April 10, 2013
Pre-Lu‘au performance brings a smile to freshman Karla Dubey's face.Karla Dubey (2016) | Writing Intern
“Smile, smile, smile!”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this Lu‘au season, it’s that a hula performance is never complete without a smile, and our dance instructors never fail to remind us.
This is no easy task for someone like me, who has no experience performing in front of an audience.
Yet there we were Saturday, on stage at the Jennings McCall Assisted Living Center in Forest Grove, sharing a taste of Lu‘au with a room full of seniors.
I got there a little before show time and, as the room began to fill up, so did my nervousness. Just two months ago, I had no idea how to dance hula, so performing in front of an audience was a daunting task. But after taking a one-credit hula course, practicing three times a week, and rehearsing with other dancers every day for the last two weeks before Lu‘au, I felt pretty ready.
Everything was planned, down to the smallest details: no nail polish, no jewelry, ironed skirts, dresses and slacks, and, for girls, hair half up, half down.
The only hard part was trying to smile throughout a performance.
At first, it felt like a puppeteer had hooked two strings at both ends of my mouth, forcing an awkward, creepy smile on my face.
But as the performance continued and I could feel the audience enjoying every bit of it, smiling became more natural. On stage, with all eyes on us, I realized that we had worked so hard to put on an impeccable show. It is most definitely something worthy of a wide set of genuine smiles. (That, and my instructors voices in my head echoed the words, “Smile, SMILE, SMILE!”)
The last song came to an end, and the room filled with applause.
It was a successful show. You could feel the relief and the excitement radiating off of the dancers and instructors. Relief, because all of our hard work paid off. Excitement, because we all had one thing in mind: “53rd annual Lu‘au? We are ready for you. Chheeehuu!”