All the Kanes and Wahines

Hawaiian Club’s upcoming lu’au will break routine and return to true island tradition 

by Christina Spencer

The 43rd annual lu’au put on by Whitworth’s Hawaiian Club is going back to the basics and sticking to the theme of traditional Hawaiian culture. In recent years, the lu’au has brought in a few more modern dances and music. This year, though, the whole event will be of a more traditional style.

Senior Anthony Gaspar, president of the Hawaiian Club, said the purpose of the change in this year’s show is to give an accurate representation of what one would actually see at a lu’au.

“Everything about the lu’au screams Hawaiian culture,” Gaspar said. “It’s a great way to show ourselves to the Whitworth community and to the greater Spokane community.”

Gaspar said that what is meant by “traditional” is that they are not sacrificing the cultural integrity of the show. The goal of the event is to represent Hawaiian culture, not to please the audience with alterations and additions, he said.

In previous years, some of the dances were modified to accomodate the various skill levels of performers, as well as the limited amount of preparation time. That is not so this year.

“The level of the performances won’t be sacrificed just to put on an easier show,” Gaspar said.

The songs chosen for the dances aren’t necessarily easy, but are ones everyone should be able to learn. This year’s lu’au consists of the most performers ever to be involved — around 80 dancers — and Gaspar said that in a short amount of time, everyone has done well because of a combination of skill level and dedication.

The haka dance in particular is a traditional dance performed with ancestral war chants, which will be reworked to be more what you would see at a real Hawaiian lu’au.

“People should leave knowing, ‘Wow, that was the haka,’” Gaspar said.

Senior Kathrine Tadeo, who will be dancing as well as serving food at the lu’au, said preparation for the event has been intense. There have been practices every weekend since the beginning of February, and the week of the event practices are every day.

While Tadeo is a performer in the lu’au, she said she is most excited about the food.

Traditional Hawaiian food is a major part of the lu’au. Every year the menu stays traditional and basically the same. Two typical dishes include the lomi salmon and the shoyu chicken. The lomi salmon is flavored with chopped green onions, diced tomatoes and salt. The shoyu chicken is sweeter and covered with soy sauce.

“It is buffet-style and all-you-can-eat so you can definitely go back for thirds and fourths,” Gasper said.

Senior Aaron Kurashima was put in charge of the food for this year’s lu’au. He ordered all the food through Sodexo, but will be preparing the dishes along with about 16 additional workers. Food preparation will be an all day process, from 7 a.m. up until the start of the event.

However, Kurashima said that he will be cooking the kalua pig, a favorite Hawaiian dish, in advance. The process consists of rubbing salt and liquid smoke (a seasoning) on pork shoulder and cooking it in the oven for several hours. Then it is shredded by hand.

“Hawaiian food is something that everyone should try and enjoy,” Kurashima said.

The final touch to this aspect of the event are the slices of pineapple on each table, which lu’au members constantly replenish.

The overall decoration of the lu’au will be simple because of the huge area, said Vickie Puente, who is in charge of decor and attire. There will be a lot of flowers and foliage. Since the flowers are actually from Hawaii, Puente had to make sure the flowers would be delivered at the right date to be fresh for the event.

“I’m really proud of how the lu’au is shaping up this year,” Gaspar said.

Fast Facts:

Place: Whitworth Fieldhouse

Date: Saturday, April 13

Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. when the buffet-style dinner will be served and pre-show entertainment will begin. Learn basic hula steps, see a hula hoop competition, snap pictures in a photobooth with a Hawaiian backdrop, and play ‘Ulu Maika, a traditional Hawaiian game. The performances begin at 7:30.

Cost: $12 for students, seniors and children 12 and under; $22 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased at the Hixson Union Building Information Desk. Get $2 off of tickets bought on or before April 12.

Contact Christina Spencer at cspencer15@my.whitworth.edu

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