Once again, beautiful and brilliant

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    A dancer performs in the aisles of Saturday night’s Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leinaala Ho‘ike 2018

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Performers in Saturday night’s Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala Ho‘ike 2018 stand together on stage after the finale.

Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala Ho‘ike 2018 sold out early. Way early. We’re talking months before this Saturday, Oct. 27 show, tickets were gone. To get tickets, you pretty much had to know somebody. You couldn’t find one anywhere. It seems each year these tickets are more and more in demand and they are gone sooner than the previous year.

There are good reasons every seat in Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall was filled and some people even had to stand along the walls. There are good reasons why this performance is riveting from the opening dance to the finale.

The performances, under the guidance of Kumu Hula Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin, were nothing short of brilliant. The spirit of aloha at its very finest.

Keiki and kupuna, men and women, took turns on the stage. They were, at once, entertaining, fascinating, enchanting. Of course, the youngest boys and girls drew perhaps the biggest cheers. Cute kids, especially cute kids who can hula so well, with joyful grins, always do. The kupuna, swaying smoothly, softly, commanded the most respect. The kane flashed strong, powerful, precise moves. The wahine were graceful, delightful, beautiful. If anyone stole the show, they did with choreography that was imaginative, creative, inspiring. “Electric,” an overused word, comes to mind when thinking of the wahine.

The hula, alone, was mesmerizing. Dance after dance, just as good as the one before. The music of Homestead, Keauhou, Na Hoa and Amy Hanaialii Gilliom — each took the stage for their sets — was an added bonus. Each brought their own style and sound. Each delivered their own kind of magic to the evening.

Pavao Jardin, she of the big smile and heart, did more than prepare her halau for one of this island’s most anticipated celebrations. She took the stage and demonstrated why she is one of the very best at what she does. It was clear for all that she loves each of her students, and loves sharing her passion, her craft, her life. Her hula was captivating. Pure comes to mind. More than dance. An extension of who she is and what she does.

The crowd of about 1,000, or as many as War Memorial holds, was treated to an unforgettable night. More than three hours of breathtaking hula. The finale, when the dancers performed in the aisles, then all came together on stage, was every bit as good as you could find anywhere. A perfect cap to the night.

That we were able to see this show here on Kauai was a gift. And we thank Kumu Hula Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin and her students for this gift.

Everyone there is already looking forward to next year’s show.

There is, however, one problem: There are not enough tickets.

If you want tickets, it might not hurt to start asking about them now, to be on the safe side.

You’ll be glad you did.

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Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or bbuley@thegardenisland.com.

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