My cousin, Larry e-mailed me a couple of days ago to tell me that his wife, Yumiko would be in the Merrie Monarch Festival which is being held in Hilo on the Big Island. Yumiko is actually from Japan, but has been dancing with this halau (hula group) for several years. This explains why she's so graceful and coordinated.
I had another cousin named Peter (Pohaku) who passed away suddenly a couple of years ago. He was a kumu hula who established the Halau Kanikapahuolohi‘au in Kapa‘a in 1980 on the island of Kauai. I'm told that the halau performed a beautiful hula at his funeral. My mother says my aunt used to call her from Kauai to remind her to watch her son on TV when they performed at the Merrie Monarch Festival.
The Merrie Monarch is a big occassion in Hawaii where the halaus come together for a hula competition.
"Begun forty-seven years ago by the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and continued by the private Merrie Monarch Festival community organization, the major purpose of the festival is the perpetuation, preservation, and promotion of the art of hula and the Hawaiian culture through education. The festival is considered the world's premier forum for people of all ages to display their skills and knowledge of the art of ancient and modern hula.
The annual presentation of the Merrie Monarch Festival has led to a renaissance of the Hawaiian culture that is being passed on from generation to generation. The week-long festival includes art exhibits, craft fairs, demonstrations, performances, a parade that emphasizes the cultures of Hawaii, and a three-day hula competition that has received worldwide recognition for its historic and cultural significance."
It was so much fun trying to pick out Yumiko in the group. This is from last night. They'll be performing again tonight. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for their halau since the competition is stiff.
Before you ask... No, I have no idea how to do a hula aside from what I learned from Nona Beamer at a hula workshop almost 35 years ago. Let's face it. Learning to do line dancing with mostly my feet is enough of a challenge for me. Can you imagine how much harder it would be to add the all important hand movements that tell the story? I'd rather just watch Yumiko.