Saturday, April 18, 2009

Live blogging Merrie Monarch: Hula `Auana

*** Updated every so often - scroll down to see the beginning of the post ***

Kamuela - Technical difficulties might throw off the "bots" (as SG calls them) a little bit ... or not. An interesting mele choice: it showcases their skills, but it almost seems like it would fit better in a Keiki Hula competition or something. We'll see what the judges think: this group does well year in and year out, but they've got some strong competition this year.

Sonny Ching's wahine - It's hard to argue with the near-perfect execution and beautiful interpretation here. I'm so glad he decided to use the majority of their stage time doing all the verses of the mele. Great performance.

Olana - I'm stumped about this one. I don't particularly care for this style - and I'm not crazy about the costuming - but I have no idea what the judges might think of it. There's certainly no shortage of expression.

Halau Mohala Ilima - I love, love, love these gowns with the white `awapuhi! Oh, man, I'd give anything to be there now, hearing this mele sung live. And the dancing is ... I'm running out of superlatives, but just exquisite. Mapuana always does such a beautiful job with the classics. They'll place, I guarantee.

Sonny Ching's kane - you're looking at your first place right there.

Keolalaulani Halau Olapa O Laka - When these girls are on their game, nobody can touch them -- they're what you expect hula dancers to look like. I do love this mele and their interpretation of it is superb. Definitely place-worthy, in my opinion.

Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka - The look is certainly striking, and the dancing is exquisite. Last night I accused these girls of not rehearsing enough; tonight is a different story altogether. Loved it.

Hokulani - I wonder if Aunty Hoku will ever opt to have her girls do `auana without shoes? They never seem to place, but I always like them. This was another solid performance.

I haven't done much blogging about the guys, and it's not that I don't care about them; I just love watching them for the fun of it and don't feel so compelled to add commentary, for whatever reason.

Halau I Ka Wekiu - Those gowns are elegant, but not terribly flattering, especially on the larger girls. The mele was okay, not exactly an instant classic, but the dance was lovely and well executed. I may have underestimated the Kumz.

Intermission - I may need caffeine if I'm going to make it through to the end. Time for a cup of tea.

Kahikilaulani (wahine) - I love it! An homage hula! Sweetie Girl, if she were here, wouldn't get this at all, because this is one for all the old-timers. The satin holoku are gorgeous (except for the puckered seams, hard to avoid with satin), and how about all that red carnation? Classic. Love this one. Fun ho`i.

Pukaikapuaokalani - Costuming and adornments are terrific, choreography's pretty good, but somehow they're all dancing like soloists, it seems to me. Meh.

Na Lei O Kaholoku - The good news: the Kohala girls are back! The bad news: white pumps?? Really? Maybe I should withhold judgment until after they dance ... Okay, here it is: beautiful mele, elegantly danced, loved how they sang along for the hui. I forgive them the shoes, and still think they're the ones to beat.

Halau Na Mamo O Ka`ala - Maybe it's the whole old-fashioned thing again, but I just love this costume. Or maybe it's because I danced in something very similar, 20-something years ago. I like these girls, their elegant simplicity.

Halau o Lilinoe - I adore this song, and love this rendition: just Aaron Sala and his piano. Well done by the Cali girls.

Ke`alaokamaile - stunning holoku, flattering on each of them. Keali`i's definitely got a shot here. I heard someone say they were favorites, though I wouldn't go that far, but they're strong contenders, no doubt about it.

Ka La Onohi Mai O Ha`eha`e - I just love this style, which Manu described as "old-fashioned." I guess that makes me old-fashioned too, but it's just so elegant, with the simple adornments (love the combs!) and the modest white dresses. Hmm .. they wore white last night too. I like it.


I can't believe I'm even thinking about doing this again for the third night in a row. I guess it's just an impulse, an itch I have to scratch, even if no one ever sees what I put down here.

I'm excited about tonight, and my thoughts go back a year, when I was there in that stadium and just so thrilled to be in the midst of it all. Someone had told me before I went that it's better on TV, because you can see the dancers up close and catch all the little details. That's true, but there's also something to be said for seeing everything as a whole, and feeling the energy and involvement of the audience. There's a whole lot there that you never see on TV. And on `auana night, you can't believe how incredible it is to hear that music live.

So here we go ...

1 comment:

Lisa P said...

Well, I'm not reading it live, for sure, but it's fun to hear you talk about it. Of course, I wouldn't know if you were right or wrong in your commentary...because it was 6 weeks ago AND I'm lacking key knowledge!