Biography

Kiwaloa 3 poses
Photos by Boone Morrison

INTRODUCING Hollis Kiwala`o Taylor!

Inspired to dance hula after watching master dancer, Iolani Luahine at her birthday celebration in Kona, Hollis knew that she had found her passion. In search of the best teacher, she was directed to find Edith Kanaka`ole and was very fortunate to be graciously accepted as her student. At Aloha Week in Volcano, in 1975, she was given her Hawaiian name, “Kiwala`o”, by Aunty Edith.

Kiwala`o was an `Olapa (dancer) and Ho`opa`a (chanter/drummer) with Halau O Kekuhi from 1975-2000. She was recognized for her devotion, skill and accomplishments with the prestigious Halau. Aunty Edith’s daughters, (Pua Kanahele and Nalani Kanaka’ole), who took over the halau’s leadership after her death in 1979, invited Kiwala`o to participate in a special graduation (Uniki), and ancient Hawaiian ceremony (Ailolo), where she received the title of Kumu Hula in January 2007. Kiwala`o is committed to perpetuating authentic Hula, and as a Kumu Hula, Kiwala`o can now share her talent with her own students with the blessings of her kumu.

Kiwala`o enhanced her skills and knowledge by continuing her education Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo & the Community College. She added to her knowledge by learning how to craft many of the hula implements and adornments that support the dance such as:

  • `uli`uli (feathered gourd rattle),
  • kala`au (rhythm sticks),
  • pu`ili (split bamboo instruments),
  • ipu and ipu heke (single and double gourd drum),
  • `ohe kapala (bamboo stamps),
  • lei-making & design

In addition to her 25-years with Halau O Kekuhi, Kiwala`o is a Licensed Massage therapist (since 1979) and she has taught movement, creative arts and health and wellness classes to students and adults. Kiwala`o takes special pride in the Hawaiian Enrichment class she developed for Kamehameha Pre-School.

Kiwala`o continues to enjoy her association with the University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s Elderhostel and Hawaiian EDventure youth programs. She currently instructs both American and international students and continues an active role with the University. Kiwala’o’s work with Japanese students and adults is inspiring and captivating and her authentic approach is valued by all of her students.

Kiwala`o’s work with the University of Hawai`i at Hilo includes senior/adult programs such as “Joint Efforts” and “Seniorcize”. Other courses include a Low Impact Series entitled “Just My Speed” and “Stress Reduction.”

A Kumu Hula, a teacher, a massage therapist, an artist and a woman with enormous talent, compassion and creativity”¦. We are delighted to introduce you to Kiwala`o Taylor!

“E lawe i ke a`o a malama, a e `oi mau ka na`auao”
He who takes his teachings and applies them
increases his knowledge
~Mary Kawena Pukui from the book `Olelo No`eau ~

Mahalo Dietrich Varez for the use of your Hina blockprint in the header.