Ha'amana | to empower
Huraiti Mana is a Polynesian dance troupe based in Seattle, Washington comprised of family and friends and led by award-winning dancer Kalei'okalani Onzuka. We seek to empower our diverse students to become huraiti or skilled dancers through lessons in ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance) and hula. Huraiti Mana is dedicated to creating a welcoming atmosphere infused with laughter, stories, and passionate work. Our huraiti challenge themselves for individual growth, learn about the histories of Polynesian cultures, and perpetuate deeply rooted values of family, leadership, and pride. Culture is about encouragement and empowerment, and that is what we hope to share with you at Huraiti Mana.
Ha'aputu | to gather
Culture is more than the performance of song and dance. It is about the relationships you build leading up to that moment. It's about how we as people interact. How we teach each other, how we listen to each other, and how we learn from each other. We welcome all dancers at any experience level and provide a safe place for students to learn various dance forms. Huraiti Mana also strives to develop relationships with nonprofits and organizations dedicated to showcasing, featuring, and supporting our Pacific Islander, Asian-American, and various communities of color. We strive to provide performance opportunities by developing relationships with individuals and organizations throughout Washington whose values we share.
Ha'api'i | to teach, to learn
Kalei'okalani was born and raised in Wai'anae, O'ahu and began dancing at six years old with Lokelani Polynesian Revue in Nānākuli. Beginning at 13 with Polynesian Dance Troupe Ma'ohi Nui, Kalei performed professionally in shows across O'ahu and on tour in Japan as well as competed in island-wide Heiva. She also trained with the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus Hawaiian Ensemble. From her move to Washington in 2009 until 2016, Kalei taught originally choreographed Tahitian, hula, and Samoan dances at Seattle University for the Hui 'O Nani Hawai'i club. In 2016, she began teaching hula as a part of Arts Corps, an organization providing equal opportunity for creative programs in schools with children of predominantly low-income communities of color. She also taught with Families of Color Seattle (FŌCS) as a part of the FOCSarts program, providing multi-cultural arts classes for youth ages 3-6 years and 7+, engaging them in conversations and practice of community, identity, and racial equality. With Huraiti Mana, she opens her independent teachings to students of all ages, learning from each and instilling in each significant values of the Polynesian cultures. Kalei aspires to continue teaching, studying, and sharing her passion for dance.
© HURAITI MANA
© HURAITI MANA
Photography by Kyle Kotani