Michael Pili Pang

Share |
Bio & Repertoire

Michael Pili Pang, kumu hula (hula master and artistic director)

Career: Kumu hula and city administrator
Honors: Rockefeller grant, National Endowment for the Arts, State Foundation for Culture and the Arts and numerous local foundations
Activities: Hawai‘i Museums Association board member, 2006 Pacific Century Fellow
MFA in dance ’05 University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa

Born in Honolulu, Michael Pili Pang began dancing hula as a youngster, later studying under revered kumu hula Maiki Aiu Lake and Mae Kamamalu Klein. He opened Hālau Hula Ka No‘eau in 1986 on the Big Island, adding a second hālau in Honolulu in 2002.

After many years spent teaching and performing, Pang decided to pursue his master’s degree. “The best thing I ever did was go back to school,” he says. As the winner of a John Young Scholarship, he represented the University of Hawai‘i in Sharing the Legacy: Dance Masterworks of the 20th Century, a program presented at Hunter College in New York in 2004. He danced solo works of Maiki Aiu Lake and Mary Wigman. More recently, he danced at a Barack Obama fundraiser last summer.

Shortly before graduating as the first person to earn an MFA in dance for work in hula, Pang was invited to become a senior staff member in Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s administration. As executive director in the Office of Culture and the Arts, he has created granting programs, built the arts administration (a staff of five, all practicing artists), fostered partnerships and collaborated on cultural and capacity-building programs.


Halau Concerts and Special Projects
American Masterpieces
The Deconstruction of Hula and Music … Kahauanu and Maiki Aiu Lake
Producer & Artistic Director:  Michael Pili Pang
Support:  State Foundation on Culture and the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces Program
Description:  Through a talk story format and demonstration, the hula choreography of Maiki Aiu Lake and the music of Kahauanu Lake will be presented. The stories behind the dance will be shared through personal experiences.  We will focus on how hula and music work hand in hand and see examples of the collaborative work of Maiki and Kahauanu.

1996 – 2009
HULIAU – Annual Hawaiian Dance Concert  
Producer & Artistic Director: Michael Pili Pang
Description:   HULIAU is an innovative stage production of Hawaiian dance.  The concert is produce yearly since its conception in 1996.  The various themes bring to the stage the folk lore and traditions of Hawai`i and its people. The production has traveled through the Island of Hawai`i and to the Islands of Maui, and Oahu.

Na Wai E Pipi`i – A Talk Story Interview Concert
Description: Na Wai E Pipi`i is a hosted talk-story format concert that merges composers, musicians, and hula dancers on a stage to discuss career experiences of Hawai`i’s artist.

2002 – 2004
Christmas Calabash
Producer & Director:  Michael Pili Pang
Description:  This production brings together artist and performers from North Hawai`i’s diverse ethnic communities to celebrate the Holiday Season through song and dance.

1998 – 2001
Hālau Hula Ka No`eau’s Hula Hawaiian Nutcracker
Producer & Director:  Michael Pili Pang
Description:   The Hawaiian Nutcracker is our hula version of E. F. Hoffman’s story The Nutcracker.  Set in Kamuela on the Big Island, this traditional Christmas story was modified to make it uniquely Hawaiian; where the Toymaker/Godfather is a Tutu, the Mouse King is a Giant Roach Queen and the Nutcracker is actually the goddess Hina with a kukui nut lei.  Each consecutive year the Nutcracker story changed as the main character, Clara, is called on each Christmas Eve by a host of Hawaiian mythical characters

Chapter 1 –Tutu Drosselemeyer Visits Hawai`i (1998)
   Premiere:  Kahilu Theatre, Waimea, Hawai`i
   Narrator: Jason Scott Lee

Chapter 2 – Clara’s Journey (1999)
   Premiere:  Kahilu Theatre, Waimea, Hawai`i
   Narrator:  Elizabeth Lindsey Byers, PhD

Chapter 3 – The Journey Home (2000)
   Premiere:  Kahilu Theatre, Waimea, Hawai`i
   Narrator:  Jacqueline "Honolulu Skylark" Rosetti

Chapter 4 – The Final Chapter – A New Job for Christmas (2001)
   Premiere:  Kahilu Theatre, Waimea, Hawai`i
   Narrator:  Michael Pili Pang
ain character, Clara, is call on each Christmas Eve by a host of Hawaiian mythical characters.  

1988 – 1990
Renaissance of a Holoku Ball
Coordinator & Conception:  Michael Pili Pang
Description:  Annual ball and holoku parade to raise funds for Hālau Hula Ka No`eau. 

 Halau Hula Ka No'eau Repertoire & History.doc


1997 – 2005 
Hawaiian Music Hall Of Fame Annual Concert
Producer: Kahauanu Lake Corporation
Production & Stage Manager: Michael Pili Pang
Description:  This annual music concert showcases the music of the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame inductees.