The Merrie Monarch journey: Hulali ‘Opiopio

Place Hilo
Text Ha‘alilio Solomon

Summit invited hula haumana (student) Hulali ‘Ōpiopio to share a little about her journey in preparing for the 2017 Merrie Monarch festival.

Summit (S): What is your favorite thing about preparing for Merrie Monarch?

Hulali ‘Ōpiopio (HO): My favorite thing about preparing for Merrie Monarch would be getting the chance to build stronger relationships with my hula sisters/brothers and learning how to be a vessel to embody the vision that my kumu has chosen to present.

S: In the time leading up to Merrie Monarch, how does your lifestyle change to prepare for the competition?

HO: In the time leading up to Merrie Monarch, many things in our everyday life need to change to help us focus and prepare so we can offer the cleanest hookupu we are able to. In order to do this, our kumu places certain kapu upon us in succession to prepare us.

S: What kinds of personal sacrifices do you make to prepare for Merrie Monarch?

HO: In preparing for Merrie Monarch there are lots of sacrifices made by everyone involved. I think for me, the ultimate sacrifice is time spent with my family but I am lucky to have the most amazing support system at home.

S: How do you personally connect to the mele, hula, oli or anything else about the performance?

HO: In our hālau, we are lucky to visit and experience the places we dance about. This year we are fortunate enough to know all of our haku mele personally, which also allows us to connect to the mele and hula on a deeper level.

S: How does Merrie Monarch inspire you to be a better hula dancer?

HO: Merrie Monarch is a way for us as dancers to elevate our hula in preparation for things such as ceremony.


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