When Hula Master “Uncle” Joe Kahaulelio began a Kauai tradition of
celebrating Polynesian dance some 20 years ago, the focus was
mainly on Hawaiian hula - the ancient “Kahiko” style and the more
modern “Auwana” style. In 2000, Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza took over and
broadened the venue becoming director of the Kauai Polynesian
Festival. In doing so, she knew she had become the bearer of a long
and proud heritage of Polynesian dance.
An expert in Hawaiian hula, Kinimaka-Alquiza felt perfectly at
ease teaching and judging both styles for the festival. After all,
she’d been dancing for nearly five decades and had learned from
Kauai dance masters like “Uncle.”
When Kinimaka-Alquiza decided to expand the dance styles
featured in the hula-focused festival, her desire was to expose
locals and visitors alike to the cultures that have evolved in the
geographic triangle known as Polynesia - an area that runs from
Easter Island to Hawaii to New Zealand, and includes all cultures
To achieve authenticity, Kinimaka-Alquiza hired some of Hawaii’s
best dance teachers from places like the Polynesian Cultural Center
on Oahu’s North Shore, where all facets of Polynesian culture had
been on display since the 1960s.
The result can be witnessed Fifth Annual Kauai Polynesian
Festival, scheduled for May 26 - 29. From the hip-shaking Tahitian
style complete with feathered headdress to the graceful hula of
Hawaii, today’s Kauai Polynesian Festival boasts some of the most
powerful Polynesian dance.
“It’s so authentic that audiences often think they’ve traveled
back in time to the days of first contact between Polynesia and the
West,” said Kinimaka-Alquiza.
Festivities kick off Thursday, May 26, at 6:00pm at the Radisson
Kauai Beach Resort near Lihue. Pulsating Polynesian dance will be
performed by experts in the traditional style of the islands,
complete with authentic costumes, music and royal ceremonial
protocol. The evening event will also include a lavish buffet
“Every one of the styles is really different,” she noted. “You
could probably go somewhere to see Polynesian dance, but you could
never get what Kauai can offer - the hospitality, the most green
foliage in the state and the tropical scents. And it all takes
place outdoors under the sun by day and stars by night.”
Tickets are $8 at the gate each day, or $15 for all three days.
All early morning workshops are $15 each. The opening dinner on May
26 is $50, and includes entertainment, buffet and beverage.