In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Celebrating 45 years of Keiki Hula: 2019 Miss Keiki Hula performs special solo

"Winning Miss Keiki Hula feels so surreal!"

In celebration of Keiki Hula’s 45th anniversary, halau from across Hawaii participated in the Queen Liliʻuokalani Keiki Hula Hōʻike, a special four-night TV event packed with history, hula, and culture in honor of Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, hosted by HI Now’s Kainoa Carlson and Lacy Deniz with Hawaii News Now.

Since there was no competition this year, the 2019 Miss and Master Keiki Hula award winners will retain their titles for another year. Here is a special solo performance by 2019 Miss Keiki Hula Kaimana Friez.

In 2019, the 44th Annual Queen Liliʻuokalani Keiki Hula Competition brought together 22 hālau from four Hawaiian Islands: Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, Hawai’i Island as well as Japan! The competition featured 29 Miss and Master Solo competitors and a total of 461 keiki performing in 82 kahiko and ʻauana hula dances.

Friez and Zyon Blaze ʻAuikekaiola Telles-Kuwahara both dance for Hālau Hi’iakaināmakalehua under the direction of Kumu Hula Robert Keano Ka’upu IV and Lono Padilla, and in 2019 the pair walked away with both the Miss and Master Keiki Hula awards. Both newly crowned keiki hula stars said they were shocked after they were announced as the winners that night at the Blaisdell Arena.

“Winning Miss Keiki Hula feels so surreal, I guess,” Friez adds. “I love making my family and my hula sisters and my kumu proud. That feeling is better than winning.”

Both Telles-Kuwahara and Friez had the opportunity to travel to Japan and meet halau from another country during Keiki Hula Japan.

“The dancers there were so amazing, and I loved being able to watch them,” Friez said. “It’s just so amazing that hula isn’t just in one spot and that it’s everywhere.”

Friez says that more important than winning the title is making her halau proud.

“And dancing as hard as you can!” she adds.