Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea invites guests “Behind the Scenes of Hula” for a rare sneak peek into the mesmerizing practices of one of the state’s top competitive hula groups, Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua. Led by Kumu Hula (Hula Teacher) Kamaka Kūkona, the hālau’s (hula school) practice offers a unique opportunity to experience this special facet of Hawaiian culture.
While generally not accessible to the public, now guests, visitors, and residents alike can experience hula, or what Kumu Kamaka calls “the lifeline to the culture,” at various venues in Four Seasons every Thursday from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, through the end of the year. A recent addition to the Resort’s cultural experiences, 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 is always on the lookout for innovative ways to share culture with guests.
“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.”
Most recently, Kumu Kamaka and 18 of his elite dancers have been practicing at the Resort for the Merrie Monarch Festival, the world’s largest hula gathering and most prestigious competition. Held on Hawaii Island annually in April and referred to as the “Olympics of Hula,” Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua is one of just 20 selected to compete out of hundreds nationwide. For the past two years, the festival was put on pause due to the pandemic but will reopen this year with a live audience and television coverage from April 20 to 23, 2022.
Those looking to tune-in to watch Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua compete at the Merrie Monarch Festival can visit hawaiinewsnow.com. The Resort’s Instagram and Facebook accounts also provide further insights into their journey to the Merrie Monarch via a short video series posted weekly from March 24 to April 21, 2022.
Behind the Scenes of Hula is one of the many cultural and education-driven activities the Resort is offering on property this year, including Four Seasons Maui Academy’s “Ocean Aloha” and “Hawaiian Star Stories” educational programs that aim to instil a deeper appreciation of the destination for young visitors.