Archive for February 2011

Dance a Day Celebration – February 25, 2011 – Day 93 – Fever, by Peggy Lee

February 26, 2011

by Diane Rocha on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 2:48pm

This one is from that great movie from a few years ago, Mad Hot Ballroom – about the kids who learned to dance ballroom style, and how it impacted their lives.


I have always loved this song – even as a kid, I can remember thinking how sultry Peggy Lee sounded singing it, even though my favorite female singer from that era was Rosemary Clooney.


Great and fun dance tonight.  Did not do what I thought I would – fox trot.  Instead, I did this jazzy, Gene Kelly thing.  And once again, in my head, I looked great. How I looked in real life remains the question.  :  )


YouTube Link: (Notice the drummer.  He has a set of bongos closest to him and plays the other drums with only his hands.  How cool is that!




Peggy Lee



Dance a Day Celebration – February 24, 2011 – Day 92 – Till I Found You, by Susan Tedeschi

February 24, 2011

by Diane Rocha on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 9:25pm

I owe a huge thank you to my dear friend, the “Other Diane” for turning me on to Susan Tedeschi.  It was one of her fabulous parties several years ago.  I heard that voice, and had to know who it was.  I went out the next day (pre iTunes) and bought two of her CDs.  This was when I was first studying West Coast swing with Dave Tomko at Dance North County.  I brought this wonderful music to him, and he loved it too.  We used to dance to her music, particularly this song in our private lessons every week.  I always wanted to dance to it in a Showcase, but alas, that dream never materialized.


Tonight’s dance was great, as always.  An unusual blend of cha-cha and West Coast swing. The best part was when the two merged in such a way that I was unaware what I was dancing.  I love that!


Link to YouTube:



The Two Dianes


Dance a Day Celebration – February 23, 2011 – Day 91 – Moonlight Serenade, by Frank Sinatra

February 23, 2011

by Diane Rocha on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 10:03pm

This one is for you, Mom.  One of your all-time favorite songs – by one of your all-time favorite singers – the Chairman of the Board.  And if what they say is true, that the hearing is the last sense to go, this is one of the last songs that Al heard before passing on.


Tonight, I thought this dance would be a fox trot, but it was really a nightclub two-step.  At least that’s what fit for me.  It would be interesting to know if that would have changed had I been dancing with a partner.  It was a beautiful, fun glide across the floor, with a perfect and dramatic ending tableau.


YouTube Link:





Olga Gessleman – My Beautiful and Beloved Mother


Dance a Day Celebration – February 22, 2011 – Day 90 – Lady in Red, by Chris de Burgh

February 23, 2011

by Diane Rocha on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 11:25am

And now, on top of everything else, I have a bad cold – too much stress and emotion, I guess.  I therefore needed something soothing and calming to dance to tonight, and this song was a perfect fit.


A popular song for nightclub two-step, I have danced to it many times in classes taught by Mary Manzella, just prior to her dance parties, but my favorite dances to this song were the many times I danced to it with Russell.  Hadn’t danced to it for years, though, so tonight it was a nice change.


I danced the whole dance in nightclub two-step, and it was wonderful.  I glided across the floor and felt like my body was made of silk.  It was one of those dances, where I became so at one with the dance and the music, that I was unaware of anything else.  that doesn’t happen often, but when it does – it is amazing.  It’s like some sort of ethereal out-of-body experience.


YouTube link:



Dance a Day Celebration – February 21, 2011 – Day 89 – Need You Now, by Lady Antebellum

February 21, 2011

by Diane Rocha on Monday, February 21, 2011 at 11:35pm

Tough day today.  Still reeling after the shock of my brother’s demise.  Had a hard time getting anything going, so I pretty much did nothing.  Finally, around 4:00, I forced myself outside for a vigorous 30 minute walk, followed by some resistance training (weights).  I felt so much better – actually human again.


Then Russell came over and we danced to this wonderful song.  It won something at the Grammy Awards, but I can’t remember what.  We danced it twice – first, nightclub two-step, followed by a cha-cha. Neither of us could decide which dance we liked better; they were both great.  Russell and I dance so well together – always – but it was even better tonight.  I picked up all of his cues, and he allowed me my creativity, so we both had a great time.


YouTube Link:




Lady Antebellum


Dance a Day Celebration – February 20, 2011 – Day 88 – Going Out of My Head, by Wes Montgomery

February 21, 2011

by Diane Rocha on Monday, February 21, 2011 at 3:57am

Today is my beautiful mother’s 88th birthday.  I will dedicate my dance to her tomorrow; tonight, at 11:25 p.m., my brother, Al, lost his battle against cancer.  I was there at his side, holding his hand, while his wonderful wife, Carol, held his other hand and Carol’s brother, Bill, stood with us as he slipped away from this life.  And while it was one of the saddest moments of my life, it was also peaceful; it was calm; it was on his terms – at home with nothing but love filling the room.


So tonight, dear Brother, this dance is for you.  It is Going Out of My Head by Wes Montgomery – a song that you introduced to me when I was 16 years old.  I always thought it was so cool that my older brother listened to such exotic music, and I credit my eclectic musical taste during that impressionable time to you, Al. Thank you for that.  I am glad you are at peace and that I could be with you as you ended your journey.  Love you, Bro.


YouTube Link:


Al Rocha 1942 – 2011


Dance a Day Celebration – February 19, 2011 – Day 87 – There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This, from Sweet Charity

February 20, 2011

by Diane Rocha on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 12:04am

Yes, it is another song from Sweet Charity.  I wasn’t in this song, but I sure wanted to be.  I auditioned for the part of Nickie, and came in 2nd – again.  I watched as many of the rehearsals for this number as I could and had the dance memorized – just in case.


Fast forward to 2008 or so.  I was browsing on the Internet researching the biography of one of my favorite soap opera actresses – Helen Gallagher, who played beloved matriarch on the acclaimed soap of the 1970s, Ryan’s Hope.  I was a devoted fan back in the day – until the local cable company took it off the air.  I was so bummed.


Years later – circa 1999 or 2000 I found out about a then very new network devoted to the soaps – Soap Net – and they were showing Ryan’s Hope AND Knots Landing.  I was in heaven.  Knots Landing has long been taken off the rotation, but Ryan’s Hope is still being shown, thanks in part to a campaign of letter writing, in which I, of course, took part.  Hence the research on the life of Helen Gallagher.


The producers of Ryan’s Hope had remarked in an interview that they had hired Broadway actors who could sing and dance.  Helen, as it turned out, was easily the most famous and talented of the cast.  She had starred in No No Nanette, for which she earned a Tony – and – you guessed it – Nickie in Sweet Charity.  I couldn’t believe it!  I immediately send off to Amazon for the CD.  When it arrived, I played it immediately, and sure enough, there was Maeve Ryan (Helen Gallagher) belting out Nickie’s part in There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This.  I loved it, so when this song showed up tonight, I was elated.


I sang it; I danced it (remembering, surprisingly, quite a bit of the original Fosse choreography) thinking of Collie and Pat and, of course, Helen Gallagher, everyone’s favorite matriarch, Maeve Colleary Ryan.


YouTube Link:


By the way, that’s Chita Rivera, my other iconic role model in the part of Nickie in the movie version of Sweet Charity.




Pat, Emi, Collie, Diane, and Christine from Sweet Charity – Rich Man’s Frug