Hawaiian Dancing at the Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, B.C.

Luau, Summer 2002
Fun—Relaxation & Exercise—The Gentle Kind

Lessons are held every week in the Church Hall, see the calendar. Dress requirements: slipperettes, appropriate Hawaiian dress, and maybe a bottle of water.

Our teacher, Inge Nielsen, who has been well instructed in the many types of Hawaiian dancing, also teaches us how to make Lias—Hawaiian costumes—and some understanding of the Hawaiian Language through music.

A Hawaiian Luau is held for the dancers during the summer. Plans of meeting in Hawaii in the future are also in progress.

The cost is $5.00 per lesson and $2.00 per tape of Hawaiian music for dancing.

For more information, please contact Inge Nielsen at 604.524.3004.

The Hawaiian Dancers meet in the Danish Church one evening a week to practice and learn new dances. Occasionally the teacher, Inge Nielsen, gets calls from Dania Home, Normanna, and others for the group to come and perform. Besides the beforehand mentioned seniors’ centres, the group has also been performing at The George Derby Centre for Alzheimer’s patients and at UBC Hospital building for amputees. The recreation staff at the various centres call Inge Nielsen and make the arrangements for the group to perform. Inge Nielsen has done this service for ten years, but I have only been performing with this group for about half a year.

The Dancers are always welcome at the different centres where the kitchen staff usually have made a special Hawaiian menu for the residents—sometimes including non-alcoholic Mai-Tais. The staff has always put up colourful posters, and often they are wearing Hawaiian shirts and flower Leis. At one centre in Vancouver a welcome was written on the sidewalk: “Aloha. Welcome to Hawaii” in large letters made with pink and blue chalk. That made the dancers feel welcome right away.

A performance usually lasts about an hour with 5–10 very, very fast costume changes. It’s a very colourful show with the beautiful Hawaiian music most people know so well. Sometimes even the Alzheimer’s patients sing along with Tiny Bubbles and Pearly Shells. The residents are always encouraged to come up and dance the last few dances with the group, and many do just that. The rest sit in their chairs or wheelchairs and do all the hand movements. After the performance, the members of the group always circulate between the residents talking and listening to them. Many are shut-ins; most are in their eighties or nineties. They all love to talk about the time they have spent in Hawaii with a long lost spouse years ago. It seems that a lot of them have happy memories of Hawaii. They always end up saying: “Please come back. You will come back, won’t you?” On the way home everyone is tired, but it’s a “Feel Good” kind of tiredness when you know you have done something useful and brightened someone’s day.

Lillian Christiansen, 2004

The Hawaiian Dancers at the Nielsen Picnic The Hawaiian Dancers at the Nielsen Picnic The Hawaiian Dancers at the Nielsen Picnic