Hālau Hula Aulani is a hula school located in Roseburg, Oregon, offering lessons in hula, the traditional dance of Hawaiʻi, in addition to other Polynesian dance forms. It offers ongoing weekly classes as well as special workshop opportunities. While Hālau Hula Aulani has been active in the community of Roseburg for nearly 40 years, it recently converted to a full-fledged studio with space to accommodate all. The hālau consists of 120 haumāna ages 3 to adult.
Hālau Hula Aulani was established in Roseburg, Oregon in 1983 by kumu hula Sharon Aulani Smith. What began as a small hobby – teaching hula to a few neighborhood children – grew significantly over time into a full-fledged hālau hula in rural Oregon.
Sharon trained in hula and other Polynesian dance styles under kumu hula Anitra Kuulei Kahananui in Eugene, Oregon in the 1970s with ‘ūniki in 1976. Anitra was trained under kumu hula Sally Puanani Hilt (Duncan) in Roseburg, Oregon in the 1960s with ʻūniki in 1965. Sally was trained at the Mossman Lalani Village in Waikīkī, O’ahu in the 1930s with ‘ūniki in 1935. Several renown kumu were present at the Lalani Hawaiian Village during Sally’s training including the Mossman family, Kuluwaimaka Palea, an ancient chanter from the court of Kalākaua, and many more. The Lalani Hawaiian Village has been described as the 30-year predecessor to the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Hālau Hula Aulani is currently under the direction of kumu hula Tiffani Malialani Parker, the daughter of Sharon Smith. Tiffani has trained in the art of hula under her motherʻs tutelage since the age of 3. She and her kumu believe it is her kuleana (responsibility) to carry forward the legacy of Hālau Hula Aulani for the community of Roseburg. She was presented her ‘ūniki rights by Sharon Aulani Smith and Anitra Kuulei Kahananui on August 27, 2022.
Aulani is a family name of Anitra Kuulei Kahananui, bestowed unto Sharon with the Kahananui family’s blessing in 1976.
While this was our daughters first year dancing hula, the positive changes we have seen in her can be attributed to her new found confidence since joining hula. Not only is she learning the dances but also a new culture. She is making new friendships, learning a new level of patience, time management and self awareness. These are life long traits that are gained from her wonderful teachers at Halau Hula Aulani and the other girls who dance along side her supported by their families. We are so lucky to be a part of this family.
I started dancing with Hālau Hula Aulani in Spring of 2022, as a busy boy mom looking for something new and fun to do for myself...maybe get a little exercise in as a bonus. What I've gained from joining this Hālau, is not only enjoyment beyond any expectation, I've gained new skills, the beginnings to a better understanding of the culture, more self confidence, exercise, and the best group of Hibiscus Hula sisters anyone could ask for! As Kumu Tiffani says...Dare to dance and leave the embarrassment at home.
As a keiki o ka ‘aina from O’ahu, Mau’i, and Hawai’i nui, I grew up learning and performing hula. It is an important part of my culture and my identity. It is my art and my expression of the stories of our ancestors. As an adult living in Southern Oregon, it grew harder to stay connected to my culture, especially in a rural community where Pacific Islanders are a rarity. I personally went through a health condition that crippled me for years, and I was so scared I would never be able to dance. In 2013, I joined Aulani and made my way back to kaholo, ami, uwehe, and kalakaua and was humbled by the pride and diligence of our Kumu. Over the course of the years that I have been a haumana, our Kumu has shared our culture with our community, and in doing so has helped to spread Aloha, teach haumana the ʻōlelo through hula, and provide a diverse and authentic cultural experience for those who are interested in learning. Mahalo ke akua a mahalo ke kumu Aulani no ko mākou hula hālau.