2015 Miss Aloha Hula Results: Maui’s Tanigawa Earns Top 5 Finish
By Wendy Osher
The hula community crowned the 2015 Miss Aloha Hula during the first night of competition at the 52nd Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo, Hawaiʻi last night.
Jasmine Kaleihiwa Dunlap of Hula Hālau ʻO Kamuela under the direction of nā kumu hula Kauʻionālani Kamanaʻo and Kunewa Mook, took the title after honoring Hiʻiaka, the youngest sister of Pele, in both her kahiko and ʻauana performances.
Dunlap’s kahiko performance, to “He Kau No Hiʻiakaikapoliopele,” praised Hiʻiaka, who returns from Kauaʻi with Lohiʻau at her sisters request, only to find her beloved lehua grove ravaged by Pele’s jealousy. In her ʻauana, Dunlap danced to “Hōpoe,” a hula that also speaks of Hiʻiaka’s travels and the broken promise of Pele, who destroys her favorite lehua groves.
Dunlap wore red in both appearances, and was graced in yellow and red lehua blossoms to accent her hair and neck in her ʻauana performance.
Dunlap also won the OHA Hawaiian Language award for her mastery and use of the language.
Second place went to Abby Claire Haliʻahauola Resulta of Hālau Hiʻiakaināmakalehua, under the direction of Robert Keʻano Kaʻupu and Lono Padilla.
Maui’s own ʻĀnela Uʻilani Ruth Fusano Tanigawa finished in the top five. She is a student of kumu hula Nāpua Greig and dances for Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka.
Tanigawa performed her kahiko to “Nanimauloa,” that is described as a “counter-narrative” to other mele that focus on the tragic end to the kingdom. According to festival literature, it is “one part of a handful of poetic mele chosen to depict the different facets of life of our people during a time of political strife.”
In her ʻauana selection, Tanigawa danced to John Almeida’s “Ke Aloha O Kāua,” a love song, described as a “poetic delight,” that explored the “different emotions and thrills of love.”
2015 Miss Aloha Hula Results:
The points awarded to each dancer were announced during the awards presentation and included the following:
- 1,113 points: Jasmine Kaleihiwa Dunlap of Hula Hālau ʻO Kamuela.
- 1,085 points: Abby Claire Haliʻahauola Resulta of Hālau Hiʻiakaināmakalehua
- 1,080 points: Noelani Dudoit of Ka Lā ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe
- 1,074 points: Jayna Marie Kauliokalanimālie Shaffer of Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leināʻala
- 1,065 points: ʻĀnela Uʻilani Ruth Fusano Tanigawa of Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka
Other Maui soloists competing in last night’s event were: Kelsey Marie Kuʻulei Miliama Haina Galago who dances for Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of nā kumu hula ʻIliahi & Haunani Paredes; and Larriley Kehaulani Kaleonahe Kekahuna Rawlins from Moanaʻs Hula Hālau on Molokaʻi, under the direction of nā kumu hula Raquel Dudoit and Valerie Dudoit-Temahaga.
Tonight’s Kahiko Lineup, Maui Highlights:
The competition continues with group kahiko or ancient hula tonight. Tonight’s lineup includes the following Maui highlights:
- Moana’s Hula Hālau from Kaunakakai, Molokaʻi will perform third in tonight’s lineup to the mele, “Maikaʻi Nani Ka ʻŌiwi O Ka Pali,” which commemorates the travels of Queen Emma. According to festival material, the mele goes on a journey to the northeast end of Molokaʻi and speaks of the Hoʻolua winds and steep cliffs of Kahiwa.
- The women of Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of nā kumu hula ʻIliahi & Haunani Paredes will take the stage as number seven in tonight’s lineup, dancing to “Ka ʻOi O Nā Pua,” a mele composed in honor of Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.
- The men of Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of nā kumu hula ʻIliahi & Haunani Paredes will perform 14th, just before intermission to “Aia Ka Laʻi I Kaʻuiki.” The mele speaks of the calm that resides at Kaʻuiki Hill in the East Maui town of Hāna, and the Lilinoe mist, according to festival material.
- The women of Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka under the direction of kumu hula Nāpua Greig takes the stage toward the end of the night, performing 26th in a lineup that includes 28 groups. They will dance to “Manono,” a mele that commemorates Manono, the wife of Kekuaokalani. The two are credited with defending their religious beliefs in the kapu system to defend their way of life, according to festival literature.
The festival will continue with group ʻauna or modern hula on Saturday night, followed by an awards ceremony. For those who could not make it to Hilo this year, the event is being carried live via televised coverage on KFVE and live streaming.