For a story I'm doing on hula - in advance of the flower show - I headed to Narberth last night to observe a hula class at Aloha Style on the Main Line. Well, I've just added "hula lessons" to my someday-to-do list.
What fun. Real Hawaiian hula bears no resemblance to the cartoon most of us know - the jiggling hips, the coconut bra, the plastic-grass skirt. Real hula is beautiful - slow, sensual, graceful and, yes, complex.
The group last night was all female, ages ranging from 9 to "of a certain age." The women spoke of hula as exercise, as a way to unwind, as something that made them feel happy and beautiful and as a vehicle for friendship.
Robin Fischer of Bala Cynwyd, shown here, said hula has been her physical therapy for a balance problem. She dances by the pole to steady herself and brings Lab/German shepherd, Honey, service dog with her to class. Everyone calls Honey "hula dog."
"I can't afford the co-pay for PT," Robin says. (It's $50/session, 3 days/week.) And hula "makes me feel graceful and light." Robin dances at home, she even videotapes herself, and she cannot say enough about her "hula sisters."
After a surgery, Robin says she had offers of rides, money and meals. Her hula pals sent cards and called. "There is so much support and no judgment," she says.
Flower show folks are promising an authentic Hawaiian experience, at least as far as hula is concerned. You may be surprised by what you see.