As the third and youngest daughter of Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire, Keolalaulani Dalire is the eighth generation hula dancer in her family. She is the namesake of her grandmother, Mary Keolalaulani McCabe Wong for whom the halau was named. Influenced by the teachings of her mother and the rich lineage that preceded her, Keola has chosen to walk a narrow path deeply rooted in tradition and preservation for the teachings of her kumu and mother.
While attending The Kamehameha School for Girls, Keola was involved in Hawaiian Language for six years and learned hula from Randy Fong, Kumu Hula Holoua Stender, and Kumu Hula Wayne Chang. As a participant in the annual Song Contest Hoike presentation and a member of the Hawaiian Ensemble, she also had the chance to work with now Na Kumu Hula Snowbird Bento and Kaleo Trinidad. Of her many teachers and mentors of language and dance, it was her Kumu Olelo Hawaii, Hailama Farden who would imprint himself in the path of her life. He exposed Keola to various chants and oli techniques that would spark her interest in developing that aspect of hula. So naturally it would be to him she turned when given, by her kumu hula, the daunting task of suggesting a chant and oli for her Miss Aloha Hula performance. When unsuccessful in finding a fitting chant, Keola wrote her own kahiko mele, Kapukapuakea which honors her deep ancestral lineage, with the help of her teacher and mentor, Kumu Hailama Farden. She climaxed her senior year at Kamehameha by completing the circle of three sisters and becoming Miss Aloha Hula 1999 at a young age of 18.
This was not only an honor, but also a privilege for her to join the long line of reputable women who have each attained the level of excellence by becoming Miss Aloha Hula; with it also being sweeter knowing her mother was the first in this line of women having been Miss Hula 1971.
With hula running through her veins, Keola naturally started teaching in her mother’s halau at the young age of 10. She would help with the beginners and basic level students teaching them the stretches, basic hula steps and she began exposing them to protocols of hula. Throughout the years she has worked her way to the advanced and competition level classes, teaching and choreographing under the watchful eye of her kumu. She devoted herself to her kumu and continued teaching under her even after her ‘uniki in August of 2008. Since her mothers passing, she has taken her place as Kumu Hula of Keolalaulani Halau Olapa O Laka.
While an alaka’i of Keolalaulani Halau, she continued to dance with her line and compete in numerous group and solo competitions. She has such titles as Miss Keiki Hula 1990, Miss Na Kamalei O Kona 1994, Miss Keiki (1992) and Miss Ia ’oe e ka La 2000 to name a few, the 2002 oli winner at the Kamehameha Day Competition, and participated in competitions across the pacific rim as well as on each of the 4 major Hawaiian Islands.
A hula dancer at heart, Keola is also versed in the dances of Polynesia. She has been in productions across the state and Pacific Rim which included dances of Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, and even Jazz to name a few. With all this variety, she has also been featured as “Hina” in the publication “Hawaiian Goddesses- Alua” of renowned author Linda Ching and her image and face have appeared on numerous brochures and magazines throughout Hawaii and Japan.
Today, Keola Dalire continues the teachings of her mother Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire. Being able to experience first-hand knowledge of Hawaii and be involved with the sister halau in Japan and California, Keola has devoted her teachings to perpetuate that of her mother, grandmother, and all the generations that have passed so that the next generation, her daughters Emalia and Laulia, and her sons Enaahi and Kauahi, will have the insight and courage to continue the rich heritage of their family. Especially that of the teachings and message of her mother and Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire,
“Hula is the expression of one’s innermost feelings.”