Meet Miss Aloha Hula 2023: Agnes Renee Leihiwahiwaikapolionāmakua Brown
HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a night of extraordinary hula in the kahiko and ‘auana styles, Agnes Renee Leihiwahiwaikapolionāmakua Thronas Brown was crowned Miss Aloha Hula 2023.
“Completely honored, excited, blessed, so many emotions, just thankful mostly,” Brown said.
Brown was among 12 contestants vying for the prestigious title on Thursday night in Hilo.
She was dancing in the Merrie Monarch Festival for halau Ka Lā ʻŌnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe.
“I heard my name and I looked to my kumu, and in that moment, I felt just really excited to finally take the stage, and all the preparation that we had, it was amazing is hearing my name and being able to step on the stage, I was ready to share my story and make my presentation with everybody,” Brown said.
It’s the third consecutive win for the halau, under the direction of Tracie and Keawe Lopes.
As was clear by the level of competition, competing for the coveted title of Miss Aloha Hula is not for the faint of heart. In addition to learning two dances, each contestant must memorize an oli or chant.
Miss Aloha Hula 2003 Jennifer Oyama Kemfort said the individual competition is all about perseverance.
For her, that meant practicing through knee pain from enflamed tissues.
For Miss Aloha Hula 1983 Geola Pua, a student of late Kumu Hula Johnny Lum Ho and Halau O Ka Ua Kani Lehua, there was no such thing as sick days.
SPECIAL SECTION: Merrie Monarch Festival
“I got really, really, really sick the week before Merrie Monarch,” said Pua. “I had really bad asthma, bronchitis and he said, ‘Get on stage.’ I thought, ‘But I’m dying.’”
After dedicating countless hours of practice and giving their blood, sweat and tears to prepare for the competition, the ladies say it was all worth it when they heard their name called as the winner.
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