Kea is Miss Hula O Nā Keiki 2014


Photo by courtesy of Leimakamae Kea

Leimakamae Kea perfoms her hula kahiko at the Hula O Nā Keiki competition at Kaʻanapali Bech Hotel, November 14-15, 2014. Kea was crowned Miss Hula O Nā Keiki.

By Kainalu Steward, staff writer

This article is being reposted here for anyone who missed. It originally appeared in our December12, 2014, print issue.

Senior wahine Leimakame Kea was awarded the title of Miss Hula O Nā Keiki winning the competition and representing her hālau, Kekuaʻokalaʻauʻalaʻiliahi, which is directed by her Kumu Hula Haunani Paredes.

Hula dancers from all over the state came together at the Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel to compete November 14 and 15.

“The Miss Hula O Nā Keiki title means that I have a kuleana to uphold for the rest of my life. It means a lot to me, and that I am now a part of the legacy of my Kumu Hula Haunani because she was the very first Miss Hula O Nā Keiki,” Kea said.

That night brought her many emotions.

“A part of me accepted the title, but the other part of me didn’t. My partner [Lamakūokanaʻauao Kauikawēkiu Hosino] that I competed with didn’t get the title, and it broke my heart,” Kea said.

Preparation was key, and it took her about four months to prepare, but she has been dancing hula for nearly ten years with the same hālau.

The competition was based on everything from oli to adornments, but mainly the hula. Her kahiko piece was entitled “Nani Piʻiholo.” It was originally written for Kumu Hula Kealiʻi Reichel. It is about the place he resides now and was a birthday gift from Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona.

“I have a connection to this particular mele because my kumu, Haunani, is Kumu Kealiʻi’s student, and to be able to present this mele that was composed for him is one of the ways that we can honor his teachings and his legacy,” Kea said.

Along with her kahiko, went an oli entitled “ʻIke I ka Ua ʻUlalena.” She chanted in a traditional style, honoring the ʻUlalena rain in Piʻiholo. Her kaʻi, or introduction, was “Puka Mai Ka Lā Pawehi I Ka Lani,” composed by her Kumu Hula ʻIliahi Paredes.

“In this mele, he mentions the rising of the sun brings the gift of a new day resembling how each haumāna is a gift to him,” Kea said.

For her hoʻi (exit) she did “E hoʻi I Ka Ala Kupaoa,” also written by Kumu ʻIliahi.

“In this mele, he calls to his haumāna [dancers] to return to the hālau where they will be surrounded by love,” Kea said.

For her auana pieces, she performed to two meles. One included her kaʻi and hoʻi. It was entitled “For You a Lei,” written by Johnny Noble and Oscar Hyatt. Her main mele in this category was titled “My Sweet Gardenia Lei.” It talked about the romance and celebrations of life in Hawaiʻi during World War II. It was written by Danny Kuaʻana and Bernnie Kaʻai in 1949.

“I fell in love with this mele because it [the gardenia] is my Kumu Haunaniʻs favorite flower as well as my grandmotherʻs. There is a line in my mele that says ‘fondest memories of you are here haunting me now’ and that’s exactly how I feel. When I dance this mele, I remember my grandmother [Linda Hano] because of the fragrant gardenia,” Kea said.

For her next journey, she would like to represent her hālau at the Merrie Monarch festival, held annually on the Big Island.