Sharla Albinio has been studying hula for ten years. She's been to the Merry Monarch Festival six times. This year she was named Miss Aloha Hula.
"It's exciting! I had fun," Sharla said of the experience. "I like having all the attention. It's a nice feeling." As she begins to dance her face lights up with expression. She moves with grace and ease and naturalness. As she dances a warmth and glow surround her. Watching her dance, spectators are drawn into her love and reverence of hula.
At the beach, the waves slipping in at her feet, Sharla dances to the chant of her Kumu, Ellen Castillo. Together they speak of the hard work and commitment. The hard work that it took to bring her to the Festival is worth it. In addition to being named Miss Aloha Hula, Sharla placed fourth runner up in the solo competition. But her reason for dancing is not about competition.
"The love of hula--it's an inner feeling," she said. "It takes everything away."