Legacy of hula coming to Kahilu


The Beamer-Solomon Halau O Poohala’s fifth generation hula master Hulali Solomon Covington will be in the spotlight during the halau’s hula drama March 16 at Kahilu Theatre in Waimea.

Covington will be joined on stage by her sister, Malama Solomon, the halau’s historian, and the school’s keiki to kupuna dancers. Together, they will share a glimpse of the family’s 150-year hula legacy as it has transitioned through Hawaii’s evolution — from pre-contact traditions to the 21st century.

As hula loea, Covington alone is entitled to enhance the style handed down by a respected line of Hawaiian women that reaches back to the mid-1800s.

The story begins with great-great-grandmother Isabella Haleala Desha, who taught her daughter, Helen Desha Beamer. Beamer, also a composer, shared the hula traditions with her daughter-in-law, Louise Leiomalama Walker Beamer, who then taught her daughter, Flora Tita Leiomalama Desha Beamer Solomon, mother of Covington and Solomon. Known as “Tita Beamer Solomon,” she formalized the Beamer Solomon dance method, which she passed on to her two daughters.

Malama Solomon’s daughter, Leiomalama Tamasese Solomon, will carry the legacy into a sixth generation. She placed first as a solo dancer at the 2012 Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival. Her competition number was Helen Desha Beamer’s “Kimo Hula,” which tells of the Henderson family home in Hilo in the early 1900s and the glories of its flower garden.

Leiomalama, a freshman at the University of Hawaii, also presented a solo hula at the opening of the 2013 state Senate.

The Kahilu show, “He Makana Aloha — The Gift of Love,” will feature many of Covington’s original choreographies through renditions of classic Hawaiian songs, Beamer family music and chants authored by guest artist kumu Keala Ching.

Providing a backdrop for a portion of the performance will be a selection of Herb Kawainui Kane’s Voyager collection. The paintings will illustrate songs, dances and chants that commemorate the Pacific migrations. Musical accompaniment for the performance will be provided by Russell Paio on lead guitar, Hai Kelly on bass, Kama Hopkins on guitar and Covington on ukulele.

Doors open at 5 p.m.; the show begins at 6. Tickets are $15 presale; $25 at the door. For tickets, call 938-6357 or email poohala1860@ymail.com.