Tahitian dancer shakes up Hawaii Five-O

Helen Kuoha-Torco
Helen Kuoha-Torco

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's not everyday you meet somebody from the original Hawaii Five-O, and see what they're up to now. Well, we got the chance to meet Helen Kuoha-Torco. She was the original Tahitian dancer from the pilot episode, whose hips will go down in television history.

In between the production company and Nancy Kwan's name in the original opening segment, you can catch her debut. Kuoha-Torco told us, "It's neat to have my hips up there, every single night. My husband's my biggest fan. I wish my face was on it but you know, everybody knows my hips."

Helen Kuoha-Torco's hips have been shaking up the intro to Hawaii Five-0 since 1968, and she's believed to be the only survivor from the show's opening. She danced for Jack Lord in the original show's pilot when she was just 26. Kuoha-Torco explained, "They hired the whole band, our whole band. I used to dance for Sterling Mossman and the Barefoot bar gang."

An honor, well sure, but being on the show wasn't exactly a joy ride. Kuoha-Torco described it: "It was take, cut, take cut, 14 hours of filming the opening. Dancing, stop, dancing stop. I thought my hips were gonna fall off. It was hard work, it was fun work, and I loved every moment of it."

Years passed, and memories of that day remained. On a recent trip to New York, Kuoha-Torco packed something a little extra: posters! Those got her noticed by none other than Al Roker on the Today Show. Roker interviewed Kuoha-Torco right there on the set in New York.

Now it's time to cut to today. She's Aunty Helen. The mother of nine, grandmother of 25, but that's not all. Aunty Helen also works as a substitute teacher most days during the week. Oh, and one other teeny thing. You need to watch the video on this page, because she has a scene in the new Hawaii Five-O too! "It got me a trailer. I got a trailer. That's the big thing. Got the trailer, with mom on it and that was really nice," Kuoha-Torco said.

From shaking her hips to cruising in the classroom, and in her trailer, Kuoha-Torco's life has Five-O written all over it.

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