Capturing the essence of a moment in time: Halau O Po’ohala returns to Kahilu Theatre with ‘Eia Ka Hula VIII’
WAIMEA — Dancers dedicated to the art of hula do not simply tell a story with their hands, feet, body motions and facial expressions. Dedicated dancers radiate a deeper meaning by giving their audience a glimpse of an experience or moment in time that calls upon all of the senses.
This radiance — and insight — will be the heart of the Beamer Solomon Halau O Po’ohala’s “Eia Ka Hula VIII” concert performance at Kahilu Theatre on March 4. Doors will open at 5 p.m., for the 6-8 p.m. show.
Themed “I Laila Au,” or “There I Was,” draws upon words used by the revered Hawaiian songwriter Helen Desha Beamer in her beloved and timeless composition, “Kimo Hula,” which she wrote about her dear friends’ family home in Piihonua, Hilo. The lyrics describe their beautiful home named Moanikeala, exclaiming poetically, “In the uplands of Piihonua, a flower garden in beautiful array, there I see the beauty of the flowers, fragrant, growing in great profusion in this beautiful garden.” Moanikeala means the “gentle breeze that carries a fragrance.”
It’s very fitting that Halau O Po’ohala would spotlight Helen Desha Beamer in “Eia Ka Hula VIII” as she is the revered great grandmother of the halau’s Hula Loea (hula master) Hulali Solomon Covington, and Kakau Olelo Malama Solomon. The mele, “Kimo Hula” has long been a family favorite.
But this performance will go much deeper. “I Laila Au” expresses Hula Loea Covington’s sensory journey in a hula routine that embraces the smells, tastes, sights and sounds of the now immortalized Moanikeala garden home. Set in motion by rigorously trained dancers wearing stunning costumes and floral adornments, it captures the very essence of a moment in time.
Other numbers by halau dancers — who range from keiki to kupuna — will celebrate similar moments and memories honoring each of Hawaii Island’s five districts: Kohala, Hilo, Puna, Kau and Kona.
Also included in the show will be a short film clip from “Lihau’s Journey” by Hawaii Island filmmaker Ari Bernstein. The film will commemorate the legacy of Kamehameha the Great and hula kahiko (ancient hula). Also, slack key guitarist, vocalist and Na Hoku Hanohano award winner John Keawe will join the concert, sharing favorite songs about his home, Kohala.
Keawe`s performance will be followed by “The Tom Tom Hula,” a composition written by the Solomon sisters’ late grandfather, Francis Keali’inohopono Beamer, a longtime resident of Waimea.
The show will end with a salute to Polynesia as a “bon voyage” to members in the halau who will be participating in the 2017 Pasifika Dance Festival, the largest Polynesian dance festival in the world, in Auckland, New Zealand March 26 and 27. The halau will represent the state as well as the country at the festival.
Tickets for the benefit, which will enable the halau’s ambassadorial appearance at the Pasifika Dance Festival, are $25 per person and can be reserved by calling 938-8620. Tickets also will be available at the door on the afternoon of the performance.
The audience is invited to a dinner prepared by Kohanaiki Club’s Executive Sous Chef Robert Gabriele that night at 5 p.m., featuring pesto pasta with grilled chicken and cream sauce bowls, baked goods, sushi and other dishes.
This program is sponsored by E Hula Mai Kakou, a nonprofit organization.