Hālau Hula O Na Mele ‘Aina O Hawai’i is an NYC based hula school.
The hālau, or hula school, first opened its doors in New York City in May 1968 under the guidance of Luana Haraguchi. Classes were first held in Haraguchi’s Upper East Side studio apartment. The hālau was given its name from her teacher, Iolani Luahine. The name translates to “Dance School of the Songs of the Land of Hawaii.”
From its small roots flourished a group that comprised of dedicated students learning hula and Hawaiian traditions.
Luana Haraguchi was born on the Hawaiian Island of Kaua`i. Though her family moved to New York when she was just ten years old, she continued to return to Kaua`i to further her studies with hula.
She learned hula at a young age, learning in New York and in Kauai. When in Oahu, she would study under the late Iolane Luahine. Though Polynesian dance was her forte, she additionally channeled her talents through singing and acting careers in New York.
Haraguchi first started the hālau in May 1968 and owns her professional Polynesian Dance company, Hawaiian Artists Shows, alongside running the hālau.
Haraguchi has three daughters, four grandchildren, and lives in Orangeburg, New York.
Interview with Luana (April 22, 2007)