It's been awhile since I've posted anything about that big earthquake here in Japan earlier this year, but despite my silence, the catastrophe has never been far from my mind. There are still so many people homeless, broken, and mourning their loved ones. The people of the region still need help, so relief efforts are far from over.
So, when a friend and fellow JET teacher from Hawaii came up with the idea of a hula performance to benefit the victims of the Tohoku Earthquake, I knew it would be great!
For the past seven weeks, I and some fellow JETs and friends have been meeting to learn hula!
In the beginning, the beautiful and generous Alana offered her spacious apartment for our rehearsals, but we needed a little more space and thought mirrors would be helpful. I called up a friend and we've been able to have some of our rehearsals in Naha at one of my favorite salsa venues: Bomba Latina.
The owner, Teddy, is such a nice guy, and let us practice for free! And we were more than happy to order our fill of delicious food during the breaks.
Yesterday was our last practice, and it was so exciting to see how all of the dances are coming together! There will are five different dances including a solo by Sammy (above), the adult ladies group, a couples dance, a student dance, and a grand finale.
We've been practicing about two hours every week, and are so excited for our performance this weekend!! It's Sunday night from 6:30 to about 7:30 at Moon Terrace Cafe in Agariahama. Come watch and eat delicious Hawaiian food, if you 're able to, and read more about it here! All of the dancers have donated money to the cause, there will be donation boxes, and a percentage of the proceeds from the cafe will go toward relief, as well.
Of course, none of this could ever have happened without the lovely (seriously just look at her!!) and incredibly talented Kate. She's been the best hula dance instructor. She is SO patient (and she needs to be with some of us... especially me!), and so graceful and inspiring. I want to dance JUST like her, but I know I look a lot more awkward and uncoordinated. :) She not only taught us all the dances, but taught them to herself first! For the couples dance, she learned both the men and women's parts so that she could teach everyone. And she does it so perfectly!
On top of all that, she's been working like a maniac to organize everything with the cafe, advertise the event, and she even sewed ALL the skirts!!! Amazing!
Kate, thank you for everything you are doing for our dancers, for this event, and for the people of Japan.
You are seriously inspiring, and I am so lucky to know you and dance with you!