Hilo’s Kauihealani Mahikoa Brandt, Jack Brandt, and Teitu Kameenui, 1960.

Hilo’s Huladynamic Kaui Brandt

A pencil sketch from the notebook of associate instructor Teitu Kameenui shows Kaui Brandt doing one of her Polynesian dances

“Hula entrepreneur instructor, troupe leader, featured dancer and vocalist, sometimes disc jockey, plus full-time wife and mother of two healthy children”—gives a fairly accurate thumbnail description of Hilo’s Kauihealani Mahikoa Brandt, better known as “Kaui.”

In partnership with her husband Jack, this vivacious hapa-Hawaiian has upended the Big Island’s hula business, punched and pulled much of it into a shape of her own design and presented malihini and kamaaina with a variety of Polynesian entertainment sparkling with color, excitement, speed and imagination

At 27, with some 14 years as student, amateur and professional performer, producer and instructor, Kaui stands near the top of her profession.

She hastens to point out that she has not reached her ultimate goal, but nevertheless, Kaui commands a position not usually enjoyed by so young a Kumu Hula (hula director). Continue reading

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