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Messages - saebel

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Big Event Showcase / Re: Black & White Ball Dress Code Discussion
« on: May 30, 2012, 12:33:09 PM »
I'd like some opinions on the high heel restrictions while we're waiting for the report back from the vendor.  I especially want to hear from the experienced ballroom crowd. 

I guess I count as 'experienced ballroom crowd,' but not sure if you meant a non-B&W Ball-affiliate :)

I'd say that in general, the reason for the heel height restriction falls into three categories (from a ballroom perspective): personal safety, floor integrity, and (in all honesty, most importantly) the safety for those around you.  Particularly when it comes to high-floor density -- you're less likely to slip and kill yourself than you are to step on someone and really jack up their foot.  The higher the heel, the more it'll hurt.

I actually was wondering to myself this year if having heel protectors would help bridge that gulf between stiletto and acceptable - but the thing is, most heel protectors are designed for ballroom shoes, which already naturally have a wider base to begin with.  They won't work on stiletto points.  Still, if your shoes are straddling that line, they're pretty cheap - the last set I got was about $4.  I'm guessing they'd be $6 now, maybe?  You can get them from any ballroom shoe seller; most large cities has at least one peddler of such goods.  The real reason most people have them is that A) it preserves the heel tip for longer and B) they're non-marking.  Benefits your wallet, benefits the floor.

Does this answer your question, Okach?  Hmm.

Also, side comment re: dress code in general - I was actually hoping the fact that I've shown up every year in pants would indicate that yes, you can be dressy without having to wear a dress.  Guess we'll have to make that explicit!  :)

Big Event Showcase / 2011 B&W Ball - Dance Lesson Feedback
« on: June 02, 2011, 05:18:35 PM »
Hi all --

First, I'd like to thank everyone who attended the dance classes we had before the Ball - it's such a privilege to teach you guys, and incredibly humbling whenever someone says they kept up with ballroom dancing because of Fanime Con. It was especially amazing to see some of you show up after giving blood, and then stay for several lessons.  You deserve a round of applause!

We're very curious to know how you all felt about the classes, and would love to keep improving them so it's a great experience for everyone -- so please help us out with some feedback. :)  What did you like about our lessons?  What would you have like to have had more of?  Less?  Did the "Level 2" (Waltz II, WCS II, etc) classes work for you?  Any other thoughts would be appreciated, too!

Thanks again, y'all!  Hopefully see you next year.


@Jim - Most of the women's dance shoes at WCS conventions tend to be of a dress sandal style.  That probably needs to get hashed out a bit more...

My two cents: I think the distinction is if the sandal lacks any kind of ankle strap - as long as there's that strap, open heel should be fine. Though of course, if you plan to dance a lot, a closed-heel shoe (like the WCS shoes) is what I'd recommend to the ladies.  More support/less potential for sloshing around.

Buy/Sell/Trade / [WTS] Manga for sale - $45 for 60+ assorted volumes
« on: November 22, 2010, 11:25:46 AM »
Having essentially a fire sale - these need to go because I have no longer have much room for my books.  They're all in excellent condition; most are essentially brand-new.

PM me if you're interested in the set.  The overwhelming majority are from shojo series, but there are a few shonen ones in the mix, too.  Thanks!


B.O.D.Y. (Vol 6)
The Cain Saga (Vol 3 - shrink-wrapped)
Captive Hearts (Vols 1, 4, 5)
Crimson Hero (Vols 10, 11)
The Gentlemen's Alliance (Vols 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Full Moon o Sagashite (Vol 1)
Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol 9)
Haruka (Vols 2, 3, 4)
High School Debut (Vols 10, 11)
Honey and Clover (Vol 7)
Hot Gimmick VIZBIG Edition (Vols 1, 2)
Kaze Hikaru (Vol 14)
Love*Com (Vol 15)
The Magic Touch (Vols 2, 3, 4)
Mixed Vegetables (Vols 4, 5 [x2])
Millennium Snow (Vol 2)
Monkey High! (Vols 5, 6)
Nana (Vols 9, 10)
Ouran High School Host Club (Vols 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 12)
Red River (Vols 18, 19)
S*A (Vols 3, 5, 11 [x2], 12)
St. Dragon Girl (Vols 1, 3, 4 [x2])
Skip*Beat (Vols 1, 12, 14, 19)
Tail of the Moon (Vol 2, 5)
We Were There (Vols 3, 5)
Wild Ones (Vols 2, 6, 7)
Yuara (Vol 1, 4)

Eyeshield 21 (Vol 27)
Slam Dunk (Vol 3, 4)
Strawberry 100% (Vol 10)

Big Event Showcase / Re: Feedback for the 2010 Black and White Ball
« on: June 04, 2010, 10:38:19 AM »
Trust me, I can't feel my feet by the end of the ball anyways :).

I only stopped hobbling around yesterday.  >_>;

Big Event Showcase / Re: Feedback for the 2010 Black and White Ball
« on: June 04, 2010, 10:37:22 AM »
Yeah, now I think the shoe is kind of borderline casual/dress. Darn ambiguous shoes.

I just wanted to thank you all for the positive responses to my suggestion. My friend will be happy to hear about it, and she'll probably try again next year. Maybe even I'll be there for the first time in my 7 years of con attendance. (I apologize in advance for all the feet that will be stepped on  :P)

We'd love to have you!  :)  It's a lot of fun, and we'll do our best to make sure no one gets stepped on.

For whatever reason, my camera transfer to iMovie is being really weird on the frame rate. I'm not too tech savvy to figure this one out, but if anyone can offer solutions, I would very much appreciate it.

Are you using a regular video camera?  (Like miniDV?)  If you are using DV or miniDV, I'd recommend importing it as a DV stream, and then once it's in iMovie, exporting it to .avi.  I can run you through more specific settings if you need/don't mind a step-by-step.

(Hope you don't mind I'm hounding you!  You got an amazing angle, so I'd love to see what it looks like at regular framerate.  :] )

I have the demos up on my YouTube playlist as well as a clip of people on the dance floor to "Kiss the Girl."


Thanks very much!  Good to see this, even if YouTube did something funky to the framerate on the WCS one.  o_o

Yes, if anyone has any video of the demos during the B&W Ball, that'd be fantastic!  I'd love to see the demos when I'm not thinking about what I'm supposed to be doing out on the floor :)

Big Event Showcase / Re: Feedback for the 2010 Black and White Ball
« on: June 01, 2010, 01:22:16 PM »
The other staff members have already addressed most of the concerns, but Green_Tea, we did notice the ladies with the very short dresses, and will be figuring out how to improve enforcement for next year.

Mostly, I'd like to post to thank everyone who came out to our classes, especially those who came to more than one!  It was such a great feeling to see familiar faces in the crowd, and then again at the ball itself.  When someone says, "I plan to take more lessons after this," (or shows up for nearly *EVERY* single one of our lessons!) that's pretty much the best reward for our time we could get.  It was a privilege to have the chance to teach all of you something new.

And since I'm in speech mode, I'd like to thank my fellow staffers and volunteers - you guys were such a supportive group.  I have to say, the coolest thing about Fanime is: Where else could I have had the opportunity to assist and dance with an all-star level WCS dancer... all weekend long?  (Thank you, Alfred!)

Glad to have met all of you - please let us know how we can tighten things up for next year!

Buy/Sell/Trade / WTS: New/Like-New Manga volumes - $4/ea!
« on: April 10, 2010, 10:03:46 PM »
I'm anticipating having to move soon, so I need to clear out some stuff ASAP, which includes part of my graphic novel library. I have a ton of stuff I picked up but never got to read, so these are all new or like-new (if I thumbed through it).

Note: These are all ENGLISH LANGUAGE translations - not original Japanese-language tankos.

I am working Fanime, but I need to get rid of these (and I'll be working a TON during it), so I prefer to ship orders for efficiency. I'm not looking to make money off shipping, and I know it's a pain to pay for it, so I'll try to find a way to make it as cheap as possible. If you're local to SF, I live really close by, so if the order's big enough, I might consider a meet-up.  PM me.

Also, I'm open to doing slight discounts or doing like 6-for-5 deals for big orders.

NEW/LIKE-NEW - $4 each

The Cain Saga (Vol 3 - shrink-wrapped)
Captive Hearts (Vols 1, 4, 5)
Crimson Hero (Vols 10, 11)
The Gentlemen's Alliance (Vols 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Full Moon o Sagashite (Vol 1)
Fushigi Yuugi VIZBIG Edition (Vol 2)
Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol 9)
Haruka (Vols 2, 3, 4)
High School Debut (Vols 10, 11)
Honey and Clover (Vol 7)
Hot Gimmick VIZBIG Edition (Vols 1, 2)
Kaze Hikaru (Vol 14)
Love*Com (Vol 15)
The Magic Touch (Vols 2, 3, 4)
Mixed Vegetables (Vols 4, 5 [x2])
Millennium Snow (Vol 2)
Monkey High! (Vols 5, 6)
Nana (Vols 9, 10)
Ouran High School Host Club (Vols 4, 7, 8, 9, 12)
Red River (Vols 18, 19)
S*A (Vols 3, 5, 11 [x2], 12)
St. Dragon Girl (Vols 1, 3, 4 [x2])
Skip*Beat (Vols 1, 12, 14, 19)
Tail of the Moon (Vol 2)
We Were There (Vols 3, 5)
Wild Ones (Vols 2, 6, 7, 8)
Yuara (Vol 4)

Eyeshield 21 (Vol 27)
Naruto (Vols 4, 5, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26)
Slam Dunk (Vol 4)
Strawberry 100% (Vol 10)

DISCOUNTED - $2 each

These have some kind of imperfection on the covers (mostly lightly dinged, but one Naruto cover is slightly dirty for some reason). Pretty much would be like new if I wasn't picky.

B.O.D.Y. (Vol 6)
Naruto (Vol 7, 19, 22)
Ouran High School Host Club (Vol 2)
Slam Dunk (Vol 3)
Tail of the Moon (Vol 5)
Yurara (Vol 1)

Well, not quite...:).  You can make a swingout look more like a whip and vice versa if you alter footwork, but it feels way different. 

True, but I think at the "I just learned this" level, it's pretty similar.  Enough so that a WCSer can sorta fake lindy (without tripping the lead, at least).  Heh.  Once you add technique, that's when they start to diverge, for sure.

Big Event Showcase / Re: Music for the Black and White Ball 2010
« on: December 11, 2009, 11:12:38 PM »
@MonkeyRikku - my bad:  WCS = west coast swing.  Easiest way to explain it is to have the pros do it -

Boogie was amazing this year.  The All-Stars round was boss.  I was lucky enough to catch Nick King and his partner, that awesome chick from France, from sitting practically at their feet.  Never would be able to get that kind of action at a ballroom comp.

Here are my music offerings so far:

B'z - Konya Tsuki no Mieru Oka Ni [Nightclub 2 Step (NC2S)]
BoA - Obsessed [East Coast Swing (ECS)/Lindy]
Faye Wong - Eyes on Me [SLOOOOOW Bolero/Int'l Rumba/NC2S]
globe - Is This Love [NC2S]
globe - Stop! in the Name of Love [Chacha]
Koizumi Kyouko - For My Life [Quickstep]
Namie Amuro - What a Feeling [Chacha]
Namie Amuro - New Look [ECS/West Coast Swing (WCS)/Lindy]
Shimomura Yoko - Somnia Memorias [NC2S]
Sakamoto Maaya - Yakusoku wa Iranai [Viennese Waltz]
Uematsu Nobuo - Waltz for the Moon [Viennese Waltz - yeah, I know, everyone suggests this one]
Utada Hikaru - Flavor of Life (Ballad version) [Slow rumba - good for beginners]
Utada Hikaru - Flavor of Life (Original Karaoke version) [Slow chacha - good for beginners]
Yamaguchi Yuko - Believe [NC2S]

That's all I've got so far for anime/video game/k-pop/j-pop stuff.  I have a far, far bigger list of English/Spanish lang stuff for ballroom, latin, swing, etc I can email separately.

Well, it's why I'd recommend slow waltz instead, for raw beginners.  The tempo and footwork gives 'em more time to think.

I'd teach single-time East Coast swing for beginners - not lindy.  Lindy should be for the intermediate dancers.  The nice thing is, the swingout and a whip are basically the same with some minor variations in footwork (as I'm sure okach knows!), so if there were also WCS classes for the intermediate dancers, the patterns could more or less transfer between the two dances.

Also, I second the vote for merengue.  It would be great for super raw beginners who are afraid to do anything too crazy off the bat :)

lol, I would help with the classes no matter what they taught.  But yeah, it would be nice to take advantage of the body of work I've accumulated for a long time :).  Besides, I spent a solid week accumulating appropriate Asian language WCS songs.  Pity to waste that... 

Ooh, share info!  It'd be a big help to those of us stuck in a rut of blues/contemporary.  (Bread and butter, sure, but I need some variety.)

Also, I gave it some more thought.  ECS (beginner)/Lindy Hop (intermediate) might be fun, too.  But then there's the question of who'd teach it all...

For beginners:


For intermediate dancers:

West Coast Swing

That might be a little ambitious, though. But at the very least, WCS should be in there, since we seem to have an All-Star WCS dancer lurking around. It'd be a shame not to take advantage of that.  :)

Big Event Showcase / Re: Music for the Black and White Ball 2010
« on: August 11, 2009, 01:09:19 PM »
What type of music?  Is there a goal to keep it strictly to anime music?

Dance Spectrum is definitely a great place to go. Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya from Dancing with the Stars are both teachers there. Other places in the Bay Area that I'd personally like to recommend are Premier Ballroom in Fremont (especially for Waltz/Tango/Quickstep/Foxtrot/Viennese Waltz), Cheryl Burke Starlite Dance in Mountain View (owned by Cheryl Burke of Dancing with the Stars), and Dance Boulevard (formerly San Jose DanceSport) in South San Jose. If anyone ever wants to know more about ballroom dance, feel more than free to ask. I'm quite pleased that an interest in ballroom dance seems to have been sparked in quite a number of people.

There's also the Allegro Ballroom in Emeryville (good for ballroom & latin dances), as well as a small studio in Oakland (Linden St. Dance) that offers free group classes on M, W, F, if you live in the East Bay.

If you live closer to SF, there's also the Imperial Ballroom in Redwood City.  San Jose, however, has the most ballroom studios in the Bay Area.

A couple of tips:

1) In general, try to avoid franchise ballrooms like Arthur Murray.  They tend to try to steer new students into contracts and large package deals, which tend to be very pricey.  (Or, if you do go, at least be aware that's what tends to happen.)  Non-franchise studios normally won't push you to take a ton of private lessons or anything -- you should be able to just drop in on group classes as you please.

2) I don't know if it was mentioned at the lessons, but there are two different styles of ballroom dancing taught in the US: International (Standard/Latin) and American (Smooth/Rhythm).  Usually American style is taught for social dancing, but international style is very popular on this coast, so you can't really go wrong with either.  Just FYI.

Micellaneous thoughts:

Personally, I'd like to throw out Nightclub Two-Step in favor of Disco Hustle.

This would be sad, because NC2S is such a great dance to teach people -- they can use it in lieu of the clutch-and-shuffle.  And, while hustle is a great dance and fun, NC2S (of the two dances) is a bit easier on girls who are wearing full ballgowns.

(Been there, tried that...)

This year is the first time we've had to go with an outside vendor for the flooring.

Since there's talks for the venue to increase in size, this might be too expensive an option, but I've danced on these floors before and they are awesome:

(They are sooo smooth... and they have some nice flex to them, too.)

Another thought is that if the Fairmont would allow it, maybe a second (smaller) floor could be set up outside the Regency Ballroom?  There was that little area between the bathrooms and the elevators that could have held a small practice floor.  That'd be a great place for people to get impromptu lessons/hang out/etc.  It's less noisy, easier to see, etc.

Someone else mentioned maybe having a small ballroom dance party each night, like the way there's a Dance each night.  Maybe, the night before the B&W Ball, Meeting Room J could be opened in the late evening for an informal ballroom dance practice/party?  People who've been taking lessons can practice; people who are more experienced can stretch their legs; and the two groups can mingle without the danger or threat of a conga line.

(And it might satisfy the urge to dance enough so that if the B&W Ball is very crowded/crazy, it's not as big of a deal.)

Not sure how much that would cost, though.


Hi Jim--

I have a little more feedback - I was thinking about it yesterday, and I really loved the demos.  Great way to pump up the crowd.  Maybe the demos could be followed by a mini lesson, where just the basic of the dance shown is taught off to the side of the floor.

(This, of course, would require ample space next to the floor -- I'm picturing Meeting Room J as an example.)

Also, about the lessons:

I said this last year, and I'm going to say it again this year: In my opinion, we should be teaching less dances, not more.

Those of us who have been dancing for a while tend to forget what our first few classes were like - having trouble remembering the steps for one dance, let alone eight; confusing the different dances with each other;  the sheer anxiety of asking someone to dance whilst worrying we're going to make a fool of ourselves.

I absolutely agree with the part about being a raw beginner.  I only have a few years of experience as a TA for a beginning dance class, but all of these observations are very accurate descriptions of what I saw.  (And felt myself, when I first started.)

But, I did like there was a wide variety of dances to learn.  I don't know if waltz and swing necessarily appeal to everyone.  Giving people options is good -- it's up to them whether they want to attend just one class, or all of them.

It also shows that Fanime is serious about trying to help people learn how to ballroom dance, if they want to give it a try, and that was the part that snagged my attention (and respect).


And if you read the above line and are thinking "Grrr, but when I was trying to transition from shadow telespin through promenade into pivots some n00b jerk blocked me," my response to you is the following: You could have gone to Starlight instead.

Yes!  The goal should be to spread the love of ballroom dancing, not to expect the same experience as at a real studio.  If people want to, they'll go out and see what it's like for themselves.  I thought this was a great dance, and it let everyone have fun at their own level.

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