Archive for December 2010

Dance a Day Celebration – December 29, 2010 – Day 35 – Cantaloop, by Us 3

December 30, 2010

by Diane Rocha on Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 5:01am

This one is for you, Chris Mazza.  The first time I ever heard this song, I was dancing a great cha-cha to it with Chris at our old Tuesday night hangout at Dance North County.  Great song; great dance – then and today.


Of course, I danced a cha-cha to it today as well, and again, playing around with timing and rhythm was the order of the day. I found myself doing this fast spin which then fell right into a slow spin into a ronde.  It just sort of happened, and I was able to deconstruct it as I was dancing to figure out how I had done it. by doing so, I could then duplicate the move.  Love it when that happens!


The link to YouTube:




Dance a Day Celebration – December 28, 2010 – Day 34 – Late in the Evening, by Paul Simon

December 28, 2010

by Diane Rocha on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 12:55pm

Another shuffle on the iTouch gave me this little gem (I must admit the first two or three were Christmas songs, so I skipped them).  I have loved this song from the first time I heard it –  so long ago that I can’t even remember.


There was a tumultuous time in my life when I listened to Paul Simon’s wonderful album, Negotiations and Love Songs every day while commuting from San Diego to Vista.  This went on literally for over a year, maybe two.  My poor kids had to endure that, but they never complained; they were probably lost in their own thoughts. Every time this song came up in the rotation, I would want to dance, but of course, I was driving, so I couldn’t.  So this was actually the first time that I had ever danced to this oh, so danceable song.


In my head, I heard a salsa, but very quickly, my body told me otherwise – samba, baby, all the way – so that’s what I did.  Again, I played with the rhythms –  and also played with what Dancing with the Stars judge, Len Goodman, would call the light and shade of the dance.  Sometimes very fast while at other times I danced on the half notes – sometimes powerfully explosive, other times smooth and jazzy – but at all times – great fun.


I love it that every day – without fail – no matter how tired I am before I start dancing – even if I am feeling crabby or have a case of the blues – every time the dance is over, I laugh and say out loud, “That was good.”  Better than Prozac in my book.  :  )


Here’s the link to YouTube:  Check out young he is – but then, weren’t we all?




Paul Simon’s Iconic Negotiations and Love Songs


Dance a Day Celebration – December 27, 2010 – Day 33 – Come Rain or Come Shine, by Ray Charles

December 27, 2010

by Diane Rocha on Monday, December 27, 2010 at 10:18pm

Back to the iTouch shuffle, and was I lucky or what – to have gotten this wonderful song to dance to today.  i am having so much fun playing around with this Gene Kelly-esque style of dancing over the past few days, and today was no exception.  It has a lot to do with playing around with rhythms and dancing to the eighth notes as well as the quarter notes. It is also about not being locked into any particular dance or dance style, for that matter.  Great fun.  I wonder what will happen the next time I actually dance with a partner.  Will this new found freedom translate well with a partner?  I hope so, because it will be amazing for both of us.


Here is the link to YouTube:


Ray Charles


Dance a Day Celebration – December 26, 2010 – Day 32 – Oh What a Circus, from Evita,sung by David Essex

December 27, 2010

by Diane Rocha on Monday, December 27, 2010 at 2:15am

Okay – another funny story.  So I was on the phone with Cate tonight just before I was going to dance.  The song that came up on the shuffle was Smackwater Jack, by Carol King.   But when the phone rang, I forgot to pause the iTouch, and so it kept going.  I was going back to Smackwater Jack, when Oh What a Circus came up.  In our conversation, Cate and I had talked about one of my former students – her fellow classmate – Justin Nelson.  Here’s the Twilight Zone moment:  This song always reminds me of Justin.  On our last day of school that year (1996) we were cleaning up after our class party.  I put that song on, and Justin and I started dancing to it.  I will never forget that.  He was this famous athlete, who later became a pro baseball pitcher, so to see him dancing around the classroom with a trash bag – totally in character – was just hilarious.  I figured the song came up for some reason, so I went with it.


I have always loved this version of the song far better than the original by Mandy Patinkin. It was on this bizarre CD that I got used from this funky little shop.  It was called Andrew Lloyd Weber Gold, and I later found out that it was also a PBS special. Fab – u – lous!


The dance was an exhilarating cha-cha – one which left me breathless and in an endorphin high at the end.  M spins were spot on, which means it was in the perfect tempo.  When the tempo of the song is faster, it is harder for me to stop, but tonight I was able to spot and to stop.


So Justin, if you’re out there, this one was for you.  :  )


Link to the video:




David Essex


Dance a Day Celebration – December 25, 2010 – Day 31 – Merry Christmas, Darling, by the Glee Cast

December 26, 2010

by Diane Rocha on Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 3:05pm

Merry Christmas Everyone.  Am loving the Glee Cast Christmas album.  Couldn’t resist dancing to this one.  Beautiful melody; great lyrics – and the dance was so interesting.  It didn’t fit into any particular dance style.  I was certain that it would be a nightclub two-step, but it wasn’t.  It felt at times like a Viennese waltz, but it wasn’t – and for once, it wasn’t even remotely close to a cha-cha.  It was just dance – pure and simple – at it improvisational finest.


In the picture, from left to right: My mom, Olga – my “other son,” Mike – me – my son, Matthew – and alas, my daughter is not pictured, as she is the photographer.


Link to the video:





Christmas Eve Dinner


Dance a Day Celebration – December 24, 2010 – Day 30 – Mais que Nada, by Sergio Mendes

December 25, 2010

by Diane Rocha on Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 5:58pm

So I called my son Matthew the other day, and he said he had just been thinking of me for a specific reason.  He said he would give me hint as to why.  He began to hum something that I did not recognize at first.  It was this great song, Mais que Nada, which I have listened to continually over the years since I was 16 and first choreographed a routine to it. Consequently, Matthew has heard it his whole life too, but apparently it recently came back upon his radar screen, and he, being the brilliant musician that he is, recognized it for the great song it is.  Replete with a variety of amazing Latin rhythms, this song evokes sheer joy in everyone I know who has listened to it.


During another phone conversation, Matthew and I decided to dance to this iconic song for us both after Christmas Eve dinner.  I had originally intended to dance to another Christmas song, but decided that I could dance to that on Christmas Day instead.  I mean, really, how often do I get the opportunity to dance with my son?


After dinner, I corralled him into the living room, which is really the dance room, and blasted Mais que Nada.  I even enlisted my daughter, Cate to take pictures.  My mom was our audience.  (And yes, she remembers my dancing to this constantly when I was still a kid living with her.)


And what a great dance this was!  Totally improv on both our parts, and yet somehow we managed to move together – and move together quite well.  My guess is that it was because we both know that music so well, that there is no need to think – just move.  Truly – a great Christmas present.


And check out this video.  It is the coolest – ever.  It is from a TV performance circa 1966.  I remember those days.  I was so in love with Sergio; I thought he was so hot – still do.  And I fancied myself Lani Hall (she’s the girl singer on the left).  See the resemblance?  :  )


YouTube link:


Mother and Son: The Family that Dances Together – Has Fun!



The Big Finish


Dance a Day Celebration – December 23, 2010 – Day 29 – Baby It’s Cold Outside, from Glee

December 23, 2010

by Diane Rocha on Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:26pm

This was such a great experience, I had to write about it before I lost part of it, even though I have soooo much to do before tomorrow’s festivities begin (Christmas Eve).


So – I am finally in the Christmas spirit.  The tree is standing – straight even – lights are on it – ornaments are waiting.  But before I begin with all that I must do, I danced to this really “cool” song.  Sorry, couldn’t help it.  This is the version from Glee for which I  bought the CD.  Chris Colfer does such a great job on this.  The other guy does too, but I love Chris’s voice on this.  And how cool is it to have a gay couple singing this beautiful song.  It’s about time.  I hope this means people are finally stopping this homophobic nonsense.  Okay enough politics.  On to the dance…


Here’s the fun part.  In my mind, I was Gene Kelly dancing to this song.  I could see myself doing all these cool steps that I had seen him dancing recently in Singing in the Rain.  Who know what I really looked like, but in my mind, I was fabulous!  :  )  I even surprised myself by doing a soft shoe for a few bars.  I remember Miles Berger from my high school drama class teaching us all how to do a soft shoe for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, in which he was the lead.  It always amazes me how things I learned over 40 years ago come right back to me.  Ah, the human mind is so incredible.


Someday, I’d like to partner dance with Gene Kelly-esque choreography.  Any takers out there?  Russell?  Art?  Pat?  Collie? Jeremy?  Anyone?  Anyone …


And the link to the video from Glee:




Chris Colfer from Glee