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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 20, 2006

16 vie for honor as Miss Aloha Hula

By Wanda A. Adams
Assistant Features Editor

While Maile Francisco makes her final bow as outgoing Merrie Monarch Festival Miss Aloha Hula tonight in Hilo, 16 other young women in the Edith Kanaka'ole Stadium will be trembling with a kind of nervous anticipation that only a past contestant can fully appreciate.

In this, the opening night of the three-day hula competition that is part of the one-week celebration of Hilo and all things hula, the women are competing for the honor of serving as a hula focal point for the coming year Miss Aloha Hula receives dozens of requests to perform and appear around the world and for the prestigious Hawaiian language award. Past competitors have parlayed their time on the unassuming plywood stage into work in broadcast and the music industry, jobs in the hotel industry and positions as kumu hula of their own halau.

This year's Miss Aloha Hula competitors (in alphabetical order by last name, followed by halau name, halau location and kumu hula (teacher):

  • Carly Makanani Ah Sing, Ka Pa Hula 'O Kauanoe O Wa'ahila, Honolulu; kumu hula Maelia Loebenstein Carter.

  • Faye Lei U'i Brigoli, Hula Halau O Lilinoe, Carson, Calif.; kumu hula Sissy Lilinoe Kaio.

  • Bianca Kulia Kaleinani Costa, Ka Pa Hula O Ka Lei Lehua, Honolulu; kumu hula Snowbird Puananiopaoakalani Bento.

  • Bernice Alohanamakanamaikalanimai Davis-Lim, Na Lei O Kaholoku, Kohala, Hawai'i; kumu hula Nani Lim Yap and Leialoha Lim Amina.

  • Kapalai'ula Kamakaleiakawainui de Silva, Halau Mohala 'Ilima, Ka'ohau, O'ahu; kumu hula Mapuana de Silva.

  • Jhameel Lewalani Sachiko Duarte, Keolalaulani Halau 'olapa O Laka, Kane'ohe, O'ahu; kumu hula Aloha Dalire.

  • Makalani Hanau I Ka Manawa Ua Kipalale Mai Kuahiwi Sarai Pukuna Himsa Franco-Francis, Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka, Kula, Maui; kumu hula Napua Greig and Kahulu Maluo-Huber.

  • Anelaokalani Leon-Guerrero, Halau Ho'ola Ka Mana O Hawai'i, Dallas, Texas; kumu hula Keli'i Chang.

  • Ka'enaalohaokau'ikaukehakeha Aoe Hopkins, Halau I Ka Wekiu, Honolulu; kumu hula Carl Veto Baker and Michael Nalanakila Casupang.

  • Laura Ke'alanoana Imai, Halau Hula O Napunaheleonapua, Honolulu; kumu hula Rich Pedrina.

  • Sharde Kamalamalamaonalani Mersberg, Hula Halau O Kamuela, Kalihi/Waimanalo, O'ahu; kumu hula Kau'ionalani Kamana'o and Kunewa Mook.

  • Moanike'ala Nabarro, Halau Hula Olana, Pu'uloa, O'ahu; kumu hula Howard and Olana Ai.

  • Tatiana Kawehiokalani Miu Lan Tseu, Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka La, Kapalama, O'ahu; Kaleo Trinidad.

  • Sharay Uemura, Halau O Ke 'Anuenue, Hilo, Hawai'i; kumu hula Glenn Kelena Vasconcellos.

  • Aisha Kilikina Kanoelani Valmoja, Halau O Na Pua Kukui, O'ahu; kumu hula Ed Collier.

  • Stephanie Makalapua Lum Yee, Halau Ke Kia'i A O Hula, Kalihi, O'ahu; kumu hula Kapi'olani Ha'o.

    Reach Wanda A. Adams at wadams@honoluluadvertiser.com.