditional categories of levels are:  easy (ultra) beginner, beginner, advanced (or upper) beginner; next there is easy intermediate, intermediate and advanced (or upper) intermediate.  Then we have the advanced category which is a stand alone level for the very serious and highly skilled dancers.  It’s just called advanced, there is no easy advanced, etc., as that would really be silly and make no sense.
There is no room for a category of levels in between the beginner categories and intermediate called improver.  Yet, some folks somewhere have “squeezed in” the improver level.  So, now there seems to be: easy beginner, beginner, advanced beginner, improver, high improver (yes, I’ve now seen “high” improver), easy intermediate, intermediate, advanced intermediate, and advanced. This is crazy.  Choreographers need to commit to defining their dances into the levels in the beginner category or levels in the intermediate category.  I repeat, there should be NO category in between. What could be more explicit or simple than that.  What the heck does improver mean anyway.  Does it mean the dancer is just improving but not good enough for easy intermediate?  This is totally not true.  Choreographers:  Please make a decision and commit to placing your dance in the advanced beginner or easy intermediate level rather than cop out and place your dance somewhere in between–in an improver category.  It’s a catch all level and totally unnecessary.   As a choreographer and instructor, I can always tell when a dance is upper beginner or easy intermediat rather than in the cop out category of improver.  If I see a dance description with the “improver” level on it, I will communicate back to my students and other instructors that the dance is, indeed, upper beginner or easy intermediate. So, come on, folks, please categorize your dance in the appropriate levels; don’t keep this new “squeezed in” level of improver!  My 2 Cents (March 21, 2016)


Release of Step Descriptions. Another of my humble opinions is discussed in the following paragraphs. There may be a lot of folks that don’t agree with my comments (perhaps some choreographers), which I totally understand.  But, here goes.  I very much wish that choreographers would release step descriptions when they teach them at a line dance event.  Line dance packets are received at a line dance event (which contain all dances to be taught at those events).  But there have been too many times when a packet is missing dance descriptions.  This is usually because a choreographer will be teaching the same dance in 2, 3, or even 4 weeks away at another event–the thought being that if a choreographer provides the step description before the next event, many folks will already have learned the dance and perhaps not attend that particular workshop or will already be doing them at their own home dance floors.  WHAT?  NEWS FLASH:  Workshops at the subsequent event WILL STILL be packed for those same dances.  This has proven to be the case over and over and over–and I have been to many a line dance event in my line dancing history!   So, there should definitely be no worries in this regard.  The dance floors at the events will also STILL BE PACKED!  Gosh, maybe I sound like a broken record.
I’ve been line dancing for 25 years, an instructor for 24 of those years, attended many line dances over those years, and only in more recent years have choreographers refused to release a dance at the time it’s been taught at an event. Yes, there may be a couple of exceptions, but those usually happen when choreographers choreograph a dance AT the event, on their way TO one, or co-choreograph a dance on the spot at the dance.  There are really not very many excuses.
Some instructors teach dances from videos which may be taped but still without step descriptions.  This is perfectly okay of course, and I do not wish to make any type of argument against that. But, with so many dances out there coming our way every day, I would rather teach one of those than spend time teaching a dance which only is available through a video.  It’s not that I cannot do so; there is no question about that.  I think instructors should not feel pressured into thinking a dance is so “urgent” that it warrants teaching it without a step description.  In days of old (over my 25-year span), we only had step descriptions to teach from–no videos!
I really think It’s common courtesy to provide a step description in a timely manner (at the time of the event).  In many cases, instructors and students alike have had to wait over a month for a step description to appear.  By the time a month rolls around, or even 2 weeks for that matter, the dance with an unreleased step description may not get the following it could have received had the step description been released when the dance was taught at a particular event. If a choreographer is popular enough, this may not hold true.  But, the arguments are still week against not putting out a step description.
Also, I think that choreographers are letting the dance community down. There is a lot of disappointment felt by dancers when a choreographer holds back.  But more importantly, a choreographer may eventually feel the loss of a missed opportunity.  Choreographers can argue all they want about why they do not wish to provide a dance description at an event, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t sit well with instructors nor students alike (and I am both). I really admire and like all the choreographers out there, but please be courteous to others and provide the step descriptions as noted above.   My 2 Cents (September 27, 2015)


4th Annual Bay Area Line Dance Connection (2015). Well, what can I say except that a fabulous time was had by all at the 4th Annual Bay Area Line Dance Connection, sponsored by Boots ‘n’ Buckles.  Dance clubs from around the San Francisco Bay Area came together for one wonderful night of fun and comraderie.  It was sooooo much fun.  Each dance club submitted their 3 favorite dances which were incorporated into a pre-set program for the evening.  It was very cool to see the various dances from each club (one of the main points of the whole event).  There were close to 100 dancers in the hall (probably around 92 or 93, but close enough!), which created a ton of energy that was non-stop until closing at 11:00 p.m.  Gary Clayton was our DJ once again and did his usual spectacular job. There was time left in the evening, starting around 10:40 p.m. to play requests from the audience so folks got to do even more favorites. BnB out-did themselves this year with the snack table.  Individual servings of nuts, fruits, etc. were laid out perfectly.  There were also plates of cut up fruit for the taking as well as candies and a June birthday cake for all. Lots of our current class favorites and favorites from around the entire Bay were in the program or on the ending request list including these (there were a lot more of course so see the program in this post):

Flashlight (N.Fitzgerald, Julie Harris)
Slam Goes The Door (Fitz., Harris)
Darling Hold My Hand (Fitz., Harris)
Foot Play (Daniel Whittaker)
And Get It On (Daniel Trepat, Jose Vane)
Feel The Light (Roy Hadisubroto, Fiona Murray)
Rolling Down Under (Ward, Vos)
Alvaro (Robbie McGowan Hickie, Karl-Harry Winson)
Girl Crush (Rachael McEnaney, Alison Johnstone)
Turn The Beat Around (Rob Fowler, Dee Musk)
Below are the dance programs for all 5 dance connections!  
1st Annual Line Dance Connectioncoordinated by Evelyn Khinoo, June 2012
2nd Annual Line Dance Connectioncoordinated by Evelyn Khinoo, June 2013
3rd Annual Line Dance Connection coordinated by Evelyn Khinoo, June 2014
4th Annual Line Dance Connection – coordinated by Cathy Dacumos, June 2015
5th Annual Line Dance Connection – coordinated by Cathy Dacumos, June 2016
(note:  the date on the 5th Connection program still shows 2015, but the date should be June 2016)
My 2 Cents (June 27, 2015, updated June 2016 just to add the 5th program; article still remains untouched; the 5th connection had about 80-90 attendees

3rd Annual Line Dance Connection. Wow!  What a fabulous time experienced at the Boots ‘n’ Buckles 3rd Annual Line Dance Connection  June 25, 2014.  14 dance clubs from around the Bay attended, as well as did dancers from all over the Bay area!  Mission accomplished—to get dance clubs from around the San Francisco Bay area to gather in one spot for a fun night of dancing together.  There were 163 dancers in attendance dancing with friends and meeting new ones.  The energy was extremely high all night, including pre-dancing (before 8 pm when the official dance started).  Couldn’t ask for anything more.
            The dance clubs each submitted 3 of their favorite dances for a total of 42 dances for the pre-set program.  It was amazing how full the dance floor was during the entire evening.  Gary had about 10 min. at the end of the dance program where he once again took requests (did so during pre-dance also).  Speaking of Gary…what a fabulous job he does every year!  There was pre-dancing (7-8 pm) requests taken and requests taken during the last 10 min. of the event after all of the pre-set program was completed.  Made it even more fun to get more dancing in!
            Most of all, I’d like to say thanks to all of the dancers for coming to this fabulous event.  All I can say is wow!  (P.s., the program is above in case you previously missed it. If you would like copies of the Connection for 2012 and 2013, just email me and I’ll send–see contact tab above.)  My 2 Cents (June 28, 2014)


DJ Request Lists–How To Interpret. Some folks like to count the number of request initials that are placed next to dance names on weekly request lists (perfectly fine, and DJs welcome this of course), which dancers interpret as the most popular dances. The request lists are preprinted lists of dances placed on the request table by the DJ. One guideline that lets the DJ know how anxious folks are to do certain dances is the number of request initials placed next to a dance (as we know).  HOWEVER, and I’ve been a long proponent on this, the number of requests (initials) is not necessarily the only indicator of how popular a dance is.  For example, the recent Boots ‘n’ Buckles Xmas dance 12/13/13 held in the San Francisco Bay Area Illustrates this point–not atypical of other regular dances.  Several dances had about 20 or so initials next to them.  There were approx. 100 people in attendance that evening.  Even those dances with fewer initials PACKED the floor!  We should not, however, leave out the data point of how many initials are next to a particular dance, as the data is a guideline for DJs.  Turns out, about 75-80% of dances with most initials do get played on “regular” dance nights.  DJs use their discretion and leave room for other dances as well, depending upon who is in the audience (dancers, groups of dancers from around the Bay, etc.–a very critical factor in being a DJ).  Bottom line:  The initials are just NOT THE ONLY data point, but nonetheless good data.  The FILLED FLOOR is definitely an indicator of popularity of a dance!  There needs to be a good balance between these 2 factors.  I must say, that the DJs in the Bay Area really do a good job in figuring out what dances to play based on all of the above.  A lot goes into being a DJ.  See my article below on “So, You Want To Be A DJ”  if you are interested in what really goes on in the DJ booth!  
I would also just like to add that DJs try to play “something for everyone.”  This of course does not mean every single person’s absolute favorite (with 75 in the hall that would mean, of course, 75 dances, as an example–and there is only room for 40-45 in a 3-hour night!).  It does mean that it’s highly likely that a person will get to dance some of the dances that he/she likes, whether a favorite or not!  The DJ keeps an eye out for who is in the dance hall and tries to ensure that those folks get a chance to dance also.  
           P.S.  An interesting stat:  When there is a special night such as a Xmas party (with say 100 people) or an instructor/student night (5 fav. dances of theirs played for sure), and many dance cards given to the DJ, such as 6 or more (cards received in a raffle drawing that allow recipients to give to the DJ for any dance they choose), approx. 40 min. can be taken up with just those dances (3-4 min. per dance).  Amazing isn’t it?  My 2 Cents (Dec. 17, 2013)


Few And Far Between–Have The Nerve To Complain. This is my humble opinion to add to my collection of articles and “my 2 cents” below. It’s not meant for anyone to agree or disagree, it’s just my opinion.  One of our favorite dance clubs, Boots ‘n’ Buckles (Fremont, CA, USA), still exists today after 29 years of holding dances every Friday night!  One of the main reasons is that it welcomes dancers from everywhere (certainly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in particular).  Another important reason why it still exists is that the club has a variety of DJs who draw folks from various parts of the Bay Area; and they each have his/her own style–a very welcomed trait.  In addition to the regulars at BnB, dancers sometimes decide to come to one of the BnB dances because they know a certain DJ will be there and know that that DJ will play something for everyone including them.  This variety of dancers is what most of us “love” about BnB. 
          We also know that on many nights, most of the dances that have the most request initials next to them (initialed by dancers in the hall) DO get played during the evening.  Yes, there are some exceptions to this statement sometimes, as already mentioned above–and rightfully so!  The audience on any given night makes a difference as to what dances are played.  Some nights mostly newer dances are played due to folks in attendance. (Also see my article below on “So, You Want To Be a DJ?” for more info on this subject). One person’s favorite is not necessarily everyone else’s favorite especially for those dancers who may not be regulars every Friday.  In those cases, a DJ will absolutely make sure those dancers get to dance too (and should do so without hesitation or doubt).   If there are some regular favorites or newer dances that don’t get played in an evening, then so be it!  Those will probably be played the next time.  We call this phenomenon “playing SOMETHING for everyone!”  It is not called “playing EVERYTHING for everyone.” 

There are enough major world-wide current hits played at BnB on any given Friday night to make most folks happy. This club is also one of the few in the Bay Area to play a lot of the world-wide current hits.  It’s also interesting to note that oldies as well as long-time favorites can jam the dance floor as well as the newer dances, regardless of the number of initials.  Also, one person’s long-time favorite or oldie is not necessarily what someone else calls a long-time favorite or oldie.  Same thing with so-called world hits.  Each dancer has his/her category of dances defined.  So, when someone says my favorite dance didn’t get played, someone else’s did….and so it goes.
           Having said all the above, here  is the main reason for writing this blurb…….I’m truly amazed that there are from time to time one or two attendees (and thank goodness the number is so small) who complain that their favorites did not get played, or those dances with the most initials didn’t get played, or etc., etc.  But, I’ve just explained a few of the reason(s) up above, and it’s not the first time I’ve explained the reasons.  Those few people need to make room for all dancers, at the very small sacrifice of letting go one or two or three favorites for the evening or holding up on complaining that a couple of the favs are not played until late in the evening, etc. etc.  No one can convince me that out of approx. 45 dances played in an evening, a person is refrained from dancing enough in one night. So, yes, I’m still amazed a few can bring themselves to make complaints or argue at all.  Dancing and having a good time with friends is what it’s all about (and I know this is the case for almost everyone).
I would also like to add that being courteous and kind to fellow dancers (and the DJ) is the way it should be, and I know that the majority of folks treat their dance friends this way, always.  [There are enough RUDE people in the world that the rudeness does not need to be brought to the dance floor along with the BAD MOUTH language I have personally heard way too many times–thank goodness from just a couple people.  Yes, you know who you are and NO it is not acceptable].  Many thanks from me to all of the rest of you for making Friday nights so much fun. I’m having a great time and am so very thankful for our dance clubs who provide such great venues EACH and EVERY Friday (as well as many Saturdays and Sundays!). We are very lucky.   My 2 Cents (Sept. 9, 2013).


Here’s the explanation (at least mine)…..of why a certain song has not been played (during the summer of 2013) by several DJs at some of our local dance venues, and why some instructors have chosen not to teach the dances that use the song (even those outside our local area).  Over the years dancers have all tolerated songs that include suggestive lyrics and push the edge in terms of being offensive.  So be it.  However, when there is one song (so far anyway) that hits a huge number of people–and yes, it’s a huge number, regardless of what you might “think”–folks pay attention, especially DJs who play music for dance venues on weekends and instructors.  It’s not about one person liking the song, or another person not liking it, nor is it about the dance being a world-wide hit.  It’s about affecting too big a group.  If folks don’t understand that, then I guess they just won’t.  If I had a favorite dance, and I found out that the song to that dance offended a “LOT” of people (not a few), I would drop it in a heartbeat. It’s a no brainer.  Simple as that.  
          There are many, many world-wide hits (those are in the eyes of the beholder, of course, or in the eyes of whichever chart one is looking at, but let’s just say world-wide hits for now) that are being done on dance floors.  I can let one of them go.  Again, it’s a no brainer.  Why offend so many people?  I must repeat, it’s not a small number of folks; this particular song affected a huge group.  That’s what this is about.  Also, the artist of this particular song was on the Ellen show (nationwide and I’m sure worldwide in some countries), and on America’s Got Talent this last season–just ending in Sept. 2013.  During both of those performance the artist was “not” allowed to sing the particularly offensive verse nor the cuss words.  The song versions on those shows had to be revised to take out all that stuff.  So, it’s not a surprise that the song is not played at some dance venues.  Also, I’ve gotten several responses from folks in other areas that have said the same thing–will not play, nor are they allowed to play the song.  Yes, it’s too bad.  The song had a great rhythm and good for line dancing.  I hope the trend of over-the-top offensive lyrics doesn’t continue to the point where more and more folks will be affected in a negative way.  Folks in our dance community are not “prudes;” there just becomes a point where some songs are just “over the top” for too many people.   Obviously, I cannot emphasize enough that it’s the number of people this song offended.  Whew! My 2 Cents (Sept. 2013)  


ODE TO THE KNEE REPLACEMENT  This article is written in dance titles.  It just might put a smile on your face! 


So, You Want To Be A DJ? The discussion points in this article are written in good spirit. It’s not meant for anyone to agree or disagree with the content. All of the content here is, obviously, my opinion, although based on a lot of experience. My long-time DJ background gives me a lot of ammunition to say that I do know what I’m talking about. However, we all know that nothing is engrained in gold. There are no hard-fast rules. Without further ado, let’s move right along. My 2 Cents (June 2012).


Happy 17th Birthday! The dance I choreographed, Silk & Satin, will be 17 years old on Dec. 13, 2012! Michael Barr used to be the DJ/MC at a bar & grill called Jelly’s in San Francisco, 295 Terry Francois Blvd. between 3rd and 48th Street (neighborhood known as SoMa, down by the shipyard).  It closed in Aug. 2010.  A photo is below.  Michael invited choreographers to come to Jelly’s every Wednesday to introduce new dances.  I did so on Dec. 13, 1995 with Silk & Satin.  So, Jelly’s was the first venue at which I debuted officially to the public and taught S&S.)  P.S. see my other 31 dances under the choreography tab, and Denny’s too!
          Times sure have changed.  When Silk & Satin came out, it was considered a difficult dance to learn (intermediate), even though it has only 32 counts and no tags nor restarts.  Today, some instructors think Silk & Satin is an upper Beginner or Easy Intermediate dance!  Wow, huh?  Just shows you how far line dancers have come and how sophisticated they have become.  I remember when we danced through what we call “tags” today, as well as danced through “restarts.” Those tricks were not even thought about back then.   Also, I remember that when the music ended, the dance ended on whatever wall you happened to be facing.  Today most dancers turn to the front wall when the song ends, no matter what wall they are facing when the song actually ends.  If the music has a definite ending (as opposed to the music fading out), many choreographers will write the dance such that dancers face the front wall when the music ends.  We never did this long ago. Today a shuffle is often called a chasse; a step half pivot turn is called a chase turn.  What?  Different names for the same steps are perfectly okay.  However, some of those steps are really ballroom dancing terms.  I personally would rather stick to a step pivot or cross shuffle or a forward and back shuffle rather than chasses and such.  Also I’d rather stick with “double grapevine” or 5- or 6-count grapevine (not a weave, which it’s called by many today).  There are other newer terms used today too, but as mentioned I’d rather use the older terminology.  Maybe I should get with the program! 
         My “next article” could be on the history of line dancing, as I know it, here in the Bay Area over the last 22 years.  It will include dance venues, choreographers back then and now, lessons, music, etc.  It could be interesting!  My 2 Cents(Dec. 2012)

Choreographers Need To Promote Themselves. What? Here, in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have several really spectacular choreographers.  Many of their dances are definitely better than some of those known world wide.  Their dances just don’t always get around as quickly nor as far as those dances that are presented and taught at major events.  Just like a singer…..if she/he goes on tour, suddenly there are thousands of record sales.  Same is true if choreographers teach their dances at different events around the globe (or get someone else to teach them!).  Also, some local choreographers don’t “push” their dances very forcefully out of the local area (except for perhaps a few times on Facebook, or on a couple of the dance sites), or do not have a lot of connections (nor care to) out of the local area.  Many times, however, the dances are exceptional and, as mentioned, better than a lot of dances out there by well-known choreographers.  It’s too bad that the world misses out on these dances.  So, I do try to teach as many dances by our local choreographers as is reasonably possible.  Here’s kudos to those instructors who do the same.  My 2 Cents.  (June 2012) (Revised Mar. 2013). 


Folks Don’t Need To Dance Perfectly. When folks have just learned a dance and want try them out on the dance floor, I’m really not concerned whether they do that dance perfectly or not!  Some seem to think folks should know them perfectly before trying them out.  Not true at all; at least in my humble opinion.  Sometimes it takes more than 1 week to get a dance down, and many times 2 or 3 weeks for the tougher ones.  The fun is all about being enthusiastic and wanting to try out the dances you just learned, and getting out on the dance floor!  I’m not saying folks shouldn’t try to get them right, and of course they shouldn’t interfere with other dancers.  But I’m saying folks should never be intimidated and to go ahead and try out the new ones they have learned.  Follow along if you wish–I do too!.  Everyone will be okay; they really will.  My 2 Cents.  (June 2012).


Too Many Dances. Are there too many dances coming out at once these days?  Well…I can tell you that in my class in Palo Alto, I still teach 2 dances a week, which has always been the case–for 21 consecutive years!  So, nothing has really changed there.  We all have easy access these days to dance videos via the internet and can learn more at any time we want, and this happens a lot! Plus there are more classes now than ever before here in the Bay Area, so yes, in this respect we can say there are many more dances being taught. There is nothing to do about it really.  Just embrace it!  Even if all of the dances don’t stay around long (in the early days–20 years ago–the dances did stay around for quite some time), the joy and challenge of going through the learning process, and running onto the dance floor when you hear that dance called–especially if you just learned it–is still way too much fun!  If a dance fades out quicker than a dance used to, there’s no real harm done. Lots of the dances do stay around. Some dance venues play more new dances; some play more favorites or oldies.  So, we pick our dance venues that best suit us and go for it.  The best thing has always been to have fun, and I think that fact still stands without a doubt.  My 2 Cents (Aug. 2012).