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MERRIE MONARCH Cultural Enrichment Programs

  • ʻImiloa Astronomy Center 600 Imiloa Place Hilo, HI, 96720 United States (map)

Thursday, April 25 Merrie Monarch Presentations

Thursday, April 25 at 10:00am - ʻĪlālāʻole Hula Tradition presented by Kumu Hula Kimo Alama and Kaʻiulani Damas

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ʻĪlālāʻole passed away in 1965 and was the last of the nineteenth century chanters and kumu hula to have lived in the 20th century. He was very well respected in the community not only for hula and mele but also for his extensive knowledge of things Hawaiian. He had lived with Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani as a boy while he attended the Royal School. Because of his being a part of the Kamehameha family, he is largely responsible for much of the repertory of the chants and hula that we have for the Kamehameha family today. Queen Emma was his favorite aliʻi and she would stay with the ʻĪlālāʻole family when she passed through Kaʻū and Puna. We are fortunate for her chants and dances, as well as those for Kamehameha IV, that were remembered and passed on through ʻĪlālāʻole. His approach to hula comes from a definite Hawaiian mind and heart.

ʻĪlālāʻole learned hula from a grandfather who taught hula in Kaʻū and one of his teachers was 100 years old! This means that the teacher was born and raised before contact with the outside world and those chants and hula were definitely of ancient traditions. When ʻĪlālāʻole's daughter, “Mama Betty” Atkinson, passed away, she named Kimo Alama Keaulana as a “hānai” son. As a hānai, he is proud and privileged to be a part of this impressive hula family and lineage.

Thursday, April 25 at 1:00pm - Bringing Stories to Life Through Hula Kiʻi

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Hula Preservation Society (HPS) presents the rare form of Hula Kiʻi with nā Kumu Aulii Mitchell, Mauliola Cook, and Kaponoai Molitau.  In Hula Kiʻi, the dancer becomes the image, or manipulates and dances with a puppet. Along with live performances of Hula Kiʻi from their three distinct hula lines, HPS will share archival photos and videos of our late masters skilled in this rich and challenging genre. Hula Kiʻi holds great depth to help preserve and tell the stories of Hawaiʻi, both then and now. 

Aulii Mitchell grew up immersed in hula, Hawaiian culture, and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. His lineage includes his mother, Aana Cash Mitchell, who was trained by her father, Charles Kahiwahiwa Cash, who was trained by masters Mary Kawena Pukui, Pua Haaheo, and Joseph Ilalaole. Aulii is Kumu for Hālau o Kahiwahiwa in Hawaiʻi, and Hālau o Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa in Auckland, New Zealand.  He works with Cultural Surveys Hawaiʻi as a Cultural Anthropologist and Advisor.

Mauliola Cook has been a dedicated student of hula, language, history, and culture since 1978 and subsequently became Auntie Nona Beamerʻs protégé in the art of Hula Kiʻi, or Hawaiian Puppetry. Mauli works with school children and teachers throughout the islands in Hawaiian Studies, Hawaiian-focused charter schools, and Arts Education programs.  For more than 20 years, she has led the Kauaʻi branch of Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima for her Kumu Vicky Holt Takamine.

Kaponoai Molitau is the hānai son of renowned Kumu John Keola Lake, and it is to “Papa Lake” that he attributes his cultural immersion and grounding in the ways of his ancestors.  His many kuleana include leading Hālau Nā Hanona Kulike ʻo Piʻilani with his sister Sissy Lake, running his Maui store Native Intelligence, and serving as kahuna nui of Puʻukoholā Heiau on Hawai`i Island.  His kiʻi training includes both the body form as well as puppet manipulation.

Hula Preservation Society (HPS) was established in 2000 under the inspiration of beloved Kumu Hula Auntie Nona Beamer. The non-profit has worked with treasured hula elders throughout the Hawaiian Islands to build a distinctive cultural digital library filled with their unique stories, authentic voices, and personal histories which span the 20th century of Hawai

Reserve your tickets now by calling (808) 932-8901 or in person at our Guests Services Desk.

Pre-Sale Tickets: Members $10, Non-Members $12, Day of $15