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Beamer-Solomon hula legacy celebrated at Kahilu (Feb. 5)

The youngest generation of dancers with Halau o Poohala will share the stage at the Beamer-Solomon performance at Kahilu Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Jock Goodman)

MEDIA RELEASE

Residents will enjoy a rare glimpse at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 of the 150-year hula legacy of the Beamer-Solomon ohana in a show at Kahilu Theatre that will be spotlighted come early June on one of America’s premiere stages – the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre in New York City’s Symphony Space.

Called “Eia Ka Hula, He Kuamoo Olelo — Behold the Hula … The Story Continues,” this performance is the second part of a trilogy work. It will pick up where last year’s presentation left off on the Beamer-Solomon school’s genealogy and connection to the musical heritage of the Kalakaua dynasty.

This 2011 drama will focus on the contribution and accomplishments of Flora Leiomalama Desha Beamer Solomon, mother of Hula Loea Hulali Solomon Covington and Malama Solomon.

Solomon has dedicated her life to the refinement of teaching the art of hula to thousands of students. She and her brother, Keola Beamer, perfected the school’s method of dance to the level of balancing Hawaiian cultural thought, philosophical values and a cultural art form with the demands of entertainment, tourism and what would be accepted by the Christian religion. In achieving this balance, Solomon is credited with creating a new dance instructional curriculum.

The Beamer-Solomon family’s hula traditions trace back to Kapuailohia wahine. She was a hula master and passed the art of dance to her daughter, Isabella Haleala, who in turn, taught her daughter, Helen Kapuailohia Desha Beamer, who in turn gave the hula rights to her daughter-in-law, Louise Leiomalama Walker Beamer, who was married to her son, Francis Kealiinohopono Beamer. Louise Beamer was Hulali and Malama Solomon’s grandmother,

This family lineage played a pivotal role in perpetuating the hula.

It was through royal mandate by King David Kalakaua that the hula was brought out of the “home” and placed back — front and center — within the Royal Court of Hawaii. This was the moment of truth for the few remaining Hula Loea, or hula masters who came from the different Hawaiian Kingdoms.

(Remember that before Kamehameha the Great unified the Islands, the Hawaiian Kingdom was divided into four separate kingdoms under the rule of powerful chiefs whose names are revered in hula chants. The counties as we know them today follow these divisions except for Hawaii County.)

It is the revival of the hula at the time of the Kingdom of Kalakaua that preserved the integrity of the four original Hawaiian Kingdoms, and their identification as we know them today through chant, island color and island symbols.

Known today as the Beamer method of hula, it began as ancient ritualistic hula in a halau located in Waianae, and it – as with all hula traditions — became forbidden by the Christian faith when Kamehameha II, by royal order, decreed Christianity – the belief in one living God, Ke Akua — as the Religion of Hawaii.

For the hula to remain in the Royal Court of Hawaii, it had to be modified as an interpretative dance so as to continue the moolelo of the gods and goddesses of Hawaii, the alii — the royal families lineage — and at the same time, preserve Hawaiian cultural thought and philosophical values.

Great Grandmother Isabella — with her knowledge of the ancient wisdom of her hula master mother — married into a Christian family known as the Desha’s, and her son became the Minister of Kawaiahao and Haili Churches.

To continue the family’s hula legacy, Great Grandmother Isabella began changing the style of dance. What emerged used hand movements to interpret the meaning of the mele, or chant. Fluid body movements were curtailed in what was referred to as “dance discipline.” With these rules, a new method of dance was created and accepted by the Christian church, and the hula as a dance was allowed to remain and prosper.

This is a story not often recounted, and it will be shared by performing many beloved songs and dances by several generations of dancers with the Beamer-Solomon Halau o Poohala.

Joining the halau in the presentation will be Kumu Keala Ching of Na Wai Iwi Ola, and musicians Russell Paio, Ikaika Marzo, Stephanie Apolo and Nathan Grace.

Tickets for the performance are $25 with proceeds underwriting the trip to New York City in early June and the Mokihana Hula competition on Kauai in September 2011.

For information and tickets, call 938-6357 and leave a message for Hula Loea Hulali Solomon Covington or email poohala2002@yahoo.com.

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