The annual Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of hula and Hawaiian culture, is set to take place from April 9 through April 15, marking its 60th year in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii.
According to festival organizers, the Merrie Monarch is not just a showcase of hula performances, but also a celebration of Hawaiian heritage and tradition.
This year’s festival will feature 24 hula halau from around Hawaii and the continental United States. The participating halau and their kumu hula, or dance instructors, were announced Thursday.
The festival is named after King David Kalākaua, who was known as the “Merrie Monarch” for his love of music and dance. The festival began in 1963 as a way to preserve and promote Hawaiian culture through hula. Over the years, it has grown in size and popularity, becoming one of the most prestigious hula competitions in the world.
The festival’s panel of judges includes the following renowned hula experts and educators:
- Cy Bridges
- Ed Collier
- Vicky Holt Takamine
- Nālani Kanakaʻole
- Noenoelani Zuttermeister Lewis
- Piʻilani Lua
- Kalena Silva
Participating hula halau and their kumu hula include:
- Hālau Lilia Makanoe, Kumu Hula Sheldea Lilia Ai
- Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu, Nā Kumu Hula William Kahakuleilehua Haunū‘u “Sonny” Ching & Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera
- Keolalaulani Hālau ‘Ōlapa O Laka, Kumu Hula Keolalaulani Dalire
- Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea, Kumu Hula Kapua Dalire-Moe
- Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima, Kumu Hula Māpuana de Silva
- Hālau Keolakapuokalani, Kumu Hula Drake Keolakapu Dudoit Delaforce
- Hālau Kiawekūpono O Ka Ua, Kumu Hula Ulukoa Duhaylonsod
- Hālau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani, Kumu Hula Nāhōkūokalani Gaspang
- Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka, Kumu Hula Nāpua Greig
- Hālau Hula Kauluokalā, Kumu Hula Uluwehi Guerrero
- Keʻala ʻO Kamailelauliʻiliʻi, Kumu Hula Kamaile Hamada
- Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leināʻala, Kumu Hula Leinā‘ala Pavao Jardin
Learn more about this year’s festival lineup at the Merrie Monarch website.