Clad in a mint green polo shirt and khaki pants, Alaka’i Lastimado stole the mini concert of world-renowned musician Robert Cazimero at a Hawaiian mall by his incredibly smooth hula moves.
With those gentle hip thrusts, his large smile, and toned arms, Alaka’i also stole the Internet’s collective beating heart. He’s gone viral since then, with MB Life contributing a substantial amount of views (ha-ha!).
You know what’s an even better thing? We sent him a message on Facebook and Alaka’i, who is a flight attendant in Hawaiian Airlines, by the way, responded warmly. What a guy.
Without further ado, below is our short and sweet interview with the Alaka’i.
Can you tell us the story behind the viral video?
Every year, my Kumu Robert Cazimero, who is a world-renowned musician, plays music in Wailea, Maui, Hawaii; a mini concert in the middle of an outdoor mall called The Shops of Wailea. I have been blessed enough to be his dancer for this concert ever since he started.
Little did I know that at this particular performance, a Maui blogger by the name of Liza Pierce (her Facebook blog name is My Own Maui) had video taped and posted a one-minute clip of me dancing. And the rest is history.
You weren’t in costume. We thought it was a spontaneous performance.
I have read many of the comments from that video and many were wondering why I was not wearing the traditional hula outfit. There are two types of hula: Kahiko and Auana.
Kahiko is the ancient form of hula in which traditional hula implements such as the Ipu Heke or the Pahu Drum are used to dance. Auana is the modern form of hula in which non-traditional instruments such as a piano or an ukulele is used. The song that I was dancing on the video, “Holoholo Ka`a” is an Auana song. Because it is a modern song, modern day clothing is okay to wear while dancing the song.
You totally went viral in the Philippines.
I did not expect the reception of the video at all. Here in Hawai`i, Kane (men) dancing hula is an everyday occurrence so I did not think anything of it. But I am very grateful that millions around the world have seen the video because it is teaching the world not just about Kane dancing hula but also just the art form of hula in general.
Are you, by any chance, Filipino?
Yes I am part Filipino. My family Echalas and Manzano are from the town of Tagoloan [in Misamis Oriental].
How did you learn to hula so well? How long have you been dancing the hula?
I have been dancing hula for 12 years. All the credit when it comes to my hula dancing goes to my Kumu Robert Cazimero. It is his love and dedication to his haumana (students) that makes us want to keep learning and be a better dancer for him.
Is there a secret/trick to it?
Yes there is a secret to hula, but if I told you then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore now would it? Haha
We couldn’t help but notice your hip thrusts, too. How important are the hip movements to the dance?
In my hula halau (hula school) the hips are a very important part of our style of hula dancing.
Can you dance it to just any song?
Technically yes, hula can be danced to any song. Hula is the art form of Hawaiian Dance in which we tell a story. Although the foot movements and hip movements are an important part of hula, one of the major elements in dancing hula is the hand movements. The hand motions are what’s telling the story. So as long as the song you want to dance has a story behind it, then yes, a hula can be created for that song.
Is there a song that gets you dancing/grooving (not necessarily the hula)?
I love any song that can get me dancing. My favorite things to do is go out to the clubs with my friends and dance the night away.
And finally: How are you and your significant other dealing with your new-found internet fame?
I am currently single at the moment and am just enjoying life. I love meeting people from all around the world.
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