KAPAA — A cast of Kauai talent will join dancers of Hui O Mapuana’s Hula Nani of Japan Wednesday during “A Lei of Kauai Stars,” at the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach resort’s beachside Luau Makaiwa.
Kahu Chuckie Boy Chock will open the evening at 5 p.m. with a pule and Hawaiian blessing with Kumu Hula Troy Hinano Lazaro adding a hula kahiko to greet guests.
A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Kauai Museum.
There will be limited seating for the event, which will feature 72 dancers under the direction of Mapuana Kazama. The dancers represent Kazama’s halau from Machida City near Tokyo, Japan, the historic castle town of Odawara, and Fuji, located near the base of Mount Fuji. The dancers will perform eight hula numbers especially created for Kauai, including “Kauai Maile” which will be sung for the group by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.
Adding to the lineup, the Ukulele Paradise band from Tokyo will debut on Kauai with a collaboration jam with the Lihue Senior Ukulele group led by Herman Paleka. The group will introduce “Forever in Love,” a new composition featuring the vocals of Daphne Sanchez.
The first Kauai Hula Girl Japan competition will wrap up the evening when five dancers compete for the title through performances in hula auana.
“This has been a dream for Mapuana Kazama,” said Art Umezu, the county’s translator and liaison during trips to Japan. “Following the mayor’s trip to visit sister cities in 2016, Mapuana told Mayor Carvalho that she plans on bringing her group to Kauai in 2017 so her dancers can perform for Kauai’s people and meet hula dancers and musicians.”
Mapuana fell in love with Kauai and the many Kauai hula mele performed by her dancers when more than 80 of her dancers performed at an impromptu presentation during a visit to The Shops at Kukuiula in 2012. Since then, Mapuana has returned in 2015 and 2016 to perform at the Kauai Mokihana Festival with 30 dancers.
Wednesday’s event will feature food booths, tropical beverage stations and island craft tables set up from 5 p.m.