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Hawaii News

It’s showtime for dancers

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Kokua (helpers) from Halau Mohala 'Ilima put up their sign in the Edith Kanaka'ole Tennis Stadiuim.
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Dancers from Halau Mohala 'Ilima from Oahu, under the direction of kumu hula Mapuana de Silva, rehearse for Friday night's kahiko competition. (Photos by annmue/Special to the Star-Advertiser)
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Halau Mohala 'Ilima's Sarah Kapuahelani Sterling during Thursday's practice. She finished third in the Miss Aloha Hula competition.

Thursday is a day that just blends into Friday. It continued into the wee hours of Friday. Beautiful sun in the fern forest turned liquid as we rolled down the mountain to hit the high spots. Nearly everyone has a list that might get half done.

First was the opportunity to sit in on the kahiko for both the full halau and the Miss Aloha Hula practice for Halau Mohala ‘Ilima from Oahu, under the direction of kumu hula Mapuana de Silva. The group presentations begin Friday night.

The kokua, the helping hands of the halau, put up the sign and posed for the annual photo. The banner gets a lot of air time. They are longtime dancers with the halau, helping backstage for the festival.

Halau Mohala ‘Ilima’s Sarah Kapuahelani Sterling was so graceful and totally together in practice. She showed that again in the evening competition, receiving the honor of third place in a line of 13 dancers. Each dancer and their kumu present hula kahiko first and ‘auana second. One dancer on that enormous stage with 5,000 friends and fans watching. Heart-stopping.

Hula kahiko begins at 6 p.m. Friday with 28 performances. Think marathon of watching, stock up on treats and sit down in front of the TV or Internet broadcast. We will all wave to you.

Until showtime, the craft fair was crowded and downtown Hilo calls to us.

Lynn Cook is a freelance arts and cultural writer who has studied hula for 25 years.

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