Chicago-area school teaches hula dancing in effort to maintain legacy of Hawaiian tradition

ByT.J. Whitfield Localish logo
Thursday, June 13, 2024
Chicago-area school teaches hula dancing
Halau i Ka Pono, a Hula dancing school in a Chicago suburb, teaches students the art form and history of Hawaiian Hula dancing.

OAK PARK, Ill. -- One Chicago-area Hawaiian dance school hopes to leave a legacy.

"Hula is life. Hula is everything you see, taste, touch, feel," June Ryushin Tanoue said.

Halau i Ka Pono is a Hawaiian dance school and Zen Center in Oak Park. Ryushin Tanoue, a Kumu Hula or trained Hula Master who grew up in Hawaii, has practiced the art of Hula dancing since she was 6 years old.

In the early 2000s, she made her way to Chicago to begin working for a nonprofit, but decided to use her time to open a Hula dancing school and Zen Center with her husband in Oak Park.

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Ryushin Tanoue explains how Hula dancing is much more than just learning from videos online, but an art form with centuries of tradition and a lineage. After graduating college, she spent nearly 12 years training just to become a Kumu Hula. And the dances she teaches to her students today were passed down from a long line of Kumu Hulas.

After more than 20 years of teaching, she hopes through her students the legacy of Hula dancing can remain alive in Hawaii, in Chicago and everywhere.