Hula and Hawaii go hand in hand. Now Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is giving guests the chance to experience this unique part of Hawaiian culture. “Behind the Scenes of Hula” gives guests a sneak peek into the practice with one of the state’s top competitive hula groups.
Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua, led by Kumu Hula (Hula Teacher) Kamaka Kūkona, is the hālau (hula school) offering this unique opportunity. While generally not accessible to the public, now guests, visitors, and residents alike can experience hula, or what Kūkona calls “the lifeline to the culture,” at various venues for free at the resort every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. through the end of the year.
“Behind the Scenes of Hula” was developed by Four Seasons Resort Maui Director of Hawaiian Programs and haumāna (student of hula) of Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua, “Aunty Wendy” Tuivaioge, who believes it’s her kuleana (responsibility) to share Hawaiian culture with staff and guests so they can learn more about the special place she gets to call home.
An Authentic Hula Program
“As the Director of Hawaiian Programs, I follow a protocol that allows me to be as authentic as possible,” explains Aunty Wendy. “Being a haumāna, I must get permission from my Kumu Hula to bring this part of the culture forward to guests — whether through Behind the Scenes of Hula or teaching lessons. To me, hula is as much about telling a story as it is about providing a beautiful glimpse into Hawaiian culture.”
Hula Excellence At The Four Seasons
Earlier this year, Kumu Kamaka and 18 of his elite dancers practiced at the resort for the Merrie Monarch Festival, the world’s largest hula gathering and most prestigious competition. It was held April 20 to 23 on Hawaii Island. It’s referred to as the Olympics of Hula, and Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua is one of just 20 schools selected to compete out of hundreds nationwide. For the past two years, the festival was put on pause due to the pandemic. This year it was back in front of a live audience.
“Behind the Scenes of Hula” is complimentary and one of the many cultural and education-driven activities the Resort is offering this year, including Four Seasons Maui Academy’s “Ocean Aloha” and “Hawaiian Star Stories” educational programs, which aim to instill a deeper appreciation of the destination for young visitors.
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