Preview: Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu.
Although the name of the company won't fit on conventional marquees, founding director Patrick Makuakane has been packing in audiences and students for 20 years. The engaging Honolulu-born artist's aim was twofold. In rescuing hula from its fate as a Waikiki shopping mall diversion for weary tourists, he has revealed a rich, traditional culture the secrets of which can't be revealed merely by wearing a grass skirt and strumming a ukulele. By fusing this indigenous art form with contemporary music, he has shown us a culture in evolution. Makuane believes that anyone can learn the hula; the 20th anniversary show includes a number for members of the San Francisco Fire Department. Who would have imagined that ethnography could be such a sensuous, participatory, experience? The company name translates as "the many feathered wreaths at the summit, held in high experience." Oct. 15-23, Palace of Fine Arts Theater, San Francisco. www.naleihulu.org.