Categorized | Entertainment, Featured, Hula

Merrie Monarch 2010: Halau Ke Kai O Kahiki & Halau Kealaokamaile

Na Pualei O Likolehua, Kapalama, Oahu (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brad Ballesteros)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

The merry was back Saturday night at the Merrie Monarch Festival.

The final night of competition at the world’s hula Olympics was a little lighter and filled with smiles. While the auana hula generally allows for more creativity and expression, the stage practically exploded with brightly colored costumes and even brighter smiles from the dancers.

When the results were finally read after midnight, the biggest smiles came from dancers, fans, family and friends of Ke Kai O Kahiki and Halau Kealaokamaile.

Halau Ke Kai O Kahiki, of Waianae, Oahu, is led by Kumu O’Brian Eselu, whose kane swept the kahiko and auana divisions to top all other halau this year.

With 1,162 points, Eselu also took home the Lokalia Montgomery Perpetual Trophy as the festival’s overall winner. It was Eselu’s second straight festival win.

Eselu said he had hoped to bring 10 dancers with him this year, but the tough training schedule and an injury meant he showed up in Hilo with six dancers, same as last year.

The kumu said he was not concerned about the drop-outs as he trains all his dancers to be strong and confident.

Still, the competition took its toll on Eselu. “I am so exhausted,” he said.

But will he be back next year? “Yes, yes, I’m coming back next year,” he said.

Halau Kealaokamaile, led by Kealii Reichel, earned top scores in the wahine kahiko and auana divisions. The Wailuku, Maui halau was four points clear with a total of 1,128.

Thursday night, Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem won the Miss Aloha Hula crown. The 24-year-old dances with Hula Halau O Kamuela, of Oahu.

The 28 halau offered up a total of 69 performances over three nights to wow the sold-out crowd.

This year’s festival was filled with tributes and memories of George Naope and Dottie Thompson, long-time Merrie Monarch leaders. Both died within the last six months.

They were honored with two giant replica lauhala hats placed above one corner of the famous stage.

The crowd also paid its respects – in the form of great cheers – to Rae Fonseca, the kumu of Halua Hula O Kahikilaulani. Although he died suddenly last month, his halau did him proud, scoring a top four finish in the kane auana division.

While waiting for the results to be announced, the kumu, judges and most of the crowd joined in a special tribute dance to a song written by George Naope.

Judges this year were Pat Namaka Bacon, Nalani Kanakaole, Joan S. Lindsey, Kalena Silva, Alicia Smith, Leiana Woodside and Noenoelani Zuttermeister Lewis.

Full results of the 47th Merrie Monarch Festival

Overall – Wahine
1. Halau Kealaokamaile, Kumu Kealii Reichel, Wailuku, Maui – 1,128 points
2. Hula Halau O Kamuela, Na Kumu Kaui Kamanao and Kunewa Mook, Kalihi and Waimanalo, Oahu – 1,124 points
3. Halau Mohala Ilima, Kumu Mapuana de Silva, Kaohao, Oahu – 1,121 points

Overall – Kane
1. Ke Kai O Kahiki, Kumu O’Brian Eselu, Waianae, Oahu – 1,162 points
2. Kawailiula, Kumu Chinky Mahoe, Kailua, Oahu – 1,125 points
3. Halau Na Mamo O Puuanahulu, Kumu Sonny Ching, Kapahulu, Oahu – 1,117 points

Kahiko – Wahine
1. Halau Kealaokamaile, Kumu Kealii Reichel, Wailuku, Maui – 566 points
2. Hula Halau O Kamuela, Na Kumu Kaui Kamanao and Kunewa Mook, Kalihi and Waimanalo, Oahu – 563 points
3. Halau Na Mamo O Puuanahulu, Kumu Sonny Ching, Kapahulu, Oahu – 561 points
4. Halau Mohala Ilima, Kumu Mapuana de Silva, Kaohao, Oahu – 560 points
5. Na Pualei O Likolehua, Kumu Leinaala Kalama Heine, Kapalama, Oahu – 557 points

Kahiko – Kane
1. Ke Kai O Kahiki, Kumu O’Brian Eselu, Waianae, Oahu – 575 points
2. Kawailiula, Kumu Chinky Mahoe, Kailua, Oahu – 570 points
3. Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka La, Kumu Kaleo Trinidad, Honolulu – 564 points
4. Halau I Ka Wekiu, Na Kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang, Pauoa, Oahu – 556 points

Auana – Wahine (This category included three tie-breakers)
1. Halau Kealaokamaile, Kumu Kealii Reichel, Wailuku, Maui – 562 points
2. Halau Mohala Ilima, Kumu Mapuana de Silva, Kaohao, Oahu – 561 points (Tiebreaker)
3. Hula Halau O Kamuela, Na Kumu Kaui Kamanao and Kunewa Mook, Kalihi and Waimanalo, Oahu – 561 points (Tiebreaker)
4. Halau Hula Olana, Na kumu Olana and Howard Ai, Aiea, Oahu – 555 points
5. Na Pualei O Likolehua, Kumu Leinaala Kalama Heine, Kapalama, Oahu – 552 points (Tiebreaker)

Auana – Kane
1. Ke Kai O Kahiki, Kumu O’Brian Eselu, Waianae, Oahu – 587 points
2. Halau Na Mamo O Puuanahulu, Kumu Sonny Ching, Kapahulu, Oahu – 562 points
3. Halau I Ka Wekiu, Na Kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang, Pauoa, Oahu – 560 points
4. Halau Hula O Kahikilaulani, the late Kumu Rae Fonseca, Hilo – 558 points

— Find out more:
Merrie Monarch: www.merriemonarch.com

Halau Ke Kiai A O Hula, Oahu (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brad Ballesteros)

Ka Pa Hula O Ka Lei Lehua, Honolulu, Oahu (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brad Ballesteros)

Halau Na Mamo O Kaala, Waianae, Oahu (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brad Ballesteros)

Beamer-Solomon Halau O Poohala, Waimea, Big Island (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brad Ballesteros)

Beamer-Solomon Halau O Poohala, Waimea, Big Island (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brad Ballesteros)

3 Responses to “Merrie Monarch 2010: Halau Ke Kai O Kahiki & Halau Kealaokamaile”

  1. L. Hadley says:

    Awesome photos! They capture the spirit of the show and the rythm of the beautiful performers; it’s almost like being there, but still wish I could’ve been. Aloha!

  2. L. Hadley says:

    Great photos of a beautiful show. They capture the spirit of the occasion and the performers. It’s almost like being there, but still wish I were.

  3. rk says:

    sigh…wish i could’ve seen it!
    I’m surprised Halau Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka La didn’t fare better; in years past they’ve always done so well.
    RIP George Na’ope

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