Well-known Kumu Hula Ellen Castillo dies at 74

Ellen Kuuleialohapoinaole Pukaikapuaokalani Castillo
Ellen Kuuleialohapoinaole Pukaikapuaokalani Castillo

WAIMANALO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ellen Kuuleialohapoinaole Pukaikapuaokalani Castillo, a well-known Kumu Hula from Waimanalo has died. Castillo headed Pukaikapuaokalani Hula Halau.

Castillo started teaching hula in her garage in Waimanalo more than 50 years ago. As more students joined the halau, Castillo opened a studio in Kailua.

Over the decades, she taught hula, Tahitian and other Polynesian dances to five generations of girls and women on Oahu's windward side. Many of her students returned years later with their daughters and granddaughters.

Castillo also taught hula and Hawaiian culture and tradition in schools in Kailua and Waimanalo.

An elegant, graceful and expressive dancer, Castillo studied under some of Hawaii's most respected Na Kumu Hula including Aunty Bella Richards and Aunty Lani Kalama.

Castillo's halau was named for her grandmother, whose name "Pukaikapuaokalani" translates to "seashell flower of heaven."

Castillo leaves behind her husband Henry, her sons Nolan, Derek and Keola, her daughter-in-laws Janice Shimizu and Raydean Hopu, as well as 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Her family is making service arrangements, the details of which will be released later in the week.

She was 74.

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