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‘Imiloa Astronomy Center offers cultural classes during hula festival

    Kumu hula Uncle Calvin Hoe, far left, Iwalani Kalima, second from left, Kaponoai Molitau, far right, and Maile Loo, second from right, and their dancers will lead a workshop titled "Honoring the Ancients."

During the Merrie Monarch Festival, the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is offering four days of cultural workshops if you are interested in deepening your understanding of Hawaiian culture, hula and language.

Workshops will be held from Tuesday through Friday, April 10 to 13.

On Tuesday, take an epic journey through Puna as the students of Na Haumana O Ke Kula ‘O Nawahiokalani‘opu‘u Hawaiian Medium Educational School share stories through mele and hula.

Listen to mele from Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole and Kekuhi Kanahele from their new album, soon to be released, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 11 at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning musician Weldon Kekauoha will share his favorite mele with various halau later at 1 p.m.

From 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, members of Kanaka‘ole ohana come together for a panel discussion to discuss the importance of their lineate. The members of Halau O Kekuhi fall under the matrilineal succession of the beloved Aunty Edith Kanaka‘ole.

Last, but not least, the Hula Preservation Society of Oahu, in partnership with the Hakipu‘u learning Center and its founder, Calvin Hoe, will hold an educational session called “Honoring the Ancients” at 1 p.m. Friday about four rare hula implements that are rarely seen in modern times, They include the papa hehi (treadle board), ulili (a spinning gourd), ohe (nose flute), and kii (puppet).

Kumu hula Iwalani Kalima, Maile Loo and Kaponoai Molitau and their dancers will present examples from each hula lineage using these implements. Participants can also try the implements themselves.

Cost is $6 per session ($5 for members) at ‘Imiloa. Seating is limited, so call 808-969- 9703 or visit the guest service desk to purchase tickets.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is at 600 Imiloa Place. For a full schedule, visit and click on the “Merrie Monarch Culture Enrichment Workshops” link.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday Through Sunday, April 11 to 15, the Volcano Art Center Gallery also will feature local artists, authors and cultural practitioners of hula at its gallery at Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park.

On Friday, April 13, kumu Maile Yamanaka will lead an hour-long lesson on beginning hula and lei-making.

The Volcano Art Center Gallery events are free, but park entrance fees apply. Call 808 967-8222 or visit for more details.

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