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Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


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Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

At a recent gathering of women writers of a certain age, we were discussing and listening to music that moves us. One woman said, “When this song comes on I leap and twirl like a crazy woman. You wouldn’t believe it.”

But do we have to be crazy to dance for the sheer joy of it once we reach middle age? I admired my aquaintance’s acknowledgement that she gives in to a wave of exuberance, lifted up by the pulling charms of the music, no other eyes to ply her with a veil of restraint. She, in her glory of freedom, alone but together with her music. I relished goosebumps of solidarity.

I, too, am a solitary dancer. When I have the house to myself, dancing is both celebration and balm in centering myself in a moment in time. We are given this life, this temporary state of being. The sorrows and tragedies of the world, and of our own lives, will continue to play out whether we seize moments of joyful being or not. Not that all dancing is joyful. Sometimes the most satisfying dance is sad and aching, which on occasion transforms to joy or at least contentment. Or not.

Dance is a fluid moment, fluid emotion. Whatever we have within can flow through dance. All the chores on our list will patiently or impatiently await our attention. Why not allow ourselves to carve out time for the physical expression of beauty, love, longing, bliss, heartache, all the poetry that music is? Dance embodies music- we become the music- we become poetry in motion.

Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


Today I performed at a hula demonstration at the Del Mar Fair. It was the first time I’d performed in over 20 years. As my dear old friend Desiree used to say, "Nur Mut!" (German for "Only Courage!") Yes, it did take courage for me to get on that stage. Performing is not in my comfort zone. I had to command Shyness to step aside and allow Werewolverina, my wild inner dancer, to take over. And I did it!

I was in awe of my beautiful, gifted teacher, Lori, and all her lovely, hard-working students as we made the magic happen on this sultry July day at noon. The hula spirit could not have emerged, though, without the soulful Polynesian music- drums and ukulele, played by the Pride of Polynesia musicians.

I had goosebumps from the joyful rush of it; I’m so glad I took part. And to see John, Roy and Leo in the audience… my heart was in full hula.

We performed to He U`i by Danny Kua`ana ( Translation source: Garza-Maguire Collection). 

He u`i nô `oe ke `ike mai
He pua ho`oheno i ka lâ
`O `oe nô ka`u i aloha
He pua i milimili ai

`O `oe he pua i `ako `ia
He mea ho`opili i ka `ili
Nou ê ko`u mana`o
Ua `ohu i ka lei hînano

Mai none mai none mai `oe
Ku`u lei ê ho`okahi nô
Kou maka `eu`eu
He aha a`e nei kâu hana

Ha`ina mai ka puana
Ha`ina he u`i i ka lâ
`O `oe nô ka`u i aloha
He pua i milimili ai


You are beautiful to behold
In the sunlight you are like a lovely flower
You are mine to love
A flower to caress

You are a flower that has been plucked
Someone to hold close
Constantly do I think of you
Adorned with the hala blossom lei

Don't, oh don't tease me
My dearly beloved
Don't wink your naughty eyes
Can't you see what you are doing to me

Thus ends my song
My lovely flower in the sun
Dearly, do I love you
A flower to caress