Hula enthusiasts from around the world are invited to celebrate the art of hula in its native surroundings at the 6th Annual International Waikiki Hula Conference, May 17 to 19, 2013 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Open to dancers of all experience levels with an interest in hula, the conference will bring together hundreds of hula lovers for a weekend filled with hula, chant, history, crafts and more. The conference workshops, mele (songs) and hula will pay tribute to and celebrate the Merrie Monarch Festival’s 50th anniversary. The festival honors the legacy of King David Kalākaua, which perpetuates traditions, native language and the arts. The workshop mele and hula will be taught by award-winning kumu hula (hula teachers), some of whom have also competed on the famed Merrie Monarch stage. “The International Waikiki Hula Conference brings together members of the worldwide hula community with some of the industry’s most renowned Hawaiian cultural practitioners to perpetuate the authentic art of hula,” said Marnie Weeks, International Waikiki Hula Conference producer. “We hope that visitors and locals alike will join us in extending the celebratory spirit of the 50th Merrie Monarch Festival for this special weekend of appreciation and respect for hula.” With over 80 Merrie Monarch-themed workshops at this International Waikiki Hula Conference, attendees will have the opportunity to learn hula with special significance to kuma hula. Attendees also will learn about Hilo, Merrie Monarch’s hometown, and its special places through songs such as “Hilo Hula,” written in the 1940s by Joseph Nohea Kalima and taught by his granddaughter, kumu Iwalani Kalima. In addition to learning mele and hula, participants will have the opportunity to attend workshops and seminars covering related aspects of hula, such as making an authentic ti leaf Hilo-style neck lei or an ipu heke (double gourd drum) with one of Hawaii’s master implement crafters. The International Waikiki Hula Conference offers individuals the rare opportunity to come to Hawaii to learn, share and experience hula in the land of its birth, with a variety of respected hula masters. Visit www.waikikihulaconference.com.