By Denise Yuki
HILO (HawaiiNewsNow)- As the Miss Aloha Hula segment of the 2012 Merrie Monarch Festival comes to a close, halaus are getting ready for the group portion of the competition.
There are a total of 23 halaus competing in the festival this year, including two from California and one from Las Vegas. There are no halaus representing the Big Island, making it the first time in Merrie Monarch history for the event's long-time host.
On Friday, the halaus will showcase an ancient form of hula, the kahiko. Widely practiced by Native Hawaiians before Western influence in the 1890's, the kahiko is known for being a more aggressive and energetic style of dance compared to its graceful auana counterpart. The dance involves a variety of motions to portray different meanings such as the elements of nature, entertaining and honoring their leaders and even praising the fertility of chiefs.
Watch the festivities on KFVE at 6 p.m. or simply click HERE to view the live streaming online.
The festival continues Saturday night with the modern-style auana dance and the announcement of this year's winning halau.