Hula is life
If you haven't figured it out by now - I'll tell you something. I'm hawaiian. I'm also other things like filipino, japanese, and chinese but on the inside and where my heart is is hawaiian. Both of my parents were born and raised in Oahu and that's where most of my blood related family lives minus my sister and an uncle in Seattle and a grandma and papa that retired from Hawaii to Las Vegas. If you're from hawaii or have family there the connection to hawaii and vegas isn't a shock. My grandma on my dad's side is Hawaiian/Chinese, and her father was Hawaiian. I have a hawaiian last name and my middle name is Pohai Ke Aloha. I'm very proud of my hawaiian heritage and am very close with my family. My sister was also born in Hawaii but I, however, was born in Germany and lived there for the majority of my childhood and then we moved to California(my dad was in the air force).
When I was seven I started dancing hula with a halau that has become our family over the last 22 years. Our hawaii away from hawaii.
On the surface, especially if you're a tourist visiting or someone that might not know too much hawaiiana - hula is beautiful/fun/graceful/often confused with tahitian dancing when you tell someone you dance hula. For me, and for a lot of people that are really immersed in what the dance is is SO much more.
A lot of halaus(hula dance group) are like your traditional dance groups. You go to practice and you go home. My halau is my family and all of our families have grown together, we've grown up together, and we've gone through love and deaths together. It's the mana — the spiritual energy and the healing powers, and the ha — or the breathe/the sacred breathe that all of us have within us. It's like everyone knows each other on a deeper plain. Our halau has come so far and has gone through a lot of changes and different phases like everything in life — continuously growing.
This year our Kapuna group participated in the Ia 'Oe E Ka La Hula Competition. Since January, they've practiced non stop and when you dance you dance with all of your heart. There are A LOT of tears in our halau in general but especially during competition time and not tears of sadness but tears of love, happiness, a deeper spiritual tears, and of course tears of frustration but that is because as a hula dancer you work so hard and its not just to win, because that's not the type of halau we are, but to SHARE. Hula is to share and every time we share, I feel like our Kumu has taught me that we aren't just sharing our dance but we're sharing our journey as a halau and as an Ohana. Everything like the lei's and the kahiko costumes are all made by hand and placed with purpose.
I just wanted to share a little part of what is a big part of me so here are some photos from backstage as our Kapunas received their lei's and prepared to go on stage.
P.S. — They placed in 2nd!