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Alameda’s Hālau Makana Celebrates 25 Years of Bringing Aloha to the Island

On a brilliant Saturday afternoon in October, Alameda’s Mastick Senior Center was transported to the tropics with music, dance, food, and the aloha of a large and diverse ohana (family). The sell-out crowd of over 250 gathered to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Hālau Makana, Alameda’s only Polynesian Cultural Center.

Alameda Post - Hālau Makana dancers perform onstage
Photo courtesy Jan Schlesinger.

Kumu Hula Lani Cid and her teaching staff presented 45 dancers, aged 5 to over 75, with 15 dances from Hawaii, New Zealand and Tahiti. Live music was provided by UkuLenny (aka Lendel San Jose). The highlight of the afternoon was the mele ohana hula (family song) danced by four generations of Kumu Lani’s family.

Food trucks offered tropical treats—shave ice from Aloha Aria, poke and acai bowls from Chef Hits the Streets, and boba from Teapsy on Clouds—and an additional table of delectable homemade treats delighted everyone present. Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without ukuleles, so UkuLenny broke them out as all joined in dance and song.



Alameda Post - multiple generations of Hālau Makana
Photo courtesy Jan Schlesinger.

To honor and support the people of Maui affected by devastating fires, a portion of ticket sales for the event were donated, part directly to a Lahaina family who lost all, and the balance to Maui Strong Community Foundation.

Events such as this help support the studio and allow them to enter competitions, such as the International Ori Tahiti Nui, in Tahiti, November 19-26. Kumu Lani will bring a group of five dancers to join a collaborative effort of 55 dancers from a number of studios from San Francisco to Mexico. Spending a week in Arue and Papete, they will also participate in the Conservatoire, a place for deep learning and practicing Polynesian cultural arts.

Kumu Hula, Lani Cid-Iulio, established Island Hawaiian Studios and Hālau Makana Polynesian Cultural Arts Center to continue a three-generation tradition of teaching the culture, rhythms and stories from the ancestors. “I knew as a little girl learning hula from my grandmother that I wanted to teach hula and create a hālau of my own,” says Kumu Lani. “Our mission at Hālau Makana is to preserve the Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Maori cultures through dance, art and music, and to share these cultural art forms with anyone who has a desire to learn.”

Alameda Post - Hālau Makana performers
Photos courtesy Jan Schlesinger.

In addition to teaching adult and children’s classes, the hālau also offers dance performances for corporate events, private parties, and community gatherings in Alameda and the Bay Area. A mural at the Healing Garden, entitled “Culture Keepers: Hālau Makana,” illustrates the matrilineage of dancers—Lillian Cid, Lani Cid-Iulio, and Jade Makana Iulio—who run the Hālau Makana Polynesian Cultural Arts Center at 122 Lincoln Avenue. Classes also are offered at the center and at Mastick Senior Center. For more information, email [email protected] or [email protected].

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