Patrick Makuakane was born and raised in Kaimuki and Waimanalo, Oahu. His father was pure Hawaiian and his mother, as he says was pure Philadelphian. At a young age, he saw first hand how the Hawaiians and his family were assimilating to the western culture. It wasn’t that great to be Hawaiian at that time he says. He knew very little about his Hawaiian culture. While growing up, he was around his fathers family and life was good.
It wasn’t until high school that Patrick join the Hawaiian club so he could learn and sing Hawaiian songs. The instructor there then told him that if he was going to stay he would have to learn the hula too. Although it wasn’t what he wanted to do, in two short weeks, Patrick was hooked. While in high school he met and started dancing for John Keolamakaainana Lake. A few years past and he went on to dance for Robert Uluwehi Cazimero, both Hawaiian culture treasures.
Return From San Fransisco To Learn Hula
Years later Patrick moved to San Fransisco and started making a life there for him and hula. While there he was awarded in 2000 an Irvine Fellowship and Dance award that enabled him to travel home to study more hula. This time he began intensive traditional studies with hula master Mae Kamāmalu Klein and, after three years, achieved the recognized status of kumu hula (hula master). All of his Kumu hula came under the tutelage of Master Kumu hula Maiki Aiu Lake. She was considered at that time the mother of the Hawaiian Renaissance of hula. In the 60’s and 70’s Maiki established how a hula halau should run. Today many of our well trained Kumu come from this hula lineage of Aunty Maiki Aiu Lake.
The Many Feathered Garlands at the Summit
His halau Na Lei Hulu I Kawekiu means “The many feathered garlands at the summit.” For over three decades many students entered the doors of his halau based in San Fransisco. He has developed a remarkable style of hula (called hula mua) that uses modern music that provides a whole new dimension to the poetry of hula. The halaus mission is to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian Culture through hula. What he has done for the hula community away from home, was to connect Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians through hula. But not just any hula, his style of hula. Also creating a safe and healthy hula community to be with one another in a compassionate and thriving environment. He is a wonderful Kumu, a great spokesman for the Hawaiian Culture and he brings a fresh style to the world of hula.
Patrick has won numerous awards;
Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (several), In 2006, he received a lifetime achievement award from the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Also,
- NACF Artist Fellowship (2014): Awarded by the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation (NACF) to nurture greater study, reflection, experimentation, and discovery.
- Hewlett & Gerbode Foundations Choreographer Commissioning Award (2012): Award from The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for the creation of “Ka Leo Kanaka” (one among only six California dance artists to be honored).
- National Museum of the American Indian (2010): Grant award in support of the Kapalakiko Project, a dance theater work celebrating the long historical connection between Hawai’i and San Francisco.
- Individual Artist Commission (2009): A grant award from the San Francisco Arts Commission for the creation of “Kumulipo,” dance narratives based on an epic and iconic Hawaiian creation chant composed long before European contact.
- Creative Work Fund Commission (2008): Creative Work Fund grant supporting a commission by the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival for the creation of “Maui Turning Back the Sky.”
- Dance: Creation to Performance (2005): Grant award from Dance/USA and The James Irvine Foundation for the creation and public sharing of “Daughters of Haumea” (one among only twenty California dance artists to be honored).
Dancing the hula to Kuana Torres Kahele’ singing to “Waikaloa”