Out and About

Jan 21, 2014 7:03 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

Out and About with JT: Spreading the Aloha with the Santa Maria Hula Club

There are just some environments in which it's next to impossible not to be happy...your spirits lifted by simply being present. Such is the case when you spend a little time with members of the Santa Maria Hula club.

Especially when you get Out and About with them on a beautiful Central Coast Winter day at the beach.

Just the sound of Hawaiian music can life my spirits. Add the graceful movements of the Santa Maria Hula Club, winter sunshine in Shell Beach, and it's a mix for the start to a really good day.

I had one of those great days recently when four members of the Santa Maria club, called "Hoapili Pomaika'i Aloha" gathered in Shell Beach to teach me a few of their moves and share their culture, through Hula.

The club has been around for 8 years. There are more than 20 members who gather once a week in Santa Maria, but they decided to get Out and About and come to the beach to teach me about their club, their culture, their dance. "Most of us really miss home, and so by us gathering together and kind of reminiscing of the old days by doing some of the things we used to do...it makes us feel like home again." says club member Pauline Plan. "We have a phrase called 'Spread the aloha'. It's mainly spreading our love for the islands, our culture."

It's what they do every Tuesday night in Santa Maria. And it's what happened in an impromptu group lesson that happened at the beach.

"Let your head follow your hands." said Mona McKelvy who was teaching not only me, but a handful of willing participants in a little lesson on moving to and with the music. "Ready, point, hands on hips!"

When they lined up to teach me a few moves, the Aloha spread. Before you knew it, we were all grinning ear to ear from the inside out and had a group gathered taking pictures and smiling back at us. "Keli's got this down!" I congratulated fellow-hula-girl Keli Moore when I could finally look around.

It was such wonderful fun and you can take part in light-hearted hula lessons like this any Tuesday evening. "It's a feeling of ohana, or family." says Mona. "And we're sharing that. It's for all shapes, sizes, all ages. From baby to 99 years old, everyone can do the hula."

It's story telling with the hands and eyes...interpreting the song. And don't worry if your words don't come out just right. "I say there's really no right or wrong. Everyone has their own style. But when you dance from within, from your heart, that's all that really matters." adds Pauline.

And trust me, once you get past the first few moves and mistakes, you will be. And your heart will be smiling ear to ear.

The Hula club meets every Tuesday at the Santa Maria Gun Club. (I know, there's a bit of irony there.) Classes are held for both children and adults. You can also hire club members to come add a little spirit of Aloha to your party or gathering. For more information, click here.

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