Hula And the Family, Hula Oni E 2013

IMG_2011Youngsters really, step onto the stage, but when the chant begins you become enthralled. So confident, graceful and thrilling. As I watch ,I admire the ability to step onto a platform and perform as though they were born dancing. The leis, hakus and costumes can take time and money.

Pain and hours and hours of practice is all behind them now as they immerse themselves into the past.

It is time for the Hula Oni e competition 2013 at the Hilton Hawaiian resort.

IMG_2281They aren’t just beautiful and graceful, they ARE the hula. In deep concentration, aware of every move, the face betrays none of this but relaxes as it tells the story.

IMG_1923My grandson has been dancing for about 3 years now and enjoys every step he makes. He has poise and confidence and executes his moves perfectly.

When his and other  performances are done  pockets of  audience disappear. We’ve managed to get our photos. I’ve managed to get back up with my camera from my kneeling position without falling over. I join the exodus. The families, excited, file out the doors and down the hall to greet and hug their kids and add their, “job well done.”

In the past I’ve tried to show some of the behind the scenes as well as types of performances watched. But this year seemed different. As families and friends we have come together now for a few years to watch. In doing so we’ve grown more and more involved as we see the kids mature and grow in their art.

So I thought I would share the love and pride that is shown among families and friends back stage. There are also a few behind the scenes shots that I thought were colorful.


While waiting to perform these two boys kept each other entertained. “I’ll take a photo of  you then……IMG_2123you take a photo of me.”


completely dressed to perform but keeping warm while they wait.


These girls might have been from Japan as groups do come over from there to compete. They are concentrating on something. It might not even be performance related


These young girls were adorable. They may even be related. But they were all dressed up and waiting and family started to take photos so I did too.


I took a photo of these two as no one had a camera so I photographed them for one of the relatives and emailed it to them.


This guy was relaxing with a cool drink of water and wearing his socks. I love photos that are so out of context. It remind me of the admonition that entertainers are no different than us because they have to put their pants on one leg at a time. 🙂

IMG_2138Then when I went back into the auditorium to watch more hula here was the guy who was drinking water. He got up their as cool as could be and gave a powerful, solo performance.IMG_2251

This guy was posing and having a lot of fun while waiting to go on



The kids are close in each halau as close as family and they gravitate to each other after their performances.


The grandparents grab the kids making sure to get their photos together.IMG_2318

These two siblings compete in the hula and with each other.IMG_2314

Mom and auntie’s turn to poseIMG_2309


Grandma has something special  for her girl.( I just love how beautiful and long  Kili’s hair is gettingIMG_2023Proud fatherIMG_2079

By now the kids are getting tired and want to be with their friends but wait. There are more grandparentsIMG_2043


And Dad wants a photo with his sonIMG_2030

Mom is back again with both kids nowIMG_2239

And even the mentor who helped my grandson to stay on track throughout the competition steps inIMG_2247

and though my grandson has on his hat and is ready to make it he has still more family that wants those photos.IMG_2234And last but not least I manage to get  into one shot, all washed out from running around trying to take everyone’s photo.

but that’s what family is about and we support the kids in their endeavors. But families here in Hawaii extend beyond blood.IMG_2075


The most important family in hula life is the Kumu. You can see the admiration for kumu Snowbird on Kili’s face.IMG_2049

And of course there are the hula sistersIMG_2227And the hula brothers.IMG_2353

And the very touching love of friends.

I’ve said it before but I can’t say it enough. What touched me most about living in Hawaii is how much children are loved. They, are to be seen, and they, are to be heard.


The Beauty of the Modern Hula, Last of the Merrie Monarch 2013

As we entered the Merrie Monarch Competition for the last time I was sure I would not enjoy it. This night was the Auana. The modern-day hula. When visitors come to Hawaii, this is what they think of when they think of the hula. It is not as historical as the Kahiko which is ancient hula nor is it as exciting.

It is graceful, musical, and colorful. You are more likely to see swaying hips and hands as graceful as swans, slowly waving hypnotically.  The dancers are fully clothed more often than not as this was part of the influence of the missionaries.

Unlike the Kahiko, there is singing and instruments playing. You don’t have the drums nor chanting. I was pleasantly surprised at the dancing this night though and the music was fabulous as well as the singing. There were many noted performers singing t and it was like a consort and hula competition all rolled into one.

IMG_0967The photo above is of Queen Kapiolani who was the wife of King Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch.


These ladies came from Japan to watch their kumu. As it happens this particular kumu (teacher) also teaches in Japan as well as in the islands. I just loved how they all chose to dress up in this particular style for the night. They looked beautiful


Hard to tell what their hula was portraying. A lot of the auana dances have fun themes.


These costumes which are also part of the competition were so unique. You can double-click on these to get a closer look at the hair pieces.


So colorful.


When these women all dance in unison along with the color it is beautiful to watch


Long hair adds so much to the gracefulness of the dance.


Here you can see that the musicians are on the side of the stage and not on the stage as in the Kahiko where the kumu drums and chants.


The men step lively


These women reminded me of swans


Not only were they beautiful in their purple dresses their hats and flower pieces in their hair were stunning.


Close up of their hats


Such color


They had the jade plant in their hair and they looked beautiful


Beautiful velvet dresses swaying


Even though some colors show up more than once they are still unique in their style and headdress


These lively guys were just a joy to watch. I really enjoyed their dance


Now were getting down to the grass skirts

DSCN2020And what most people think of as in hula when the come to the islands.

So my trip to Hilo was full of surprises, a bit of disappointment (my camera) but most of all It was an exciting experience. Happily I enjoyed the auana too. I enjoyed it all.

If you want to take in the Merrie Monarch some time I would suggest that you get your tickets last month! Yes it sells out that quick.

My next visit to Hula land will most likely be the competition at the Hilton Hawaiian Hotel to see my grandson dance. Let’s hope they have not picked up on the Merrie Monarchs forbidding and that they will still allow us to use are DSLR.