LAIE, Hawaii – Hula halau from across Hawaii and Japan came together on Saturday, January 15, 2011 for the 21st Annual Moanikeala Festival held at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s (PCC) Pacific Theater. Beautiful vestments and fragrant flowers accentuated the dancers graceful movements as they told the story of Hawaii’s past, present, and future.
The Moanikeala Festival is the longest running and the first of PCC’s cultural events; other events include the We Are Samoa Festival, which features the popular World Fireknife Championships, Te Mahana Tumu O Tahiti – Tahitian Dance Festival, and Te Manahua Maori Cultural Festival.
Originally a keiki hula festival, this hoike (exhibition) now welcomes dancers of all ages to share the iconic hula of Hawaii and honors the memory of Aunty Sally Wood Naluai, PCC’s first kumu hula (hula instructor) who taught at the PCC from its opening in 1963 until 1980. After retiring, Aunty Sally stayed with the PCC as a consultant until she passed away in 2000.
Two halau, the Joan S. Lindsey Hula Studio and Halau Hula Olana, have been participating in the Moanikeala Hula Festival for the past 21 years since it began in 1990.
“The festival helps to preserve and display a magical part of Hawaii’s culture,” said Cy Bridges, cultural artistic director at the PCC, and one of Aunty Sally’s former haumana (student). “Moanikeala is a great example of how popular hula has become, not just in Hawaii but also internationally. This year we had four halau from Japan fly in to participate, and we invite halau from all over the world to join us next year.”
At the conclusion of the festival, Ellen Gay Dela Rosa and her sister, Sunday Mariteragi, who founded the Moanikeala Hula Festival, joined by many of the kumu hula and numerous others to dance to Lena Machado’s Moanikealaonapuamakahikina, which was composed in honor of the late kumu hula.
The sixteen halau that participated in the 21st Annual Moanikeala Hula Festival were:
• Ka Pa Nani O Lilinoe – Lilinoe Lindsey – Pearl City, Oahu, Hawaii
• Pikake Leilani Hula Halau – Shizuko Onihshi – Nara, Japan
• Hui Park Hula Studio – Coranne Kepoomaikalani Park-Chun – Japan
• Na Mele Hula Ohana – Puamelia Onaona Onalani Miyahara – Japan
• Joan S. Lindsey Hula Studio – Joan S. Lindsey – Pearl City, Oahu, Hawaii
• Halau Na Pua Lei Ilima – Reina Sugimura – Nagoya, Japan
• Leo Nahenahe O Pohai Kealoha – Stanford Kaina – Hilo, Hawaii Island, Hawaii
• Halau Hula O Hokulani – Hokulani De Rego – Waipahu, Oahu, Hawaii
• Hula Halau O Kawananakoa – Alberta Nicholas – Keaukaha, Hawaii Island, Hawaii
• Hula Halau O Pua Loke – Mona Yamada – Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii
• Halau Hula O Namakahulali – Shirley Recca – Hawaii Kai, Oahu, Hawaii
• Halau Hula Olana – Howard & Olana Ai – Pearl City, Oahu, Hawaii
• Halau O Na Pua Kukui – Ed Collier – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
• Halau Kawaipuhilani- Keith Kalanikau Awai – Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii
• Napuananionapalionakoolau – Sunday Mariteragi – Laie, Oahu, Hawaii
• Halau Hula O Kekela – Kekela Miller – Laie, Oahu, Hawaii
Founded in 1963 as a non-profit organization, the PCC has entertained more than 34 million visitors, while preserving and portraying the culture, arts, and crafts of Polynesia to the rest of the world. In addition, the PCC has provided financial assistance to nearly 17,000 young people from over 70 different countries while they attend Brigham Young University-Hawaii. As a non-profit organization, 100 percent of PCC’s revenue is used for daily operations and to support education.