Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Aloha, Oregon, that is . . .

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.

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