Women at the dance ask: where are the men?

LIHU’E — There was food.

There was music.

Balloons abounded.

But, where were the men?

That was the question posed by one of the 200 kupuna who attended the Annual Na Kupuna Council Valentine Dance yesterday at the Kaua’i War Memorial Convention Hall.

Music flowed throughout the meeting areas, and seniors filled the dance floor, ringed by seats that accommodated the remainder of the kupuna and staff members from the county Offices of Community Assistance Recreation Agency who helped coordinate the annual event.

Melanie Okamoto, of the Recreation Agency, noted that this year’s event was being hosted by those from the Lihu’e Senior Center, thus, the event was held at the convention hall.

Previously, when the Kekaha seniors hosted the event, the dance took place in the outdoor section of the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

Red was the color of the day, as kupuna turned out garbed in red attire, and complemented their wardrobe with balloon hats and decorations being cranked out by The Balloon Man.

Additionally, Okamoto said that, because there was a calendar mixup, na kupuna were also treated to free hearing tests by Jeffrey Tong of Pacific Hearing Center of O’ahu.

Originally, Tong was supposed to visit the Lihu’e Senior Center for the free hearing tests, but when he discovered the scheduling conflict, he packed up his equipment and opened it to all the senior center members who attended the annual event.

One of the registrars at the door laughed because, she said, Tong was overwhelmed, but pleased at the number of seniors who attended this event.

Dean Nakayama of Kauai Bakery & Cinnamon made sure that na kupuna were taken care of, offering light refreshments that were available throughout the morning, Okamoto said.

“But, the seniors each brought their own bento lunch to enjoy,” said Okamoto.

“We wanted them to at least learn the basic steps of ballroom dancing,” Okamoto said.

“So, we invited the Ken Kitabayashi group (of ballroom dancers) to help them out.”

As the dance floor ebbed and filled with dancers during numbers, one kupuna noted, “There’s not enough men here. But, at least, there’re more than last year.”


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