For the month of August, we’re highlighting the Hula Preservation Society, a non-profit organization committed to collecting and preserving the stories and knowledge of hula elders and sharing them with the global hula community.
The Hula Preservation Society was founded in 2000 by renowned cultural educator and Kumu Hula Auntie Nona Beamer and her hanai daughter Maile Loo. They and other community members recognized a generation of senior hula practitioners that were rapidly dwindling. As a way to honor these remarkable people, preserve undocumented cultural knowledge, and share hula resources, HPS began filming their life stories and hula teachings.
Since its inception, HPS has conducted oral history interviews with over 80 hula elders. Through the years, many hula collections from these elders have been entrusted to them, including personal papers with song and choreography, albums, newspaper clippings, hula implements, scrapbooks, photographs, and other historical hula-related materials.
In addition to preserving hula resources and serving the research needs of the hula community, HPS presents hula-related programming across Hawai‘i and beyond. In October, HPS will travel to New York to debut The Hawaiian Room, a film that documents the entertainers and dancers who worked in the illustrious Hawaiian-themed revue, open from 1937 to 1966 in the Lexington Hotel in New York City. A group of original Hawaiian Room dancers will attend and perform at the premiere that will be held at the historic 92nd Street Y on Friday, October 10. Another showing of the film will be held on November 8 at the Doris Duke Theater as part of the ʻOiwi Film Festival.
In November, HPS will present the following 3-day series as part of the International Waikiki Hula Conference (individual tickets apart from conference registration are available):
November 7: Great Masters of the 20th Century: Includes digitized Umatic tape footage of some of the last public performances by some of Hawaii’s most renowned Kumu Hula, Musicians, and Hawaiian scholars
November 8: Hula Kii: Hawaiian Puppetry: Video from HPS’s archive and panel discussion with Uncle Calvin Hoe and Auntie Mauliola Cook
November 9: Tribute to Legendary Kumu Hula Iolani Luahine: Including archival footage and talk story session by some who studied under her.
AHA is very grateful to the Hula Preservation Society for hosting us on August 23!
Hula Preservation Society
P.O. Box 6274 Kāneʻohe, HI 96744