Renowned hula dancer Beverly Noa, known to many for her trademark performance of “Lovely Hula Hands,” died early this morning at Queen’s Medical Center. She was 84.
The hula soloist, widely known for her performances of ”Waikiki,” “Mi Nei” and “The Star Spangled Banner” with famed singers including Haunani Kahalewai, Ed Kenney, Marlene Sai, Nina Keali’iwahamana and Emma Veary, is remembered for her grace on stage at venues like the Royal Hawaiian’s Monarch Room and under the hau trees at the old Halekulani Hotel.
“She was more than beauty and grace, she was classic,” said longtime friend Marlene Sai. “Her style was just unmatchable and exquisite. She was classic in every sense of the word.”
In March, Noa, a former Miss Hawaii, was selected for Hula Grill Waikiki’s annual I Ola Mau Ka Hula award to honor her lifetime contributions to the art by kumu hula Michael Pili Pang, Robert Cazimero and Debbie Nakanelua-Richards.
“Her name is of hula royalty. Her presence is unforgettable. Her hula is pure art,” wrote Pang. “Her style of movement is like watching poetry in motion as she transports you to a romantic place in the mountains or to a spectacular sunset along a beach. Beverly has the ability — with a simple gesture, a lift of her shoulder, or with an expressive look on her face— to make you smell the flowers and feel the warmth of the sun upon your face. Her descriptive styling of hula is not seen today and while others may try, no other solo hula dancer has her grace and the ability to transform into a storyteller, actress, poetic engineer and orator as she can with just her presence on the stage.”
She is survived by sons Fred Noa (Ginger) and Ed Kenney (Kristen) and two grandchildren. Service information and a celebration of life are pending.