Ha`aheo O Hawai`i debuted in at the 1999 Gathering of Pacific Islanders 1st annual luau in Albuquerque hosted by Cindi Heffner and her Hawaiian friends. What started as an idea for the luau committee to perform one hula as a thank you to the people attending, turned into a 90 minute hula show. In the audience was a manager of the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services who immediately asked Cindi and her all-Hawaiian hula group to perform for Summerfest at Civic Plaza.
Ha`aheo O Hawai`i is still bringing a beautiful taste of Hawaii and the aloha spirit to New Mexico. Today, not all of our dancers are Hawaiian, but their dedication, respect and appreciation of the Hawaiian culture lets their aloha shine through to maintain the integrity of traditional hula.
Cindi was born and raised on O`ahu and calls Kalihi her home town. She didn't grow up with hula - only dancing hula for a few elementary school events. It wasn't until she left the islands that she realized that some of the hula danced outside of Hawaii was a far cry from the traditional hula performed in Hawaii. While in Southern California in the mid 70's, Cindi and her Hawaiian girlfriends were not happy with an "authentic" hula show they saw. It was what they called "Hollywood wicky wacky" - not traditional hula. This led them to embark on a hula mission to share the hula with aloha and authenticity. That ignited Cindi's deep love for hula. She continues to study hula and Hawaiian language from Hawaii's foremost hula masters and Hawaiian culture programs to fulfill her mission to share and perpetuate aloha through hula.
"Hula is the language of the heart, and therefore, the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people."
- King David La`amea Kalakaua