"Pang approaches Hawaiian dance as an artistic, creative and educational endeavor, not simply as entertainment … The members of the ensemble take their work very seriously, and their public performances are varied, polished and exciting." - William Feltz, director, arts program, East-West Center (Honolulu)
"True hula is the quintessential expression of Hawaiian cultural values, deeply rooted in tradition and legend… The company’s hula is a far cry from the hip-swaying hula popularized and stereotyped decades ago for Hollywood movies and in songs to lure and entertain tourists.” -Barbara von Furstenberg, former Director of Programming, University of Hawai’i-Manoa
“…the dancers give us a sense of journeying, of different landscapes and change of mood…the women get juicier as they move—sinking into bent knees…” Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice
"The company members’ love for the art form and their warmth permeated throughout the performance so genuinely and (so) inviting," -St. Cloud State University arts advisor Toshiko Schwerdtfeger
Hālau Hula Ka No‘eau [hah-lao hula kah no-ey-ow] is dedicated to preserving and performing traditional hula, a dance style called hula ku‘i. This style evolved from the teachings of the late hula master Maiki Aiu Lake, a revered teacher and artistic director who was one of the hula leaders at the forefront of the Hawaiian renaissance, a movement that began in the 1960s to restore the knowledge of Hawaiian cultural traditions that had almost disappeared. Lake’s styling reflected the gentle mannerisms and courtly dances of the Hawaiian Monarchy during the late 1800s.
Michael Pili Pang, founder, kumu hula (hula master), and artistic director of Hālau Hula Ka No‘eau, studied hula under master artists Lake and Mae Klein and master chanter Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele. With his hālau hula (hula school and performing group), he takes the folklore of the Hawaiian Islands and through traditional hula, styling, music and chant present emotional and stirring performances. He explores both the traditional stylings of his “hula genealogy”, and he creates new hulas based in tradition.
"When I choreograph, I try to do the same styling," says Pang. "If my dances look like my teacher’s, then Ive succeeded in retaining and passing down a style. Anyone can teach the dance. But to pass down the styling is quite difficult."
"For Hawaiians, studying and performing hula is a lifelong undertaking, requiring concentration, discipline, and constant practice." -Dance Magazine
The company has won top honors at hula and chant competitions throughout Hawai‘i and has performed in New York City, British Columbia, Minnesota, Arizona and for a number of professional dance companies and universities across the country. In 1997 the Hālau appeared in collaboration with Pittsburgh modern dance company Dance Alloy.
Pang says the reason the company tours is to share Hawaii’s "true culture. We’re trying to bring as much of Hawai‘i to the mainland as possible and not make it so commercialized, but instead as traditional as possible. Because hula is a tradition for us."
Artists website: http://www.artofhula.com
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