'Orometua - teachers and leaders
Alaka'i Ashley Kanoe Howell:
Beginner Hula Instructor
Nothing puts a smile on Ashley’s face like dancing. Ashley has developed her passion for dancing over the last 18 years, ever since she asked her parents if she could learn how to dance at six years old. She then began dancing hula and Tahitian from Kumu Linda Pi‘ilani Danek at Halau Hula ‘O Pi‘ilani. Three years later, Ashley moved to studying hula from Kumu Pohai Souza at Halau Hula Kamamolikolehua. The more she learned in the art and skill of dancing, the more she loved the power of story-telling and the vibrancy of her culture. Ashley learned how to choreograph and was a member of the halau's advanced group by the time she left for college in Oregon. There, she became a hula teacher for their Hawaiian Club and began dancing Tahitian again. When Ashley graduated and officially moved to Oregon, she found Teva Oriata. She loves being with a group of dancers who share not only her passion for movement, but also a passion to learn the meaning and culture behind every dance.
Alaka'i Kiera Keahileomaikalani Usagawa:
Intermediate Hula Instructor
Kiera was born and raised in Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu, and has been dancing hula since the age of 4. Not far from her childhood home, her hula journey began under the direction of Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire of Keolalaulani Hālau ʻOlapa o Laka, and soon after from Nāhōkūokalani Gaspang. A few years later Kiera joined Hālau Ka Liko Pua o Kalaniākea under Kumu Hula Kapua Dalire-Moe and her passion for hula ignited. Here she had the opportunity to learn language, chanting, and other cultural practices in addition to dancing competitively in the Keiki Hula and Merrie Monarch competitions. She was gifted the name Keahileomaikalani by her Kumu, which translates to "the fiery voice from heaven," in admiration of her resonant voice in oli/chanting. After moving to Oregon for college, Kiera longed to dance again and reconnect with her culture. She found her home away from home with Teva Oriata, and finds comfort in the beauty and challenge of learning and sharing Polynesian dance.
Kaiako Jennie Marama Keller:
Jennie began dancing Hula at the age of 11 in a small town in Southern Oregon. She learned under Kumu Sharon Aulani Smith at Aulani Hula Halau. Through her Halau she learned several Polynesian dance forms including Hula, Tahitian and Maori. Jennie fell in love with the Polynesian culture and the happiness that dance brought to her and her audience. By the time Jennie was entering high school she was a member of her Halau’s Advanced Poi group where she learned the art of Fire Poi. The thrill and excitement that fire dancing brought to onlookers made this dance form one of her favorites. In 2009, Jennie left her Halau in Southern Oregon to move to Portland. During the next 7-years of college she searched to fill the void that dancing had left in her heart. She tried other Halaus, hip-hop, Haitian dance and belly dance but nothing quite met her expectations. While living in New Mexico, she became a certified fitness and Yoga instructor which helped grow her passion for movement and teaching. Upon returning the Portland area in 2017, she discovered Teva Oriata. Instantly she felt a connection to the TO community and was inspired by the enthusiasm that each dancer brought to class. Now as an instructor, Jennie has the privilege to combine her passions of teaching and dancing. With her Teva Oriata feti’i, she continues to learn, grow and spread the Aloha of Polynesian culture.
Upo'o - Class Leaders/Group heads
point of contact/class coordinator