Artists and Scholars

Resident Artists

Each Festival the culture of Hawai‘i is presented together with representatives from Asia and another region of the Pacific. Our featured resident artists of 2017 are:

Hula Halau: Ka Pa Hula O Kauanoe Wa‘ahila

Under the direction of Kumu Hula Maelia Loebenstein Carter

Korea National University of Arts (K-ARTS)

Kanokupolu Dancers

Dancers of Tonga under the direction of Cotton Robusta Siale and guidance of Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau‘u

Dance Critics

Lisa Kraus’ career includes performing with the Trisha Brown Dance Company TBDC), choreographing and performing for her own company and as an independent, teaching at universities and arts centers, presenting the work of other artists as Coordinator of the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series, and writing reviews, features and essays on dance for internet and print publication. With TBDC she appeared in television and film projects including Beyond the Mainstream and created roles in several works including Glacial Decoy (1979) which she taught the Paris Opera Ballet and later Stephen Petronio Company. Her desire to communicate about this experience kick-started her writing on the weblog “Decoy Among the Swans.” Since 2004 she has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Dance Magazine, Dance Research Journal, the Contact Quarterly, the Dance Insider, the Dance Advance Publications & Research site and her “Writing My Dancing Life” blog. She was a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Dance Criticism. She co-founded thINKingDANCE and was its director and editor-in-chief from 2011 – 2014.

Sal Murgiyanto is the founder of the Performing Arts Faculty IKJ and Indonesia Dance Festival. Thanks to the consistency of his efforts in keeping the art of dance in Indonesia, in 2014, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement of Indonesian Dance Festival (IDF) in 2014. He has taken dance classes from the age of 10. His studies have included working with Wayang Orang Sri Wedari, Katiman Mangkunegaran, and with Ramayana Prambanan, Retno Maruti and Sardono W. Kusumo. Seeking to deepen the science of dance, Sal enrolled in the National Dance Academy of Indonesia in Yogyakarta and became one of the first to obtain an education degree in dance. He continued his studies in the United States and earned a doctorate at New York University.

Upon his return to Indonesia, Sal lectured at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts and joined the Jakarta Arts Council. He worked to build the Indonesian dance scene through the four main pillars of the performance arts; artists, critics, audiences and producers. Sal also taught dance for almost twenty years at Taipei National University of the Arts. In addition to lecturing about dance, Sal is a active critic, frequently writing reviews of dance performances.

Living the Art of Hula Concert Artists

Leimomi I-Maldonado began her hula journey back in the early 50’s learning hula at a church hall with the young Hula Master Aunty Maiki Aiu Lake.  She recall some of her first hula shows were at church and school functions as well as at Tripler Hospital to entertain military service men and women.  As a professional hula dancer she performed in showrooms and at special functions such as: Hawaii Calls, Princess Ka?iulani Hotel, the Halekulani Hotel and the Lexington Hotel’s Hawaiian Room in New York City.  After her great experience in New York, she returned home to Hawaii and performed for the next 15 year at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Tapa Room. Leimomi began teaching hula and Polynesian dance at Punahou School for five years under the direction of Josephine Flanders and eventually opened my own hula school “Ka Hale I o Kahala”.  Her traditional hula training was with Kumu Hula Aunty Lani Kekauilani Kalama who she ?uniki from.  Leimomi is also privileged to have of studied with Master Hulas Kimo Keaulana and John Keola Lake.  She is also grateful to Her Brother Milton (also a kumu hula) who has supported her from the beginning of my hula career.“I have been blessed to have all these Special Kumu’s in my life.”

Kanoe Miller, former Miss Hawai‘i, has been the featured dancer at the Halekulani Hotel since 1977. She studied hula with Maiki Aiu Lake and in 1973 won the Miss Hawai‘i America title, and traveled the world representing Hawai‘i’s aloha spirit. For most of her professional life Kanoe has balanced two careers: modeling and hula dancing. She has produced fashion shows and corporate image workshops and is the co-owner of Tropical Baby Productions L.L.C. She is co-publisher of HulaStudio magazine, Hawai‘i’s first interactive digital tablet magazine about hula.

Harry B. Soria, Jr. is the third generation of “The First Family of Hawaiian Radio”, following his father and grandfather, now broadcasting on both Hawaiian 105 KINE FM and AM940.  For 39 consecutive years, he has hosted the weekly radio program, “Territorial Airwaves”, focusing on vintage Hawaiian music.  Territorial Airwaves is being awarded the 2017 Krash Kealoha Industry Award of the Lifetime Achievement Awards for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.  Harry has released 30 compact discs focusing on legendary performers and songs recorded in Hawaii, winning a total of 8 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. is an ever evolving exhibit of Harry B.’s archives. In addition to radio and television appearances, Harry B. regularly emcees Hawaiian music concerts and hula festivals in Hawaii, the mainland US, Europe, and Japan. Soria also conducts music history workshops in those locales.  He also creates regular in-flight audio shows for Hawaiian Airlines, and writes articles about Hawaiian music history.

Local Motion! Talk Story: A Pre-show Conversation Scholars

Nobuko Miyama Ochner is a retired Associate Professor of Japanese, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her specializations are in modern Japanese literature and classical Ryukyuan kumi door. Publications include critical introduction and translation of two kumi odori texts: “Shûshin Kani’iri (Possessed by Love, Thwarted by the Bell)”, co-authored with Kathy Foley (2005), and “Manzai Tichiuchi (Vendetta of Performers of ‘Myriad-Year’ Felicity)” (2015).

Kathy Foley received her M.A. from University of Massachussetts at Amherst and her Ph.D. from University of Hawai‘i. Currently she is Professor of Theatre Arts at University of California, Santa Cruz and serves as editor of Asian Theatre Journal.

Etsuko Ogido Higa received her M.A. from the University of Hawai‘i and specialized in the traditional music of Okinawa. Currently she serves as lecturer for the Okinawa Prefectural University of the Arts.

Kimiko Ohtani received her M.A. in Dance Ethnology from the University of Hawai‘i and her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Queen’s University of Belfast. Her specializations are in Okinawan dance and Indian Classical Dance. Currently she serves as Chancellor of Soai Gakuen.