HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of dancers from around the world will gather in Waikîkî this spring to partake in a rare opportunity to experience hula in its native surroundings. The 5th annual International Waikiki Hula Conference will take place May 11 to 13 at the Hawai'i Convention Center. The conference is not only for hula lovers from overseas but is also open to local dancers of all experience levels and anyone interested in hula. This year's conference theme celebrates Lei Day in Hawai'i, with workshop mele (song) and hula representing flowers or lei, chosen by each kumu hula (hula teacher). Over 40 respected kumu will lead the workshops. For visiting hula students and performers, the conference almost certainly provides the largest possible gathering of Hawai'i based kumu hula, many of whom do not travel outside Hawai'i to teach. Attendees will have the opportunity to choose from 80 workshops and seminars that cover all aspects of hula - from making an authentic pâ'û la'î (ti-leaf skirt) or an 'ulî 'ulî (feather rattling implement) with one of Hawai'i's master implement crafters, to learning hula or an oli (chant) from award-winning teachers who have participated in the Merrie Monarch Festival. "The International Waikiki Hula Conference brings together the hula community from around the world for a weekend of appreciation and respect for the art of hula," said Marnie Weeks,
International Waikiki Hula Conference producer. "We look forward to welcoming visitors and locals alike as they come together to share and learn from some of the world's most renowned Hawaiian cultural practitioners." In addition to participating in the workshops, conference registrants will have the opportunity
to perform a mele they learned from their workshop kumu at various hô'ike (shows) throughout Waikîkî. Attendees will also participate in the opening ceremonies and closing "Kanikapila" performance, have a chance to take home a piece of Hawai'i from the Hawaiian Vendor Mall, and receive a certificate of completion at the end of the conference. This year's conference will also feature an international-juried Hawaiian quilt competition, the first of its kind in Hawai'i, drawing from submissions from around the world and focusing on Hawaiian floral design in honor of Lei Day. Registration is $385 ($250 for kama'âina - Hawai'i residents) for the full three days. Group rates are offered for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to register for the conference, click HERE!