Monday, April 23, 2012

Kahiko Hula - Merrie Monarch Festival 2012

Kahiko Hula - 2012 Merrie Monarch Festival

Friday, April 13, 2012 - Hilo, Hawaii

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We, my friends Jan, Sherb and I, arrived at the tennis stadium for the second night of the Merrie Monarch Festival's hula competition about 5:30 PM. It had been raining off and on all day.  We were looking forward to seeing the kahiko, or "ancient" more formalized dancing style and hula costumes that were to be presented.

Traveler Al - Tired from a full day of sightseeing, but ready for the Hula Festival!

We found our seats and watched the busy preparations by the judges, photographers and the TV crew members near our seats.

Conch trumpeters announcing the Royal Party's arrival

The competition always starts with a procession of the volunteers acting as King David Kalakaua, the Queen and his court.  First a group of conch shell trumpeters come onto the sacred pa - or dance floor - to announce the impending arrival of the royal party.  The young men make a sound salute to the four cardinal directions before scampering off the stage.  Next comes a page boy dressed completely in white, then a herald singing tributes and telling the history of the reign of the King.  The Merrie Monarch, King David and his consort and princesses enter and parade across the stage with the group followed by the royal standard bearers carrying feathered standards where Westerners would use flags.  Hawaii was a royal kingdom which was overthrown by American clergy members, merchants and sugar barons to become a territory and eventually the 50th State of the United States.

King David Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch and his Queen as played by volunteers for the Festival.

Winning Wahine (women's) Dance Helau (groups)

First place - Halau o ke 'A'ali'i Ka Makani from Oahu

2nd place - Halau Mohala 'Ilima - from Oahu
3rd Place - Halau Hula Olana - from Oahu
4th Place - Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakakea - from Oahu

Winning Kane (men's) Halau (groups)

Halau I Ka Wekiu - from Oahu

Kawaili'ula - from Oahu

3rd Place - Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina - from Oahu
4th Place - Halau Kekuaokala'au'iliahi-Hokulani - from Maui
This group was notable because the oldest dancer was 17 years old and the youngest dancer (far left) was 13 years old.

As I reviewed several hundred of my photos, I found that it was an educational process to begin to understand what the judges of the contest were able to see and pick up on.  Here a dancer out of time or poorly positioned, a group that just did not have the unity and perfect timing that the winning groups had - there an arm out of position!  I would not want to be a judge for the event - the dancer's movements, particularly for the kane (men's) groups are very quick and broad.  The judges have to have years of experience to see the things that make one group better than another. 

More photos of the groups

This helau is from the Academy of Hawaiian Arts in Oakland, California - the Kumu is Mark Keali'i Ho;omaku - who is considered a "bad boy" in the hula world.  The dance was very unusual a style of "hulu mu'umu" which depicted the movements of a sea crab in the mele the ladies performed.

Mark Keali'i, Kumu of the Academy of Hawaiian Arts in Oakland, California
The crowd loves his bold innovations - as you can hear in the short video above, but the judges do not like them
at all !

The youngest helau dancing - 13 to 17 years old - 4th place winners

The youngest dancer - 13 years old

The youngest dancer - 13 years old

Object in the upper left is a boom camera used by the TV production company.

The sweeping crew who cleaned up the leaves and flowers that fell off the dancer's costumes.

And so ends the Kahiko portion of the competition.

Next - Auana competition

My apologies for the uneven appearance of the text on this page.  For some reason, the Blogger software is having problems displaying text portion of the page correctly.

Please click the colored link to view my other blog about my more distant journeys - Travler Al's Wanderings

I take the photos using available light on a Canon G11 digital camera on a monopod for steadiness.  I am a "shakey Jake!"

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! Fantastic! I hour er can bring the family out to enjoy some of Hawaii's beauty with you...but for now, you capture so much of out with that Cannon. :) <3


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