Another incredible night of competition at Merrie Monarch! It was a packed house for Kahiko night at the Edith Kanaka'ole Stadium in Hilo. 29 hâlau performed on-stage, with the last group not going on til around 11:30 p.m.
Kicking the night off were the kâne of Nâ Pua Me Ke Aloha from Carson, California under the direction of Kumu Sissy Kaio. Among the men performing "Kaua Koa" on stage were a father and son, and three brothers.
Up next, Healani's Hula Hâlau & Music Academy under the direction of Kumu Beverly Healani Sun Lan Apana Muraoka from Kapa'a, Kaua'i. The five ladies danced to "Kaleleonâlani He Inoa".
The kâne of Hâlau Ke Kia'i A O Hula performing "Kaiâulu" under the direction of Kumu Kapi'olani Ha'o were up next, and it was clear from the crowd's reaction they were definitely feeling their performance.
Keali'ika'apunihonua Ke'ena A'o Hula was the fourth to perform with "Kuhiau". Their kumu hula, Kumu Leimomi Ho, danced in the first Merrie Monarch hula competition in 1971. This was her hâlau's return to the Festival after a 10 year absence.
The wâhine of Hâlau Keali'i O Nâlani performed "Ua Nani 'O Wailuku" under the direction of Kumu Keali'i Ceballos.
One of the clearest audience-pleasers of the night came from Academy of Hawaiian Arts of Oakland, California, under the direction of Kumu Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu. The kâne were greeted with applause before even taking the stage. They performed "A Ka'uku" and the crowd went wild.
Nâ Pua Me Ke Aloha's sister hâlau, Hâlau O Lilinoe, was up next with their performance of "'O Lauli'a Ke Ali'i" under the direction of Kumu Sissy Kaio and her daughter, Lilinoe McCormack.
Hometown hâlau, Hâlau O Ke Ânuenue, got the crowd cheering as Kumu Glenn Kelena Vasconcellos' ladies took the stage to perform "He Mele No Lâ'ieikawai".
Kumu Ed Collier's Hâlau O Nâ Pua Kukui kâne were up next with a performance of "Kâkuhihewa".
The ladies of Hâlau Hula Nâ Pua U'i O Hawai'i under the direction of Kumu Etua Lopes were the next to take the stage. They performed "Lanakila Ke Kâ'ahi Ali'i" with pû'ili'ili.
Keolalaulani HÃ¢lau 'Ã"lapa O Laka performed "'Auhea Wale 'Oe E Keaomelemele", under the direction of Kumu Aloha Dalire -- the first Miss Hula in 1971. This was the hÃ¢lau's 40th time competing at Merrie Monarch, which featured three generations of Dalire women performing together.
The kâne of Ka Pâ Hula O Ka Lei Lehua had the crowd silent with their 'oli. Under the direction of Kumu Snowbird Bento, they performed "Holo Kamohoali'i I Ke Kai Uli Ç".
Miss Aloha Hula Manalani English's Maui hâlau, Hâlau Nâ Lei Kaumaka O Uka, was up next with a performance of "E Ho'i Ka Nani I Uluwehiwehi".
Their kahiko was followed by Hâlau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine dancing "Mele No Kalâkaua", under the direction of Kumu Ka'ilihiwa Vaughan-Darval.
Last up before intermission was hometown Hilo hâlau, Hâlau Hula 'O Kahikilaulani. The crowd was on their feet for the kâne performance of "Nâ Nalu O Hawai'i".
Another hometown hâlau, Hâlau O Ka Ua Kani Lehua, under the direction of Kumu Johnny Lum Ho, were the first to perform following intermission. The ladies performed "Ka Lo'i Pa'akai O Hanapçpç" in honor of the Loa family in Kaua'i who cares for the salt patches.
Up next was the ladies of Ka Pâ Hula O Kauanoe O Wa'ahila with their performance of "He Inoa Nou E Kalaniana'ole", under the direction of Kumu Maelia Loebenstein Carter. Dancing in her 21st Merrie Monarch was Mapuana Ma'a, who said the performance was extra special because her daughter was also on stage.
The kâne of Hâlau Kekuaokalâ'au'ala'iliahi were next on stage with "Mâlie 'O Maui", under the direction of Kumu 'Iliahi and Haunani Paredes.
Hometown Hilo ladies of Hâlau Hula 'O Kahikilaulani, under the direction of Kumu Nâhôkuokalani Gaspang, performed "He Mele No Kahikilaulani" while the crowd cheered.
Following their performance was the kahiko "Aloha Kekaha" from Hâlau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leinâ'ala, under the direction of Kumu Leinâ'ala Pavao Jardin.
Up next were the kâne of Ke Kai O Kahiki, under the direction of Kumu La'akea Perry. Their performance of "Kauô Pû Ka 'Iwa Kala Pahe'e" was a clear favorite for the audience.
Ka LÃ¢ 'Ã"nohi Mai O Ha'eha'e, under the direction of Kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes, performed "Ua Awakea".
Hula Hâlau 'O Kamuela was up next with their kahiko "Ma Ke Kai Malino A 'Ehu", under the direction of Kumu Kau'ionâlani Kamana'o and Kunewa Mook.
The kâne of Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka Lâ performed "He Kai Moe Nei No Pele", under the direction of Kumu Kaleo Trinidad.
Following their performance, the ladies of Hâlau Hula Olana, under the direction of Kumu Olana and Howard Ai, with their kahiko "No'eno'e Ke Aloha".
The wâhine of Hâlau I Ka Wçkiu were up next. Kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang decided to only being their uniki class this year, so instead of the 30+ ladies who perform, only 7 danced to "'Auhea Wale 'Oe E Ka Manu".
Kumu Chinky Mâhoe's kâne of Kawaili'ulâ were next with their performance of "'O Kîlauea Noho Lulu".
Former Miss Aloha Hula,Lilinoe Sterling's hâlau, Hâlau Môhala 'Ilima, under the direction of Kumu Mâpuana de Silva danced "Aia I Waimânalo ko Nu'a Hulu".
One of the most anticipated performances of the evening came last. The kâne of Hâlau I Ka Wçkiu won first place in the kâne kahiko division last year and first place overall. They performed "He Inoa No Ka Mô'i" to crowd cheers.
This is just the half-way point in the competition. Tonight, all 29 hâlau return for their auana performances, followed by the award presentation.