by Jennifer Bowen, Katie Dragga, Emily Garvey, Lauren Hennen, Christina Ipavec, Brittany Moffat, Kim Schneider, Colleen Smitek, Beth Stallings, Carly Toyzan, Erick Trickey & Jim Vickers; edited by Colleen Smitek
Donna Komidar Hula dancer | 60
Why she’s interesting … Komidar started dancing in 1973 as “a fun way to exercise” and now teaches and performs Middle Eastern and Polynesian dance. In 2007, she graduated from a five-year hula and Hawaiian studies program. Her day job is in the respiratory therapy office at the Cleveland Clinic, where she also volunteers with the touch healing team. Five years ago, she joined Toastmasters and is now president of two clubs.
See page 88 … Komidar is in The Spirit of Hula, an honor, she says, considering the book contains the world’s top hula masters.
Her other names … She got her dancer name, “Dahmia,” Turkish for “Donna,” from her first dance teacher and her Hawaiian name,“Li’uli’ualoha,” meaning “one who has waited with love for a very long time with patience and perseverance,” upon completing her hula studies at age 58.
Hula homework … She had to learn Hawaiian, collect and roast 300 kukui nuts, disassemble and braid a banana tree, and make a feather gourd.
High life … She performs Middle Eastern dance in 3 1/2-inch heels.
Yearlong birthday … Since her 60th birthday last February, Komidar has celebrated each month. She started with a hula cruise, and in February, she’ll go to Egypt. “The perfect way to wrap up my year.”
On joining Toastmasters … “Most join because they’re afraid to speak in front of people. I joined to learn how to shut up.”