When I was contacted by a coordinator from the Hampton VA Medical Center for an event at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #392, I was ecstatic. They were working with the Wounded Warrior Project. This is exactly the type of occasion I want to be involved with and partake. Not only was I doing what I love, dancing the Hula, but I was also sharing the day with soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country.
A recent death during the time in my own family had been weighing heavily on my heart. It felt right to try and make someone else happy and lift the burden of sadness off of myself. After all, they say making others happy also increases your own. I decided I was going to work with the coordinator, a kind woman named Erin.
The destination was quite a trip away but the donation for the Hawaiian Luau presentation was enough for me to drive the day before and book a cheap hotel for the stay. The next day was full of positive energy and I got to meet Erin’s service dog, Oi! I am a big pet and animal lover so that is always nice to experience someone else’s animal companion on my dance journeys.
My storytelling started in Hawaii and I explained all the nuances of different Hulas. The presentation is limited in length, so I try to encompass as much diversity in the cultures of Hawaiiana or Polynesian culture. For an audience, not Hawaiian or from the islands, it is important to keep the pace of the show dynamic and versatile. There are different formats for making this happen. Usually, luaus encompass other Island life hailing from New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, and the Marquesas.
Everyone was involved and engaged throughout the day. The veterans seemed to truly care what I would say in my explanations. Most of all, the feeling of Aloha was felt by me, Erin, and the veterans. They were giving me Aloha back! Everyone was genuinely happy and we were all at the moment.
I’ve been blessed with many fun and high profile event performing. This is not an ego brag, this a true statement of my dance experience. The Wounded Warrior Luau at the VFW experience was definitely steering me to present more of similar venues and causes. The rewarding feeling was illumination.
To the veterans, that day and all members there, thank you for the moment and sharing that time in history with me, Wounded Warriors!
Kind words from the event coordinator, Erin, after the performance.