Group portion of 60th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition kicks off with kahiko night
The group portion of the 60th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition began Friday night with hula kahiko (ancient or traditional) performances.
Wāhine and kāne dancers from 23 hālau took the stage at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium in Hilo on the Big Island. Hālau from throughout the state as well as Washington state presented their hula. Four hālau represented the Big Island — three from Hilo and one from Kona.
The night kicked off with a kāne performance by Hālau Kiawekūpono O Ka Ua, under the direction of Kumu Ulukoa Duhaylonsod. The men’s powerful performance caused the crowd in the stadium to erupt in cheers.
The announcer elated: “That is how we kick off our Hawaiian kahiko night! Make some noise!”
The seven judges will be scoring the performances in various categories:
- Ka‘i [entrance]
- Hand gestures
- Foot movement/body movement
- Ho‘i [exit]
- Authenticity of costumes
- Overall performance
Tonight (April 15), the final night of competition and the weeklong festival that celebrates hula and Hawaiian culture, hālau will showcase ‘auana (modern hula) performances. The competition starts at 6 p.m. Hawai‘i News Now – KFVE, the festival’s official broadcaster, will carry the event live on-air and online. Click here for more.
Visit the Merrie Monarch Festival’s official Facebook page to catch snippets of the kahiko numbers performed Friday.