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MACC Scene by Karee Carlucci

September 2, 2010 - Mark Vieth

KAHULUI — 2010 marks the fifth year that “Ku Mai Ka Hula,” an international hula competition, is hosted by the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11, in the Castle Theater from 1 to 6 p.m. 
Each year, a hula competition organized by Japan’s Treasure Island Corporation selects an award-winning halau hula to receive a dream trip from Kamata (a Tokyo neighborhood) to Kahului. At “Ku Mai Ka Hula,” Japanese dancers compete with select Maui and Neighbor Island halau that have won or placed at adult hula competitions.
The prestige of competing with Hawaii halau is particularly motivating for the Japanese dancers, who prepare all year for the chance to come to Maui.
“Competition provides dancers with an opportunity to develop excellence they would not otherwise strive for,” explains MACC Director of Cultural Programs and kumu hula Hokulani Holt.
“Preparing for competition forces dancers to focus and strive for the finest quality of performance at that particular moment, and this is why competition is so important in hula.”
This year’s competition features group and solo dancers who compete in adult men’s and women’s categories, as well as solo performances in kahiko (traditional) and ‘auana (modern) hula. Judges are Kumu Hula Leiana Woodside, Kumu Hula La‘akapu Lanchanko and Kumu Hula Tangaro. Kumu Hula Luana Kawa‘a will serve as emcee.
“Ku Mai Ka Hula” roughly translates into English as “Hula Appears.” The name was inspired by a traditional chant that calls dancers to the stage. The metaphorical phrase, “Ho‘opuka e ka la ma ka hikina,” means “the sun bursts forth in the east,” likening the hula dancer to the brilliant rising sun.
It’s an appropriate name for a hula competition featuring dancers from the Land of the Rising Sun, who join hula dancers and friends here next to the House of the Sun.
Admission prices are $25 adults and $12.50 for kids 12 years and under.
For tickets, visit or call the MACC Box Office at 242-SHOW or order online at


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