Paradise found its way to me at the young age of 6, deep in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. Within the stark walls of my elementary school, I learned my first Hula Dance, "The Hukilau", from my Hawaii loving 2nd grade teacher, Mr. Ishimaru. His Aloha for his students was my first experience of Ohana (family) from a teacher. He extended himself lovingly in the Old Hawaiian way! He was the only teacher in all of my school years who did! Little did I know, that his Aloha would be the first steps along my Inspire Paradise journey!!!
( This photo is actually from 6th grade, our Hawaiian style graduation. My Mama made me my first Mu'u Mu'u out of some retro bark cloth... I still have that cool dress!!! And check out those white patent leather Mary Janes with WHITE SOCKS!!! Whoa!! So City Girl! My little feet WERE so clean and No Hula Girl calluses, YET!!!) hee heeee!!!
When I was 12, my family took our first trip to Hawaii!! The second I stepped into that warm soft air, the scent of plumeria blossoms put me under its spell!!
Then I saw the ocean!!! Ooooooooohhh!! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!
That shade of turquoise!!! ALL THOSE SHADES OF TURQUOISE!!! Absolutely took my breath away!
The FEELING of LIFE in the islands spoke to something deep in my soul! I was HOME!!!
So enchanted with everything Hawaii, I set about re-creating it within my life back in California... first by collecting Hawaiian souvenirs and then years later, by making and selling Hawaiian shirts and sarongs. The colors and prints of the fabrics transported me instantly to the islands. I was a FANATIC for Hawaiian fabric, and I LOVED going on my buying trips to see what was NEW!! I've bought THOUSANDS of yards of Hawaiian fabric!!! ( ADDICT probably best describes me!! ) My Little Moon clothing business had many loyal customers, and some of them, to this day, still remember the creations I made for them. I either run into them, or they contact me and share stories of the stuff they bought from me!!! Many of them STILL have these items!! And sometimes they send pictures!! It's AWESOME!!! ( At this point, Little Moon clothing could be considered Vintage!!!) :)
How I started Dancing Hula:
Twenty years ago, whilst selling my Little Moon clothing at an outrigger race, I climbed up onto a picnic table ( too short to see over the many heads!!) to watch some Hula dancers perform. The scent of their flower lei, the music, their storytelling movements and the feeling of ALOHA caught in my throat, and I wept uncontrollably, overcome by all the beauty that was pouring out to the audience. I was STUNNED by my reaction!! ( So was my friend: " Are YOU OK??? What's the MATTER with you????" ) I was a blubbering mess, that's what!!
I had already LOVED everything Hawaii and never reacted so INTENSELY when seeing Hula dancing live before... I loved to wear shell jewelry and bits of flowers in my hair, but seeing these dancers I realized, I longed to be adorned with gobs ( around my neck, on my head, around my wrists and ankles!!) of flowers and shells, AND have an amazing reason to be wearing them!!
I wanted to carry myself like they did: Gracefully, Joyously, Smiling, HAPPY!!!
Dancing to beautiful music!! Sharing this E N E R G Y & JOY!!
I loved Dancing and took Jazz dance in college...
But, I longed to BE a HULA DANCER!!!
I YEARNED for this feeling to come through me, but I wasn’t even conscious of WHAT that feeling felt like or even what IT was!!
I just KNEW I had to FEEL IT!! And Share this BLISS!!
It was like a Hula bubble that was always in me, finally made it up to my consciousness, and POPPED!!!
It was time to learn...
But there were obstacles!! At least, in my MIND there were!!
# 1. I thought I needed to be Hawaiian to be a Hula dancer. Yet the amazing Hula dancer that I totally admired at the outrigger race, who OOOOOZED ALOHA, and danced so gracefully.. Well, she was a fair skinned BLOND!!!
# 2. Then there was the issue about there not being enough time in a day, to squeeze in something more, like a class!
# 3. Of course, the BIG ONE: Not enough $$$. I had been a single Mom for about 4 years, and was struggling to pay the bills... How was I going to pay for classes?? And a babysitter???
When the Spirit of Hula calls to you, there is no way to say no...
Your mind will try to trick you and make up all these stories to talk you out of it... BUT > It is a POWERFUL Force... When I finally made up my mind and committed to it, it happened... Within a month, my Hula journey had begun...
Unbeknownst to me, Hula was exactly what I’d been searching for all my life!!!! The movement, the music, nature, grace, beauty, the BLISS... I am CRAY-CRAY-CRAZZZY about ALL of it!!
I have INFINITE GRATITUDE for the experience of dancing Hula with/for legendary musicians such as Cyril Pahanui, Makaha Sons, Amy Hanai’alii, Hapa, Sister Robi, Raiataia, Jim Kimo West, Patrick Landeza, John Cruz and Kaleo Naea… The musicians are magic makers, channels of all that lovely music that transports you to Paradise!!!
How I started teaching:
A friend's friend's young daughter ( aged 6) asked if I could teach her Hula and I said yes!! Her schoolmate joined us and we did about a year of classes together!! Her schoolmate's Mom really wanted to learn, so I started teaching private lessons in their home.
A couple years after that, a friend who was teaching Hula to a group that I was in, was moving to Hawaii. She asked if I wanted to take over the class. I had to think about it...
A week after she asked me, I had a psychic reading for my birthday. I asked her about my work life. She asked me what I was doing so far. I told her of my businesses working with clothing, and she didn't get a strong hit on them. I told her I had just been asked to take over a Hula class and she about jumped outta her chair!! Her eyes lit up as she said," I know that you are thinking " How can I fit this into all the other things/jobs that I do??" ( I WAS thinking that!!)
She kept making this movement with her right hand... it shot up in the air. Her hand stayed pointed up, above the elbow, and spiraled down, like energy coming from Heaven to Earth.... She excitedly told me, " My hand keeps doing THIS!! And what it is telling me is that it is going to be DEEP!!! A deep experience for you and it will be GOOD!!!" Her hand continued doing that same movement and she was laughing at how persistent the energy was being!!!
I heeded her advice, and started teaching the class... it has been one of the BEST decisions I've made for my life. My Love of Hula has deepened, and evolved so naturally!! I LOVE teaching and I LOVE what I am LEARNING as a teacher! It's soooo dang FUN, too!!! To hear the blissful sighs and see the BIG SMILES of my students after we finish dancing a dance... and know they have been transported to Paradise with Hula, that, to me, is just the BEST!!!
It's funny, too.. I recently started noticing, that a song will find me ( Or I think I found IT!) then it follows me relentlessly... I hear it all day and night long. While I am cooking, talking, eating, going to bed, dreaming, upon waking, working, even going to the loo!!! Sheez!! Alright already!!! I get it!!!
Once, I was right in the middle of making dinner, sprinkling fresh rosemary over a dish. I then saw a whole section of choreography unfold in my minds eye!! I had to stop what I was doing and dance it!!! I know it is good and complete (pau), when, after I am finished dancing it the way it feels best, I cry... and I cry and I CRY!!! Crying seems to be my barometer... And when it comes to Hula and Hawaii and me, crying is inevitable!!!
So if ever I am with you and I get lost in thought and next thing you know, I am dancing Hula ( and crying!!), just know that a dance is being downloaded, and I gotta take the call!!
What are the stories that prevent you from diving into Hula??
I invite you to LET GOOOOO ( be free my little birdy, be FREEEEEE!!!) of those stories about why you can't be dancing Hula..
And join us here with Inspire Paradise Hula courses... You can dance in the privacy of your own home, ( NO ONE IS WATCHING YOU!!! ), go at your own speed, at your convenience, and play the video lessons a million times to learn to your heart's delight!!
Let's get started, shall we????
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