Sun 21 Mar, 2010 03:57 pm
Kumu hula Rae Fonseca, whose Hula Halau 'O Kahikilaulani performed around the world and earned numerous honors at the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, died yesterday following a performance at the Lei 'O Lanikuhonua Hula Festival at Ko Olina.
According to fellow kumu hula Kapi'olani Ha'o, Fonseca completed "a beautiful performance," then watched as she began the next dance.
"The next thing I knew, there were people around him," Ha'o said. "Then he just collapsed."
Bystanders, including an on-site nurse, attended to Fonseca until Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived. He was taken in critical condition to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Ha'o said Fonseca did not show any signs of distress prior to his collapse.
Word of Fonseca's death spread quickly through a close-knit Hawai'i hula community still reeling from Friday's death of "Auntie Dottie" Thompson, matriarch of the Merrie Monarch Festival.
Long before any official confirmation, text messages, tweets and message board postings circulated the news.
Fonseca, 56, of Hilo, was a veteran kumu hula and student of hula master and Merrie Monarch founder George Naope. Naope died in October.
Fonseca had been on something of a comeback trail in hula after he pleaded no contest in 2006 to second-degree negligent homicide in connection with a 2003 vehicle crash that killed a Big Island man.
Last year, Fonseca's Hilo halau finished fourth in the men's kahiko (ancient) division, second in wahine kahiko, and third in wahine overall.
"We graduated from Uncle George 33 years ago," said Ha'o, who accompanied Fonseca in the ambulance. "He (Fonseca) was a wonderful man and he helped me along with my hula. His heart was so big."
Fellow Naope protege Etua Lopes of Halau Na Pua Ui O Hawai'i said he was shocked by the news about Fonseca.
I don't know how many of you have had the pleasure of watching male hulu dancers perform. Their dance is so powerful.
But then, isn't this the way to go, doing something you love.
Roooocky, Rooocky where are you?
I was mostly just trying to help you juggle the second thread there, surfer lady.
I do have this to say, however...
mosta the Huda guys I met were less than svelte.
and drank lotsa beer...
a lifetsyle choice thing.
They do not deny theirselves the better things in life. What's a couple of extra inches around the waist.
You are a surfer ?
Maybe there is some sort of mafiaoso style take over of the Hula world ?
If you want to trim your waist exercising the muscles there as in Hula, is the wrong way to go. The muscles will beef up and if you ever stop yu will be in trouble. Armie baby reckoned just do weights and the stomach will trim automatically. Otherwise it gets too big.
Did he get hit with a hula hoop ?
David I don't believe you said that.