Celebrating eight generations of kumu hula
Sponsored by Bank of Hawaii
“Hula sisters” is a term that describes girls in a hālau, or hula school, but in the Dalire family, there are true hula sisters. As HI Now celebrates Keiki Hula week ahead of the 44th Annual Queen Lili’uokalani Keiki Hula Competition, HI Now host Jobeth Devera sits down with Kumu Hula Keola Dalire to talk about her rich family history that is deeply rooted in hula.
Two of the 22 hālau entered in this yearʻs Keiki Hula Competition are led by Dalire sisters. Keolalaulani Hālau ʻŌlapa O Laka under the direction of Kumu Hula Keola Dalire and Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea under the direction of Kumu Hula Kapualokeokalaniākea Dalire-Moe.
“I’m honored to be part of a family who goes back eight generations,” Keola says. “My aunt and my grandmother started the hālau back in 1963. My mother took over in 1979, renamed the halau Keolalaulani Hālau ‘ Ōlapa O Laka.” Upon her mother’s passing, Keola took over the hālau and became its kumu hula.
Her mother, the late Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire, was the first Miss Aloha Hula at the Merrie Monarch Festival in 1971. Keola’s sisters later won the title back to back in 1991 and 1992. Keola finished her senior year at Kamehameha by completing the circle of three sisters and becoming Miss Aloha Hula 1999 at a young age of 18.
Of her many teachers and mentors of language and dance, it was her Kumu Olelo Hawaii, Hailama Farden, who would imprint himself in the path of her life. He exposed Keola to various chants and oli techniques that would spark her interest in developing that aspect of hula. When she was given the daunting task of suggesting the chant and oli for her Miss Aloha Hula performance, she naturally turned to Kumu Farden. When unsuccessful in finding a fitting chant, Keola wrote her own kahiko mele, Kapukapuakea, which honors her deep ancestral lineage, with the help of her teacher and mentor, Kumu Farden.
The 44th Annual Queen Lili’uokalani Keiki Hula Competition will take place on July 25-27 at the Neal S Blaisdell Arena. It will be streamed live on K5.