The Papa Palai teen dancers of the Beamer Solomon Halau O Po’ohala, a traditional Hawaiian hula school from Waimea, Island of Hawai’i, under the direction of 5th generation Loea (dance master) and Kumu Hula Hulali Solomon Covington, have been selected to represent the United State of America in the 2012 Folkmoot USA International Folk Festival in Waynesville, North Carolina. The Festival has been underway since July 17 and goes to July 30.
The 2012 Folkmoot Festival will present performers from Belgium, Indonesia, Serbia, Peru, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Ukraine, New Zealand, France and now the 50th State’s Island of Hawai’i. This festival is ranked among the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast,” and draws 100,000 visitors to North Carolina annually for two weeks of traditional performances and cultural exchange. Out of 300 annual submissions, only 10 countries are invited to participate each summer.
“This is a great opportunity and honor for our halau’s award-winning teen dancers, which includes Leiomalama Tamasese Solomon and Kamaile Sohriakoff (both recent Hawaii Preparatory Academy graduates), Marisa Saito (a Parker School Senior) and Leilani Gabrielle (a Kealakehe High School Senior), to perform with and for exceptional dancers from around the world. The cultural exchange for all of us will be extraordinary,” said Loea Covington.
Loea Covington’s granddaughter, Pu’uwai Covington, age 6, will be the keiki soloist.
The Beamer Solomon hula school presented their third Hula Drama, called “Eia Ka Hula” (Behold the Hula) in New York City in June 2011, and at Waimea’s Kahilu Theater this past February 2012 to conclude a three-year celebration of the school’s 150-year Hawaiian dance and music legacy that extends back to the Kalakaua Monarchy.
“This showcase is frosting on the cake as we bring our 150th anniversary celebration to a close. It’s a once in a lifetime experience” said Leiomalama, the group’s lead dancer.
Accompanying the halau will be the Na Mele O Po’ohala musicians with Russell Paio, who represents the legacy of the famous Ka’apana musical ‘ohana from Kalapana, as the lead vocalist and guitarist, Nathan Grace on bass and singing falsetto, with Loea Covington playing ‘ukulele and also singing and chanting.
Hawai’i Island State Senator Malama Solomon, who serves as the hula school’s Kakau ‘Olelo – historian — will accompany the halau for part of the trip to represent Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Hawai’i State Senate in the Gala Preview and Opening Reception, Parade of Nations, Grand Opening, World Friendship Day and more.
In all, the halau will be performing in a total of 24 different venues.
Helping make the trip possible is sponsorship by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Richard R. Kelley Trust and the Michael Kelley Trust.
“We also extend a special mahalo to the halau’s extended family and friends and the entire Waimea community for all of their years of support and aloha in helping us get to this plateau,” said Loea Covington.
The dance school’s performances will include numbers to accentuate the beauty of the Island of Hawai’i, the legends of Pele, the music of the Na Paniolo and hula classics from their family’s Beamer repertoire.