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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Master Beamer will teach family-style hula dancing

By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer

While other children growing up in Hilo were kissing their mothers goodbye and heading off to hula class, Winona Beamer, the future hula master, had only to walk into the next room.

Maile Beamer Loo, left, and Nona Beamer will teach a holiday hula class aimed at the family that plays together, or at least wants to try.

Advertiser library photo • Sept. 18, 2000

And she never had to do any farewell kissing, since much of her family was dancing on that halau floor, too. Hula was taught in the family home, Hale Huki, "the house that draws you in."

"I've looked at those early pictures," said "Aunty Nona" Beamer in a telephone interview. "I was 3 years old. We were in my grandmother's room, Mother behind me in the second line, Mahi's mother in the third line (a reference to her entertainer kinsman Mahi Beamer).

"I remember family classes, looking behind, wanting to please my mother," she added. "I wanted to dance better. It was such a happy thing."

And if it was happy for her, Beamer figures learning hula with your nearest and dearest would bring smiles to other families, too.

Christmas 'Ohana Workshop
 •  With Nona Beamer
 •  11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 8. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m.
 •  Laniakea YWCA, 1040 Richards St., third floor
 •  $100 per family of three, $30 per additional family member (payable by cash or check to Hula Preservation Society)
 •  285-8684
So for the next two Saturdays (see box), Beamer and her hanai daughter, kumu hula Maile Beamer Loo, will conduct a Christmas 'Ohana Workshop aimed at linking the generations in music and song.

Loo said the idea sprang from a conversation with a friend who wanted to come to hula with her daughter and her own mother.

"It's just something fun to do together as a family," she said.

The event is sponsored by the Hula Preservation Society as a fund-raiser for its mission of documenting hula from historical sources. Inspired by the Beamer family, it is also supported by many others.

They hope two- and three-generation family groupings will register for the course, which will teach how to sing and dance the Hawaiian versions of Christmas favorites.

"It's that shared experience when you're together learning, that will carry over when you go home," Loo said. "It puts you in a certain frame of mind, to focus on positive. We could use a lot more of that today."