HILO >> Shalia Kapuauʻionalani Kikuyo Kamakaokalani of Maui took the title of Miss Aloha Hula Thursday night at the 55th annual Merrie Monarch Festival.
Kamakaokalani represented Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka under the direction of kumu hula Napua Greig. With a score of 1130, she pulled five points ahead of first runner-up Ecstasy Jetta Laverne Kamakalikolehua Ligon.
Ligon of Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe won the Hawaiian Language Award.
“I just felt so much happiness,” said Kamakaokalani afterwards. “Just unexplainable feeling.”
All the stars aligned when she got on stage at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium on Thursday night. For kahiko, she performed a hula noho kala‘au, a seated number with rhythm sticks, “Lei No Kapi‘olani,” commemorating the queen’s journey around Maui. For auana, she celebrated the poise, intelligence and bravery of Princess Ka‘iulani.
“It felt good,” she said of her time on stage. “I just wanted to honor who I was dancing for — Kapiolani and Ka‘iulani and bring them with me on my journey and also, my ohana, my halau, my kumu and friends.”
Kamakaokalani, 21, is a Kamehameha Schools graduate studying Hawaiian at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has been dancing with kumu Greig since she was four years old.
A total of 12 dancers vied for the Miss Aloha Hula title Thursday night at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium. Last year’s Miss Aloha Hula was Kelina Kyoko Ke‘ano‘ilehua Tiffany Eldredge of Halau Hi‘iakainamakalehua.
The Merrie Monarch Festival continues with the group kahiko (ancient-style) hula competition Friday night and the group auana (modern-style) hula competition Saturday night, followed by the announcement of winners and awards.
Judges this year were Cy Bridges, Maelia Loebenstein-Carter, Ainsley Halemanu, Nalani Kanakaʻole Zane, Mae Kamamalu Klein, Piʻilani Lua and Kalena Silva.
Miss Aloha Hula results:
>> Shalia Kapuauʻionalani Kikuyo Kamakaokalani, Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka, 1130
>> Ecstasy Jetta Laverne Kamakalikolehua Ligon, Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe, 1125
>> Nicole Mailenani Yuen, Halau Hiʻiakainamakalehua, 1122
>> Asialynn Genoa Kalihilihiʻulaonalehuaʻohopoe Yap, Halau Manaola, 1096
>> Maile Yurika Garrett, Kawailiʻula, 1088