The Pacific University Hawaii club, Na Haumana O Hawaii (NHOH), held their 56th annual Lu’au in the Stoller Center, Saturday, April 9.
The hard work and dedication that the NHOH members put into the performance was evident. From the singing, to fire throwing to dancing hula, the performance was amazing. The professionalism that these dancers presented in their performances really showed through their body movements and stage smiles. It was a clear message that they were dancing for more than simply putting on a show. NHOH dancers were dancing from their hearts.
Junior Mana Grace was the primary vocalist during the performance and his talent and ability to not only sing, but also sing for an extended period of time without sounding tired, blew me away. I’m a huge fan of country music and listening to Hawaiian music was something that I had never heard or experienced before. The way all of the musicians played their instruments and sang together was impeccable. It was like they played together for years. They had fun, they felt the rhythm to their music, which made me “skank” along as well.
The hours of preparation that it took to put on the performance really showed. Lu’au consumed many hours of many students’ lives, yet the show did not falter. I’m sure some, if not all of the participants were tired of rehearsing and going over dances at some point, but I never got that feeling from their performances. These students willingly and passionately dedicate their time to lu’au and to NHOH and I understand why. This annual lu’au show is a way to share and spread their aloha from the Hawaiian islands.
I have never been to a lu’au show before and I honestly felt moved by this one. The rhythm of the music and the impactful dances gave me chills. Before going to the show, I was a little unclear about what the theme, “I Ka Wa Ma Mua, I Ka Wa Ma Hope, The Future is in the Past” meant. It was during their “voyage” where I understood that the past of my ancestor’s history creates my identity and made me realize that we still need that information in today’s modern world. I have never been to Hawaii either and now I can say without any doubt that it is on my bucket list.
Many people complained about the elevated price of luau but for me, as a broke college student, I would spend the $30 to see a show of that magnitude. The fire throwing was incredible. I was a taken aback when it was going on indoors but shortly realized that the participants were highly trained and very good at what they do.
I was sitting in the front row and I could actually feel the heat from the fire above me. It’s not every day that you can sit five feet away from a group of people throwing fire in the air, catching it and then going straight into spinning the fire in circles. I look forward to going to luau every year and to see the progression of the dances through the years I will be here.