I'm pooped; think I'll just watch the rest on the DVR tomorrow.
Kaumaka O Uka - As Sweetie Girl just observed, ami kuku are hard to coordinate. And this group, who tend to be fairly strong, didn't have enough rehearsal time for this one, or something. It's a bit painful to watch those hips going every which way.
Hokulani: One of the great things about Merrie Monarch is that every year, there are different kinds of surprises. I forget what those rattle things they're wearing on their calves are called, but I love it! What a great effect, especially combined with the facial expressions and that ginormous pahu. Wow.
I would think it takes a great deal of confidence to present a hula like Kaulilua, knowing that each of the judges has probably danced it and/or seen it performed hundreds of times. This is an excellent performance - for a large group of young dancers, they are very disciplined, yet expressive. And I think I like their costume best of the night. Nice touch for Kapua to have her mom on stage with her.
I give these Halau I Ka Wekiu girls a ton of credit -- working with papahehi is way harder than it looks: you have to be exactly on beat, or else it sounds like a ripple effect. What we're seeing represents a lot of hours of rehearsal to get that hehi step right, then you add in the kala`au and chanting - impressive.
I need a break too; I feel like I've been washing dishes forever. For the last couple hours I have been going back and forth from the TV room to the kitchen and doing a little here, a little there. I'm gonna go finish everything now and be done with it!
I've got to hand it to Ray (or is it Rae now?) Fonseca: his girls had the necessary energy and hula chops to pull this off. But I have to question his going with such a, well, masculine style. If you're showcasing females, why not go with feminine? Maybe it's just me.
I love this halau from Kohala, and they are formidable. Have to say I absolutely love the adornments: lei hulu, what's the kupe`e, dried and braided la`i? - and the bone/tooth necklaces: exquisite. The gray in the temples is fake, yet it is a mature group, and I think that makes a difference, don't you? Absolutely mesmerizing, from ka`i to oli to mele to ho`i. First place is theirs to lose (my first prediction).
I get that it's Ray Fonseca and his boys (sorry, men) generally are pretty interesting, but I'm just not that into them. So I switched over to volleyball, just as they showed a great shot of The Coach! That handsome devil. Okay, back to hula ... I will admit I like the whole raffia thing.
No Luna I Ka Hale Kai No Kama`alewa is one of my most favorite hula `olapa, but in the hands of these girls, unfortunately, I'm disappointed. It's such an incredibly poignant story, and you just have to really get that and convey it. These girls do look really young; maybe not enough life experience yet to get it across.
As the evening gets started, there's a danger in being inattentive, if you think that "all" the good halau will come later on. Kimo told us last week that there are several good groups early in the program -- and I see he's right -- so we'd better stay focused.
Having said that, I'm pretty much dismissing the Vegas girls right off the bat. Sorry to be blunt, but you've got to acknowledge that at some level, just showing up and being on the stage is your victory. But I can't run away, because Tracie and Keawe are coming up ...