What It Takes to be a Hula Champion


– Hula is the language of the heart and therefore the heartbeat
of the Hawaiian people. (drum beating) And we tell our dancers,
everything needs to dance. Your hair, your toenail, your eyelashes, it needs to dance. (speaking in a foreign language) (upbeat drum music) Within three days the
competition tickets are sold out. Those tickets are like gold. They only bring the best of the best and so we’re very honored
to be able to participate. (speaking in a foreign language) The most prestigious
part of Merrie Monarch is the Miss Aloha Hula competition, which is the women’s solo competition. Twelve halaus are allowed to
choose their very best dancer. Our contestant this year
is Kayli Ka’iulani Carr. Kayli is a professional hula dancer and we chose her for
many different reasons. We wanted her to go, not just
a dancer, but as a person. (speaking in foreign language) – One of my favorite parts about Merrie Monarch week is that we go to Kilauea to pay respects to Pele, who is the fire goddess,
the goddess of creation. And it really puts into perspective where you are in this world
and in this hula journey. I’ve wanted to be in Merrie Monarch since I was a little kid. There was a lot of times
when I thought I would never, it would never happen for me but pretty much most of my hula journey has been working towards this
moment, which is tomorrow. Professionally, I’ve
been doing it since 2009. There is a difference between
dancing hula in a halau and dancing hula professionally. Dancing for the tourists
is like American Chinese and not the authentic Chinese food. – At hotels, here is what you’ll see. Beautiful men and women,
brightly colored hair pieces and leis which are all plastic. But you won’t see the skill,
you won’t see the love that you would at the
Merrie Monarch Festival. – [Kayli] For Merrie Monarch
we practice every day for, I would say, three to four months. They’re intense. – Can we try the end one more time. Why are you guys waiting? Invitation, you need one invitation? Come on you guys, get your head game on. – The biggest misconception
about hula is that it’s easy. All hula dancers, and you quote me on this, have bad knees, all of them. – [Ke’ano] So when you see
a beautiful hula dancer, that’s gliding across the
stage, she’s hurting. She’s hurting really bad because nobody walks
around with bent knees. You know, six inches off the ground. – [Kayli] Blisters, you
get blisters on your feet. – [Ke’ano] Every single part
of your body needs to work. You should be gasping for air. But you can’t. You need to look exactly the
same as when you first started. – If you can bend your
knees and swirl your hips and have this upper body
carriage that’s really upright but make it look effortless, that’s a true hula dancer. – [Voiceover] Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Miss Aloha Hula Competition. Kayli Ka’iulani Carr. – [Kayli] If I gave the
performance of a lifetime, if I gave everything I had
to that one performance, those 14 minutes up there, just me, I’ve already won. (audience cheering) You’re just the vessel
for all of these people that came before you. For all of the knowledge that you have and it’s your responsibility
to share that, it’s your responsibility to perpetuate. But, it would be so nice to hear my name being called. – And now ladies and gentlemen, Miss Aloha Hula for 2016 Kayli Ka’iulani Carr. (audience cheering) – [Kayli] You know, I don’t dance hula just to be a Miss Aloha Hula. I do it because, just because I love it. And I can’t explain to you why I do. I think it’s something
you’re just born with.

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