USF’s Hawaiian Ensemble performed their 7th Annual Ho’ike: Legend of the Islands, this past Saturday, Feb. 20. This is the club’s largest event held on campus, aside from the ISA Culturescape performance last semester. Ho’ike is Hawaiian for “final test or exhibition”. This year’s Ho’ike told the story of the Legend of the Islands, an excerpt of Hawaii’s diverse history, through vibrant song, chant, dance, and hula.
Hawaiian Ensemble’s VP of Communication, Monica Manalang, described the Ho’ike as “a showcase of Hawaiian and Polynesian culture through dance and food.” This year’s theme was Legend of the Islands, so it incorporated a mix of performances from both cultures. Each member of the Hawaiian Ensemble had dedicated many hours towards organizing the event and in total, it was a celebration of learning and sharing. “One of the dances, for example the opening dance, is supposed to tell the story of Pele, the goddess of fire…you can see we try to incorporate a variety of Hawaiian, Polynesian dances.”
Kahanu, the MC for the Ho’ike, kicked off the night with a Hawaiian Melody of Ka Manu and Manu O’O whilst attendees socialized and helped themselves to a plethora of Hawaiian cuisine. Kalua pork, lomi lomi salad, and guava cake are a few examples of the many options. Before the start of the main showcase there were performances from, ASUSF Voices and VarCity, USF’s hip hop dance club.
The Hawaiian Ensemble’s program included a series of dances: Aia La O Pele, Mele Ohana, No Ka Mokukiakahi, and Pili Mau Me Oe, to name a few. “About 30 people participate in the show on average and we have just a little over a month to learn 3-4 songs for each member,” shared Monica Manalang. The dances originate from Hawaiian, Tahitian, and New Zealand cultures.
As friends, family, and fellow students came out to support the Hawaiian Ensemble, it became clear that each member’s hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm helped make the night spectacular and full of fun.
Photo courtesy of Racquel Gonzales/Foghorn