For Friday, December 21, 2012
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 21, 2012
Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone, an Okinawan dance instructor in Honolulu, is one of 10 Americans named 2012 National Heritage Fellows by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The honorees were chosen for their artistic excellence and their efforts to conserve American culture. Nakasone and the others were honored in October in Washington, D.C., where they performed at George Washington University.
Born in Naha, Okinawa, in 1933, Nakasone began studying dance at age 6 under Master Ryosho Kin.
Featuring slow dance movements and colorful clothing called Ryukyu bingata, Okinawan dancers use movements of the eyes and hips to tell stories while the upper part of the body remains stationary, the NEA said.
She and her husband moved to Honolulu in 1955. She founded the Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai Nakasone Dance Academy, where she teaches both traditional Okinawan dance and the modern, upbeat folk style known as minyo.
The Nakasone Dance Academy has performed throughout Hawaii and on the West Coast and has been a traditional part of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association’s annual festival.
In 2006 the academy was recognized by the state of Hawaii for presenting 1,000 goodwill performances.
Nakasone’s noted performances include a 1968 performance at a special gathering in honor of the Imperial Majesties Prince and Princess Takamatsu; a 1982 performance at the Japan National Dance Theatre in Japan; and a 1985 performance at the centennial celebration of Japanese immigration to Hawaii.
Other 2012 recipients included a Virginia gospel quartet, dog-sled designers from North Dakota and a Massachusetts shipwright.
>> Diane Terada, a division administrator for Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, received the 2012 Na Lima Kokua Ma Waena o Makua award for her contributions and service to the elderly community.
The Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society presented the award to Terada.
A graduate of the University of Hawaii School of Social Work and a Weinberg fellow, Terada has worked in the nonprofit sector since 1983, with much of her work in senior programs. She previously served as executive director of Hawaii Meals on Wheels Inc. and program director of the Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center.
>> Kenneth K.M. Lee, principal of Nimitz Elementary School, was among 60 elementary and middle school principals from across the nation who were named 2012 National Distinguished Principals by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Lee and the other recipients were honored in October in a Washington, D.C., ceremony. Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered an address at a banquet honoring the educators.
Nimitz Elementary is just outside Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
>> Bill Gilmartin, a marine scientist credited with helping save the Hawaiian monk seal from extinction, received The Nature Conservancy’s Kako‘o ‘Aina Award.
Gilmartin was recognized in a community celebration in October on Hawaii island.
Gilmartin is director of research and co-founder of the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund. He has more than 30 years of conservation experience in Hawaii as a biologist and member of the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Society for Marine Mammology and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem advisory group.
Gilmartin began studying Hawaiian monk seals in 1978, investigating die-offs on Laysan Island. He worked with the fisheries service from 1980 until his retirement in 1995, initiating and managing the Monk Seal Recovery Team.