Hula performers in purple dresses and leis dance on the lawn in front of Kahealani Blackmon's home.

Halau Ku Pono I Kamalani: DIY Festival Performer

Performance & Theatre

The 15th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival Presented By Harmons is returning to the Utah State Fairpark to celebrate a momentous 15 years as Utah’s largest local-centric arts, music, science and technology festival with a selection of over 350 local artisans and makers. In the following pages, read about a few of the exciting vendors and exhibitors you can expect to see throughout the three-day weekend, including performances from renowned national acts! Check out for more info.

Kahealani Blackmon wears a purple dress and white beaded necklace, smiling at the camera.
Photo: John Barkiple

Every Wednesday evening, children as young as five gather alongside adults at the home of Kahealani Ohumukini Blackmon to rehearse hula. Blackmon, who began dancing at 18 months old and has been teaching hula since 2008, believes in perpetuating native Hawaiian culture and sharing centuries-old knowledge with the community. “The name Ku Pono I Kamalani means ‘to stand up for our children,’” Blackmon says.

The halau, or hula school, performs both traditional and modern-style dances called Kahiko and Auana, respectively. Ancient Kahiko is passed down from Kumu Hula—teachers who have earned special status through mastery of the art form—and remains unchanged through generations. “These dances are preserved to help us remember where we came from and how our ancestors lived,” says Blackmon.

Contemporary Auana, however, is more fluid and innovative. “To choreograph the Auana, I lean on my ancestors and intuition to be guided to the movement that should be used for each dance. Our hula dances tell a story,” says Blackmon. Some dances are more culturally accurate than others, she says, but even without understanding the Hawaiian language, the performances are always joyful and entertaining.

Halau Ku Pono I Kamalani opens their doors to anyone who wants to learn about Hawaiian and other Pacific Island cultures. Learn more at their website and watch their performance at the DIY Festival on Saturday, August 12.

Read more about past DIY Festival performers:
Pepper Rose: Craft Lake City Performers
Bomba Marilé: Craft Lake City Performers