Wai Ola: ʻAukele and the Waters of Life
A Celebration of Hula Ki’i
Two shows: 2pm and 7pm
Hula Kiʻi is a critically endangered tradition of Hawaiʻi which features the use of carved or crafted images in the story telling and movements of hula. Due to Western intervention in the 19th Century, the hula kiʻi and other indigenous traditions were suppressed almost out of existence. The Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance (MUCID), in association with Kumu Hula Kiʻi Mauli Ola Cook (holder of the lineal tradition of Kumu Nona Beamer and hula haumana of Kumu Hula Victoria Holt Takamine) and Kumu Hula Maile Loo of the Hula Preservation Society, introduce this unique art form in the Bay Area through a project sponsored by the 2021 Choreography Award granted by the Gerbode Foundation. The project encompasses the research of classical themes, the construction of hula puppets, and the development of a dedicated hula ki’i practice within MUCID’s resident hālau.
The project culminates in the live performance: Wai Ola: ʻAukele and the Waters of Life, A Celebration of Hula Kiʻi. ʻAukele is a Hawaiian folk hero who faces many challenges including a perilous sea voyage and his jealous brothers. The story also centers on themes of water, its value, and who controls access, present issues in California and Hawaiʻi.
Hula kiʻi is a unique and beautiful practice which will no doubt come as a delightful surprise to a new audience in California.