About Dori and the Halau
Dori Neumeier started dancing hula at age 5 in Orange County, California. In 1974, Dori began hula classes with her childhood friend, Kym Yonemura, after her mother was approached in a local supermarket about hula lessons for her daughter. Two weeks later, Kym & Dori were na haumana (students) of Nonosina Polynesian Dance Studio in Buena Park, California. Polynesian dance soon became a family affair. Dori's mother, brother, and sister also became na haumana of Nonosina. In the mid-1980s, Dori and her family were introduced to Auntie Jackie Ka'anoi, who was then responsible for the Na Kamali'i Hula Halau. Dori danced with Auntie Jackie until moving to St. Louis in 1989. Dori's desire is to spread the Hawaiian spirit with anyone interested in learning about the Hawaiian culture. She is married to Tim and they have a daughter named Olivia.
About the Halau
Hui Hula 'O Punahele is first and foremost a school whose purpose is to perpetuate an authentic understanding of Polynesian culture and arts. There are Polynesians and non-Polynesians alike in the group and all members of the halau consider themselves Polynesian-at-heart, making it a goal to conduct themselves with respect for each other and Polynesian culture. The hula halau (hula school) is based in St. Charles, MO, but students travel from all over the St. Louis Metro area to dance and learn. Students have the opportunity to learn about many of the Polynesian cultures, including the dances of the Hawaiian, Tahitian, Maori, and Samoan people. Our dancers have the opportunity to do intensive training throughout the year with our core trainers.
Hui Hula 'O Punahele is also ohana, or family. Many students consider some of their closest friends to be other dancers in the halau, and students and their families are always willing to help each other in any way they can. Hula is a multi-generational family activity for many of those involved in the halau including several mother/daughter pairs, a grandmother and her granddaughter, and an aunt and her niece. Even the family members that do not dance get involved in making costumes, setting up performance venues, and promoting the halau and Polynesian culture in the community.
Lastly, Hui Hula 'O Punahele is a performance group. The students enjoy any opportunity to share their love of all things Polynesian with the public. Hui Hula 'O Punahele was invited to perform for the St. Louis Cardinals at their annual Christmas party luau. The halau was honored to perform at several local concerts by prominent Hawaiian musicians, such as Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, Willie K., Cyril Pahinui, and Patrick Landeza. The halau also performed at the film opening of "Princess Kai'ulani". Hui Hula 'O Punahele has been featured on the local television show Show Me St. Louis on KSDK Newschannel 5 and has performed in the community at Festival of Nations (St. Louis), Dancing in the Street (St. Louis), Fair St. Louis 4th of July, Olde Tyme Picnic (St. Peters), Festival of the Little Hills (St. Charles), Southeast Missouri State University (Cape Girardeau), and the Music by the Lake concert series (Lake St. Louis).