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2 international dance groups to perform Saturday at Elmer Thomas Park

To celebrate their home cultures in Lawton during Christmastime, two international groups will host free performances on Saturday at the Festival Pad in Elmer Thomas Park.

Kealii's School of Polynesian Dance will present "Christmas: Hawaiian Style" from 2-4 p.m., and the Mexican Folklore Dancers will follow with "Christmas in Mexico" from 4-5 p.m. The two shows are part of the city's Holiday in the Park festivities.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Kealii Thompson, owner of Kealii's School of Polynesian Dance, opened the school 30 years ago with the hope that the Lawton-Fort Sill community would learn about Hawaii, her home.

About 10 students, ages 3 to 50 and up, will wear the traditional pa'u skirt and perform Christmas hulas, traditional hulas and Tahitian dances, giving Lawtonians a glimpse of Christmas in Hawaii.

The dance numbers include "Mele Kalikimaka"  which is "Merry Christmas" in Hawaiian  and "The 12 Days of Christmas" with a Hawaiian twist, among other songs, Thompson said.

"Instead of 'a partridge,' we have myna birds in Hawaii, so it'd be 'a myna bird in a papaya tree,'" she said. "(For) 'geese a laying,' we have 'shrimp a swimming.'"

Thompson's favorite dance number is "A Winter Wonderland" because of its description of glistening snow and other wintery sights. 

"It wasn't until I got married and came to Oklahoma that I saw my first snow," she said. "That Christmas carol means so much."

There is a possibility of performance cancellation if the temperatures are below 65 degrees, Thompson said.

The Mexican Folklore Dancers will host a fiesta that features dancing and singing, piÒata-busting, and eating, according to Isidra Chila Chavez, owner of Mexican Folklore Dancers.

Chavez volunteers to teach dance lessons to anyone interested, and she provides the costumes for the dancers to wear. 

On Saturday, the dancers will welcome the public to participate in a traditional fiesta called a Mexican posada.

The Lawton Constitution

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