Kumu Hula Leihi’ilani Kirkpatrick is the source of all that we practice and disseminate in our ka pa hula (hula school). She is the kumu hula of Hālau Ka Lei Kukui Hi’ilani on the beautiful Garden Isle of Kaua’i, which is the oldest island in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Kumu Lei has been in hula all her life; she started dancing as a young child with her ohana (family), became a professional dancer in 1968, and was officially inaugurated as a kumu hula some time later, graduating through the traditional ‘uniki rites with Loea Kawaikapuokalani Hewett. Kumu Lei has had several other notable mentors and teachers too, who have had great influence on her body of knowledge and personal style.
Alaka’i Namiko Takahashi Chan-Lee teaches hula auana (new/modern), hula kahiko (traditional/ancient) and hula ho’ano (in reverence of God/worship hula) under the direction of Kumu Lei. Her first exposure to hula was with Lynette Perry, under whom she learnt mainly show choreography for about four years; she then felt called to pursue hula more holistically and authentically, and through a series of serendipitous events got in touch with Kumu Lei. Alaka’i Namiko has been studying with Kumu Lei since 2011; she visits Kaua’i annually for hula intensives to both grow in hula as well as to equip herself to teach the haumana (students) here in Singapore.
An inter-disciplinary artist with a strong foundation in a wide spectrum of dance forms such as ballet and Middle Eastern Dance, and who enjoys a wide network of contacts in the Singapore dance and art scenes, Alaka’i Namiko ensures that her hula classes are fun workouts while maintaining the high standards of technique and discipline befitting a hula school with a strong lineage.