Hana Hou for Hawaii festival of arts in Paris

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Jul 07 2014 01:01:00 PM HST
Updated On: Jul 07 2014 02:45:15 PM HST

The Hawaii Festival of The Arts in France showcases Hawaiian dance, culture, and the spirit of aloha in Paris.

HONOLULU -

Imagine dancing a hula to La Vien Rose. Maile Kaku decided it was time to choreograph such a dance.

It's a Hawaiian take on a French classic and a way to speak directly to the heart of art aficianados in France.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's report.

"It is so moving to dance this for the French public because suddenly because they understand the words, they see that every word corresponds and they helps them understand hula a little better," said Kumu Kilohana Silve of Halau Hula O Manoa.

Our cameras caught up with members of Halau O Manoa and Halau Mele O Hawaii as they rehearsed last month preparing to take center stage in Paris. It is a festival celebrating dance music and more.

"Paris has always been avante guard in regards to arts and crafts and design,  so it makes a lot of sense to share a new song form a new chant form, a new art form in that setting," said Sam Ohu Gon of Halau Mele O Hawaii.

The Hawaii festival started in 2012 as a way to mark the 20th anniversary of Halau O Manoa, the Paris based hula studio started by Kilohana Silve.

This year, Gon is presenting at the Quai Bronly cultural museum where the focus is on hula and the natural world.

"So it's going to be once again the connection of the place that is Hawaii, and that natural history foundation, that richness that created a part of hula," said Gon.

Hawaii musicians Makana and Taimane Gardner are sharing the aloha, putting the slack key, steel guitar and ukulele in the spotlight.

In addition to mele and hula all across the city, Hawaii culture is being showcased with lei-making workshops and a taste of Pacific fusion cuisine.

The performances provide an island texture to a city hungry to learn about Hula gifts shared by those with a love for hula, oli and mele.

And while much of the cultural exchange this week has been in the City of Lights, the experiences of two years ago taking the show on the road in parts of France still warm these Hawaiian hearts.

"We danced hula in a barn. It was a storytelling festival and it was cold and the dancers  were wearing their pa’u and Kilohana was telling the story of Pele and she was telling it in French. That was the best hula moment in France, sharing hula in a small venue, in a barn with hay. That was beautiful," said Kathyrn Mahealani Kauka Wong, kumu of Halau Mele.

Whether it's hula kahiko or awana, thanks to these dancers and musicians the French are embracing our island culture with a hearty hana hou.  

“Quad il me prend dans ses bras. Je vois la vie en rose. When you take me in the arms, I see life in a rosy hue," said Silve.

It is just a bit of aloha taking hold across the sea.

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