Hula dancers swing to the tune of ‘I’ll See You in Hawaii’ during the ‘Aloha Showtime’ portion of the PACCM Hula Dance Class Luau Party held on April 20, 2013 in the Philippine American Community Center of Michigan in Southfield. Photo by Percy Antonio
Hula dancers swing to the tune of ‘I’ll See You in Hawaii’ during the ‘Aloha Showtime’ portion of the PACCM Hula Dance Class Luau Party held on April 20, 2013 in the Philippine American Community Center of Michigan in Southfield. Photo by Percy Antonio

[box type=”default” size=”large”] 160 guests captivated by an afternoon of hula dancing [/box]It was called luau party, and it was a party like no other.

This aptly described the PACCM (Philippine American Community Center of Michigan) Hula Dance Class Luau Party held in the afternoon of last April 20 in the hall of the PACCM building in Southfield.

The party opened with Flor Penner, hula dance class coordinator, reciting the “E Komo Mai and Mahalo O Nui.” After Fe Roland led the opening prayer, Penner did the oli chanting of “E Ho Mai Ala E (Grant us the knowledge from above).

This was followed by a demonstration of the “Art of Sarong Body Wrap.” With Dee Juco explaining the various ways of sarong body wraps, the models, mostly members of the hula dance class, beamed as they showed in graceful way how the colorful sarong is artistically wrapped around the body.

The guests, numbering at least 160, were visibly delighted to know the many ways the beautifully printed sarong is worn.

A luau party is not complete without food galore. And so, as an intermission in the program, an early dinner was served. The guests enjoyed savoring their favorite Filipino dishes, including (of course) the mouth-watering litson, which was donated by Van Ong.

Dinner was followed by the Parade of Hula Dance Costumes. With Flor Sitchon announcing the names of the participants, the dancers paraded  their brightly colored outfits, which included Tahitian dresses, aparima, sarong, pau skirts and auana.

The Hawaiian ambiance was greatly enhanced when Juno Juco presented a musical number with his aloha ukulele.

Then came a guest performance by the Consuming Fire Dance Group that drew applause for the dancers’ excellent terpsichorean skills.

The hula-dancing portion called “Showtime” came next. It was opened with the blowing of the conch shell to welcome the guests to the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the PACCM Hula Dance Class.

This was followed by a dozen dances with the dancers swinging and swaying to the tune of Hawaiian songs, including “I’ll See You in Hawaii” and “Pearly Shells.”

The “Pearly Shell” number captivated the guests as the dancers – namely, Gabrielle, Skye, Isabella, Ellen, Valerie, Emmie, Elvy, Jeanette, Caitlin, Sophia and Aleyah – displayed fluidity of motion and graceful, simultaneous swinging of the hands and hips. This particular number showed that indeed, “hula is the language of the heart.”

Another number that mesmerized the audience was the dance choreographed to the tune of Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” This was performed by Flor Penner, Dee Juco and Marissa Radowick.

Still another well applauded number was the hula adaptation of the “Dahil sa Iyo” (Because of You) song. This particular dance, which was performed in two versions (the first with the slow tempo and the other with the fast pace), showcased the versatile dancing talent of the Blue Hawaii-attired performers – namely, Dee Juco, Marissa Radowick, Rose Caoagas, Merce Gooding, Connie Sumalde and Dory Cardenas.

A funny part of the program was the one that called for audience participation. It was led by Flor Sitchon who coaxed the participants to sing with her “Huki Lau, Huki Huki Lau.”

The last four numbers were Tahitian dances highlighted by the solo performance of the jungle dance by Stephanie Penner.