E ku'u kaikua'ana and I celebrated the Fourth of July in typical Huraiti Mana fashion - dancing! We enjoyed this breath-taking view of the lake while performing hula and Ori Tahiti numbers for our friends' annual July 4th celebration her in Washington state, right before the sun set and fireworks lit up the Pacific Northwest sky. Mahalo nui for having us!
Mahalo nui loa to Anne Wily-Mavaega and the many others who planned the first-ever Lacey PolyFest in June 2019! The day started off windy and dark but as the dances kept coming and the food still cooking, the sun broke out over the beautiful festival of brown Polynesians in the Lacey community and greater Pacific Northwest. We've mentioned before how it is often that "Hawai'i-themed" or "Polynesian-themed" events can often be had at the unfortunate exclusion of Polynesian people itself; however, the many organizations we've been so fortunate to have the opportunity to work and partner with has led the way in our community to create events by the people and for the people. Lacey PolyFest was one of those amazing events that brought together the Polynesian community, the dancing community, the singing community, and all those who share in the love of Polynesian culture.
Anne did so much research reaching out to every Polynesian group she could find in the Pacific Northwest and created a stunning program of unending performance, song, dance, food, jewelry, and much more. We ended up spending the entire day at the festival enjoying this home away from island home. Mahalo a mauruuru roa to the Lacey Polyfest team! We can't wait for Lacey Polyfest 2020!
Mahalo to Kalli and all those who brought Huraiti Mana to the Seattle Mariners! It was such a thrill to be carted through backstage areas of Safeco Field to perform just before the start of the game. This was a fun treat for the huraiti who joined us for a summer ball game hula performance - who would have thought! It also was an incredibly epic ball game with runs after runs! With my Grandfather a baseball legend of my hometown community, I'd say baseball holds a special place in my heart. Let's go Mariners! Let's go Huraiti Mana!
Sunday, May 5, 2019, Huraiti Mana joined countless other performance groups and vendors for a day-long celebration at the Seattle Center Armory as a part of the Seattle Center's Festal programs. A big mahalo to Vivian and the entire voluntary crew behind the scenes of the annual API Heritage Month Celebration! This year, like every year, we at Huraiti Mana sincerely and truly enjoyed ourselves. We absolutely love the opportunity to celebrate our hard work and accomplishments and perform with and for our 'ohana.
This year we performed Ori Tahiti numbers featuring our basics class, our intermediate class, and our largest tamari'i (children) performance, ever! E ho'omaika'i to all the first-time performers from our youngest tamari'i to our newest huraiti.
When onstage, I'm alight with a fire and energy and life. We strive to have that same feeling of empowerment live in each of our huraiti and in each member of the audience sharing in our performance. Through song and dance, through reciprocal cultural practice, and through open hearts and minds, we are able to share our mana, our spiritual power, and move through this life, together.
A big mahalo and ho'omaika'i to API Chaya! Mahalo for inviting Huraiti Mana to celebrate with you at your very special, warm, and welcoming gala and congratulations on such a successful fundraising event! API Chaya, with its amazing donors and family, was able to raise over $340,000 to support survivors at their annual Gala on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at The Westin Seattle.
The theme of this year's Gala: "We Believe Survivors." API Chaya serves and provides resources for survivors of violence and exploitation - they center survivors' "dignity, autonomy, and leadership" in all the work they do. API Chaya served 785 survivors and their dependents (families) and trained over 12,000 service providers, community, and faith leaders in 2018 alone.
Huraiti Mana is blessed to be a part of an amazingly supportive, loving, and caring community. We hoped to bring to their event a cause for celebration, and excitement for life, body positivity and ownership, and a joy that transcends across all cultures, with the joy of dance. Mahalo nui loa for inviting us into your home, your mission, and your community. E Mālama Pono!
Seattle Public Schools celebrated its Ethnic Studies Program with the many community members, educators, activists, and students who all contribute to make this significant and much-needed program, a reality. Mahalo to the Ethnic Studies Program Manager Tracy Gill for welcoming Huraiti Mana to perform and share briefly about the history of Tahiti and about our need to dance, to sing, and to bring a more holistic history in all our lives. Ei aha roa to 'oe hiro'a. Eia moe e to'u nuna'a. May you always keep with you the consciousness and dream of your origin.
Seattle Children's Museum held their first-ever Patchwork Puget Sound event Saturday, Dec. 29 - Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. Sunday, Huraiti Mana performed with an Ori Tahiti segment featuring our youngest huraiti! We followed our performance with a lei-making activity for the young and their accompanying young-at-heart. We had a fantastic time with our young audience and are so happy to have participated in this event dedicated to showcasing the communities of the Puget Sound area.
Mauruuru roa to Devin and the entire team at the Seattle Children's Museum. We appreciate the hospitality, the warmth, and the fun you all bring to our city's youth!
Photos by: Jojo Gaon
Over 100 community members packed into the small basement event space of the Elliot Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, September 19, to celebrate with Sharon H. Chang the launch of her newest book and first memoir, Hapa Tales and Other Lies. Sharon kindly invited me to perform opening and closing ceremonies as well as share a couple mele (specifically, a couple hula performances). This experience was powerful, inspirational, and fulfilling regarding womxn and femme power, a force of indigeneity, vulnerable sharing and deep cultural exchange, a multi-racial community's pains and triumphs, and a breath of fresh intellectual enlightenment and prosperity.
I feel so blessed to be in the company of greatness. Sharon's excerpts chosen in her book reading were equal parts eloquent and down-to-earth, simultaneously humorous and bluntly painful. Although she and I have very different relationships to Hawai'i - I being Native Hawaiian and she being mis-identified as such - I find my questions and emotions completely seamless with her own. For example, she questions the changes in expectations and justifications from having dark skin in the tropical places where she had grown up - she in California while I was on O'ahu - but now living as a light-skinned mixed person in cloudy Seattle. People treated us differently than when we had been growing up elsewhere. We have been identified, misidentified, claimed, and disowned and singled out. Where is home?
I can't wait to sit down and read voraciously through this memoir. Stars Marian Macapinlac, Selena Velasco, and Moonyeka feel the same. Marian's voice began the set of performances with sweet rock and roll - her voice echoing smooth melodies throughout the room. Selena's slam poetry piece with artistic interpretive dance moved me - her vulnerability is her strength; her body is her own, now. And so is mine. And Moonyeka smashed onstage with a super-chill-cool dance set and disturbingly great video montage. Watch them. These individuals, led by the community Sharon H. Chang is drawing together, will shake the world as we know it.
Mahalo nui loa to Sharon for the opportunity to share in such an incredible night I will always remember. Me ke aloha e ku'u 'ohana hou!
Huraiti Mana brought Ori Tahiti and Hula for the first time ever to Rainier Beach Community's annual BAAMFest celebration on Sunday, August 19, 2018! We rounded out our summer months with this amazing festival that had three performance stages that featured Huraiti Mana, Deems Tsutakawa, Taiko Drumming, Belly Dancing, and so much more; tons of food trucks including Full Tilt; activity booths and cultural vendors; a pop-up traveling exhibit with the Wing Luke Museum; and horse-mounted Buffalo Soldiers.
A big mahalo to all those who have made BAAMFest possible year after year - especially to Cindi Laws! Volunteers work tirelessly to create a multi-cultural and cross-cultural event to showcase the communities of the Rainier Beach neighborhood as well as to highlight the histories of the area through a social justice lens. This year, the festival focused on the experience of Japanese Americans in the neighborhood and in Seattle at large, educating visitors about the Japanese American incarceration during World War II through pop-up exhibits and the arts.
While at a vendor booth, a little boy mentioned about his love for Chinese dragon mythology, for the Hawaiian State fish the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, and other fascinating facts. His father smiled: "Yah, we try to raise him to appreciate other cultures. Because if we don't appreciate other cultures, than no one is going to appreciate ours."
This feels like it's been the longest summer yet, filled with so many Hula and Tahitian performances and workshops across Seattle and beyond, all with the mission to showcase the cultures and communities of which we consider Huraiti Mana a part. We are all connected. This year, we've danced our way with ori Tahiti and hula in the Seattle Center, Chinatown-International District, Tacoma, Burien, Auburn, Wallingford, and so much more. Mahalo, mauruuru.
Our festival performances are coming to the end as we head into the Fall season - this is a great time to join Huraiti Mana, build a strong foundation in our Ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance) and Hula dance classes, and become a part of this community of aloha in Seattle. We invite you, e manava!
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