By Léo Azambuja

luau 1Your hands are on your hips and your heart is racing. Everyone has their eyes on you and all you can think is how in the world you got yourself in this situation.

Well, if the entertainers of Luau Hawai‘i picked you to dance hula in front of a small crowd on the grounds of the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort at Kalapaki Beach, just keep calm and carry on. When it’s all over, you’ll probably want to do it again.

“I would say what attracts people is that it’s a very intimate and personal show,” said na kumu hula Wallis Punua, whose family’s tradition of Hawaiian entertainers goes back generations.

Each Monday evening, the luau at the Kalapaki Beach resort attracts a crowd eager to appreciate and learn a little about Polynesian cultures. Besides the educational part, visitors — and even locals — are treated to an evening of music, hula and fire dancing, and entertainment.

luau 2“It’s a full Polynesian show, with dances of Hawai‘i, Tahiti and Samoa,” Punua said.

And then there are those who are brave enough to accept an invitation to dance hula on the stage before their family, friends and lots of strangers.

It’s all good, it’s all Kaua‘i.

Punua’s family started entertaining at the resort when it first opened in 1961. Back then, it was a much smaller hotel and it was called Kaua‘i Surf. His family did a show there for 14 years, and then moved on to perform at every major resort on the island, according to Punua.

About 6 years ago, Punua went back to the Marriott, and his show has been a hit there since then.

luau 3“We kept the old traditions intact,” he said.

On the same night of the luau, Kukui’s Restaurant offers a Hawaiian platter prior to the two-hour show, so you can have your fun and culture with a belly full of traditional local food.

The Hawaiian dinner is available from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday. At 7:30 p.m., guests move to a different location on property to enjoy the show. The hotel has two prices for the show, one with dinner and one without it.

Call the Marriott at 245-5050 for more information or to place a reservation.