HCC Taking Hula to Smithsonian Festival
by Dave Smith
A hula halau from Hawaii Community College will spend the next two weeks spreading a message of dance and aloha at our nation’s capital.
Beginning Wednesday, the 25 members of the hula troupe will be performing twice daily at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
The halau shipped more than a ton of equipment to create an authentic hula experience, the Washington Post reported. The shipment includes 50 conch shells and 25 drums.
Taupouri Tangaro, chairman of the HCC Humanities and Hawaii Life Styles departments, told the newspaper that the group wanted to showcase its volcanic home as a “living island.”
“We’re actually transporting our village,” Tangaro said in a video posted on the HCC website.
Tangaro shares the HCC kumu duties with Manaiakalani Kalua, according to the Facebook page for UNUKUPUKUPU, which is described as the method by which one earns an associate degree in hula.
The HCC halau, which according to the Post ranges in age from 9 to 62, is part of an 80-member delegation from the University of Hawaii system.
The presentation, which began with a performance at the Library of Congress, will include exhibits of aquaponics, a taro patch and hula shrines.
Tangaro said he hopes to impart to festival attendees the true context of hula.
“If they walk away with the realization that hula is not entertainment more than it is a process for transformation, I’ll be satisfied,” he said in the video.
The halau will be performing in the “Campus and Community” theme of the Washington DC festival now in its 45th year. Activities will include craft workshops and question-and-answer sessions, the Post said.