Kaua'i, Hawaii

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May 1, 2017 — Lei Day

Said to have first been officially celebrated in 1929, Lei Day is a highly-anticipated Hawaiian festival that attracts both local and international attention, especially since the giving of leis has grown to be a popular token worldwide. Displays, sales and craft lessons proliferate throughout the islands, filling the air with myriad fragrances even as gorgeous blooms and foliage draw the eye.

On Kaua’i, smaller Lei Day observations and activities are aplenty, though the main event at the Kaua’i Marriot in Lihue pulls in the largest crowds with its annual Lei Day Competition. Kumu Lei was on the panel of judges at this 37th edition of the contest.

Shown below are some of the beautiful leis that were on display and had been entered in the competition, captured on camera by Alaka’i Namiko.

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April 23, 2017 — North Shore Lions Club Pancakes and Hula Fundraiser

Once again held at Hanalei Elementary School cafeteria, the annual North Shore Lions Club Pancake Breakfast attracted a huge crowd, which came not only to support the event — the proceeds are channelled into scholarships, vision and hearing projects, and other educational and service projects — but also to soak in and share the aloha in the various hula presented.

Led by Alaka’i Wailana in Kumu Lei’s overseas absence, the hālau presented Aloha Kaua’i, Hanalei Moon, Nāwiliwili, Ka Pilina, E Pili Mai, and Nani Kaua’i. It was a successful event and everyone had a splendid time.

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Three of the images are reproduced from this report by The Garden Island; they were taken by Dennis Fujimoto and are being used with permission.

March 31-April 5, 2017 — Hula in Japan

Kumu Lei was in Ginza, Yokohama and Fugisawa, Japan, from March 31 to April 5. She was hosted by one of her international students, Koike Akemi, who is a hula sensei (teacher) at three different studios. Kumu Lei gave Akemi private lessons and also held workshops for her students. It was a very full and fulfilling time for all who were involved.

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March 4, 2017 — Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon

The 13th edition of the annual Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon, held on March 4 at the Kilohana Luau Pavilion, was attended by over 1,000 representatives from the government, military, judiciary and law enforcement, and the business and educational spheres, as well as church ministries and families. Hosted by Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. and his wife, they gathered to pray for the leaders of our land and also to mingle and share in a time of celebration.

This year’s guest speaker, Jim Burns — President of HomeWord, and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University — had a message specifically directed at fathers. His main scripture focus for the day was “And He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6a, ASV).

As in previous years, Kumu Lei choreographed and directed the hula for this event, which brought 40 dancers together in a beautiful offering and presentation of hula. She trains leaders to dance and encourage the many who  attend this yearly event.

After the formal presentation, a buffet lunch was served. The day was also spent in fun and festivity as many of the event’s participants visited and were reunited with friends.

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February 22, 2017 — Ho’onani Hula Celebration: A Lei of Kaua’i Stars

On the evening of February 22, the Courtyard Kaua’i by Marriot on Coconut Beach was the scene of much festivity. Kicking off at 5pm and captivating participants and audience alike until past 9pm, the Ho’onani Hula Celebration, subtitled A Lei Of Kaua’i Stars, featured a cast of some of Kaua’i’s brightest stars as well as nine kumu hula.

The event’s spotlight was on Japan, and under the direction of Mapuana Kazama, 74 dancers from Hui O Mapuana’s Hula Nani in Japan graced the stage; also there to share their gifts with everyone present was the Ukulele Paradise group from Japan, led by Toshiro Harasawa.

Our hālau presented Hanalei Moon, danced by Takako, Akiko, Yumiko, and Kyoko, who all thoroughly enjoyed sharing a hula about the place where they live and that they call home. Kumu Lei also presented a hula, I’ll Weave A Lei Of Stars, in honour of all the hula and music stars who made time to play a part in the celebrations.

The inaugural Kaua’i Hula Girl Japan Competition, a contest featuring solo dancers from Japan, was also part of the evening’s itinerary. Kumu Lei, Aunt Beverly Muraoka, and Kumu Hula Maka Herrod were the judges.

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January 27-29, 2017 – Hawaiian Hula Workshops in San Diego, USA

From January 27 to 29 this year, Kumu Lei was in San Diego, California, helming the third edition of Hawaiian Hula International’s (HHI) extremely successful annual hula workshop series, run by Hula Kahanoa. Hula Kahanoa is the mainland USA extension of the hālau here on Kaua’i, and it is led by Aunty Kahanoa Floresca.

As with previous years, this edition’s workshops were planned around equipping all participants with not only hula choreography for the year ahead, but also understanding of aloha, cultural and historical wisdom and guidance, and a sense of respect and honour for important figures in Hawaiian history, kupuna, and Ke Akua.

This year, HHI is celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Queen Lili’uokalani’s reign, which ended in 1917, and as such the workshops were themed after her personal motto: E onipa’a i ka ‘imi na’auao – Be steadfast in the seeking of knowledge.

Kumu Lei was formally welcomed to San Diego at a special reception by the hālau. Students presented her with ho’okupu and leis to express their love, honour and blessings to her, and also in accordance to the tradition of recognising and honouring the kumu hula for all that she imparts through her teaching. It was evident from everyone’s expressions and actions that much thought, care and aloha went into the planning, preparation and presentation of the gifts.

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This year’s event was special in that Kumu Lei’s two sisters, Kuulei and Lelala, attended the workshops. It was a great experience for them to be able to share in what Kumu Lei is doing to spread the beauty of hula, and also a wonderful time for the siblings to spend some precious time together and enjoy San Diego’s beauty and aloha.

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Below are some snapshots from the workshops, and the ho’ike on January 29 which was a wonderful roundup of the entire three-day event.

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January 27-29, 2017 – Hawaiian Hula Workshops in San Diego, USA

As in 2015 and 2016, the end of January will see Kumu Lei making a splash in San Diego at Hawaiian Hula International’s annual series of Hawaiian Hula Workshops.

Organised and coordinated by Auntie Kahanoa Floresca, who is also Alaka’i of Kumu Lei’s Mainland USA hālau extension, the workshops cover not just Kumu Lei’s classes but also a wide range of hula-related art and culture activities hosted by subject matter experts.

This year, Hawaiian Hula International is celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Queen Lili’uokalani’s reign, which ended in 1917, and as such is themed after her personal motto: E onipa’a i ka ‘imi na’auao – Be steadfast in the seeking of knowledge.

It promises to be a colourful, warm and nurturing happening despite its whirlwind schedule, and sports a richly engaging and fulfilling programme. All are welcome!

Please click here to access Hawaiian Hula International’s official website, find out more, sign up, or support.

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