Piʻikea Lopes named 2022 Miss Aloha Hula in this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a night of competition Thursday, a dancer from halau Ka Lā ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe was named as Miss Aloha Hula at the 2022 Merrie Monarch Festival.
Piʻikea Kekīhenelehuawewehiikekauʻōnohi Lopes, under the direction of her parents and kumu hula Tracie and Keawe Lopes, scored 1,168 points and also won the Hawaiian language award.
Lopes’ Kahiko performance:
“No Puna Ke Āiwaiwa Hikina” venerates the district of Puna, Hawai’i, and celebrates the presence of the natural elements and noted pana ‘āina associated therein. The composer, Lolokū, encourages us to continue to cherish and hold fast to those traditional references in our mele and mo’olelo that continue to help us make sense of and navigate our present.
Lopes’ Auana performance:
This mele ho’oheno (song of deep affection) was composed by the “Silver Voice Tenor” Bill Ali’iloa Lincoln to honor his home in Kohala. This lyrical masterpiece offers picturesque scenery that Kohala natives embrace and hold dear in fond recollection. The puana encourages us always to take time to reflect and cherish the memories of home.
The judges also named the following runner-ups:
2nd place: Auliʻionāpualokekūonaona Hisayo Faurot
3rd place: Marina Choi
4th place: Manaia Dalire Moe
5th place: Kyleigh Manuel-Sagon
The 10 contestants represented halau from around the state:
- Hiʻilei Puchalski of Kawaiʻulaokalā
- Shyla Victor, Hālau Kalaʻakeakauikawekiū
- Moanikeʻala Silva, Kawailiʻulā
- Marina Choi, of Hālau Hiʻiakaināmakalehua
- Renee Tataipu, Hālau Lilia Makanoe
- Manaia Dalire Moe, from Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea
- Auliʻionāpualokekūonaona Hisayo Faurot of Hālau ʻO Kamuela
- Riann Fujihara, Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua
- Kyleigh Manuel-Sagon, Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi
- Piʻikea Lopes from Ka Lā ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe
In front of a live audience, 10 solo contestants took the stage in Hilo. The dancers competed in both kahiko and ‘auana categories, and were judged based on their oli and use of Hawaiian language, technical execution of their performance, and overall grace.
The Miss Aloha Hula competition came on the heels of Hoike, the only non-competitive night of the festival. Hometown favorite Halau O Kekuhi started off the show, as they do every year.
There was also a Tahitian group and other hula performances.
This year, Hoike was the only night where members of the general public could attend. In March, tickets were sold at $5 a piece. And of course, they sold out quickly.
Savannah Kaui, of Hilo, was among those who snapped up seats.
”Itʻs so great to be back after all these years. Itʻs so nice to have Hilo alive again,” she said. “It took a little while, but weʻre back. Weʻre back.”
Attendee Susan Saraf brought tissues to the show because “I knew I was just going to weep because it was like ‘weʻre going to Disneyland.’ It was even better. So emotional.”
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