Traveling and Dancing in Germany and Switzerland June 2010
Submitted by Savitri “Kama” Kumaran

 Click here for a flickr photo gallery

“Where do we go next?” Whenever the members of Kaimi have traveled this is the question that is asked at the end of the trip! We asked this question when we had completed our trip to Germany in 2004. “India” was the answer! We asked this question again when we completed our wonderful trip to Tamil Nadu, India in 2007. “The Castle in Heidelberg” was the answer!

Therefore in early June, 2010, thirty one of us embarked on a journey to Germany and Switzerland. Many months were spent in preparation. The kumu, dancers, speakers, and hosts in Germany and Switzerland organized, practiced and communicated with each other regularly.

We came from Oahu, Maui and Kauai and met in Heidelberg, Germany. The Program “Recalling Hawai`I” was to be performed in Heidelberg and Augsberg, Germany and in Basel, Switzerland. Our photo journal tells the story of the practices (many!), preparations for the performances, and the fun we had as we lived, ate, and travelled as one big, happy family for two weeks.

Following you will see an article about our program from Augsberg, Germany and impressions of the experience shared by just a few of the participants.

The program is a  multimedia experience which includes chants, dances, images, music, song and narration. This is the translation of the information printed on the Geman Halau website :
The hula performance includes a journey from the dawn of time until now, from the Hawaiian point of view – it is a performance in which the entire depth, the beauty, the all-encompassing experience of the hula in its original meaning is expressed.

From the darkness / Po creates the life, volcanoes – home of the goddess Pele, the first plants. People sailing far across the ocean with their canoes, find and cultivate fertile land. After a long time the first white men appear. The life of the indigenous population change, the love for their wonderful country remains. The royal family of Hawaiians accompanied people into the modern age, to be in a period in which the dignity and strength of that culture again is valued and honored.

Hula is universal when it is danced in its original form and intent, a language that illuminates all aspects of Hawaiian life – universal and thus easy for us to understand.

Roselle Keli’ihonipua Bailey
 directs the program and is founder of the nonprofit Institute Ka’Imi Na’auao O Hawai’i Nei.
We are planning to present this program in Hawaii early in 2011. Dates soon to be announced.

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Impression from the participants:

From Switzerland

Rolf and Christina Luginbhul wrote:
After all the work and organization in the weeks and months ahead it was certainly exciting to see and experience it all happening in such a warm, friendly atmosphere, meet all these lovely people and have so much fun and laughter together with all the hard work. As I had mentioned before, apart from many other things, I was fascinated by the way the two groups worked together in the performance practice as well as at “home”. Please thatnk all the ladies and gentlemen again for their support. And of course I would like to thank you again, Roselle for letting us be part in the manifestation of one of your visions, for giving us the chance to grow and become more aware of our own focus, attitude, strength, limitations, kokua, love, will, attention, repect- to improve our moving, dancing and performing in hula as well as in life. I was and am still now touched in my heart to realize the enormous gift that hides in our demaning, challenging and focused way of teaching- and to witness the great power and healing in what to me, felt like a wonderful spreading – out, giving-away and sharing of values such as courage, love, joy, perserverance, dedication, life force and gratefulness, etc. So I thank you for this great gift. And thank you Jim to be so supportive wherever you are, whatever you do, for being so loving and present. We are so privileged to have you come here to teach us, be with us and be our friends as well as our kumu.

Manja U. Jansch-Muser wrote:
We are still full and nourished from our days together, full of impressions and feelings. Fond memories of working together, dancing together, laughing, eating, singing, making friends, surprising each other and weaving this wonderful Hula-Hawaii-Europe web. For this opportunity I like to thank you (Roselle) that you brought us together, encouraging us to move on, to believe in us, in our love for the hula, in our capacity to organize and to be part of this project. We found joy, we found stress, we found chaos, tear, excitement, we found mountains of work, we found despair, trust and strength. And we found that something miraculously helped us moving smoothly through the sometimes rough waters, so there was always an opening when we got stuck and a pause in the rain when it was needed. It was just great!

From Hawaii:

Surina Mohr wrote:
First, it was a dream come true to go to Europe. I learned a lot about myself through the group travel, and working with the halau, my limitations as well as strengths I was previously unclear on. To see the environment and imagine the history, to meet people who live in that part of the planet and see through their eyes, to eat the seasonal foods, was inspiring and humbling. I came home with a much greater appreciation for the Hawaiian culture, and what it means to live Aloha, as well as a great respect for the cultures we encountered. I came to the realization that everywhere on the planet modern life and valuable culture are in a constant transformation, and that it is possible through efforts like Mrs. Bailey’s, to share the spirit of a culture through modern technology and multi-cultural faces.

Sitara Mohr (age 12) wrote:
This trip to Europe gave me the opportunity to perform and share the Hawaiian culture and learn about other cultures at the same time. My favorite performance was the one in the Heidelberg Castle. It was amazing to be able to perform there because not many people have such a unique opportunity. At every performance I would look out in the audience and see smiling faces. I think that was the most rewarding thing of all!

Leela Mohr (age 14) wrote:
I am now in love with Europe! Being part of our group made it even more special because I really believe that “The best things in life are shared with others”. Thank you to everyone for sharing all the ups and downs and joys we had along the way. I see the world a little bit differently now. I can appreciate everything more, it seems.

Kawehionapua Martin wrote:
My trip to Europe was, to sum it up awesome!  It was really wonderful to see how people from  another part of the world live.  And I must say very impressive. I was impressed how conservative these people are and how serious they take recycling and preserving their natural resources. Something us Americans only talk about doing.  Many years ago a very wise Kumu Hula told our class that we were caught up in “consumerism”.  At that time I didn’t think that what she said applied to me but I never forgot what was said.  I now know that what she said is as true as the sky is blue.  Thank you all for a wide awakening!

Eve Hiilani Nishikawa wrote:
Overall I would like to say that it was great to come back to the halau.  It has been at least 12 years since Idanced with the halau and this trip made it possible. I have a deeper and better appreciation for the art and the history of Hawaii.  It was amazing to see our culture shared with those who so interested to learn about our culture.  We were also fortunate to get to know them and their culture. It allows you to grow and become more open minded to others.

From Germany-translation of the newspaper article by Anna Wiesheu

The Augsburg Newspaper wrote a whole page about the  performance, with a big picture. I attached it. It is full of praise for  the performers as well as the message. The headline says: “More than  flower-leis and swinging hips. A  Hawaiian-German cooperation project  introduces into the secrets of hula.”  In essence the author tells that  our performance replaced the touristic beach-and-sunset view on hula with a cultural and historic perspective on hula as art. She gives a  short summary of the story that is told in the program – creation,  Pele/Kane, first settlers, annexation by USA, appreciation of Hawaiian culture and values – and then goes on admiring the graceful, dynamic  and skilled movements of the performing girls and women, the hand  gestures that “draw pictures in the air that convey more than fragrant  flowers, sunsets and palms”, the costumes, the different implements and  instruments, the pictures on the screen, the singing and chanting that  gave her an idea of the sound of the Hawaiian language. And finally the  concluding circle with the audience that concluded the performance with the message of Aloha, translated by her as sympathy and charity. a hui hou, Anna

View the Augsburg Newspaper article here »

Click here for a flickr photo gallery

Click here for a flickr photo gallery

To view more photos of our visit to Switzerland, visit and click on “bildergalerie” and then click on “Recalling Hawaii”.