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Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala heads for the Merrie Monarch Festival

LIHU‘E — Kumu Hula Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin and Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala left Kaua‘i on Monday, bound for the 61st annual Merrie Monarch Festival on the Big Island.

“This is a very special trip for us,” Kumu Leina‘ala said. “This is the very first time sponsors have taken care of the trip to the Big Island.”

The sponsorships freed the halau to concentrate on its hula presentations instead of fundraising.

Kumu Hula Leina‘ala and the Kalaheo-based halau will be participating and completing in the three-day competitive phase, including Miss Aloha Hula, Group Hula Kahiko and Group Hula ‘Auana, which will take the stage of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium on Thursday through Saturday nights.

Kumu Leina‘ala said the halau is No. 25 out of a field of 29 groups to give people an idea of when to watch the only Kaua‘i halau participating on the live television programming.

“We also have our Miss Aloha Hula contestant, Heleolanimainamaka‘oha‘ena Haileejo Yokotake,” Kumu Leina‘ala said. “She’s from the North Shore and has spent the past year working hard, including making the commute from Hanalei to Kalaheo for practice.”

During the 2023 Merrie Monarch, Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina‘ala finished third place in the Wahine ‘Auana, second place in Wahine Overall and second place Overall.

Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina‘ala also finished fifth in the Group Hula Kahiko competition. Breeze Ann Kalehuaonalani Vidinha Pavao finished in second place for the Miss Aloha Hula competition.

Described as the perpetuation of hula and the Hawaiian culture, the Merrie Monarch Festival is a weeklong event honoring the legacy of King David Kalakaua, and features an internationally acclaimed hula competition, an invitational Hawaiian arts fair, hula shows and a grand parade.
Source: The Garden Island

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