Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bringing Hula to the East Coast

Sabina Plaza McWilliams... Spreading Aloha

Here's Sabina dancing the hula on her last visit here. This
was at St. Francis West hospice

A childhood friend, Sabina Plaza McWilliams tries to come home to Hawaii once a year with her sister, Juanita Plaza Carter. Sabina lives in Southern Florida while younger sister Juanita lives in Glendale, California.
Here are sisters Juanita and Sabina in
front of St. Francis West Hospice
Sabina entertains at nursing homes in South Florida by dancing the hula with a group called Kamaaina Dancers. The group is based at the Northeast Focal Point Senior Center in Deerfield Beach Florida. This is in the Coral Springs area, just above Fort Lauderdale and below Boca Raton.
Sabina resting in the lobby of St. Francis West Hospice
The group is instructed and choreographed by Donna Flynn who began dancing 40 years ago in Palo Alto, California. She started Kamaaina Dancers over 15 years ago and they perform at least 8 shows a year for senior communities, assisted living facilities and other organizations. What nominal fee they charge goes to the Alzheimer's center.

When dancing in a group like this, the members must dedicate a lot of time to rehearsing, because although all are seasoned dancers, each school or halau has its own style when dancing a number. So the seven members meet once a week. The oldest dancer is 87 years young.

Sabina is the newest member, having been with the group for five years and is the only Hawaii-born member. Most of the members have been to Hawaii for a visit.

We grew up in Kapalama where the Post Office is now situated on King Street.

Sabina was first introduced to hula at Palama Settlement and eventually went on to learn from Kuulei Stibbard on Beretania Street. She also danced with a group from Papakolea where she developed her soft and graceful hand motions.

Sabina dancing to "To You, Sweetheart, Aloha"

After graduating from Farrington High School, she moved to Los Angeles where she performed with a small group in Hollywood and at private functions in Beverly Hills and Bel Aire. She is so happy to be back into hula.

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