Miss Aloha Hula 2017 is hula sister of last year’s winner
Moments after her hula sister, Kayli Ka‘iulani Carr of Halau Hi‘iakainamakalehua performed her final dance as Miss Aloha Hula 2016, Kelina Kiyoko Ke‘ano‘ilehua Tiffany Eldredge of the same Kalihi Kai, Oahu, halau was announced the 2017 winner of hula’s most coveted solo title Thursday night at the 54th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival Hula Competition.
“It’s crazy; I’m mind blown. The moment is so surreal,” Eldredge, who works for her family’s business, Aloha Hula Supply, said.
The 2017 Miss Aloha Hula, a 22-year-old Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama graduate from Ewa Beach, Oahu, also won the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Hawaiian Language Award, as did Carr last last year.
Eldredge’s victory was by the narrowest of margins. She and first runner-up Julyen Machiko Kaloke Kaluna of Oahu’s Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela both scored 1075 points and 1499 points in a tie-breaker. In the double tie-breaker, Eldredge won by 0.2 points, 18.6 to 18.4.
“I’m shocked; I’m happy. I’m ecstatic,”said Robert Ke‘ano Ka‘upu IV, a Hilo native who is co-kumu of the halau with Lono Padilla.
Did Miss Aloha Hula 2016 have any sisterly advice for her soon-to-be successor?
“She just told me to dance my heart out, to have fun and enjoy the moment, which is definitely what I did.”
Eldredge’s hula ‘auana, or modern hula, was “Pua Mohala I Wekiu,” a composition by the late kumu hula Frank “Palani” Kahala, written in honor of his younger brother, Kanoeokalani, comparing him to a budding blossom placed in the highest heavens.
Her hula kahiko, or ancient hula, was “Maewaikalani,” which means “swaying of the heavens”— the name given to Queen Kapi‘olani’s long, flowing hair. The mele was composed by Kinoiki Kekaulike, the queen’s younger sister, and Eldredge’s Hawaiian language delivery was rapid fire.
“When they called her for Hawaiian language, even, that was the biggest struggle,” Ka‘upu said. “We just looked at each other and said, ‘No, no, couldn’t be.’ But it was.
“I have no words. I’m just so proud of her. She took a beating this year; she did not have an easy time. But she put in the work.”
The final results among the 10 Miss Aloha Hula candidates are:
• Kelina Kiyoko Ke‘ano‘ilehua Tiffany Eldredge, kumu Robert Ke‘ano Ka‘upu IV and Lona Padilla, Halau Hi‘iakainamakalehua, Oahu, Miss Aloha Hula 2017, 1075 points (won in a second tie-breaker)
• Julyen Machiko Kaloke Kaluna, kumu Kau‘ionalani Kamana‘o and Kunewa Mook Hula, Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela, Oahu, first runner-up, 1075 points
• Chelei Kameleonalani Kahalewai, kumu Chinky Mahoe, Kawaili‘ula, Oahu, second runner-up, 1025 points
• Amanda Hiwalei Aliser, kumu Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin, Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina‘ala, Kauai, third runner-up, 1015 points
• Miriam Anuhea Kamakanaokealoha Hokoana Arakawa, kumu Napua Greig, Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka, Maui, fourth runner-up, 1006 points.
The group hula kahiko competition, or ancient hula, is at 6 p.m. tonight at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo. Festivities begin with the entrance of the Merrie Monarch Royal Court.
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