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By now most people have heard of flash mobs, those pre-planned public song and dance routines that surprise and delight passersby. Usually, flash mobs take place in stores, at sports events, in train stations and other busy gathering places. Recently, however, Hawaiian Airlines put its own spin on the phenomenon by presenting a flash mob of hula dancers 38,000 feet above sea level.
More than 20 people aboard a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 flight from San Francisco to Honolulu caught their fellow passengers unaware by stepping out of their seats to dance hula in the aisles. The dancers were from Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu, a Hawaiian halau (school) based in San Francisco, on their way to Honolulu. The school’s director, Patrick Makuakane, masterminded the flash mob, Hawaiian Airlines-style.
Makuakane’s halau had previously staged flash mobs in the Bay Area.
“We call it ‘hit and run hula’ — a novel way to amuse, entertain, surprise and, at the same time, bring people into contact with the art of hula,” he said. Hawaiian helped the dancers craft the experience, and it played their music over the aircraft sound system.
“Hawaiian understood our motives and recognized that the flash mob would be both unexpected and entertaining,” Makuakane said. “They could see the fun of it, and they appreciate the cultural values of hula. The passengers really enjoyed the surprise performance.”
Members of the halau left their seats one by one and danced to “Ke Aloha,” a Hawaiian song, followed by “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” all while soaring over the Pacific Ocean. The unexpected performance drew applause from passengers and can be viewed on Hawaiian Airline’s YouTube page.
“We saw this as another way to express the unique spirit of our Hawaiian hospitality and culture,” said Blaine Miyasato, vice president of product development for the airline. “It was fun to see all these people come together seemingly at random and, out of the blue, perform their sublime hula — high above the clouds.”