Hula has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I think I was about 4 years old when I first started dancing with my church. I loved everything about hula. My love for hula continued through middle school. My and hula parted ways for about five years while I explored other passions and tried new things. When I moved back to Hawaii after being away for four months in college hula was one of the first things I got back in to. Once college ended and I began my journey of the "real real world" hula and I parted ways again. Although hula and I had an on again off again relationship, it still remained my love and I always seem to coming back to it.
Whether you're old or new to the hula community, everyone knows the Merrie Monarch competition is the Olympics of hula. This year was the 50th Anniversary of the event and like always, people from around the world tuned it to watch the performances. The first night of competition the few selected ladies compete for the title of Miss Aloha Hula. This year a young lady from my island home Maui obtained the coveted title. The second night of competition is the Hula kahiko. This is the traditional style of hula or other known as the faster type of hula. The third and final night of competition is the Hula 'auana or the more modern type of hula. The third night is is a long day for everyone. Not only is it the final night of week long activities, it's also the awards ceremony. People stay up to see who has claimed the respected titles.
Since I was a little girl, I would tune in to watch the Merrie Monarch competition each year. All those years when hula and I weren't together, I told myself, I have to get back. Last year I got so tired of hearing myself say that I finally decided to do something about it. Since I grew up on Maui and I've only danced with my church, I wasn't sure who or how to go about contacting halaus. Thanks to the internet, I looked up all the participating halaus on Oahu and sent out emails. The first to get back to me was Kumu Hiwa of Hula Halau Ka Lehua Tuahine. After visiting my first class, I immediately connected with Kumu Hiwa and her style of teaching and hula. Since then, I've never looked back. I'm so proud of my hula sisters who competed at this year's Merrie Monarch. It is my hope to one day be on that stage with them and compete. Congratulations to all of this year's Merrie Monarch participants and a big Mahalo (thank you) to all the people who put on this extraordinary event every year.
Below are a few photos of my hula sisters for Halau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine: