World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Hālau ʻo Kuʻulei

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Kumu Hula Ku‘ulei Auwae-McAllister
First appearance in SF EDF: 2015

Hālau ‘o Kuʻulei was formed in 2003 under the instruction of Kumu Hula Kuʻulei Auwae-McAllister, a longtime advocate of Hawaiian culture. Formal training in hālau (hula school) starts at age 3, when dancers begin to learn Hawaiian language, chant, customs, protocol, use of implements, and costume-making. The hālau strives to perpetuate Hawaiian culture but also to bring awareness to current day issues affecting the well-being of Hawaiʻi, and the greater world.


Festival Opening Event at San Francisco City Hall

GENRE: Hula Kahiko, Hula ‘Auana
The Hawaiian Kingdom, 21st Century: Queen’s Jubilee; Kamehameha Trilogy; Oli Ka Hae Hawai‘i; Aloha ‘Oe; I Kū Mau Mau; Ka Huaka‘i Pele
Kumu Hula Ku‘ulei Auwae-McAllister
Kehaulani Auwae-McAllister, Kumu Hula Ku‘ulei Auwae-McAllister, Melemaikalani Auwae-McAllister, Kealoha Baclayon, Madeline Bick, Annie Brown, Monique Crawford, Rachel Hazeltine, Kealohilani Prado, Kathy Scott, Friends of Nā Hawai‘i O Kaleponi Hula, Hālau Hula ‘O Kauanoemakalaukoa and Friends
MUSICIANS: Kumu Hula Ku‘ulei Auwae-McAllister, Kehaulani Auwae-McAllister, Rachel Hazeltine
RESEARCH ASSISTANTS: Kumu Hula Doreena Alesna-Baclayon, Kealoha Baclayon, University of Hawai‘i Professor Keoki Baclayon

Hawaiian mele is a form of highly evolved oral literacy. Vital cultural information is commemorated in sung poetry that is in turn visualized through hula. Among the many important cultural facets that are explored are those of identity, sovereignty, and protest.

Kumu Hula Kuʻulei Auwae-McAllister calls attention to the history of incivility leveled at Hawaiian and other indigenous peoples. “These islands have always been our home,” she writes. “We were sovereign over this land before there was a United States.”

Instruments used in this presentation include the pū (conch shell) to call out to the four directions, the pahu (a sacred drum) to entreat our collective consciousness, and the ipu heke (double gourd drum) to evoke the deep energy of the Earth.

Queen’s Jubilee is a contemporary style of hula (typically referred to as ʻauana) which was composed by Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1887 while en route to Queen Victoria’s 50th Jubilee. It celebrates Hawaiʻi as a flourishing, sovereign kingdom.

Kamehameha Trilogy commemorates the struggle for self-determination through the depiction of the story of the first sovereign monarch of Hawaiʻi, King Kamehameha Paiʻea. Oli Ka Hae Hawaiʻi honors the Hawaiian flag—for many, a symbol of an independent Hawaiʻi

Aloha ʻOe was composed by Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1878 while watching an affectionate farewell.

I Kū Mau Mau is a chant originally sung by men carrying log canoes. Here, it calls for gathering and protest.

Ka Huakaʻi Pele honors Pele, the volcano Goddess who continues to simultaneously destroy and create new land.

The hula regalia is representative of the story being depicted by the dancers For example, in signifying warfare, female dancers wear regalia usually donned by male dancers, including sharpened hair picks and kālaʻau (spears).

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