Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partner-less will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout group lessons, instructors teach the foundations of dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Hawaiian performer Chief Sielu is on a lifelong quest to educate and entertain the world about Polynesian traditions, a passion that has taken him to appearances on the BBC, MTV, and the Late Show with David Letterman. Dubbed the "coconut man," the chief immerses all comers in island culture at spectacular luaus. On stage, he and his tribe balance revelry and education with high-energy ritual and knife-dancing performances, participatory dances and art making, and a large supper of Hawaiian staples such as poi and braised surfboard fillets. If you can catch his ear, Sielu might have a lot of stories to share: in the course of his ambassadorial travels, he's lit the Olympic torch in Salt Lake City by throwing a flaming spear and been the subject of the documentary film Chief, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
Oahu endears itself to both visitors and locals with its truly breathtaking scenery. The Ko'olau Mountain Range slopes across the island with rolling green hills and steep peaks that overlook Kailua Bay. Off the sandy shore, the ocean plays host to an array of aquatic wildlife, such as sea turtles, dolphins, exotic fish, and kayakers. The last of these creatures comes from Twogood Kayaks, whose trained naturalists lead tours through the area's brilliant turquoise waters and offshore islets filled with natural coves and 12 species of seabirds.
In addition to garnering a reputation for making and selling some of the swiftest kayaks over the past 30 years, the staffers also train the next generation of competitors during camps and clinics.
At Brothers Paintball, sharpshooters aged 10 and older equip themselves with protective masks, multicolored paintballs, and semiautomatic markers before exchanging colorful crossfire on the field. Players avoid becoming a work of art by weaving in and out of trees, hiding in bunkers, and ducking for cover behind wooden planks and boxes. In between matches, paint slingers can drink refreshments they've brought, lick their wounds, and brush elbows with the enemy at a table area.
USHPA– and American Paragliding Association–certified paragliding instructor and pilot Joachim Hagemann has been recertified three times, logging more than 1,500 hours of air time to keep his gliding school, Fly Hawaii, accident free for 32 years. Boasting clearance for cliff and cross-country takeoffs as well as for flying in turbulence, Joachim helps both beginning and advanced students spread their wings in various paragliding lessons. His excursions take paragliders soaring over island locales such as Mauna Kea, Pu'u Loa Crater, and Big Sur, avoiding ground-bound obstacles such as traffic cops and jealous ostriches. Joachim also supplies flight seekers with new and gently used paragliding gear.