Black Grace: From Cannon’s Creek to Jacob’s Pillow
Thurs., March 6, 9:00 pm
When Black Grace, a dance troupe of Pacific Islander and Maori men, first burst onto the
New Zealand stage in 1995, they were a revelation. Fusing traditional Pacific
and contemporary dance forms with athleticism and grace, they electrified
audiences. Led by Artistic Director Neil Ieremia,
Black Grace evolved from a crew of Neil's "mates" into one of New
Zealand's national treasures and conquered the world's dance festivals
culminating with Jacob's Pillow in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts.
The film follows Black Grace's journey from Cannon's Creek, a small town outside of Wellington, New Zealand to the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the oldest one of its kind in North America. Today, Black Grace is New Zealand's leading contemporary dance company. Melding Pacific and contemporary dance in an extraordinary and dynamic form, Black Grace has become internationally renowned for its artistry, creative excellence and innovation, as it has evolved into the world's leading exponent of Pacific-infused contemporary dance.
Ma Ka Malu Ali'i: The Legacy of Hawaii's Ali'i
Thurs., Feb. 27, 9:00 pm
The 19th century was a time of devastating change for the Hawaiian people. This documentary looks at the visionary efforts of five members of the ali'i, Hawaiian royalty, to provide for the education of the children, healthcare and comfort for the elderly. The charitable institutions they created have endured and are thriving and vital institutions today.
Thurs., Feb. 20, 9:00 pm
Through the personal stories of student song directors, this music documentary tells the story of the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest. Every year in Hawaii, 2,000 high school students compete in the contest, in which young leaders direct their peers in singing Hawaiian music in four-part harmony. Follow the elected student song directors to see how the tradition creates an indelible experience that builds class unity, instills cultural pride and builds character. Meet their families and learn about their hopes and dreams for the future. Experience Hawaiian culture as it has survived, flourished and grown through the universal power of music and song.
Those Who Came Before
Thurs., Feb. 13, 9:00 pm
This film is the tenth documentary by husband and wife team Eddie and Myrna Kamae. (Eddie is the director of their films, while Myrna is the producer.) It is also a summing up and poignant look back at legendary musician Eddie Kamae's quest to find the sources of Hawaiian musical traditions and to pass that knowledge on to future generations.
The film traces Eddie's journey of discovery with kupuna such as historian, Hawaiian language scholar, poet and songwriter Mary Kawena Pukui; poet, musician and songwriter Sam Li'a; and Pilahi Paki, a cultural treasure whose letter-by-letter definition of ALOHA had a major influence on Kamae. The film follows the evolution of Kamae's group The Sons of Hawaii, which played a major role in sparking the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s.
Journey to Emalani
Thurs., Feb. 6, 9:00 pm
The commemoration of Queen Emma's 1871 visit to the upland forest of West Kauai, as experienced by three hula halau, is the subject of this PBS Hawaii-produced film. It follows the halau and their kumu hula to Kokee for an annual festival of hula and chant, Eo e Emalani i Alaka'i (Emalani Festival): Tony Conjugacion's Hālau Nā Wainohia, Charlani Kalama's Hālau Ha'a Hula O Kekau'ilani Nā Pua Hala O Kailua; and Healani Youn's The Ladies of Ke'alaokalaua'e. Hawaiian music icon Nina Keali'iwahamana narrates.
Keola Beamer: Mālama Ko Aloha
(Keep Your Love)
Thurs., Jan. 16, 9:00 pm
This program tells the story of Keola Beamer's journey through song. The respected composer and slack key guitarist partners with an array of musicians, including Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, American jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer and Hawaiian vocalist Raiatea Helm. These collaborations demonstrate how one can retain cultural identity while openly sharing with others to create something new - a global art form. This multicultural exchange reaches its zenith when Beamer performs a Hawaiian-language version of John Lennon's "Imagine," with musicians playing traditional Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Hawaiian, Classical European and American Jazz instruments. In a particularly moving segment, Moanalani performs Hula Mu'umu'u (Dance of the Maimed) as a quadraplegic woman who magically regains her limbs.