HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last year, Keolalaulani Halau 'Olapa O Laka made headlines with its first place finish in wahine 'auana. This year, all eyes will be on Miss Aloha Hula night as the Dalire ohana competes to maintain an impressive legacy.
Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire made Merrie Monarch history as the festival's first Miss Hula in 1971. Twenty years later, her eldest daughter Kapua won, then daughters Kau'i and Keola.
Now her granddaughter Kili is hoping to keep the family tradition alive.
"You can't win it on name recognition alone," said Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire, the first Miss Hula of the Merrie Monarch Festival. "You got to show what you can do and that's why I tell -- I firmly believe as I tell her -- you've been doing this all of your life, all of your life and now you just got to put it out there and dance from your heart; that's the only thing you can do because hula is an expression of your inner most feelings."
While her Tutu lends guidance, 18-year-old Kili's primary coach is her mom Kapua who says she's been humbled by overwhelming support from the hula community.
"Just being able to take that stage is going to be something in itself because a little bit of everybody will be with her," said Kapua Dalire-Moe, Miss Aloha Hula 1991.
It appears the stars have been aligning for some time, but Kapua knows anything can happen, which is why she says she keeps sharing one wish with her daughter.
"To live in the moment and cherish it and that way it can become something that you can stick in your treasure box and treasure for the rest of your life," she said.
Kili said whatever happens she plans to dance her heart out.
"I feel like I've been preparing for this since I was two," she said.
As huge as the stakes may seem to others, Kili said she draws strength and support from what her ohana has accomplished.
"There's no real heaviness of the pressure, it's more so of doing what I'm supposed to do and if it's supposed to happen," she said. "The legacy will continue."