Japan halau highlights 30th annual event

NAWILIWILI — A hula halau from the West Japan Hula Association were highlighted during Sunday’s 30th annual Holiday Hula at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

The group of 37 women from Japan also were hoping to tour a special place on the North Shore today, the last day of their brief visit to Kauai.

“The ladies and CEO Wataru Hayashi of the West Japan Hula Association from Kumamoto, Japan, are planning to visit the hula platform in Ke‘e,” said kumu hula Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza of Na Hula O Kaohikukapulani. “They want to leave early, spend some time at the hula platform and return for lunch before leaving for Oahu.”

“These ladies just got in on Friday,” Kinimaka-Alquiza added. “But they have been busy. They already got a lot accomplished.”

The Sunday evening event also featured Kauai dancers and musicians evoking the spirit of the holidays through a variety of presentations that ranged from kahiko, or traditional style, to auana, or contemporary, stylings.

Hot food, baked goods from halau members and families as well as a variety of crafters and a Christmas ornament contest kept guests occupied before the showcase.

The group from Japan offered familiar faces.

“Kapu’s been teaching these ladies for the past 30 years,” said Pete Alquiza, the kumu hula’s husband. “I’ve been with her from the start. These are some of the same ladies who started with Kapu, and they are very good people. They never change. Over the 30 years, this group has grown to become one the largest halau in Japan, at one point, reaching more than 20,000 students.”

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