LIHUE — Who is minding the trophies?
Kumu Hula Leinaala Pavao Jardin wanted to know, Wednesday afternoon amidst the hectic process of checking in the halau at the Lihue Airport.
“We have to bring it back,” Pavao Jardin said. “We need to win one more before we can keep it at home. But the protocol of the Kahili Palama Cultural Association says we need to mind it constantly. Boys, these trophies are your best friends until we get to the hotel. You never let them out of your sight.”
Ka Lei Mokihana O Leinaala departed Kauai with its entourage of 32 kaikamahine dancers, 10 keiki kane performers, and a host of chaperones and support people. The halau begins its bid for the 2015 Queen Liliuokalani Keiki Hula Competition on Oahu starting Thursday with the performances by Jonah Sandal for the Master Keiki honor and Sanoe Kaluahine for the Miss Keiki Hula award.
“We’re excited,” said Sami Ofisa, dancing at the competition for the second time. “We’re not nervous, but we are definitely excited. Kahea Botelho is dancing for the first time, so she might be nervous.”
Under the direction of Kumu Hula Leinaala, the halau takes the stage at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Oahu for its kahiko presentation Friday night and wraps up the presentations on Saturday with its auana performance at the 40th annual competition.
The Queen Liliuokalani Keiki Hula Competition was formed by the Kalihi-Palama Culture & Arts Society as a way keiki between 6 through 12 years old could share their hula achievements while learning about Queen Liliuokalani, her ohana, and Hawaii’s historical past.
Ka Lei Mokihana O Leinaala captured the best overall winner in the girls division as well as being the best in the kaikamahine during last year’s event. Halau Kekuaokalaaualailiahi of Maui topped the keiki kane division.
Making the trip for the kaikamahine are Malina Battad, Kahea Botelho, Xhayeani Camarillo, Layla Carver, Xarika Casticimo, Laakea Chun, Jaida Cummings, Hallie Frasco, Lyla Ganun, Malulani Garza, Kieren Henderson, Kiana Kaaihue, Sanoe Kaluahine, Taylor Kallerson, Jayana Kaui, Larissa Kobayashi, Marie Nash, Sami Ofisa, Chariya Olson Rivera, Chazlyn Olson Rivera, Reign Palama, Jeslie Pavao, Jaymie Peralta, Kaonohi Perry, Macie Ramos, Meiya Ramos, Anela Rapozo, Kaylee Reeves, Kauanoe Taylor, Heleo Yokotake, Tevai Yorkman and Matea Young.
The 10 keiki kane are Luke Hunadi, Jonah Sandal, Kiwaa Hermosura, Tyler Cadiente, Seth Villatora-Banasihan, Niko Yamauchi, Nobu Yamauchi, Kaenon Torres, Ryder Cummings and Benjamin Sarocan-Lopes.