Aloha, I am Kumu Kēhaulani Kaneholani-Santiago of Hālau Hula I Kona Mau Lima.
Personal life: I was born on Maui and raised on Kaua’i. I am married to Jose, who supports me totally in my love of hula and who is my calm, sounding board when life becomes a bit too much. I have 3 children, who are all grown and living their lives. I love music and art of all sorts, cooking, and gardening. I am also an avid reader and have volunteered at the Maui Friends of the Library.
Hula life: Hula has naturally been my life. It started when I was 5 with Aunty Beverly Muraoka on Kaua’i where I enjoyed the ti leaf skirts, plumeria lei and red lipstick. “Mino’aka! (smile) as soon as you leave the dressing room until till you pau your hula”, she would tell us. As I grew older, so did my passion for hula so I danced with Aunty Keala Kinimaka-Sankus, still on Kaua’i, where I learned to control my body and to understand that “even your eyelashes danced.” In 2010, I joined Hālau Hula I Kona Mau Lima under the direction of Kumu Ualani Maka’ike Calleja where I learned more about myself, and my purpose in hula. Hula is the beautiful Hawaiian language. Hula is love, fun, lots of hard work, talk story sessions, wars, guidance, and so much more than I will ever learn in my lifetime. Hula requires being both physically and mentally prepared, it comes with spiritual battles that can only be experienced on a very personal level.
Kumu life: It is a new season and chapter for me as being Kumu. I am taking all the knowledge that my previous Kumu’s have taught me, all that I have learned, and am setting it as the foundation for our Halau as we move forward together. I always knew my kuleana was to perpetuate our Hawaiian culture and language so I continue to do so through my passion for hula.