HILO - In her first competition at the Merrie Monarch Festival, Tiana Nalani Manuel finished fifth in a field of a dozen competitors for the title of Miss Aloha Hula.
"Tiana did exceptionally well," said kumu Joy Haunani Paredes. "We're so very, very proud of her."
She said that Manuel, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Hawaii Maui College, excelled in both the kahiko (ancient) and 'auana (modern) competitions in a strong field.
Maui’s Tiana Nalani Manuel dances Thursday night during the Miss Aloha Hula competition at the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo. The 18-year-old University of Hawaii Maui College student finished in fifth place.
RANDY JAY BRAUN photo
"Tiana has a great future ahead of her," Paredes said. "The experience she had in preparing for the Merrie Monarch will be a great boost to her confidence and make her an even better dancer in the future."
On Friday night, Halau Kekuao-kala'au'ala'iliahi, the only Maui halau in this year's competition, was set to compete in the young men's kahiko.
Paredes said early Friday afternoon that the Maui men would be competing 13th in the lineup.
"We're just going to do what we do best," she said, "and that is to dance our hula."
The halau is led by kumu 'Iliahi and Paredes.