About Aunty Kalei
My name is Dana Marie Kaleinā'ala O Ka'ahuonāali'i Enstad. Everyone calls me Kalei or lately, Aunty Kalei. I grew up in 'Aiea on the island of O'ahu, graduated from The Kamehameha Schools and I love to dance the hula. My hula travels took me to Japan, then to Minnesota, my temporary home until I can get back to the islands.
I've tried to keep hula a part of my life as much as possible but sometimes it's tough when you have a full time job and a full time family. I've tried teaching through community centers in the past but always felt like it wasn't enough. In order to reach those interested in hula or Hawai'i I needed more than 6 to 8 weeks at a time. I needed more for them to grasp the full meaning of aloha. I wanted something more permanent.
In 1994, I met Maka Jacques, another "Hawaiian transplant", who was gracious enough to let me join his hālau, if only for a short time. Maka passed away in 1996.
Leona Puanani Bell Schroeder (aka 'Uala or Aunty Lee) also one of Maka's haumāna, revived the hālau and it was named "Hālau Hula Ka Ho'oilina Me Ke Aloha 'O Kumu Maka" which meant "The hālau is the legacy of love for our teacher, Maka".
In 2000, Leona gave me the opportunity of my lifetime. She asked if I would consider taking over the hālau as she was planning to move to Idaho to be closer to her grandchildren. I was honored, excited and nervous. Leona has such enthusiasm and I wasn't sure if I could meet those expectations!
The hālau name changed in January 2003 when we officially became Kaleiokapilialoha. It was time for the hālau to become Kalei's hālau. It was time to move on and take on a name that represented me.......we are now "the lei of close friendships" and we are just that.
Although I've never had formal training, the teachers I did have included Kaleo Colburn at the Rosalie Dance Academy in 'Aiea, Mapuana DeSilva while at the Kamehameha Schools, and of course Maka and Leona. Each taught me enough to know that this is what I want to share with others. I have attended hula workshops given by Kahoa Malalis and Rich Pedrina and will further my education in hula and Hawaiiana through future workshops or other media. I hope to continue my education with my mentor, Leona, who continues her education with Kumu Rich Pedrina. I most recently had the honor of working with Aunty Sybil Pruett while visiting in Kona.
CONTACT KALEI :