Kūpaoa is fortunate to be able to work with a select group of highly accomplished hula dancers for many of our performances. Together, they call themselves Ke ‘Ala Aumoe, which means the scent of evening and directly ties in with the aroma-infused definition of our name, Kūpaoa.  We wanted to share more about our wonderful friends:

Frank Ka‘ananā Akima
Frank is one of the two kumu hula ofKananiokeakua School of Hula. A student of the late hula master, Uncle George Kananiokeakua Holokai, Frank has been dancing for much of his life. In addition to hula instruction with his own hālau, Frank also works with the highly-acclaimed Tau Dance Company and is the Accounts Payable Manager for Prince Resorts.

Christine Puni Badis
Puni was the bride in Kūpaoa’s very first gig and the Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning song, Uluwehikalunaoka‘ala was written in her honor by her husband, Iokepa Badis. Puni has been a dancer for Hālau O Kamuela for over 15 years and accompanied her hālau to the Merrie Monarch Festival numerous times where the hālau took top honors. In addition to being a hula dancer and a mom, Puni teaches Hawaiian language at Nānākuli High School.

Reid Del Rosario
A native of Lāna‘i, Reid attended ‘Iolani School where he began dancing for hula master Ed Collier and Hālau O Nā Pua Kukui. He has accompanied his hālau to the Merrie Monarch Festival numerous times and often travels to Japan to share his hula. When he’s not dancing hula, Reid, who is also a Registered Nurse, is either diving with Kellen, body surfing at Sandy’s, or working as a firefighter at the Honolulu Fire Department.

Eleena Helenihi
Eleena is Frank’s counterpart at the Kananiokeakua School of Hula. Also a long-time student of the late kumu hula Uncle George Kananiokeakua Holokai, she and Frank were gifted the hālau bearing Uncle’s name prior to his passing. When she’s not dancing hula, Eleena is mom to 2 children, 2 step-children and 2 foster children, manages day-to-day business for the hālau, and conducts the Hawaiian program at Mililani Baptist Preschool and Cornerstone Early Education.

Pōhaikauʻilani Nuʻuhiwa
Pōhai is a 2005 graduate of Punahou School and attended Winthrop University in South Carolina, graduating with a degree in Early Child Education.  After spending 4 years teaching preschool at Kamehameha Schools, she is currently enrolled as a law student at the William S. Richardson School of Law.  She has danced hula since baby time, and was awarded the prestigious Miss Keiki Hula title in 1995.  She has competed in the internationally-renowned Merrie Monarch Festival since the age of 13 and currently dances for Kapua Dalire-Moe and Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea.