In July, Hula Mai brought two outstanding pioneers from Hawaii to Sonoma for an extraordinary three day workshop in the art of the Ki`i. Kumu Maile Loo and Mauli`ola Cook are part of a small but growing cadre of Island teachers devoted to reviving the all-but-lost art form of hula kiʻi. Kiʻi were used to tell moʻolelo (stories), as well as being used in a variety of ways in hula.
Mauli, Kumu Maili, and Kupu, Maili's daughter
The style of hula kiʻi that Kumu Maile and Mauli shared was taught to them by Kumu Maileʻs hānai mother, Aunty Nona Beamer. Aunty Nona felt that this type of hand kiʻi was developed by her Sweetheart Grandma, Helen Desha Beamer.
We were so thrilled to have these two outstanding teachers share their knowledge with us, that we invited a few dancers from outside Hula Mai to join us in our Ki`i adventure. The workshop was a First for California, and only the second of its kind on the Mainland.
Maili teaches choreography
Kumu Maile and Mauli
erg During three intensive all-day sessions in the beautiful and historic Sonoma Woman’s Club, 27 of us listened, spell bound, as Kumu Maile and Mauli told us the stories, laid out the instructions, and led us through the choreography. (We did, however, take a few minutes out one day to celebrate Maile’s birthday!!)
Happy Birthday, Maili
htgfj kjbbk Kumu Maile taught us Ke Ha`a Ala Puna - first in its original kahiko form and then as an auana that her Aunty Nona had put to music. Mauli taught us Uncle Nathan Kalama’s lovely tribute to Aunty Nona, Ka Pua Lehua o Pahoa.
Faye and Mauli
Hawaiian coconuts for ki`i heads
Items for ki`i facial features
Jill and Ava decide on hair styles
Part of the wonderfulness of the workshop was due to the fact that we were able to use many authentic, traditional materials and the finished products surpassed all expectations. Take a look at the Ki`i faces and ours, as we created and designed: totally focused on every detail -- the tiniest eyelash, the earring, the dress, the hair, the mouth.
Dina and Toni A creating their ki`i
The glue gun table
Making organic dye for ki`i costumes
Toni G and Carolyn
Linda G paints a costume stamp
Jana stamping her ki`i costume
Maria hangs her ki`i costume to dry
These ki`i are ready to dance
Ava, Maria, Toni G, and Maria make the local paper
On the third magical afternoon, we performed for friends and family, dancing our new hula with our newly minted fantasmagorical creatures.
Please click on the video icons to the right to watch our ki`i dancing their first hula!
We love our Ki`i and can’t wait to introduce them in our future shows.