Japan and Hawaii share a common bond – a love for hula. It’s what has brought together these two cultures for the past decade, as they celebrate hula at the annual Hula Hoolauna Aloha Festival.

A local halau performing at Ala Moana Center for the Hula Hoolauna Aloha Festival.

This year marks the eleventh year of cultural connections, starting with a hula exhibition by Japanese and local halau (hula troupe) on Saturday, July 7, 2012 and a competition among the visiting Japanese dancers the day after. During the first day of the event, Ala Moana Center’s Centerstage will be adorned with fresh flower and beautiful hula dancers. Both Japanese and local halau will share in the art of hula with about four dozen different performances.

Then the celebration continues at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s Coconut Grove during the early afternoon into the evening. It will consist of a hula competition and hula demonstration. If you’re looking to purchase handmade Hawaiian crafts, then this would be the perfect place to do that. There will be a Hawaiian crafts and products sale happening simultaneously during the performances.

The competition starts at 2 p.m. and will be an afternoon jam packed with graceful dancing. The line-up includes two keiki (children) solo, 10 solo wahine (women), two group keiki, five group wahine and eight group kupuna (elder) performances.

Dancers from Japan glowing under the Hawaiian sunlight in celebration of hula.

I attended last year’s Hula Hoolauna Aloha Festival and was thoroughly impressed by their precision in steps and gestures – for both the Japanese and the local halau. It was apparent that everyone put ample time into practicing for perfection; most importantly, it looked like everyone was having fun! It was nice to see the two cultures bridged together through dance and friendship, all while celebrating in hula’s birthplace, beautiful Hawaii Nei.

11TH ANNUAL HULA HOOLAUNA ALOHA FESTIVAL • Sat, July 7, 2012 10am-545pm Ala Moana Center’s Centerstage & Sun, July 8, 2012 1230-7pm The Royal Hawaiian Hotel (Free) • 808-926-4504

Photo Credit: Becker Communication


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