A typically placid morning on Kaanapali Beach became a swirl of song and dance in a flash on July 22, 2011. Visitors, hospitality workers and other onlookers experienced a Tahitian dance flash mob as more than 20 youth, who moments prior appeared relaxing along Maui’s golden sand, began to rise and sway to the sound of Polynesian percussion. The performance culminated in an all-halau display of dance.
The dancers were students from Te Tiare Patitifa, a halau (school) based in Wailuku. The group’s director, kumu hula Keoni Manuel, choreographed the performance.
The flash mob concept isn’t new, but this incarnation puts a cultural spin on a topical phenomenon.
“It’s a bit unconventional, but we’re proud to showcase the talent of our performers — especially the kids — and promote the culture of our islands,” said Lynn Okamoto, general manager of Lahaina Cannery Mall. “There have been other flash mobs in Hawaii, but they’re dancing to Katy Perry and Usher. We wanted to represent the host culture. We wanted to share a little aloha.”
The purpose of the performance was not only to find a creative way to share the culture, but also to raise awareness of the 13th annual Keiki Hula Festival held at Lahaina Cannery Mall, which was held July 23 and 24. The annual, two-day event features halau from across Maui County presenting richly choreographed kahiko (ancient hula) and auana (modern) hula that express the traditional values of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.
The performance was coordinated by Gilbert & Associates, the Maui-based advertising agency for Lahaina Cannery Mall.