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“Jose E. Bulatao Jr. grew up in a time and a place where “dance” was something we got to see in the movies that played in the local theaters!  Being born in the years following the Great Depression of 1929 and prior to World War II which started in 1941, the dancing we saw was on the silver screen, and at that time, Betty Grable and Alice Faye graced the 20th Century Fox Studios while Judy Garland was queen at MGM!  Then, of course, there were elegant dancers like Fred Astaire, and hoofers like Gene Kelly who did the “guy things” with style and pizzazz!

In “real life”, there were parties and occasional events where social dancing took place, and times when “social box” dancing took place at the Filipino Hall in the middle of town where candidates vying to become “Her Royal Majesty” for a Rizal Day or Philippine  4th of July [wp_ad_camp_1]

Celebration, sold their “social boxes” which contained a “prize” of some sort, and the men would bid to have an opportunity to dance with the candidate whose box was up for sale for as long as the music played, or until a higher bid came along!

Back then, there were no “hula halaus”, and certainly no dance studios where anyone could learn ballet, tap dancing, or anything that required professional polish to one’s performance.   Those who loved the “kachi-kachi” rhythmic tempos of the Puerto Rican “borinki” dances just carried on the best way they knew how!  Those  who could fox-trot or waltz to their hearts’ content just glided over the dance floor with grace and confidence.  And, for those who had the energy and dare could jitterbug and/or boogie-woogie like there was no tomorrow if the band could play anything as groovy as all that!

For me, it was “catch as catch can”!  Kekaha was a town where the military was around and there was a mixture of “local” and “haole”; civilian and military; “old-fashioned” and “lets-check-it-out” attitudes all clashing and/or competing with one another, all at the same time!  So things happened, one way or another, and life went on—-like it does whenever there are tensions and competitive interests vying for time and attention in the hearts and minds of all caught up in the temper of the times!”

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