Living the Art of Hula


Thursday, July 25 • 7:30pm
UH Mānoa Orvis Auditorium

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The first concert of the festival is a uniquely illuminating look at hula featuring performances, presentations, and discussions in one insightful evening. Attendees are transported beyond movement, delving into the stories, history, contemporary evolution, and legacy of this Hawaiian art form that has shaped our islands and spread throughout the world.

This year’s event brings audience members up close and personal with featured Kumu Hula, dancers, and other practitioners in an exploration of how the art of hula has and continues to affect them, forever shaping their lives and perspectives.

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Living the Art of Hula 2019

This year’s Living the Art of Hula features hula performances and a talk-story session with professionals to discover how hula helps shape who we are as individuals and as a community. Kumu Hula Michael Pilli Pang will be hosting a discussion with leaders in our community who were once involved in hula to see how hula has ho‘āla – awakened –their careers, goals, ideas, and personal lives.

The performance will be held on July 25, 2019, at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Orvis Auditorium

Featured Speakers:

Michael Pili Pang is a protégé of hula masters Maiki Aiu Lake and Mae Kamamalu Klein, and founder and kumu of Halau Hula Ka No‘eau. Started in 2002 and originally based in Waimea, the hālau has made Honolulu its home. Michael focuses on hula ku‘i, and believes that the best foundation for creating something new is a thorough understanding of the past. Michael and his hālau have performed in over 40 cities throughout the world. He is kumu hula of this year’s APDF resident hālau, a member of the Asia Pacific Dance Festival organizing committee, and director of our Living the Art of Hula program.

Ka‘iulani de Silva is the Director for Education and Consumer Affairs at Hawaiian Electric Company, and for the past 20 years has been responsible for customer education, corporate citizenship, and community engagement. Previously, de Silva was appointed as the State Director of Children and Youth Programs and Director of Information at the State of Hawaii Governor’s Office. De Silva has extensive experience working with Hawaii’s non-profit and community organizations.

Donna Mercado Kim, elected a Hawaii State Senator in 2000, served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1982 to 1984. She then served on the Honolulu City Council from 1986 to 2000. While in the Senate, Kim chaired the Committee on Tourism, the Committee on Ways and Means, the Special Committee on Accountability, and the Task Force on Reinventing Government. From 2003 to 2008 and 2011 to 2013, Kim served as Vice President of the Hawaii Senate, and in 2013, became the senate’s President. Kim’s tenure as President of the Senate ended in 2015.

David Lassner is the 15th president of the University of Hawaii, and leads the University of Hawaii’s 10-campus system. Lassner’s current agenda includes a focus on helping more Hawaii residents earn college credentials and on developing an innovation sector to strengthen the state’s economy while creating high-quality jobs. Lassner is also advancing UH’s commitments to sustainability and to becoming a model indigenous-serving university.

Kaleo Manuel is the Deputy Director of the Commission on Water Resources Management. As well as holding degrees in Hawaiian Studies and Urban and Regional Planning from UH Mānoa, Manuel is a ho‘opa‘a (chanter/drummer) graduate of kumu hula Victoria Holt Takamine’s Hālau Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima (who is a featured guest in this year’s conference.) Over the past seven years, Manuel has focused on bringing planning and indigenous expertise to the fields of water advocacy and management in Hawaii. Manuel hopes to empower, inspire, and reconnect indigenous, Pacific, and world communities.

Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Senior Manager of Government & Community Relations at Hawaiian Airlines, joined the airline in 1978. She has held numerous cross-departmental roles, including positions with reservations, sales, marketing, advertising and promotions, and government relations. Under her leadership, Hawaiian Airlines Team Kōkua, which oversees the airline’s community relations, was formed. The team annually deploys more than 1,000 volunteers and their family members to assist and support communities throughout the islands. he currently serves on the board of directors of numerous native Hawaiian organizations and community groups, including Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Hawaiian Cultural Program Advisory Council, Miss Hawai‘i Organization, and Friends of Honolulu City Lights. In addition, she serves as co-chair of Aloha Festivals, Hawai‘i’s oldest and largest cultural celebration.

Buy tickets here.