Hula Days 2017 
Westin Itasca 400 Park Blvd Itasca, IL 60143

Please join us on the ‘Windward Side of Chicago’
for a weekend filled with Aloha Spirit and HULA! 

Hawaiian Hula Days 2017
October 6th-8th, 2017

To celebrate our 10 year Anniversary, we welcome Kumu Sonny Ching & Kumu Lopaka Igarta-De Vera to Chicago!

Kumu Sonny Ching
The method that his grandmother used to teach hula and chant was by imitation. This is also the way Sonny teaches today. “We just repeated this process until she felt I was doing it correctly. She chanted. I chanted. She danced. I danced.”

When Sonny was fifteen, his grandmother gave him permission to experience being in a hālau. This marked Sonny’s beginning with Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett. Sonny danced with Frank for about three years and it was Frank who gave Sonny the name he uses today: Kahakuleilehua. After about a year and a half break, Sonny started dancing hula with Lāhela Ka‘aihue. It was Lāhela who truly taught him to love the hula ‘auana. As Sonny got older, he realized the importance of teaching hula. In 1986 Moses Crabbe asked him to take over his class at Pākī Park. Sonny accepted the request and has been teaching kūpuna at Pākī Park to this day. Some of the kūpuna in the class today are the same ladies from that original class. In 1986 Sonny established Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu which is currently located in Honolulu.  

“I honor this, but feel that my job is to both perpetuate hula in the ancient styles while incorporating my soul and personal style; to not be too loud or outrageous in the kahiko movements. It needs to be done within these guidelines. You need to maintain tradition even if it is choreographed today. Most importantly a kumu needs to be strong spiritually. Kumu means foundation or base and if the foundation is not strong, you cannot build upon it.

“I believe that hula is getting back to being performed more in the traditional manner. There was a period when the hula was getting a little too wild; too many introductions of other dance forms, especially to the hula kahiko. I think it turned around due to the revival of other aspects of our culture like the ‘ōlelo, oli, planting, la‘au lapa‘au, navigation, huna, lua, weaving, amongst others. I hope that people like myself and my fellow kumu hula are looking to keeping things traditional yet conducive to our times. The hula has changed over time and I think that this is a good thing or it is my belief that the hula would die. I think each of us breathe our own breath into our dance, our haumāna, our hālau. This need is why we are kumu hula. That is what makes each of us unique, different. If we did things the same, there would be no need for different hālau. A handful would suffice and we would be unable to document our times.”

Kumu Lopaka Igarta-De Vera
The kūpuna of his family used music and hula to strengthen family ties and keep their keiki out of trouble. While Kumu Lōpaka’s father, Joseph De Vera, did not directly influence his hula journey, it was through his example he instilled in Kumu Lōpaka the work ethic, diligence, and humilty that hula would later require.

It wasn’t until the age of eight, however, that his admiration for and his desire to be like his sisters and cousins sparked his lasting interest in hula. Surprisingly, joining The Honolulu Boy Choir was the first step in fulfilling this desire. It was at the choir that he would hone his vocal abilities and also meet his first Kumu Hula, the late Carl Leroy “Hōkū” Rasmussen (choir instructor) and join his first hālau, Hālau Ku Aiwa Kama‘ehu. Kumu Lōpaka danced for Kumu Hōkū. He studied Polynesian dancing, drumming, and singing until he was 18 years old. Through his hula and Polynesian training, he went on to join Kawika Productions, Germaines Lūʻau, Tihati Productions, Hilton Hawaiian Village Kings Jubille, The Magic of Polynesia, and The Polynesian Cultural Center Promotional Team.

In 1990, at the age of 19, he met Kumu Hula Sonny Ching who was teaching at Pāki Park in Honolulu and joined Hālau Nā Mamo O Puʻuanahulu. He began developing his teaching skills with the keiki, the kāne, and later, the wāhine of the hālau. From 2000 to 2001, he groomed his vocal gift by studying oli with Kumu Hula Kealiʻi Reichel. It was in 2005 that he began to consciously purse his destiny as a Kumu Hula through an intense 6-year training for a Papa ʻŪniki. On October 7, 2011, he was welcomed into the guild of Kumu Hula publicly by Kumu Hula Sonny Ching—it was one of the most beautiful experiences of his life.

When asked, “why do you want to become a Kumu Hula?” He replied, “this is what I am meant to be. I’m happiest when I dance, chant and sing. As a Kumu Hula, I get to represent our people, both past and present. It is humbling and such an honor. I also want to make a positive impression on the youth of today. I want to instill in them the importance of working hard and striving for goals through this art we call hula for the future of our people, culture and for future Kumu Hula. If we breathe our own breath into our dance, our haumāna, our hālau, we become unique as Poʻe Hula.” 

Kumu Liko Puha is a Native Hawaiian educator and chanter.

As a cultural practitioner, Liko shares his knowledge by performing blessings and composing poetry as chants or songs as well as teaching workshops throughout the U.S. and Hawaiʻi.

Workshop Schedule 
Friday October 6, 2017
5:00 pm  Registration Begins 
7:00 pm -10:00pm

“Oli Mahalo: An Introduction to Hawaiian Language, Poetry, and Chant” with Kumu Liko Puha
This workshop will study the well known mele, Oli Mahalo, composed by Kumu Kēhau Camara. The workshop is best suited for learners fairly new to Hawaiian language, poetry, and chant. Participants will be led through a brief introduction to Hawaiian language followed by the examination of the poetic text, while learning techniques to vocalize this meaningful mele.  

7:00 pm -10:00pm 

E ʻAʻa Pū i Ka Hula | An Evening with Kumu Sonny Ching & Kumu Lopaka Igarta-De Vera
This is a limited event offered to get to know the kumu in an intimate setting. Dancers are invited to attend a fast paced hula ‘auana class focusing on already acquired discipline/training in memorization, movement, agility, coordination, expression, posture, poise, maturity, and presence.  Satisfactory completion of the hula mele presented will earn the attendee/s an invitation to perform at the Saturday evening hōʻike.  In keeping with tradition, there will be no video recording of this class. E hōʻike mai!

Saturday & Sunday October 7-8 , 2017
7:30 am  Registration Begins  
9:00am – 3:30pm Hula Workshop with Kumu Sonny Ching & Kumu Lopaka Igarta-De Vera
Hula Days 2017 Fees
Early Registration till September 17
$45.00 Oli Mahalo Workshop with Kumu Liko Puha
(Late Registration - $70)
$75.00 An Evening with Kumu Sonny Ching & Kumu Lopaka Igarta-De Vera SOLD OUT
(Late Registration - $100)
$225.00 Sat/Sun Hula Workshop with Kumu Sonny Ching & Kumu Lopaka Igarta-De Vera SOLD OUT
Lunches & 1 Ho'ike ticket included
(Late Registration - $265)
$40.00 Per Person Extra Lunch
(for each day Saturday or Sunday)
Vendor Table for Saturday AND Sunday
(Late Registration - $100)

Please be sure to read the Vendor Guidelines before purchasing your table.
$10.00 Saturday Night Hoi'ke
Theme this year is Pua O Hawaii (Flowers of Hawaii)
(1 ticket included in workshop fee; keiki under 12 are free)
$40.00 Workshop DVD


Westin Itasca
400 Park Blvd
Itasca, IL 60143

(630) 773-4000 
Rooms are $99 a night
Ask for "Hula Association" rate


Hula Association of the Midwest 2005-2017
2066 Crossing Court Lombard , IL 60148