Hawaiian hula dance is being taught right here in Hollister through the city’s recreation department.
Instructor and creative director Jenny Camera Ray started dancing in Germany in 1968 as a young girl. Since then, she’s founded the hula dancing group Yamamoto Hula Ohana. The group is named after her late mother, a woman who loved to help people.
Ray offers classes not only in Hollister, but in Monterey, Gilroy and Marina. There are two different classes: a beginners class for ages 4-12, and a performance class for ages 13-18. For class times, visit the the Hollister Recreation Center website.
Anybody who dances under Ray’s instruction is considered part of Yamamoto Hula Ohana. The group performs and volunteers at local community events like Kids at the Park.
“Our mission is to help those in our communities such as JDRF, AHA, senior home residents, foster homes, Relay for Life, children’s hospitals, and many more,” Ray said.
Yamamoto Hula Ohana not only performs and volunteers at community events, they also put on their own events. This year they organized the city of Marina’s Multicultural Festival.
“The celebration focused on different cultures through music and dance,” Ray said.
Yamamoto Hula Ohana is also set to put on Marina’s multicultural parade in 2020.
Ray hopes that her students leave every event and class knowing that “It’s important to respect your elders and to help out in the community.”