Fukushima’s Spa Resort Hawaiians starts online hula school for children

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hula dancers at Spa Resort Hawaiians perform during the opening ceremony for its Hula Girls School program in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 8.

IWAKI, Fukushima — The Spa Resort Hawaiians leisure complex has launched an online program to teach hula dancing to elementary school and preschool children.

The program Hula Girls School is taught by hula dancers who work at the complex. An opening ceremony for the program was held on May 8.

The dancers will teach students the choreography for a song over a period of three months. At the end of each session, the students can perform with the other dancers in an online recital. The students involved in the program will also be able to go to the Spa Resort Hawaiians twice a year to perform on stage.

The opening ceremony included performances by hula dancers as well as a message from Ka Lei Nani Hayakawa, supervisor for the program and top adviser at the Joban Music and Dance Institute. The institute trains performers for the leisure complex.

“I hope children will enjoy [performing hula] with their families as a way to develop their mental enrichment,” Hayakawa said.

The program started with 20 children, including some who live outside Fukushima Prefecture. Among them is Runo Yatsu, 11, of Tokyo.

“I’ve admired hula dancers ever since I visited Hawaiians when I was 5,” she said. “I’m practicing with my 8-year-old sister every day.”

Private lessons cost ¥11,000 a month for 30-minute-long sessions held on Tuesdays. For group lessons held on Thursdays, the cost is ¥3,300 a month. Prospective students can join anytime and from anywhere nationwide.