Editor’s note: In 2004, Hula Halau Aloha Pumehana ‘o Polynesia officially changed their name to Halau ‘o Keikiali’i.
The flourishing presence of hula schools around the Bay Area is proof that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Spark spends time with Halau ‘o Keikiali’i‘s Käwika Alfiche, who has devoted his life to reviving ancient Hawaiian music and dance traditions which have been threatened by two centuries of assimilation.
Hula is a form of storytelling and dance that is traditionally learned with a teacher, who is called a “ke kumu.” Käwika Alfiche, the ke kumu of Halau ‘o Keikiali’i, has been teaching hula and other aspects of Hawai’ian culture for more than 10 years. Study of this art form includes “oli” (chanting), “mele” (traditional songs), “himeni” (modern songs), “nä mea hula” (arts, crafts and toolmaking), “lole hula” (hula regalia), ´ölelo (language) and “mo’olelo” (stories and storytelling).
The San Francisco-based Halau ‘o Keikiali’i is a “ka hälau,” a traditional Hawai’ian performance ensemble. Founded in 1994, their mission is to educate the general public about Hawai’ian people, customs, values and protocols by focusing on performance and preservation of Hula Kahiko, or ancient dance. The multi-generational group offers classes, stage performances and cultural events throughout the year.
Halau ‘o Keikiali’i
Where: 415 423 Baden Ave., South San Francisco