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Demetri the Bikefitter Has Moved to NW Portland

When you aren’t dancing – or just thinking about places to dance instead – you should be riding your bike around town. Or to a dance. I know in Portland they get together in the Pearl and ride out to Tango Berretin on Foster.

Anyway, someone stole my bike . . . so come this spring – or sooner – I plan on buying a new bike. I am told by my neighbor and everyone that rides bikes seriously–I don’t–that I should go to Veloce Bicycles and get Demetri Macrigeani to measure me for a bike size before I purchase a bike. Turns out he doesn’t own Veloce Bicycles anymore.  But Demetri of Veloce has moved to NW Portland and set up his own bicycle fitting shop.  This new bike fitting shop is called Europa Velo.  I guess Demetri fits bikes and nothing else. I am told that Demetri is one of the best bike fitters in Portland, Oregon

So after emailing him I set up an appointment to go see him.  For a pre-purchase fitting.  Demetri the bike fitter knows that I am a bike slob and just going to buy something like an Urban-Express from KHS or some other similar under $1000 hybrid.

So if you are looking for Bike Fitting in Portland, Oregon. Demetri is available to measure you for a bicycle purchase or to make your current bicycle fit better.

Demetri’s contact info and location is (as of 2011):

Europa Velo
1836 NW Overton St.
Portland, OR.

Washington Grange Saturday Dance on Pumpkin Ridge

There really is only one dance in the whole Tualatin Valley. Funny, I wonder where all the Intel/Tektronics people go on a Saturday night? They probably can afford to fly to Hawaii to go dancing. . .

So I went out to the Washington Grange in the Tualatin Valley. There is a Saturday dance that has been going on there since 1953, one year after the Grange was built. This is before most people reading this blog were born.


I danced with a lady that has been coming there since 1960, so I believe the band leader when she told me it was 1953. The floor was one of the nicest dance floors I’ve seen in a while, made from Pecan wood. I don’t know much about dance floors except that they need to be smooth and consistent so you can scoot around without hurting your knees.

The crowd was mainly older dancers, but the dances where easy and this location is a great recommendation if you are just starting ballroom dancing or if you are jaded with the thousands of dollars you have spent on lessons and got nowhere and just want to scoot around. Some people were there because they were intrigued by the dance styles and choices. You don’t see these much anymore. What is “Drag” dance style? Or “Chair Drag”? Essentially everyone was just scooting around with a Cajun/Foxtrot like hippie shuffle (well, I call it the Hippie Shuffle) but they have been doing for years so it looks much more complex to the casual viewer. step step step tap one way step step step tap the other way. Or trade the tap for a pause. Or count it quick quick slow tap. (sound anything like Zydeco? . . . maaaayyybeeee). Only a few actual steps make up almost all of the social dancing styles.

They had a 3 piece with a piano and accordion and a huge heavy metal thunder drum set. Don’t go here if you are expecting virtuosity by the musicians. They do one thing good, and for me that is the only thing these days, and that is put out good dance songs. The ones your parents or grandparents would have loved. If you just wanna dance, this is the place for you.

The drummer would get up occasionally and change the “dance board”, something I don’t see much of anymore. Heel & Toe was interesting.

So. . . .if you have nothing to do and want to go on a killer date for only $2, head out to the Washington Grange on Pumpkin Ridge Road. Sunset Highway way, turn right at North Plains, follow Glencoe Rd until you hit NW Pumpkin Ridge Road. It’s a bunch of miles on your right, you can’t miss it.
washingtongrange_inside The stage looked more like New Year’s Eve party, but who am I to judge an event that has been around longer than most people reading this blog. . . . .

I Didn’t Go Dancing That Night

Mother’s Day is special in the Pacific Northwest. Over 400 climbers headed to Mount St Helens to climb with dresses on.

It took me 14 hours because I thought I could climb up with skis and skins I rented and then ski down the 6,000 feet in 15 minutes. Didn’t anticipate the skins not working on the way up, and the skis not working on the way down (it had iced up really bad by the time I reached the top). So I hiked up and down in ski boots. Next year it will be climbing snow shoes and glisading back down. It really was a fun bunch of people, men and women and a few dogs.

Age and Dancer Appeal . . . or NOT

Ban-Dance Observer Job
from Popular Science Magazine
(The 10 Worst Jobs In Science)

Findings suggest that young women rate the dancing of middle-aged men less attractive than the dance moves of younger men, perhaps an evolutionary trait that discourages women from choosing older mates — middle-aged men tend to use big, uncoordinated movements , and women typically find complex movement most attractive. But don’t lose hope. Above age 60, men dance with more complexity. They also exhibit their highest dance confidence at that age. No wonder grandpa thinks he works it so good. It’s no chore to watch supermodels shake it in a nightclub.

Put Peter J. Lovatt, a former professional dancer and a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in England, must examine the often unflattering gyrations of everyone from preteens to the elderly in search of the influences and motivations behind human dancing. Lovatt and his team record videos of the dancers and then quantify their groove thang using a special movement-analysis technique and software. Other times, observers rate traits such as the overall attractiveness of the dancer’s movements on video, or the observers wear a visor that tracks what elements of the dancer they are looking at.

Monday Dancing Trifecta In Portland

So I go downtown to update my skills and relationships last Monday night (that’s M-O-N-D-A-Y,  first night after the weekend).
They’re Waltzing at Lenora’s, with what you need most, lots of room, (and Varrroooom, chocolate cake, balanced lead/follow).

Lenoras Waltzing









Then I mosey out and cross the street to the PPAA where they are finishing up TangoFest weekend (don’t those people ever stop Tangoing?)

Portland Police Athletic Academy Tango Dance


And then, on the SAME block, I wander around the corner to the Swing/Blues/Balboa crowd stuffed into the Maiden dancing to the Pete Krebs Trio

Inside the Maiden in The Mist, with dining tables set up

oops, there is no one there! I guess I better come back in a few minutes. . . . .

Swing dancing to the Pete Krebs Trio at tt

Ah, that’s better!!

A true Dancing In Portland Trifecta:  Waltz, Tango, Swing

On Monday night no less. Not much other places in the world that have this much happening in one block area.

Art Walk Downtown Vancouver

Last night I went to the Art Walk across the river in Vancover Washington.

There where 4 or 5 bands playing. Zydeco DJs artwalk_cascadezydeco








Pop Tunes Bandartwalk_rockband







High School Jazz Band






Swing Band in the Vancouver Ballroom

 artwalk_vancouverballroom artwalk_vancouverballroom_o





It was nice and only a couple drops of rain.  Ran into Frank VanWarden,  someone who I went to college with. S aid he had just discovered social dancing and was really stoked.

I am on Weight Watchers program and I had a hard time not eating the free fries Burgerville was giving out. Lots of free food at the numerous art galleries (oh yeah, I forgot there for a moment about the art galleries).



I was so busy hanging out with the Zydeco people that I forgot to take a picture of the Cumbia band.

The New Hostel Seattle

So I come up to Seattle once a month. New people, new dances, different music, trying to get a picture of every dance event in the area. I’ve got a picture of every Elks, Eagles, Moose Lodge, school, church, community center, park, bookstore with dance floor, street dance, boat cruise, random location . . .  where there is a dance event, I want a photo of it. If you don’t see a picture hooked to the dance event, send me one maybe ask first, straight off the camera, 3 megapixels is good. Send to website (email us).

When in Seattle I like to stay at the Hostel Seattle run by Lee and Nancy (truly very cool people) — and it was a surprise to me that they are moving downtown to the Bell District (between Space Needle and Pike Street Market) ::  2327 2nd Ave Seattle, WA

Here is the outside the night of the art show.


Anyway,  they came up with a great idea to promote the new location which now has 120 beds compared to the 30 the old location had. I like both locations.


The old one  was on the ocean with a great view . . .  you tell me


The old location was not the best location for all the young travelers that come through but it is on the ocean, right there next to Ballard where the Seattle based boats in The Dangerous Catch TV show come by. I might go on the Dangerous Catch Harbor Tour if I get the time and quit trying to get more blogs up and running. The closest dancing was the Tractor Tavern which has a great Square(Neo) dance on Mondays. The new one is right in the center of the *action* for dancers, folk life, artists, ferry boat riders. Ferry riders (no boats)  have to go a little higher on the digits, I think somewhere around 13th and Pine/Pike or so, har har . . . ouch, who kicked me?

Ok, back to the promotion and great enhancement for a hostel. They had local artists come in and paint the rooms with their artwork, then they held an art show and let everyone go through the rooms. I think this was a part of a bigger “art night” in that area. I like the area, will bring my bicycle for NW FolkLife Festival and ride there and back and around the area.Here are some pictures of the room art, not going to sort or format, just one big slew of pictures of the walls of rooms that you might stay in. Right there on your bedroom wall. Great idea, and I’m not being paid to say this. I love it when I run into something that is smarter than me.

The rooms

Seattle_Hostel_Room1Seattle_Hostel_Room2 Seattle_Hostel_Room3 Seattle_Hostel_Room4 Seattle_Hostel_Room5

Seattle_Hostel_Room6 Seattle_Hostel_Room7 Seattle_Hostel_Room8 Seattle_Hostel_Room9 Seattle_Hostel_Room10 Seattle_Hostel_Room11 Seattle_Hostel_Room12 Seattle_Hostel_Room13 Seattle_Hostel_Room14 Seattle_Hostel_Room15 Seattle_Hostel_Room17

Kids these days can spend a whole day without getting out of bed. Wish I could afford a Mactop


After the art show I booked it over to the 3r Place Commons Bookstore in Bellvue to take a picture of the



and then the inside


then to Sonny Newmans’ 2nd Friday Waltz Night in Greenwood District


then down to the Chong-Wa Society


for The Seattle Social Club Dance


Ron Bolin taught a beginning Lindy Hop lesson that night at the ChongWa.  I would love to have Ron post his dance events on He has great dances, especially for single people, but they are really hard to keep track off. I think he has about 15 people helping him and his Seattle Dance Information website/emaillist/newsletter. oh well.   Alas, I have a fear that Ron is like the other “communities” et al : everyone has a website, their website (though incomplete) is the final word. Kinda like business cards or your own shiny new kitchen. There is  “sense of community” and there is “community”.  Oh well, hope I’m not just as guilty.  Don’t have time to look. You tell me. I try not to upset the dance instructors that really are the backbone to the whole institution of social dancing. Without them and the money they lose on promoting dancing events, we would be stuck in a bar doing the boogaloo with Hee Haw shoulders and all that. Hey! Wait a minute! What’s wrong with that! Nothing, actually, it’s very democratic for anyone in the world to have a chance to dance, drunk, like no one is watching.  . .

On the way back to bed I hit the Highliner on Fishermans Terminal to get an inside picture of the dance floor


the Highliner hosts a slew of good Cajun/Zydeco dances, I caught the tail end of just a Vanilla Dance going through its ending stages. . .  2 drunk women dancing together after everyone has left.

I should be blogging every day. Don’t know, but I like reading them if no one else does. They look like someone else wrote them a couple days/weeks/months later. Big head, or something.

If someone knows of a better blog host, I’d like to know. I just spent 8 hours using this WordPress contraption. Wordmess. It shouldn’t be that difficult. That is why is popular. It does something quick and easy.

The Secret Polka Step

About 50% of all social dances can use the polka step instead of whatever they say is the right step. Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing,  East Coast Swing, Cha Cha. Basically it’s the triple-step without the rock step. The rock step usually costs a dancer about $1000 in dancing lessons to figure out. The old Intermediate syndrome. Term was invented by dance instructors. You either do it perfect, one piece at a time, or . . . . . you are an eternal intermediate. Frame is an example, balance is another, and mastering the Polka step by itself will free up all your thinking and let you focus on getting frame and upper body stuff perfected.

Now, the second you mention Polka everyone visualizes a couple careening around the dance floor while spinning clockwise with leather hosen and Swiss Alp hats. Beer barrel polka and so on. But the Polka is really just a double triple step. The Samba is the same thing, but you don’t turn. You can turn in either direction or go forward and back or hold hands and both face forward. You get the picture. I also heard that the “Dixieland 2 Step” is also the same as the Polka, but I can’t say for sure because it was Martin Rhoe who said that and he doesn’t teach anymore and so I can’t find him to have him show me.

Anyway, you get the Polka step down and you get the Cajun or Hippie Suffle down and you’ll have all you need to go on one of those ocean cruises where there is dancing in the lounge.

Polka is kinda hard on the knees, so be careful. Maybe that is why they invented the rock stop. Either that or a conspiracy of dance instructors wanted to figure out a way of making the circle lopsided so students wouldn’t get it first time or two . . . .thousand.

There is a dance in Europe called the “Boogie Woogie”. I swear it is the Lindy Hop done to Polka.

Here is how you count the Polka:
1-2-3 and 1-2-3 and

Dancing In Portland And The Friends I Made Dancing

Today’s blog is about some of the people I consider friends who I met thru the Portland, Oregon dance community.

Evrim Icoz is one of the best photographers I know. His wedding photos make me want to get married. I used to think you could just point and click and it would capture the essence but Evrim does something that makes his pictures outstanding. He has an incredible collection of photos of the Lindy Hop Dance scene during the Viscount Ballroom and Crystal Ballroom era. Evrim is now serving a stint with theTurkish army. Go figure.

EJ Simmons is a blood cold lawyer with a very warm heart. I love the level he talks at and someday maybe he can sue somebody for me. He’s got this huge poodle, go figure.(this just in, his poodle died—it was 13 years old) He doesn’t do too bad either when it comes to introducing new follows to the Portland Swing scene (EJ, bring a couple for me!). He is constantly studying and talking Internet talk and one of those people that is always happy to see me. (Read: rare) and always just takes off and starts talking at this great level that taxes my IQ. His electrical accident site seems to always have new stuff. Think I’ll let my garden hose wander over towards the electrical outlet while I’m watering my plants. Maybe make it rich with EJ’s help. I think I better stand on a chair so I will fall off and disconnected the flow of electricity that might be going through my body. Also sue them for a broken arm. So who? Not sure, we’ll get to that bridge when I cross it.

I like Joshua Kereos and his girlfriend Karissa. Karissa used to work for EJ Simmons. He said she now has a “real job”. Heh heh. Joshua has spent some serious money setting up and it’s bulletin board and he is fair with everyone. Many dance websites that try to cover dancing in Portland don’t want to acknowledge Portland Dancing but not so Joshua. (when you wonder if a website is feeding you a bill of goods, just look for a link to Portland Dancing—no link, no complete. Portland Dancing always includes contact phone, email, and URL with each listing: it helps people get associated with Portland dance and lesson choices—oh well). I love talking tech talk with Joshua. He is a programmer for a big internet/communications company and always has a friendly smile or a cheerful reply when I email him. Oh god, I love dancing the Blues with Karissa. I really don’t dance Blues that good, but Karissa is wiggling all over the place. The way Karissa dances the blues borders on G-rated obscene (go figure what that means). Joshua, you are a lucky guy! And I am lucky to know you guys.

All of you, everyone in this world, I am lucky to have met and known you.

And glad I have a list of dances in Portland.

Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival

Folklife was great. For me at least.

Bought some shoes, having buyer’s remorse. I should have gotten the ones with more green.The husband and wife team make Kool Shoes and come up from Arizona and have a booth in the Folklife crafts alley. They have a great website that shows off their wares. I think I would order them next time so I could get something that matches something I have (bald head?).


Ok, now that that is out of the way, remember that the Blues Festival is coming up on the July 4th weekend. There will be a dance floor in front of the Back Porch stage and there will be Zydeco bands on Friday night and all day Saturday. On Sunday the Back Porch Stage will have swing bands. It was a great event last year and if you’re there, it should be great this year. You can leave your bags and street shoes at the Cascade-Zydeco booth on Friday, Saturday, and on Sunday it will be hosted by the Portland Lindy Society.


So, I should have all the dance events up on Portland Dancing soon so you can get to them really quick. There just might be some Spirit of Portland

cruises going out that will have dancing(I think there are 2 dance floors/stages on the boat). Blues Festival should have schedule of cruises. I’m usually worn out from dancing and I end up not going on the cruises. They get back around 2:30am. Plus, they cost money and are booked up very early in the game.So . . . see you at the Blues Festival!