I've been a student of hula for almost two years at the Bally's gym in Aloha, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. I am not Hawaiian, rather, I am pretty much German, except for a wee bit of Scottish and Irish. I trace my initial interest in hula back to my honeymoon, when he and I visited the Polynesian Cultural Center on O'ahu. I do remember being quite taken with the Tahitian dancing -- hips revving from zero to 60 on the very first drum beat -- more than the relatively sedate hula.
But when I first observed the hula class in Aloha, I remember thinking that the dancing was more athletic than I'd remembered from watching the sedately swaying ladies in Hawai'i. Now that I'm a member of the class, I can attest to that fact. It's a workout. I refer to our weekly class as Hula Boot Camp.
Last year I took a week-long Hawaiian language class when a teacher came from O'ahu to teach members of our halau (hula group). About a year ago I joined a 'ukulele class that began at our halau. I'm still hula'ing, playing the 'uke, and speaking Hawaiian as best I can. Lately I've been sharing with my class some of the fascinating things I've learned about Hawaiian culture.
I studied hula for three years in Aloha, Oregon, and along the way developed a passion for all things Hawaiian. I also studied 'ukulele and the Hawaiian language.
When I'm not hula'ing, 'uking or practicing 'olelo Hawai'i, I am a professional writer with years of experience writing for local, regional and national publications. Most notably, I was a regular for The Wall Street Journal for 17 years.
Someday I hope to write a book about my obsession with Hawaiian culture.