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Ewalu Club members learn the Sasa, a Samoan dance performed by male and females in a seated position. Photo Courtesy of Shelly Salbedo
Ewalu Club members learn the Sasa, a Samoan dance performed by male and females in a seated position. Photo Courtesy of Shelly Salbedo

UNLV Hawaiian Club’s 2nd Annual Luau Set for Sat Apr. 13

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Bringing back the Aloha spirit from the islands of Hawaii, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Hawaiian Club, Ewalu Club, will kick off its second Luau at the university’s campus on Apr. 13.

The event, open to the public, will include traditional Polynesian dance, music and entertainment, preceded by an authentic Luau meal featuring traditional kalua pig, rice, chicken long rice, lomi salmon, poi and haupia. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom on campus. Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. and the show will follow at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale during the month of March and prices will be $15 for students, $20 for the general public and $15 for children. The Luau is a collaborative effort of UNLV students including the club members, local community members, businesses and family members at home in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Club received its name, Ewalu Club, representing the eight different islands. Bronson Hiraoka, president of the Ewalu Club, explained that, “there are eight different islands in Hawaii and we are all coming together to form and create this Luau.”

This year the Hawaii club will not only be raising money through the attendance of people at the Luau, but also by selling “School Kine Cookies” and hosting a car wash back in Hawaii on the island of Oahu.

The Hawaii Club hosted its first Luau last year. There were 237 people who attended and 20 dancers that performed. For this year, about 30 dancers are planning to perform. This year’s Luau chair is Naihe Paikai, a sophomore at UNLV. Her goal is to “bring Hawaii to Vegas.”

“I want our club to be successful and hopefully through the Luau, more students will be involved whether you’re from Hawaii or not…Hawaii is a melting pot and our club represents Hawaii and we are bringing our diverse cultures together into one.”

Paikai is preparing the committees for the food, tickets, costumes and dancers.

“We are teaching the dancers basics every Mondays and Tuesdays for those who haven’t danced before and those who will teach their fellow members.” Naihe pointed out that “you don’t have to know how to dance if you haven’t danced before…we are here to teach everyone.” The genres of dances include Hula, Tahitian, Samoan and Maori.

A UNLV sophomore and returning Luau dancer, Kayla Perez, has danced Hula for 14 years. This Luau is important to her and she wants to “be able to invite families and friends and be able to perform for them and show how much love I have for my passion of Hula.”

She hopes that through this experience people will understand that, “this club is new and being built to become this diverse group which represents Hawaii because we are all coming together for one thing and that is to celebrate our diverse cultures and bring back the Aloha spirit to Las Vegas.”

For more information about the Ewalu Club, contact Bronson Hiraoka at hiraoka2@unlv.nevada.edu.

 

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