Dancing For Fun & Health

You don’t need to be a boot-scooter to enjoy line dancing, which now embraces hiphop to ballroom

Susan Sunderland
Friday - October 21, 2005
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Irene Ai, 92 years young, stays in step with others in the class
Irene Ai, 92 years young, stays in step
with others in the class

Isn’t time that you got into line? Line dancing has gone mainstream and could affect longevity. We danced around town to get the latest findings.

Two years ago line dancing had a decidedly country-western slant. That’s because Tush Push and Achy Breaky dance routines were the rage. Now the Electric Slide has given way to Latin, jazz, new age and even Hawaiian rhythms.

Norman Kunishima calls it “ball line dancing.” It’s a little-bit country and a little-bit everything else. The catalyst is music’s ever-changing landscape. People’s tastes in music change with the seasons, it seems, and dancers want to groove to new sounds. Ballroom dance steps have found their way into line routines. There could be a cha-cha step following a tush push. Or a waltz step going into a rolling grapevine.

Stay with us now, or you’ll get off on the wrong foot.

Dance instructors such as Kunishima make it fun and easy. Line dancing is popular because it is simple. It reflects our desire for an uncomplicated way of life. Dance also is an art form to feel good physically, spiritually and mentally.

Oahu’s third annual Line Dancing Jamboree at Ala Wai Golf Clubhouse celebrates the joy of dance. With or without a partner. There’s a workshop on Friday, Nov. 4, noon to 4 p.m., and a dance showcase and lunch on Saturday, Nov. 5, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Two dollars get you in as spectator, and $20 covers a two-day pass.

The event is organized by dance instructors Deloris Hairston, Salome Sato and Sandy Zook. Donations benefit the Institute for Human Services. Of course, everyone’s invited to dance.

“We wanted to showcase (line) dancing in a non-competitive venue,” says Salome, who uses her first name professionally. ‘We also want to gather line dancers from throughout the state.”

Rosa Lovett, Monique Oda and Hasako Yamaguchi: fun and fitness, to boot
Rosa Lovett, Monique Oda and Hasako Yamaguchi:
fun and fitness, to boot

The popularity of the annual Jamboree has reached beyond the Islands. Mainland guests boot-scoot and stomp along with Hawaii’s best.

There are line dancing groups and clubs all over town. To find a group, just ask another line dancer, check with the public parks, or attend the upcoming Jamboree. Socializing is a big part of these get-togethers, according to Violet Kagawa, vice president of 5-0 Aloha Line Dancing club. “After we dance, we go out to eat!” she exclaims in delight.

Helen Tamashiro, 79, of Pearl City goes to great lengths to make it to weekly dance class. She awakens at 5 a.m. on Mondays, takes TheBus to town in time for an 8:30 a.m. class at Central Union Church. Others commute from Waianae, Kailua and elsewhere.

Parish nurse Teddy Harrison says the line dancing program is a popular senior activity at Central Union Church. She points to 92-year-old Irene Lai on the dance floor, who’s swinging and swaying to Mustang Sally.

The spritely senior is front and

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