Patrick Makuakāne
June 26, 2020

Patrick Makuakāne is a choreographer, dancer, director, raconteur and succulent fetishist who mindfully crisscrosses between tradition and innovation. ACTA has been an active part of his career for many years, supporting his hula company through Living Cultures grants for projects maintain, and at other times, push the boundaries of tradition. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, Patrick trained with two of Hawaiʻi’s most revered hula masters, Robert Uluwehi Cazimero and Mae Kamāmalu Klein. Patrick is the Founder and Director of the Hawaiian dance company and school Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu and is a creative force in the hula world. While a passionate preserver of traditional hula, his artistry also crafts a provocative treatment of tradition that leaps forward in surprising ways. Patrick received a Dance/USA Fellowship in 2019, and was awarded the prestigious San Francisco Arts Commissionʻs legacy award in 2019. He currently serves as the spiritual and cultural advisor for the Native Hawaiian Religious Group at San Quentin State Prison.

This story is part of ACTA’s ongoing Queering California Traditions series, which features voices from queer traditional artists across the state.

Centuries ago, 4 renowned healers traveled to Hawaiʻi and were beloved by the people for their miraculous cures and embracing nature. History tells us these gifted individuals were Māhū (transgender). Their gender identity was often hidden, but today we are making a concerted effort to truthfully share their beautiful story. Hear the story of the Māhū from kumu hula Patrick Makuakāne, as well as an original chant he has written in their honor:

A new animated documentary on the lives of the Māhū will be released soon. Click to learn more.


Queering California Traditions

Explore more insights and reflections from some of California’s many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer traditional artists in ACTA's Pride series.

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