Myself, and seven haumãna (students) from the hãlau traveled up to Fircrest, Washington to attend the First Annual Ho‘oulu ‘Ike Workshop put on by Kumu Hula Kalani Hiapo. Kamomi and I drove up the afternoon before and explored areas of Tacoma. We ended up at a restaurant on the water called Duke’s. They had pictures of all different Duke’s including the surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku. Ki‘ele joined us later that evening at the hotel. Kalei, Melia, Lala, Nicole and Denise woke up at 5am to make the 3 hour drive. They stopped at Denney’s to get energized.
This year’s theme for the workshop was focused on Kãne, one of the major Hawaiian gods to create earth. We learned about water and its importance to us through hula and related educational activities.
We were each able to choose 2 of the 3 workshops they offered. The first workshop I took was a Hula Noho (seated hula) accompanied with a single pu‘ili or split bamboo and was taught by Kumu Kaleleonamele Perreira. The chant we learned was Kahe Ka Wai I Laila written by Kumu Hula Kalani Hiapo. This chant describes our birthplace, our Hawai‘i. The title, which translates to “the water flows there” refers to ones mokuauhau or ancestry which connects them to whom they are and where they are from.
We had a lunch break in between the two workshops. Kalani’s mother made a ‘ono (delicious) lunch of kalua pig and cabbage, mac salad, rice and butter mochi – yum!
The second dance I learned was a hula kahiko or ancient hula. This chant Na Wai Ola A Kãne was also written by Kumu Hula Kalani Hiapo. This chant captures the purity of water and its importance of bringing value and life to all. We also learned a fun and simple chant with hand motions that describes the water cycle.
The third dance offered was a hula ku‘i or contemporary hula. Ka Ua O Nu‘uanu is about a eerie rain in Nu‘uanu on August 6, 2002 which inspired Manu Boyd to write this song. He used pattern and theme to write this mele. This hula was taught by Kumu Hula Mokihana Marticio and was probably the most challenging of the numbers taught during the workshop. Although the hula steps are the same in almost all of the verses, the verses run into each other and do not give the dancer a chance to think about what is coming next. It is a beautiful number.
There was around 40 people in attendance and we were the only group that came from Oregon. We presented all of the numbers to the rest of the group at the end of the workshop. Kalani was a wonderful host and all the teacher’s shared with so much aloha.
We all safely traveled back and were home by Saturday night. I’m sure Kamomi was the happiest to be in her own bed.
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