Merrie Monarch 2010: Miss Aloha Hula
Miss Aloha Hula full of color, emotion
Photos by Dennis Oda / email@example.com
Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem from Hula Halau O Kamuela reacts in her dressing room after it was announced that she won the Miss Aloha Hula title. She is flanked by her kumu, Kau’i Kamana’o, left, and Kunewa Mook.
By Nina Wu
HILO, Hawaii » The evening was full of applause, emotion and anticipation as 13 dancers vied for the title of Miss Aloha Hula at this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival. Every performance was unique, telling yet another story, in a different voice as many-colored and varied as the hues of the pa‘u skirts.
Three hours into the competition, there was no clear winner.
The solo kahiko hula chosen for the competition paid homage to nobility ranging from Chiefess Keohokalo to Queen Emma, King David Kalakaua, and Princess Kaiulani. Mele celebrated places ranging from favorite, well-loved places on the Waianae coast to beautiful Lawa‘i on the island of Kauai.
Ashlyn Aulani Tavares, who placed fifth, brought extra cheers from the crowd as she entered the stage — bringing solid performances to both her kahiko and auana segments. Tavares is the student of the late kumu hula Rae Fonseca.
There were a few noho (sitting hula), and only one using ‘ili ‘ili, but few other implements for the evening.
Also, a little bit of theater came from Teysha-Lei De Sa, who placed second, as she danced a mele about ancient medicines used to treat different body ailments, acting out several of them.
De Sa’s auana was about a game of hide-and-seek with a white butterfly that landed on her shoulder that would make her burst into laughter — a performance that brought cheers from the crowd.
Kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel (winner of last year’s Miss Aloha Hula with Cherissa Kane), performed last on the program this year with a new contestant, Oralani Koa, who finished up the program with an auana celebrating the special and unique winds of Maui’s central districts.
Koa came in fourth place, with 1,069 points, and was named the Hawaiian Language award winner.
Miss Aloha Hula 2010: Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem, Hula Halau O Kamuela
Second Place: Taysha-Lei Kapuauiokalehuamamomaeole De Sa, Halau Hula O Ka Ua Kani Lehua
Third Place: Mahina Macfarlane, Ka La Onohi Mai O Haehae
Fourth Place: Oralani Koa, Halau Kealaokamaile
Fifth Place: Ashlyn Aulani Tavares, Halau Hula O Kahikilaulani