What a weekend! The haumana of Hālau Hula O Noelani participated in E Hula Mau, which is sponsored by Nā Mamo, this past Labor Day weekend at the Long Beach Performing Arts Terrace Theater.
The competition began on Friday with the hula pākahi (soloist) categories. The hālau was represented in the mākuahine (mature ladies) category by Suzanne Okada dancing a beautiful rendition of the classic song “Pola`ila`i”. Suzanne’s mele kicked off our weekend on a high note!
The hula kahiko group competition started bright and early on Saturday morning with our wāhine and kaikamāhine groups representing the hālau. Each group honored the Hawaiian monarchy with our wāhine performing “Kalaniana`ole” and our kaikamāhine performing “I Mauna Lahilahi Kō Wehi”. Both groups also used their leo (voice) and implements to accompany their mele.
Rounding out the weekend on Sunday was the hula `auana competition in which our mākuahine joined our wāhine and kaikamāhine groups in the competition. The mākuahine were the first of our hālau performances and paid tribute to Hula Master Kumu George Na`ope with their mele “Aloha `Ia O Wai`anae” which was a mele taught to me when I was a young girl and I shared with these ladies. Our kaikamāhine were the second of our group to perform and they danced “Ka Beauty A`o Mānoa” using the ipu heke `ole, or hula ipu (gourd), to accompany their dance. The last of our hālau to perform was also the last performance of the day, our wāhine. They paid tribute to the island of O`ahu and the one hanau (birthplace) of our Kumu Samantha with “Na Pua Lei `Ilima” and “Kāne`ohe”. Their beautiful rendition of these mele was the perfect culmination of the hard work that everyone put in to get to this point.
Once the competition was over, it was time to sit back and enjoy the music groups and call-up performances while the scores were tallied. It was beautiful to see our Kumu Sam get up on stage for the first time with all the other kumu hula, especially her hula brother Kekaimoku Yoshikawa, and dance “Pāpālina Lahilahi”. Once that was done, it was time for awards. It is with great pride that I announce that Hālau Hula O Noelani came home winning third place in both Hawaiian Language and Lei making. Here are a couple pictures of the culmination of the hard work. More pictures to come..