Grass Valley ‘halau’ sways to top prizes |

Grass Valley ‘halau’ sways to top prizes

Grass Valley “halau” sways to top prizes

By Trina Kleist

City Editor

Members of the Grass Valley hula dancing school, or halau, recently took top prizes at a hula festival and competition in Washington state.

And this weekend, their teacher, Pilialoha Christiansen, will be offering classes at the school, called Ka Hale Hula O Pilialohaokalani O Hilo O Grass Valley. The group will meet today and Sunday at the Sierra Dance Institute, upstairs from Center for the Arts

at 314 W. Main Street in Grass Valley.

Christiansen lives in Port Hueneme, Calif., and operates a sister hula school in that area. She is a native of Hilo, Hawaii, where she learned the traditional dances that pass on stories, student Kriseda Smith said.

The Grass Valley school began about four years ago and has grown to nearly 30 women and men, student Alison Olsen said.

Nine students from the school competed in the Mai Kahiki Mai 6th Annual Hula, Oli and Falsetto Competition in the Seattle, Wash., area earlier this month.

Dancers came away with three First Place awards and the Best Overall Award in the Makuahine Group Division, Olsen said.

Dale Deacon and Erin Robbins danced with Southern California students in winning performances of kahiko ” or old style ” and auana ” or newer style.

Smith, Olsen and students Heidi Schroeder, Annette Faulkner, Jan Kaufman, Sandy Varacalli and Joann Faver joined Southern California students to win First Place in

the Kapuna Wahine (elder women) Division.

In the last three years, students have competed in four other international competitions, including twice at the King Kamehameha competition in Hawaii, Olsen said.

The halau offers public performances at summer and winter concerts, with guest artists; they also perform for organizations and private gatherings. For more information about arranging a performance, contact Smith at 265-9000; for information about joining the school, contact Cindy Kelley at 477-5687.


To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail or call 477-4230.

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