Hula dancers bring message of resilience to children(フラガールが伝える「生き抜く力」)

Hula dancers Hazuki Minokawa, left, and Ami Niitsuma talk to students at Mizuho Elementary School in Fukushima City about their experiences of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.(水保小の児童に東日本大震災について伝えるフラガールの箕川葉月さん(左)と新妻愛海さん)

 FUKUSHIMA - Hula dancers are visiting dozens of elementary schools around Fukushima Prefecture to share a message about overcoming adversity.
 The school tour was launched in April to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Joban Music and Dance Institute, which trains performers for the Spa Resort Hawaiians leisure complex in the city of Iwaki, in the same prefecture. The hula dancers will visit schools in 59 cities, towns and villages to speak to children about their experiences following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.


 On May 7, the dancers visited Mizuho Elementary School in Fukushima City, which was their first tour stop outside Iwaki. Forty-three students from third to sixth grade participated in the event in which dancers Hazuki Minokawa and Ami Niitsuma spoke passionately about having the strength to overcome hardship, the importance of evacuation drills and the preciousness of family, based on their own experiences from the disaster.


 The dancers also touched on how they streamed videos showcasing the joys of hula dancing and got through the three months when the Hawaiian-themed complex was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 "Things we take for granted won't necessarily always be there," one dancer told the children. "Even so, it's important to not give up and keep moving forward."


 That message struck a chord with sixth-grader Kairi Goto. "Their talk about the disaster left an impression on me. I'll check with my family where the evacuation centers are so I'll be able to evacuate quickly," Goto said.
 Mizuho Elementary Principal Hiroyuki Shigihara added, "I'll be happy if this event inspires the children to have big hopes and dreams."


 The event also featured performances by the dancers and a chance for the children to try hula dancing. The children enjoyed the authentic hula experience, swaying their bodies together with the dancers.

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2024年5月10日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】