January 18-20, 2019 – Hawaiian Hula Workshops in San Diego, USA
From January 18 to 20 this year, Kumu Lei was in San Diego, California, teaching at the fourth edition of Hawaiian Hula International’s (HHI) extremely successful annual hula workshop series, run by Aunty Kahānoa Floresca who is Alaka’i of the hālau’s mainland USA extension. This year, the event’s theme and emphasis was King David Kalākaua. Named David Laʻamea Kamananakapu Mahinulani Naloiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua at birth, and sometimes called The Merrie Monarch, he was the last king of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.
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.
Kumu Lei was formally welcomed to San Diego on 18 January with a special reception and hula performance by the hālau. The 19th was a busy day indeed with no less than six hula and oli workshops, featuring both kahiko and ‘auana, with emphasis on King Kalākaua. The third day saw a focus on Hawaiian arts — participants got to work with native Hawaiian dyes. They learnt how to work with and dye fabric with ʻōlena and stamping material, using ‘ohe kapala and wooden stamps.