This event was part of the Japanese American Community Cultural Center's (JACCC) 2016 Aratani World Series, a number of performing arts events throughout the first half of 2016 aimed to share a vast variety of extremely talented and influential musical and artistic talents to the surrounding community. It was the second event that I had the pleasure of photographing for them; the first being, Kotohajime 2016.
On this evening, the title of the show was: E Ala E: Awaken to 25 years of Hālau Kealiʻi o Nālani with special guest artist from Hilo, Kuana Torres Kahele. The JACCC described the evening as follows:
Celebrating his 25 years of Hālau Keali’i O Nālani, master teacher Kumu Hula Keali’i Ceballos presents a program that will bring the spirit of Hawai’i to your heart. A cast of 100 dancers and musicians share traditional and contemporary stories of their ancestors, Hawaiian Gods and Goddesses, the Hawaiian monarchy, and Hawai’i as a place of beauty from the mountains to the sea.
Special guest artist Kuana Torres Kahele will add to the sensual beauty and playful spirit of hula. In this anniversary year, Hālau Kealiʻi o Nālani will compete at the prestigious Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo.
For this particular event, I only photographed the reception portion of the evening as opposed to the actual stage performances, however I always enjoy photographing events for the JACCC. They have very loyal members and they attract a vibrant and energetic crowd. There is a true, diverse sense of community, culture and most importantly family at each event. It reminded me of my days photographing weddings. There's always someone smiling or hugging each direction you turn. It makes capturing images a real breeze:
After the performance a few sponsors and JACCC directors with the evening's performers. Fun fact: the gentleman in the orange shirt, second from the right is Kuana Torres Kahele, and he is writer/singer/performer of the song "Lava" from the Pixar animated short of the same name which preceded their 2015 feature film, Inside Out.
The remainder of the evening contained more fun and good times with friends, family and some of the evenings performers: