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Dancers And Uke Band Make Hawaiian Luau Special



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Dancers And Uke Band Make Hawaiian Luau Special

By Nancy K. Crevier

Members of the Danbury Senior Center Hat City Uke Band, the Brookfield Hula Group, and the Alay Philippine Cultural Dance Group of Greater Danbury joined forces to entertain a full house at the Newtown Senior Center’s annual Hawaiian Luau, Tuesday afternoon, July 27. “What is nice about this afternoon,” said dance director Josie Rodriguez in introducing the entertainment, “is the sharing of the talents of the different senior centers.”

The Alay Dance Group kicked off the afternoon with a medley of Philippine folk dances performed by the youth of the Philippine Cultural Center. Three young men danced first, dressed in bright green, blue, and red pants, with castanets clicking and clacking to the music as they moved nimbly about the dance floor. Girls in swirling skirts joined them for the next number, followed by Ms Rodriguez and the hula dancers from Brookfield Senior Center.

Still more dancing included the members of the Alay Dance Group performing in pairs atop a narrow bench in the center of the room. Dancing on tip-toe, and moving smoothly from one end of the bench to the other, the pairs of young dancers spun slowly, jumped up and down from the bench, always with careful footwork leading the way.

Agility was called for in the next dance number, as well, that had the Alay dancers stepping swiftly between two long bamboo poles manipulated by two of the group members, to the rhythm of the island music.

Marty Sprock and Bob Taylor started the Hat City Uke Band a little over two years ago, at the Danbury Senior Center. Since then, the two men and fellow four ukulele players have entertained on their home court, but July 27 marked their first foray into other centers. The band was well received as members strummed and hummed and sang their way through a repertoire that included “Tiny Bubbles” (with actual bubbles provided by Newtown Senior Center assistant Ida Reiske), “The Hawaiian War Chant,” “Blue Hawaii,” and the “Hawaiian Wedding Song,” danced by Alay hula dancers Kai Foracker and Jasmine.

The entertainment closed with “America the Beautiful” sung by the audience and accompanied by the Hat City Uke Band, and two upbeat dance pieces by the Alay dancers.

A Hawaiian-themed reception followed for the members of the Newtown Senior Center, entertainers, and their guests. Then, until next summer, they wished each other a fond “Aloha.”

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