Adult beginner, intermediate, and advance hula as well as advance ‘ori Tahiti
Aloha Kākou/’Ia orana/Kia ora/Talofa! my name is Kellie Villicano. I have been dancing Hawaiian hula since 1994 and 'Ori Tahiti since 1997. I was taught in Gardena, California from Kumu Hula, Kanani Kalama of Kanani Kalama Hula Studio whose lineage goes back to Puanani Alama in Honolulu, Hawai’i. I have competed twice in E Hula Mau hula competition in Irvine, CA and have performed every year in the annual Ho'olaule'a in Lawndale, CA. I continued my passion for Polynesian dance when I moved to New Mexico in 2005 by dancing in another local group, Hawaiian Pride, Rio Rancho. I started Ka Lā Kapu to increase the diversity of Polynesian dancing and knowledge in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I continue to grow in my own education by attending hula and Tahitian workshops by world renown Kumu/Ra'atira, such as Adelina Hinemanea, Tiana Liufau, Mahealani Hirao-Solem, Moena Maiotui and Kuana Torres Kahele as well as staying connected with my kumu hula, Kanani Kalama for guidance and also to keep the lineage of her hula alive. I am excited to teach my knowledge and passion to my Hāumana (students) and to share the Aloha with the community.
Beginner co-ed adult hula
Talofa Lava! My name is Jason Tuitele. My father is from Vailoa, Samoa and is of Samoan decent. I spent my childhood on Nānākuli, O'ahu and raised in Oceanside, California . I began my involvement in the Polynesian culture in 2008 by learning Tahitian style drumming. I began my hula journey in 2009 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico with Hawaiian Pride. I joined Ka Lā Kapu in 2016 to continue my education in the Polynesian culture and I am now ready to perpetuate the Aloha spirit as a Kāne instructor in Albuquerque.
Aloha and ‘Ia orana! My name is Meiguey Ponce. I was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and now call Albuquerque my home. I started learning the art of Polynesian dance in 2013 with our main instructor and owner of Ka Lā Kapu, Kellie. I decided to start taking lessons because I was searching for something to do and keep myself busy outside of work and school. What started off as just something I could call a hobby became so much more than that for me. I fell in love with dancing and learning about the cultures of Polynesia. It has truly become my passion in life. I very much still consider myself a student and I’m always hungry to learn more and push myself as a dancer. Since joining Ka Lā Kapu Polynesian Dance School in 2013, I have participated in multiple ‘ori Tahiti and hula workshops and have had the pleasure of learning skills from Kuana Torres Kahele, Moena Maiotui, and Adelina Hinemanea. I’m excited and look forward to continue my growth as a student and instructor to help build the future of Ka Lā Kapu Polynesian Dance School!
Parent & Me hula, Maori poi, and adult beginner ‘ori Tahiti
Aloha my name is Kim McKinney. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and have lived in New Mexico for majority of my life. When I was younger I always watched my family dance hula at family gatherings and was fascinated with my culture. I began dancing Hula and ‘ori Tahiti at the age of 12. I was originally taught by my Aunty Thelva and Kumu Raelani McKinney of Hawaiian Pride in Rio Rancho, NM. We provided Annual luaus for our community for about 13 years. In 2010, myself and Kellie Villicano created a Tahitian dance group called E Vahine ‘O Tahiti E, and I assisted in teaching beginner steps till I moved to Texas in 2013 with my family. Since moving back to New Mexico, I'm ready to get back to sharing my love for the art and culture of my heritage. I joined Ka lā Kapu in 2018 and can't wait to see where this new journey takes me.
Kupuna (ages 55+) hula
Aloha, my name is Jacquie Gonzalez. I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to share my love of hula with anyone who has the desire to learn. I have always been drawn to dance since I was a little girl. It brought me so much joy. I was the last of 6 kids, so I was a bit sheltered and painfully shy, so music was kind of an escape for me. I was able to just get lost in the music with not a care in the world. So just being in the mix of music and dance became my happy place. I started dancing hula in 2003 under the instruction of Aunty Thelva, Aunty Raelani and on occasion, Uncle Rod of Hawaiian Pride in Rio Rancho,NM. However; I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 which required me to take a break from dancing to focus on my health. By the grace of God, I was able to return to my passion of dance in 2014 and decided to join Ka Lā Kapu Polynesian Dance School. Sometimes dancing is a little more challenging but I still hold on to the fact that it is my “happy place.” I have learned to “never give up”, just keep going and I hope to pass that inspiration along to other people as well. I’ve embraced my culture through my love of dance and desire to learn more about my Hawaiian heritage. In July of 2018, I had the pleasure of increasing my knowledge of learning new skills by attending a workshop under the direction of Kuana Torres Kahele. First and foremost, I will always be a student striving to learn more every day, but also looking forward to sharing my knowledge of hula with others.
Keiki (ages 5-7) & Kamali’i (ages 8-10) hula
and “Hot Hula” certified, aerobics class
I have been involved in the health and wellness industry for a while. I have been a registered Nurse since 2000, and am currently working at UNMH. I have been A.C.E (American Council on Exercise) certified as a group fitness instructor since 1990 and an instructor fo A.F.A.A (Athletics and Fitness Association of America) since 2007. I have taught a variety of classes; with 5 yrs of Personal Training experience in California, and now with an exciting new certification in HOT HULA! My love for Polynesian dance and culture inspired me to teach this beautiful, high energy, and flowing dance style that are easy to perform and extremely useful for toning and burning calories while having FUN! I have been dancing with Ka Lā Kapu since 2016 under the guidance of the very talented Kumu/Instructor & founder of Ka Lā Kapu, Kellie Villicano. I believe teaching dance and fitness is a way to connect with my students while bringing out the best in them by offering modifications for all ages and levels of fitness in a fun, judgment free, environment.