December 23, 2016 8:00 AM
Students of Pūpūkahi I Ke Alo O Nā Pua, Mid-Pacific Institute's hula halau under the direction of Kumu Hula Michael Lanakila Casupang had a special experience this December, traveling to Japan to share Hawaii's culture through the Hawaiian art of hula and to also learn about Japanese culture.
The halau's first stop was Tokyo, where they visited Waseda Jitsugyo School and performed the hula for over 200 Waseda elementary students and parents. Among the audience were students who had participated in the Mid-Pacific & Waseda Jitsugyo Summer Program last summer, and they excitedly waved at their summer program English teacher, Reyn Halford '08 as he also performed on stage.
After the performance, Waseda Jitsugyo elementary students invited the Mid-Pacific students into their classroom to show and teach them the Japanese art of calligraphy. Even without the language skills, students communicated with each other through gestures, showing that learning exchanges can happen even through non-verbal communication.
At the end, Waseda Jitsugyo students held hands to form a tunnel through which Mid-Pacific students exited with pats on their backs and big smiles on their faces. Kumu Lanakila Casupang shared, "For my 26 students, there was so much growth in their dancing, their growth as young adults and representatives of our great school."