Naope’s memory celebrated Hawaii’s Auntie Dottie’ helped form hula festival traditions
This year saw the passing of the two persons most responsible for the Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition (named for King David Kalākaua, who is credited with having revived the hula): kumu hula "Uncle" George Naope (who died Oct. 26, 2009) and administrator "Auntie Dottie" Thompson, who died Friday.
Naope will be formally celebrated at this year's festival, set for April 4-10. His students (most of them now teachers, including Etua Lopez, Iwalani Kalima and others) will dance in his honor at 6 p.m. April 4 at a free event at Hilo Civic Auditorium.
A future celebration of the life of Dorothy Soares "Auntie Dottie" Thompson is still under consideration, according to her daughter Luana Kawelu, who has been directing the festival since her mother fell ill some years ago.
Thompson, who directed the festival for all but the first five years of its 47-year history, credited Naope with having introduced her to the hula masters who helped make the festival a success.