HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Jasmine Kaleihiwa Dunlap of Hula Halau 'O Kamuela has been crowned Miss Aloha Hula at the 52nd Annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo.
Dunlap, who dances out of O'ahu, under the direction of Kumu Kau'ionalani Kamana'o and Kunewa Mook also took home the OHA Hawaiian language award.
Her powerful kahiko (ancient style) number “He Kau No Hi'iakaikapoliopele” is a chant of praise for Hi'iaka, the youngest sister of Pele.
Her 'auana (modern style) "Hopoe" also paid tribute to Hi'iaka. The mele, or song, is about how Hi'iaka made Pele promise not to destroy her favorite lehua groves or hurt her beloved companion, Hopoe, when she left to fetch Pele's lover from Kaua'i. But the journey to Kaua'i and back to Hawai'i Island was long and Pele feared Hi'iaka and Lohi'au had become lovers. In her jealous rage, Pele destroyed Hi'iaka's beloved lehua trees and covered Hopoe with lava.
Dunlap was clearly a crowd favorite and her first place score was nearly 30 points higher than the first runner up -- Abby Hali'ahauola Resulta of Halau Hi'iakainamakalehua, who dances for Kumu Robert Ke'ano Ka'upu IV &Lono Padilla.
The point spread between the first and fourth runner ups were not as significant.
Second runner up Noelani Dudoit of Ka La 'Onohi Mai O Ha'eha'e is the hula sister of Miss Aloha Hula 2014 Kealohilani Serrao, who graced the stage with one last performance before the new Miss Aloha Hula was announced.
Third runner up: Jayna Marie Kau'iokalanimalie Shaffer of Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina'ala under the direction of Kumu Leina'ala Pavao Jardin
Fourth runner up: Anela U'ilani Ruth Tanigawa of Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka under the direction of Kumu Napua Greig.
Competition continues Friday night with men and women's kahiko and wraps up Saturday night with men's and women's 'auana, followed by the awards ceremony.
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