Tahitian dance (all shows): Polynesians arrived in Tahiti prior to Hawaii and gifted Hawaii with one of the sacred drums, and dances include drum dances like otea with grass skirts as the costume and aparima which is closer to hula.
Hawaiian hula (all shows): Hula uses the hands and body to tell the genealogies and history of the Hawaiians through chants and songs with more conservative costumes. Kahiko and auana routines are passed down through generations just as Mahealani’s kumu has shared with her.
New Zealand Maori dance (some shows): Aotearoa was the last of the Polynesian islands to be settled, and dances include the haka war dance, poi ball dance, and action songs telling of how some of Mahealani’s Polynesian ancestors arrived and their warrior qualities.
Samoan dance and fire (some shows): Upbeat dances with body slapping and fire knife and stunts demonstrating bravery are characteristic of Samoa.
What is traditional training at a halau? / What makes you different from other companies?
A Halau Hula is a hula school led by a Kumu Hula or master hula teacher who carries a hula lineage which is passed on to her students. This means that while the text for the oli (chant) or mele (song) remains the same, Hawaiians will be able to tell which halau and kumu a hula dancer has studied with in the traditions and style of her dancing. The dancer learns culture, history, language for chanting and singing, dancing, accompaniment with percussion and stringed instruments, and costume making. This training goes beyond what is taught in a studio or university. Mahealani’s intention is to perpetuate the traditions of her halau and Hawaiian culture while entertaining and educating audiences.
Where does your music come from? / Do all shows include fire dancing?
Not only is choreography passed down to the hula dancer, but she is also given permission to use the accompaniment of her kumu and other dancers from her halau in her own performances. This means the copyrights belong to the kumu, and the audience can enjoy a unique performance. We bring this recorded music along with a professional sound system, and a show package including a musician can be purchased when available. Since fire in luau shows comes from the tradition of Samoan fire knife dancing, a show package including a fire performer can be purchased at a rate to include liability insurance for the most authentic and exciting performance possible of pulsating drum music and large fire props. One exception is specific hula and Tahitian numbers, which use small fire in the storytelling, and clients can request this with any show package as well as drumming demos by special request.