HILO, Hawaii – Its not an official event of the Merrie Monarch Festival, but the world premiere of VolcanoScapes – Dancing with the Goddess happens at the Historic Palace Theater on Monday and Tuesday, April 21st and 22nd, just as the international week of hula gets underway in Hilo.
It’s the fifth in the VolcanoScapes series produced by Mick Kalber and the Tropical Visions team. And this time, the emmy-award winning vulcanographer turns his lens towards the ancient dance of hula, and its relationship to the Volcano goddess Pele. Just in time for Merrie Monarch week.
Dancing with the Goddess showcases the respect and awe Native Hawaiians have for the active volcano. It also profiles the photographers, scientists and artists who draw inspiration from Kilauea. Documenting the island’s volcanic eruption for decades, Kalber says he wants the world to know the other side of Kilauea.
We recently interviewed Kalber at his home in Hilo, where he edited the latest VolcanoScapes film. We have known Kalber for a few years now, ever since he shared with us the stunning images of the Kamoamoa fissure eruption in 2011. But Kalber has been at it for far longer. Here’s what he had to say about his latest film.
Interwoven throughout the film are profiles on the people who are drawn to Pele. Like world famous volcano photographer G. Brad Lewis, or the underwater lava photographer, Mike May. The film features leading tour guides like Shane Turpin, who prefers to view Pele by boat, and or Cal Dorn, who takes visitors over the volcano with Paradise Helicopters. The movie also follows the artists inspired by Pele like Poet Kimberly Dark, and glassblower Daniel Moe. And the film includes science, showcasing geologists like Mike Poland and Milton Garces.
But the real stars of the film, aside from the volcano goddess, is the hula. VolcanoScapes features two of the island’s best known teachers: Kumu Ehulani Stephany and Kekuhi Kealiikanakaolehaililani. Both were present the day we spoke to Kalber at his Hilo home, and shared their thoughts about their involvement with the film.