Connecting through Hawaiian culture

The+Academy%27s+Hawaiian+Chant+and+Dance+students+after+a+long+day+at+the+Lei+O+Lanikuhonua+Hula+Festival.+
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Connecting through Hawaiian culture

The Academy's Hawaiian Chant and Dance students after a long day at the Lei O Lanikuhonua Hula Festival.

The Academy's Hawaiian Chant and Dance students after a long day at the Lei O Lanikuhonua Hula Festival.

The Academy's Hawaiian Chant and Dance students after a long day at the Lei O Lanikuhonua Hula Festival.

The Academy's Hawaiian Chant and Dance students after a long day at the Lei O Lanikuhonua Hula Festival.

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Last month, hundreds of students from across the state celebrated Hawaiian culture and dance through the annual Lei O Lanikuhonua Hula Festival.

The festival is located in Ko Olina and brings together hula masters, who share their knowledge with high school students. Since the first festival in 2007, the program has grown in stature and popularity to include more than 500 students and their mentors.

Sacred Hearts Academy junior Taylor Corpuz has participated in this festival for the past three years. Each year, she said, has provided a unique experience for her and her Hawaiian Chant and Dance classmate.

At the festival, students are divided into 10 groups. A kumu, or teacher, is assigned to each group and spends the day teaching the students a dance following the kahiko style of hula. This style refers to hula from ancient Hawaii.

“It’s fun being able to learn from another kumu,” Corpuz said. “I am able to see how similar or different their styles of teaching are, as compared to Kumu (Jordan) Asing’s (style of teaching).”

Asing teaches the Academy’s Hawaiian Chant and Dance class.

Throughout this event, Corpuz said she enjoys being able to meet people who share the same interest in hula as her. She also enjoys re-connecting with students she had met at previous festivals.

At the end of the day, the groups perform what they learned during a hoike, or final exhibition. Corpuz said this is always her favorite part of the festival.

“I would definitely try to go again next year,” she said. “It’s such a rich experience for anyone who wants to learn more about hula and connect (more deeply) with the hula community.”