Kumu hula Patrick Makuakāne illuminates the hidden complexity of traditional hula moves by choreographing exciting dance narratives for modern music.
Makuakāne studied hula from the age of 13 and studied under hula master Mae Kamāmalu Klein to become a kumu hula. He has gone on to receive numerous awards and has performed with the Brothers Cazimero at Carnegie Hall. In 1985, he founded his halau and now teaches hundreds of students each year from his San Francisco-based company.
Each year, Makuakāne produces a Bay-area gala featuring the innovative “hula mua” of his halau, the Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu halau. The 2013 hula show “The Voice of the People” shares a century of Hawaiian history through dances choreographed to songs by Patsy Cline, Michael Jackson and others. The show begins with stories of the goddess Pele as retold in Native Hawaiian newspapers in 1905, through the Jazz Era to today. The Honolulu-born dancer and his company uncovered the stories that inspired the show when they translated over 1,200 pages of Native Hawaiian newsprint as part of a documentation project.
With the support of a 2014 NACF Artist Fellowship in Dance, Makuakāne will be able to return to Hawai’i for an extended stay to delve into the scholarly aspects of Hawaiian history, language and cultural studies to inspire future works.