Posts Tagged With: dancers


DSC07178 (Copy)Talented kids and Christmas Cheer was the fare at the Sonora Aronos Club Christmas party. I, a stranger, was met with a gathering of friendly faces, ballroom dancing, food and music by Summerville High School’s Jazz @ 8 under the direction of Jim Wells, music teacher.

DSC07180 (Copy)At every table, people were eating or had finished eating and were enjoying conversation with friends. Eden and Barbara Ligsay made me feel right at home and described their Ballroom Dancing Club: “We’re just like a family.”  It reminded me of the familial spirit of square dancing clubs I’ve belonged to-before my husband died.

DSC07185 (Copy)One of the first things I looked for, “Is it a wooden floor?”  It was. Dancers all know a wooden floor is the best for dancing. The group is composed of all ages.

DSC07183 (Copy)The tree is a treat since I have no room for one in my house. I’m glad to enjoy someone else’s.

DSC07187 (Copy)Before the music started, I met Ashley, a bright, smart 15 year old member of Jazz@ 8 Choir. I was seated next to her mother.

DSC07179 (Copy)Most of the kids were chowing down before they began the entertainment.

DSC07188 (Copy)Ashley and her mother introduced me to Adam, The Elf. He is a student friend and supporter. He doesn’t sing with the choir.DSC07182 (Copy)There is something special about potlucks and home-made Christmas desserts. Everyone likes to bring what they do best. Yum.

DSC07194 (Copy)It was time for Jazz 8 to strut their stuff. Five sopranos, four altos…DSC07196 (Copy)…and six base singers.

DSC07204 (Copy)Director Jim Wells, a smidge of his back to the camera on the right, is very laid back and humorous. Most of the music is cappella. They are a swing “band” when they have recorded music to accompany them. The group performed some very interesting variations on Christmas Carols, roundelays and mixed medleys. And, a Johann Sebastian Bach number that Old Johann would not recognize.

DSC07202 (Copy)While many dancers got up and enjoyed dancing to the music,

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DSC07205 (Copy)…an equal number just sat an enjoyed the entertainment.

DSC07192 (Copy)They sang a Penataonix arrangement of Mary Did You Know. I’ve heard it done as a solo and it gives me the chills of emotion every time I hear it.

DSC07184 (Copy)The listeners enjoyed the program as much as the dancers, Ashley’s mom and me. My favorite tune was a Michael Jackson number called the Smooth Criminal, oh my, just before Christmas?

As for the Aronos Club, I saw one in San Francisco years ago and I knew it was a Women’s Club. But there was no history on either the Sonora or San Francisco Club on-line that I could find. I just remembered that the San Francisco Club only allowed women. If anyone knows the history of these Women’s Clubs, let me know. I’m curious.

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At Fred’s Lounge, you arrive early if you want to sit. It opens at 7:30 and we were there. In the back corner was a couple we recognized (right) from our visit in 2010. They’ve been coming here every Saturday morning “forever” to dance. No one sits in “their” corner. He taught me the Cajun step in 2010. He told me then, it’s unfair, but the woman dances backward almost the whole time. His wife confided she has a bad knee and doesn’t dance every dance anymore. I have no idea of their age, but their warmth and affection for each shows as they dance. They are a treasure.

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This  very informative guy was my seatmate. He is Lewis Landreneau, a regular who knows all the band members and most of the people who come in. His uncle, Cyprien Landreneau played Mamou’s lounge at one time. He showed me his picture on the wall.

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He looks like a fun character with a seegar in his mouth.

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We watched the band set up.

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The drummer has a handful of sticks in his right hand and a case of others to choose from. What do I know? I thought a drummer had one set of sticks and a couple of spares in case one broke.

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Everywhere you look, the lounge is covered with pictures. It is fun to look at them, even if you don’t know who they are.

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Tante Sue made a pass through the bar after visiting with her “rest home” friends. She is a volunteer at a local rest home and makes her rounds every day.  In the bar they spell auntie Tante. On the wall of ovations they spelled it Tauntie? Everyone likes to have their picture taken with her and she enjoys her legendary status.

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Later on, when the bar got really busy, she came back to lend a hand. She plays her accordian on her shirt, and she wears her signature holster from which she sips and wipes the bottle and hands it around if anyone wants a sip. In 2010, when she sold a bottle, she would taste it before passing it on to the customer. And, later still she sang (in French) with the band, talked on the radio, and reiterated her rules for the lounge. One I forgot to mention in my blog yesterday, is the NO MOUTH KISSING. That’ll get you thrown out of the place. You can kiss on the cheek while dancing, that’s it.

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She passed around cooked boudin sausage, which is seasoned pork and rice in a casing, wonderful stuff to eat. We took one piece and she insisted we get a napkin and take four more pieces. We normally don’t eat pork, but in Southern Louisiana, all such dietary rules are tempbypassed.

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The accordion player is Don Fontenoc according to Lewis. The band is Friends Of Louisiana. His accordion has the signature crawfish design of Martin Accordions, a place we visited and enjoyed in 2010 as well.

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I enjoyed watching the band, the dancers and the people. I took a couple of pictures before the dance floor got too crowded.

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This old bow-legged cowboy comes roaring through the door dancing and makes hardy round of the floor before he grabs a brew. A regular, his name is Herman and he really whoops it up. He dances with all the women, young and old and there is no doubt he is having a grand time. When he does a jig I tried to get a video, but about the time you get it started, he’s done with the jig.

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After awhile the bar gets so loud you have to shout, even to get a drink. This cute bartender was working our last visit. What a fun time to be sipping a bloody mary, enjoying the music and the circus going on all around you. Loved it!  Thank you Tante Sue for your wonderful hospitality.

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Then as we were leaving Mamou, a couple of riders were passing the motor home, just like in my hometown of Murphys. We moved on to Eunice to see a show with new friends from Lake Charles. I’ll blog it tomorrow.


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After the Cabalgata, we followed the locals to the park where the smell of cooking food attracted hungry celebrants like us. The family walking in front of us are obviously from El Paso, Texas. We expect they have a father who rides in the Cabalgata.

Food booths surrounded the  park.  We passed on the chili burgers and found something delicious, without a name.

There was no sign, but the woman was filling some type of dough pocket with a filling of potatoes, onion, meat and peppers. Then adding fresh tomatoes, lettuce and red pepper sauce. They were delcious, but we only sampled. Later we bought a chili relleno burrito for me and a rojo  burrito for Jim. We went back for seconds. Lunch for the two of us, without drinks, $8.00, all home made. Can’t be beat.

The band set up and began to play music.

Young folklorico dancers giggled while they waited their turn.

While they dance, the younger girls watch and wait for their turn.

The faces are worried. For some of them their first time “on stage”, perhaps.

Light weight costumes barely protect them from the wind.

Then they realize how much fun it is. Click the short video below to watch them dance:

Now that it is over, they are relaxed and smiling and have coats to keep them warm.

Next on the program a youthful mariachi band.

For a short video of the mariachi players, click the link below:

We especially enjoyed the cute kids like this future cabalgata rider.

And, a budding cabalgata queen.

It was bitterly cold the day of the ride. Locals said the weather was unusual for the time of year.  Jim is bundled up and talking to Dr. Linda McCoy,  a fellow engineer and Viet Nam Vet. She hails from Las Cruces, NM and came for the Cabalgata. I took this picture because I’ve never seen Jim this bundled up against the cold. And, Linda was an interesting woman.

Yesterday, we arrived at Rock Hound State Park. And, I leave New Mexico for home tomorrow. It has been an interesting two months.

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After days of rain, it felt good to get out of a Sunday afternoon and attend our Calaveras Arts Council Ovations program in Angels Camp. The last of the season, the renowned Dunsmuir Scottish Dancers from the San Francisco Bay Area gave a two hour performance. My luck was a seat next to Amanda, the granddaughter of two Scottish Highland Dancers, Scot and Mary Maur. The program covers the history of Scottish dance in many forms from 18th century story dances, strathspeys and reels, to modern compositions.

The costuming, especially the women’s changes, represented a swath of history, some formal, and others more folksy country costuming. The music is lively and the dancers do complicated reels and precision stepping.

Pictures were not allowed during a performance, but back stage, the dancers willingly formed a reel and demonstrated for the camera. It reminded me of square dancing as I watched them reel through complicated movements. Then I realized these dancers move without benefit of a caller. They memorized precise steps and placement on the floor; and then never missed a beat or a position as they swirl at dizzying speeds .

The men had noticeably muscular legs and when I went to their website and found more exciting pictures than what I could take. On the link below, their leader and teacher, Ron Wallace,  has a button you can press to hear a bit of the very lively
The music was live, back stage and we didn’t get to see the muicians until the end. Someone should have tooted that bagpipe as a solo. They are pretty fascinating instruments we  rarelyget see.

The young girls in kilts did a lively sword dance, perhaps the Highland Fling? I thought it would have been nice to have an MC explain the charm and history behind the various pieces. You could tell a couple of the early dances were about a harvest or fishing. The costuming was fabulous, but still a mystery in time.
They gave the dancers, (I tell you, this is a strenuous activity), a rest,  and had three musical interludes. One of note was a ribald song of a man from Inverness who travels to his beloved mountains and proclaims, he is “…a wage slave on Mondays, but a free man on Sundays.” The other two musical numbers were forgettable, but the dancing is what we came to see.

Amanda told me she wants to someday be a dancer like her grandparents. She was fascinated, as I was by the performance. I hope she follows through and it all works out. The website gives a glimpse of where the dancers will be next. Maybe in your area.

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