Students stepped out of the gloomy San Francisco spring weather and into a Hawaiian island paradise in Koret Gym April 30 for the 44th annual Hui’O Hawai’i Luau.
Hosted by Hui’O Hawai’i, the University of San Francisco’s Hawaiian culture club, and supported by ASUSF, the show featured various traditional Hawaiian dances and food. Well over 200 guests were in attendance, including both families and friends, all of whom participated with enthusiasm and joy. For many years, the show has been bringing together families, and this year made no exception. This year’s theme for the luau was The Legend of Fire and Ice and it was included throughout the show, particularly in the colorful lights and set.
Hui’O Hawai’i welcomed their guests with a Hawaiian feast, including poke, teriyaki chicken, and other traditional Hawaiian foods. Also included in the evening’s festivities was a dance performance, with music played by Jack Forster and David Murien. The first half of the performance featured various types of hula and more modern Hawaiian dances. which were highly engaging for the audience, who remained active participants throughout, despite full bellies from the food. Sophomore Anya Kishen said, “I really enjoyed both the food and performance, it was a great experience to watch my peers and friends in the performance.”
After intermission the club performed ori dance, a more upbeat dance that involves more movement than singing. Towards the end, the dancers went into the crowd to find volunteers to teach to do the hula, which was an audience favorite and provoked much laughter. During the show’s closing aloha song, group members asked the audience to stand up and dance along to. The group also recognized their 14 graduating senior members at the end of the night, which included their President Kacie Hirotsu, as well as Vice President Nicole Taniguchi.
Freshman Adule Dajani said, “With finals coming up it was really fun to go to a performance and get away from the stress, as well as get involved with other cultures.” As one of USF’s biggest events each year, the luau is the perfect place to both learn about other cultures and destress. Although there were many parents and children there, many students were also in attendance, including volunteers from the Hawaiian Ensemble, Omicron Theta Chi, and Alpha Phi Omega.
Hirostu said, “I have been part of Hui’O Hawaii since I was a freshman here at USF, and after my first year I was involved in the luau. It was really cool because when I joined the club people were very welcoming and they wanted me to be involved. I love being from Hawaii and everybody was really nice. Seeing people wanting to learn and wanting to be part of the Hawaiian culture is really cool. Half of our club isn’t from Hawaii and half of our dancers also aren’t from Hawaii.”
This involvement of other students has helped Hui’O Hawaii grow into a large club, with even more students who participate in other aspects of club that do not necessarily involve dance. Hirostu has been President of the club for the past two years, and she also talked about further improvements that were made at this year’s luau, including new shirts that helped the luau receive even more attention.
The luau is an annual event, and in case you missed out this year, it will be held again next year on its 45th anniversary. To keep updated on the luau, as well as Hui’O Hawaii, check out their Facebook and Instagram.
Photo courtesy of Adriana Jones/Foghorn