He Lei Hiwa No 'Iolani Luahine
Hula Festival & Educational Challenge
The 18th annual ‘Iolani Luahine Hula Festival was held on January 24, 25 & 26, 2020 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. The 'Iolani Luahine Festival was established in 2003 with a vision to perpetuate the hula, and it also serves as a way to honor the memory of 'Iolani Luahine and her contributions to the preservation of hula and Hawaiian culture.
Festival workshops took place on Saturday and Sunday morning and featured hula workshops with Lehua Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, Kumu Leialoha Lim-Amina and Kumu Leimomi Ho. Ni’ihau style shell lei and/or earrings workshops were presented by Kumu Kele Kanahele. Kumu Mele Kahalepuna Chun presented a workshop making feather flowers to create a lei pua papale.
Hula presentations began at 4pm on Friday and featured makuahine, makuakane and kupuna hula presentations. Friday evening after the awards ceremony featured a fundraising concert showcasing one of Hawai'i's finest entertainers - Lehua Kawaikapuokalani Hewett & Friends. Saturday presentations began at 1pm and featured the keiki, 'opio, wahine and kane presentations.
Local artisans showcased their work on Saturday from 11:00 am to 5pm.
About 'Iolani Luahine
'Iolani Luahine was born in 1915 in Nāpo'opo'o. 'Iolani Luahine was admired as a famed hula dancer that preserved the ancient dance traditions. She was trained by her aunt Keahi Luahine, and she taught and coached her niece Hoakalei Kamau'u. Aunty 'Iolani’s superb talents, attractiveness to audiences, and personal commitment kept the ancient dance art from being lost. Her career is testament to the adage that dances are passed down like myths, from one artist to another. 'Iolani Luahine is one of Hawai'i’s premier performers and cultural treasures.
Original oil painting by Shelley Grisbrook
Laurence H. Dorcy