Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai Nakasone Dance Academy will celebrate its 61st anniversary with a grand dance program this fall.
The Okinawan dance school was started by Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone shortly after she immigrated to Hawai‘i as the young bride of Clarence Tomokazu Nakasone. Over the decades Nakasone-Sensei has passed on the art to hundreds of students as well as generations of families. In 2012, she was presented a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., becoming only the second performing artist of Okinawan ancestry to be recognized by the NEA. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye attended her award presentation.
The concert, themed “Hooge Mankai,” will be held Saturday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m. in the Blaisdell Concert Hall. According to Keith Oshiro, who is one of the school’s four shihan (certified teacher), “Hooge” in the title is a reference to the school’s name, Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai, while “Mankai,” a Japanese word, means “fully blossomed.” In planning the dance concert, Oshiro said the dance concert represents Hooge Ryu at “its very best.” The title also symbolizes a “bridge to the future” as the shihan take on greater responsibility in leading the school.
Nakasone-Sensei thanked their guests for joining them for the kick-off event. Former HUOA president Norman Nakasone, who will chair the event, congratulated Sensei for 61 years of perpetuating Okinawan dance and culture in Hawai‘i.
Student Peter Lenhart offered a karii toast to Nakasone-Sensei and Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai for their dedication to keeping Okinawan culture alive through dance. “To keep one generation is hard,” Lenhart said, noting that Nakasone-Sensei has, in some families, taught four generations. “To everything good,” he toasted.
Tickets for the concert are $30, plus $1 for the Blaisdell Center service fee. Doors will open at 1 p.m. for the 2 p.m. concert. Tickets can be obtained by calling (808) 227-4925, or 1-800-745-3000 to charge by phone, ticketmaster.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
“Let’s surprise Sensei with a sell-out recital,” said longtime student and ticket chair Jessie Oshiro.