VOL. 23 - NO. 41
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TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: San Francisco’s award-winning dance troupe, 
Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, presents “I Mua: Hula in Unusual Places”

Oct 13, 2018
Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakāne and his award-winning dance troupe, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, return to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre (3301 Lyon St.) in San Francisco for four performances only, October 20-21 and October 27-28, with their entirely new show, “I Mua: Hula in Unusual Places.” Na Lei Hulu's newest production takes audiences on a journey from the Black Rock Desert and San Quentin Prison to New York City’s Times Square and the San Francisco Opera House, sharing an authentic expression of culture that is inclusive and beguiling.

In “I Mua,” Makuakāne expands his artistic vision, showcasing hula that escapes its familiar context. In a complete departure from its previous productions, the entirety of the show will be in Na Lei Hulu’s trademark “hula mua” style. Translated to “hula that evolves," this distinctive style blends traditional movements with non-Hawaiian music such as opera, electronic, dance, alternative, and pop, while retaining an authentic native undercurrent.



“This show is a vibrant reminder of how tradition and innovation can coexist in surprising and meaningful ways,“ says Makuakāne. “Over the past 33 years, Nā Lei Hulu has continued to evolve and explore the boundaries of our craft, from the music we dance to, to the places we perform in. I Mua is a tribute to our spirit of openness to change.”



“I Mua” draws inspiration from a variety of Makuakāne and the troupe’s experiences. There is a number inspired by Makuakāne’s time teaching at San Quentin State Prison, a segment about the troupe performing in the Black Rock Desert, and a “Hit & Run Hula” number, based on flash-mob performances the hālau did in San Francisco and New York.



Multiple music styles are incorporated into the show, including a performance of “The Flower Duet” from the opera Lakmé, performed by local soprano Maya Kehrani and counter-tenor Cortez Mitchell of Chanticleer; an act which honors powerful women who have influenced Makuakāne’s work through their music, dance and cultural relevance, with songs and dances from Billie Holiday, Bette Midler, Beverly Noa, ʻIolani Luahine, and Myrtle K. Hilo; a hula-goes-swing segment with Hawaiʻi-based Kahulanui, a big-band orchestra that will set the stage afire with a ferocious blast of swinging Hawaiian jazz and Lindyhopping hula dancers; and more.

Tickets are $35–$40 for regular performances and $15 for the family matinee. Tickets to the opening night champagne reception on Saturday, October 20 are $90. Tickets for the gala benefit Lū’au and silent auction on Saturday, October 27 are $200 and include VIP seating at the performance. Tickets are on sale now through City Box Office at (415) 392-4400 and on the web at cityboxoffice.com.


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