Hula Oni ʻe

Once again two of  my grandchildren were competing in the Hula Oni e competition at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. These photos are really bad and it was at this competition where my Nikon camera gave out. But I wanted to share some of it with you even though they are not the best shots it still gives you an idea of what went on.

This was my grandsons first competition. That’s his blurry face in front. They brought the house down with their hula “The Boy from Laupahoehoe” If you would like to see a version of the dance even though casual I think it will give you an idea of why the audience loved it so much(

This is my grandson’s Kumu (or teacher) coming through the hall after their second performance. You can just see her halau (troop) behind her. She was ecstatic as the boys did so well with both performance even though they had not competed before.

This was their official photo. At the end of the competition they learned that they had taken first place both in the Kahiko (ancient hula) and Auana (modern hula.) I am not sure but I believe that their outfits for the Kahiko that they are wearing here reflect the historic time of King Kalakaua  whose reign was influenced by the missionaries, hence the well covered bodies.

Trying to catch the action and feel of the hula. It’s a bad photo and yet I was happy with the hair and skirts movements.

After trying to capture images inside I gave up and thought I would try for outside but these were truly snapshots without having time to focus. Though I was using my point and shoot they still came out blurred.

Even after all the excitement of the competition a mother is a mother

Waiting to perform in the auana

I saw these guys coming down the hall ready to perform. I kept shooting and hoping but again….

So as the sun sank slowly in the west I was able to take somewhat of a decent shot that day. Though it was not the competition, it made me thankful once again that I was lucky enough to live in Hawaii.

So as my son and I left the Hilton Hawaiian I tried one last time to take a photo but it just wasn’t to be. I am going to return with my Canon and this time get the picture straight.


Hula, Halus and the Hilton Hawaiian

Tee shirt for this years Hula Festival

Being one that does not like traffic jams, expensive parking spaces and crowded streets I seldom go into Waikiki. But once I’ve navigated through all of that and I get out of the car and look around I chastise myself. There is a lot of beauty in a day that begins with trade-winds, blue canals and the thought of Hula Kahiko. ( Ancient Hula)

Ala Wai Boat Harbor is the first to greet me as we park the car to go into the Hilton Hawaiian Village

My son is trying to be patient with me as we head on to the hotel grounds. He is talking to me and walking ahead when he realizes that I’m still at the statue taking photos. The sculptures are graceful, full of meaning and captivating. I need to take a picture. How else can I tell a story.

This tells the story of the making of Kapa by two sister in an ancient legend. The seated woman who is pounding Kapa is Puanani Van Dorpe who has learned the ancient ways of Kapa Making and passed it on so that the art of Kapa won’t be lost. She has been named a Living Hawaiian Legend.

So my son backs up and tells me it is OK he understands  and once again we start for the festival. Then I see the chapel on the grounds and what’s that in the window? A bride. I must take a photo.

The wedding chapel where a Japanese bride is waiting. Many Japanese come from Japan to get married here. They most likely will have had the traditional Japanese wedding at home but still pay big money to have an American wedding here. Usually it is just the bride in groom and no guest.

I’ve purposely left the photo large so that you can see the bride inside the window.

My son now has told me that it is getting late and if we don’t hurry we won’t get a good seat. So I leave all the Kodak moments behind and we head into the hotel.

As we step out of the elevator we step into the heart of the festival. By that I mean the preparation. I’m not sure why a lot of the work is going on in the hallways. Maybe the hotel did not provide the halaus with an area to prepare or the halaus just spilled out into the walkways. What ever the reason I find it thrilling and immediately start taking more photos.

Dancers are working on a Ti leaf skirt

One of the males is being fitted for his skirt.

Bird of Paradise flowers have been wrapped in preparation for head pieces

A hairdresser adds fern, ginger and the Bird of Paradise to the dancers hair

Finished hair piece

My son has now managed to relate the urgency to me as I take my last photos. I just could not pass up these leis.

Leis for sale

Orchids and more orchids
Leis are works of art

We are finely inside and like my son said, we should have walked faster as we are in pretty bad seats. But what I could see they were all pretty bad seats as they were level with the stage so that I could not see a lot of the dancing. To make things worse I had forgotten my tripod and had to take hand-held photos without flash. So my photos are a bit blurry

The fixture lights up signaling the beginning of the festival.

Auana Hula (modern hula) This is what most people think of when they think of Hula. The graceful dancers whose hands seem to float tell a story about the snow.

This halau appears in the style of King Kalakaua era in the 1800’s

The Kahiko (ancient hula)

When the halau enters the stage  the kumu calls  to get ready. The excitement begins. The audience which by now is full of other halaus call out loudly and excitedly. This is a competition but everyone has worked hard, raised money, put much time and sweat into their routine and when a strong move is performed they are not competitors but co-hearts, all are one in the perpetuation of an ancient art that almost disappeared because of the outside influences to the islands. I can’t help but cry I am so emotional to watch my calabash granddaughter perform.

The performance is over and the kumu hugs one of her performers. Love and respect passes from the dancer to her teacher. They’ve worked hard and the expression on the kumu’s face shows how much she cares for her girls.

It’s over now. The Kumu calls her girls together and they wait for the elevator to head back to their rooms where they will change and come back to the auditorium to then cheer on the other halaus.

My son and I head out of the hotel I with my camera in hand now that I am not on a time frame. But everything seems to pale after all the color and excitement. Then I see this one last sculpture.

I believe it sums up the day. What a beautiful tradition

Halaus and Art at Bishop Museum

Happy faces and wonderfully behaved children visited the museum today. At least in this instance. In the Kahili Room I met these children who are visiting from the island of Kauai to dance in a hula festival tomorrow at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

They were doing a self guided tour so I took the opportunity to tell them about the Little Prince, Albert and his Kahili. (See Prince Albert to read about him) They listened attentively and were a pleasure to talk to.

Halau Na Hula O Kapulani with their Kumu Hula, Kapu Kinimaka Alquiza (top left)  From Hanapepe Kauai

Artist David Kalama working on a piece. Kukailimoku

This young man was very interested in the piece that David was working on. We all love it when he comes to the museum to work on the Ku. His work is stunning and amazingly life-like. He sits for hours and patiently works. He answers all the curious onlookers and even us docents who can’t help but look over his shoulder are tolerated.

Here is his website and you must take a look you will be very, very impressed with his talent, eye and skill that emanates from his work. What a pleasure having him at the museum. So my morning was a great one. David Kalama

Then my teens showed up. They were a hard audience. Eighteen kids who were to have an hour tour. Great. That was what I liked because a 25 minute tour is never enough time to go through the three floors of exhibits. But from the get go half of them were going off on their own.

They did not seem to care about anything I talked about. A few faithfully followed and asked questions. There was nothing I could do to keep the 18 to pay attention. I was taken back to my time in high school in my history class when my eyes would roll when we sat there listening to the teacher grinding out the facts. Seeing the boredom in these  faces made me even more tongue-tied.

By the time that we got up to the third floor I would say Three fourths of them were leaning over the railing, their teacher not seeming to even notice.  So I just gave a private tour to maybe five  kids out of the eighteen. But those five cared. They asked good questions and made intelligent comments.

By the time I finished that tour, my throat hurt, my foot was aching and I just wanted to go home. I got home let out the dogs, quickly drove to the school and picked up Nico and thought to myself it is a three-day weekend, no more kids, questions or eyes rolling.

As Nico got into the car we drove off to the bank he  started; Grandma why can’t we just walk in the front of people and quickly get  out of here? Then at Fed Ex, Grandma, why are you sending that box to someone? What happened to the printer, how do you know it’s broken? And so into the evening it went. But now I sit here by myself, Nico’s gone off to his other grandma’s house, Chris is out shopping and I’m surrounded by the three dogs. Life was good today and it is right now. Maybe I’ll go and get me something to eat. Not having to cook? The best pleasure of all.