Mapuana began her studies of Hawaiian dance and language more than 25 years ago through her connections with the Boston Civic Club in Massachusetts. Learning the difference between “back yard hula” and true, traditional hula, she sought out and studied under many highly regarded Kumu Hula (in western terms, hula instructor) including Vicky Holt Takamine, Chinky Mahoe, Aloha Dalire, Mapuana DeSilva, Sonny Ching, Ray Fonseca, Mahina Bailey, Keith Awai, Olana Ai, and many others.
In the early 1980's Mapuana formed the Alohalani Dancers, and established the Halau Hula O Ka Hikina 'Akau; students from both entities shared what they learned about the Polynesian cultural dances with the community. As Artistic Director and Kumu Hula, she led the company through in-person and televised performances at community and private special occasions, corporate events, customized school programs, libraries, churches, federally sponsored presentations, and children's television shows.
In the early 1990's Mapuana connected with a Samoan/Tongan family in Massachusetts and collaborated as cultural advisor and performer, with The Tahinas and The Tamasiis on special projects in restaurants, cruises, large organization events, and International Festivals. The Tahinas and The Tamasiis performances included highly professional level Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samoan, and Tongan shows, complete with fully decorated stages, a live Polynesian band, Polynesian food catering, the traditional Samoan Chief fire knife act, and even fireworks!
Mapuana also studied other Polynesian cultures, going straight to Polynesian people as sources for subject matter expertise, and with high level professional instructors for the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii. Studies included Tahitian Otea and Aparima, Samoan, Maori and Tongan songs and dances.
Continuing to be inspired by the Hawaiiana teachings, Mapuana focused more deeply on hula protocol by closing her studio and moving to Hawaii to more closely study with the musicians, Hawaiiana crafters, chefs, and hula masters. She became a member of Halau Hula 'Ilima under the direction of Kumu Hula Mapuana DeSilva, and Mapuana entered Kumu Mapuana's deeply focused hula Uniki program.
After 15 years of living and studying in the islands, Mapuana relocated to South Carolina to be closer to family in New England. She has reopened her Alohalani Hula studio, and the Halau Hula ke Alohalani, choosing those who are motivated to more deeply study and share the most traditional hula. Additionally, Mapuana has become the Chair, Dance Cmte, Pacific Islanders Association of Columbia, SC. Also, she now leads the HOT HULA Fitness with Mapuana in Columbia! Performances in SC and GA include weddings, children?s day events, international festival, and more!
Mapuana's instruction focuses on appropriate and traditional posture and breathing, following correct and purely Hawaiian styles in order to continue to preserve the culture. While the studies are seriously focused on the Hawaiian fundamentals, it is the joy and love of the Hawaiian music as heart thumping rhythms of island drums inspire rolling hips and waving hands to describe the truly romantic melodies of paradise – resulting in smiles in the hearts and on the faces of her students. Novice students will enjoy the relaxed and well organized instruction, and the ambitious beginners will be thrilled with the opportunity to take their new skills to the next level within the Halau structure.
Mapuana can stand at the helm of your entertainment wishes for your special event. With her connections, she can bring a soloist or an entire group of dancers, musicians and fire knife act to the stage to sparkle up your party!
“…excellent talent in Polynesian themed parties!” – President, Pearl Harbor Survivors
“…true sample of the cultures of the Pacific Islands.” - Entertainment Director, Indianhead Resort, New Hampshire
“…are reliable and professional entertainers who work well with their audience.” - The Music Connection, Framingham, MA
“We were surprised by all the scenery and extra artifacts you brought.” - Salem Elementary School
“One very well- traveled, and discriminating couple said the show was far superior to anything they'd seen in Hawaii.” – Mayflower Place, Boston
“We could not have asked for more – such professionalism!” – Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
"Marvelous Hawaiian entertainment for our annual luau!" - Lexington, SC Library
"Amazing talented hula and wonderful Hawaiian focused booth!" - Columbia International Festival
"Please, please, please come back again next year!" - Richland Library, Columbia, SC