Kumu Hula (“Master Teacher of the Hula”) June Yoshiko sometimes wonders if it was the same streak of courage that led both of her grandfathers to leave Japan and start a new life in Hawaii that inspired her to make a similar journey from Hawaii to Chicago. A hula dancer since she was six, she’s honed her craft over three decades while augmenting it with a master’s in public health nutrition, ordination as a Zen Buddhist priest, and certification as a reiki master teacher.
June teaches two types of hula classes: Hula Kahiko, ancient dances accompanied by chanting that emphasize Hawaiian culture, and Hula Auana, or modern hula, set to contemporary Hawaiian songs and instruments such as ukulele and guitar. Her beginner classes focus on footwork and hip motions, and advanced classes merge both Kahiko and Auana with the study of plants, chants, mythology, and history important to hula. June also offers a Gracious Ladies class for mature women and men that incorporates Auana hula to tone bodies, strengthen core muscles, and boost ACT scores.
An after-school-arts -education program for youngsters aged 4–18, CYT Chicago culminates each of its three yearly sessions with a host of musical productions. This October–December, CYT will be hosting the following classical productions throughout the area:
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Under the Streetlamp pries open America's songbook of radio hits, belting out timeless sing-alongs. After fueling the Chicago run of the Tony Award–winning musical Jersey Boys, the old-school quartet has reconvened on stage, determined to resurrect the sounds of the ‘60s and twirl listeners back to an era of peace, love, and vinyl housepets. Unabashed head-bobbing sweeps through East Leyden High School's auditorium as rock 'n’ roll anthems, doo-wop jingles, and golden oldies soar from the band's vault, courtesy of legendary hitmakers such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys. A seven-piece ensemble backs the harmonized vocals with rollicking piano, crystalline guitar, and horns that burst forth with bombast during the rockers and slow to a dreamy sway for the ballads. The vocalists also regale audiences with whimsical choreography and amusing story banter between the songs. Adding to the evening's feel-good vibes, the River Grove School Education Foundation presents the performance as part of its continuing mission to generate funds for local educational programs.