Why Another Hula Competition?

New life sometimes requires a bit of rich and fertile open ground.

It is the intention of KaHulaHou to propagate the growth and evolution of Hula Culture and Arts, while maintaining its identity as Hawaiian.

Classical hula competitions are time-honored events. They are held all over the world and model themselves after the matriarch of hula competitions, the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. These contests are customarily judged by selected panels of hula masters and teachers, historians, and linguists, who review categories such as: suitable attire or appropriate instrumental accompaniment to classic or contemporary Hawaiian chants and songs.

Consequently, great attention is paid to what dancers wear, and whether the percussive instrument chosen for a hula, or dance, is considered traditionally correct. According to some, however, one important element of the dance presentation is rarely considered in the judging process: how effectively did the performance entertain its audience?

KaHulaHou founder and kumu hula Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu has no desire to replace venerable institutions such as the Merrie Monarch competition. “I love Merrie Monarch,” he declares. “I love it just the way it is. I would never want Merrie Monarch, or any of the other competitions, to change. What they do is good, and important.”

His perspective is simple: there should be room for more than one type of hula competition.

"Keep It Hawaiian ... Keep It Entertaining"

While KaHulaHou respectfully salutes the classics, it presents a new showcase for competitive hula in the 21st century.

The “Rules of Engagement” strongly emphasize the importance of nurturing and maintaining cultural identity... “keep it Hawaiian.”

Within that framework, however, KaHulaHou also stresses another crucial hula element: “keep it entertaining”. Competitors are rewarded for pleasing the audience with their hula skill and creativity. The nature of hula as entertainment is often overlooked in competition, yet it is a trademark no group wants to live without.

Kumu Ho'omalu says, “I want to see what happens when kumu hula, and the dancers, are challenged to best each other on the floor with just their dance.”

KaHulaHou is a center ring event, where hula is the center of attention. It is hula for the people, where the people make the difference.         ~You be the judge!