The Hawaii Club delivered a moving performance depicting the story of Hauula and its beauty. Members of the club said through their graceful dance movements, they tried to convey a message of togetherness and expanded the Laie community to its neighboring town of Hauula.
Pilialoha Haverly, a junior from Hauula majoring in Hawaiian studies and the vice president of the club, said the coronavirus pandemic has put a lot of strain on BYU–Hawaii students, so she felt this Culture Night was a way for students to unwind.
Through their dance, they tried to share a message of love and hope showing the community has been healing from the pandemic, she expressed.
She shared the club’s performance highlighted the story of the Hauula town. The dances and the songs they chose described its beautiful scenery and expressed an immense love for the people there, she added.
Having lived in Hauula for most of her life, Haverly said she is grateful she found songs talking about her side of the island. “Telling a story of my home is so special and sacred through hula dance was amazing,” she exclaimed.
Because the dance’s movements were simple, she said she decided to keep the costumes for Culture Night simple as well.
The girls wore white topics and black maxi skirts, while the boys wore white shirts and black dress pants. They all wore a multi-colored sash. Haverly said the simple costumes made the dancers look unified during their performance.
Shangjun Yang, a senior from China majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said performing in Culture Night and presenting different cultures brought hope to the community. “People are tired of the pandemic regulations. So seeing something we do annually sent a clear message that everything is going back to normal,” he explained.
He shared learning hula dance about the land brought him closer to the island. Yang said he has performed in Culture Night for three years and invited everyone to join and enjoy the cultures here at BYUH.
Yang said learning about other cultures can open people’s minds and brings deeper understanding of people’s behaviors. “Experiencing different cultures brings harmony, peace and unity among us,” he added.
Mahealani Haverly, a senior from Illinois majoring in hospitality and tourism management and the second vice president of the club, said she looked forward to not only representing her own culture, but also the culture she married into.
She explained through joining the Hawaii Club, she learned more about her in-laws’ culture and hula dance. “Living in Hawaii is a blessing, so we should learn and respect the culture here,” she added. She also said her sister-in-law, Pilialoha Haverly, was an immense help as they worked together to get people involved and to put the dance numbers together.
See more photos on Ke Alaka'i's Facebook page.