Ka Wai Ola

By Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat and Guy A. Sibilla

Photo: Keiki Hula
Dozens of keiki come out to showcase their hula talents at this years’ 2019 Keiki Hula Competition, such as Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela. – Photo: Roy Yamasaki

Now in its 44th year, the Kalihi-Palama Culture & Arts Society is present the Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition on July 25-27, 2019 at the Neil S. Blaisdell Arena Center.

“Keiki Hula,” as the event is commonly known, is the world’s longest-running keiki hula event. 400 young hula dancers will compete, ages 5 to 12, representing 20 hula hālau from O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island and Japan.

Individual hula dancers will vie for the titles of Miss Keiki Hula and Master Keiki Hula on the first night of competition. The kahiko (ancient) group competition for kaikamahine (girls) and keikikäne (boys) will take place on the second night, followed by ‘auana (modern) group competition for kaikamahine and keikikāne on the third day. All trophy presentations for the group competition will take place on Saturday following the completion of competition.

Each year, the Princess Miriam Kapili Kalikohou Likelike Award and William Pitt Kalāho‘olewa Leleiōhoku II Award is presented by the Kalihi-Pālama Culture & Arts Society in recognition of Kumu Hula who have dedicated their lives to preserving Hawaiian culture through dance. The 2019 Awardees each have provided decades of selfless and tireless commitment to several generations of children who now guaranty that the beauty and grace of hula as well as the Hawaiian language will be perpetuated for generations to come.

The Board of Directors is pleased to present to Kumu Hula Carolee Nishi with the 2019 Princess Miriam Kapili Kalikohou Likelike Award and Kumu Hula Ed Collier with the William Pitt Kalāho‘olewa Leleiōhoku II Award in honor of their service to our community. This award was first presented in 2018 to Kumu Hula Olana Ai and Kahu Wendell Silva.

The general public is also invited to shop at the Keiki Hula Open Market on the NBC Arena grounds beginning at noon on July 25th through the morning of July 27th. The marketplace will feature a wide array of handcrafted merchandise, Hawaiian-inspired clothing, art and collectibles, souvenirs, and of course, ‘ono food!

For more information contact Guy A. Sibilla, Executive Director of the Kalihi-Pālama Culture and Arts Society by phone at 808.521.6905 or email at info@kpcahawaii.com. Their websites are www.kpcahawaii.com and www.keikihula.org.

2019 Keiki Hula schedule

Thursday, July 25, 6:00-10:00 p.m.

  • Solo Hula Competition
  • Selection of Miss and Master Keiki Hula 2019

Friday, July 26, 6:00-10:00 p.m.

  • Hula Kahiko (Ancient Hula) Competition

Saturday, July 27, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

  • Hula ‘Auana (Modern Hula) Competition
  • Trophy Presentations for Group Competition