Te Mau Tamari’i A Tiare / Nā Kamali’i A Kiele is an award-winning Polynesian dance troupe specializing in Tahitian Ori and Hawaiian Hula based in Pleasant Hill, California. Under the direction of Marlo Caramat, Te Mau Tamari’i A Tiare / Nā Kamali’i A Kiele has been perpetuating the music and dance of the Polynesian culture for more than 20 years. The halau (dance troupe) has more than 150 students, all of whom are taught the dance, music, oli (chant), language and history of the Polynesian people. Using this well-rounded instruction, Kumu Marlo hopes to enrich his students’ dance practice in order to have a better understanding of Hula and Ori Tahiti.
As a halau, Te Mau Tamari’i A Tiare / Nā Kamali’i A Kiele has a reputation for having highly skilled dancers and is well-respected in the Bay Area Polynesian Community and abroad. Since its inception, the halau has participated in highly-regarded Polynesian dance festivals, including the Merced Tahiti Fete, San Jose Tahiti Fete, Kaua’i Tahiti Fete, E Hula Mau, the George Na’ope Hula Festival and the ’Ia ’Oe E Ka La Hula Festival. In addition, they have also performed at many community events, such as PICA’s Aloha Festival, World Ethnic Dance Festival, San Francisco’s Chinese New Year’s Parade representing the State of Hawai’i Honolulu Jaycees, Oakland Chinatown Celebration, as well as other community events throughout the Bay Area. An annual highlight is their Ho’ike celebration, which they’ve enjoyed sharing with friends through the years. Te Mau Tamari’i A Tiare / Nā Kamali’i A Kiele has also played host to many of Hawai’i’s premier entertainers such as Kenneth Makuakāne, Blaine Kia, O’Bryan Eselu and Keali’i Reichel.
Growing up performing Filipino Folk Dance, Chris never had any experience in Hula or Ori Tahiti. After traveling the nation performing in different states and cities, the group dismantled after their program director moved back to the Philippines. Still wanting to be a student of dance and performing arts, Chris followed his cousins to pursue a different path and began training Ori Tahiti in 2003 under Kumu Marlo and joined Kumu Marlo's competition line up for San Jose Tahiti Fete that year. Since then, Kumu Marlo has trained Chris in Hula and Ori Tahiti, opening doors to participating in different events, competitions, as well as working with different musicians, and Kumu's.
Katherine "Kay" Tanalega was born and raised in Southern California, where she began dancing around 1996 when she and a friend took hula lessons at a local recreation center. She later joined a dance troupe, Island Style Productions, run by Kealoha Sakamoto, where she gained experience performing in front of an audience. After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona, she moved to San Jose in 2002 and joined Gina Gancayco-Farrer's group, Waimea Dancers. At the end of 2002, she met Kumu Marlo Caramat who was teaching the Ori Tahiti workshop featuring several kumu hulas. After class, Kumu Marlo asked if she was interested in joining him and Te Mau Tamari'i a Tiare to compete at Tahiti Fete San Jose in 2003. Of course she said yes! She initially started with Ori Tahiti classes but eventually took Hula as well. Aside from dancing, Kay enjoys traveling, eating and taking walks with her husband and Corgi, ESPN.
"I have stayed with Te Mau Tamari'i a Tiare/ Na Kamali'i a Kiele since 2002 because Kumu Marlo and Auntie Gi have welcomed me into their family. From day one, Kumu Marlo knew me by name and treated me like family. I have not taken a break from dancing because I don't want to miss anything new that Kumu Marlo has to teach us. I look forward to always learning new things from him...cheers to another 20 years!" -Kay
"My love for the Polynesian culture started at a very young age. Growing up I loved watching my older cousins (Caramat Ohana) perform at all our family parties. The sound of the drums, the dance, the costumes and the wahines' smiles made me want this to be a part of my life. When I was 12, my friend Lea asked me if I wanted to dance with Ku'uipo Ohana with Kumu Hula Aunty Sybil Pruett. I joined the same week and loved it!
Aunty Sybil embraced me and my family with open arms. Ku'uipo Ohana will always be in my heart with so many wonderful memories of competitions, endless practices, no weekends, shows, costumes for days and lots of scolding.! After 10 years of dancing, Aunty retired and moved to the Big Island which left me without dance for a year and a half.
Though I tried dancing at other halau, I have been actively dancing for TMTAT since 2003 and love every moment of it. TMTAT is my second family and will always be a part of me. Much respect to Kumu Marlo for embracing the culture and always giving his haumana 110%." -Gina
Ana-Marie has been part of the TMTAT family since 2010 however has been dancing Hula & Ori Tahiti for over 20+ years. Her love for the Hawaiian culture really began when she first starting dancing with the Lehuanani Dancers under the direction of Auntie Gerry Stasko. After attending her first dance class she was hooked! Over the years she danced and performed with several halaus including: Na Kamali’I O Lehuanani (Instructors: Carmina Chua & Aileen Que), The Hula School of Santa Cruz (Leolani Lowry), The Ladies of Moani Ke 'Ala O Ka Mailelauli'I (Kumu Hula Clark Bolivar) and Te Mana O Te Ra (Ra’atira Lisa Aguilar). When not dancing she enjoys cooking, traveling, spending time with her family and friends, and simply living the Aloha spirit.
“Hula has played such an important role in my life. TMTAT is my second family. When asked, I always tell people that hula is not a hobby but rather a lifestyle. When you are a haumana, you eat, sleep and breathe hula. Studying hula under Kumu Marlo has not only taught me about the Hawaiian culture and traditions, but his style, passion and way of teaching has also instilled in me the core values of: Ho‘omana (Spirituality), Ha‘aha‘a (Humbleness), Lōkahi (Unity), Hō‘ihi (Respect) and Ho‘olaulima (Working together) which I try to live out each and every day.” -Ana-Marie
Casey Vargas started her dance career at age of seven after being convinced by her childhood friend to take ballet. She completely fell in love with dance before she discovered her affinity for the creative arts. Additionally, Casey has the insatiable thirst for learning how to play multiple instruments, which varied from saxophone, drums, piano, guitar, bass, ukulele and many more awaiting her discovery. Often times you will find her expressing her emotions through song as a way to unwind. If that is not enough for Casey, she took up Hula and Ori Tahiti dance classes from her Aunt. Shortly thereafter, she was introduced to Na Kamali'i a Kiele / Te Mau Tamari'i a Tiare where she continues to refine her skill as a dancer. She has been dancing with the Na Kamali'i a Kiele / Te Mau Tamari'i a Tiare under the tutelage of Kumu Marlo Caramat for the past eight years and continues to learn the two cultures. She earned the title of Po’o during her senior year of high school in 2012. Casey performs with the halau throughout the Bay Area and have competed in various Hula or Ori Tahiti competitions.
"My cousin Gina introduced me to the halau in 2007. I've been dancing with Te Mau Tamari'i A Tiare ever since and have been blessed with the opportunity to become a lead and also be able to participate and represent TMTAT in our recent competitions. Other than dancing, some of my many interests include watching and playing various sports such as golf and basketball, and traveling around the world. I continue to train with the halau because it has taught me life-long lessons that play a role in not just who I am, but most importantly being disciplined in what I love to do. Even though our halau is based in three different locations, Kumu Marlo is still able to traditionally train us how he was taught from his previous na kumu. A halau is not about one individual but how we become as one. "Ho'okahi Ka Pilina" Unite As One." -Iris
My passion for Hula started when I saw my future sister in law Gina Cantiller dance when I was a sophomore in high school. My training began with Ku'uipo Ohana O'Kalani under the tutelage of Kumu Sybil Pruett. After dancing with Aunty Sybil for 2 years, I married my high school sweetheart, Chris and had our first child, Kealani Malia. I missed dancing and started again with Aunty Sybil when Kealani was 2. Shortly after, I became pregnant with my 2nd child, Kyle Christopher. It was hard to set aside time for myself with 2 young kids, so I took a break to raise my babies. Aunty Sybil retired and moved to the Big Island so when I was ready to dance again, I found myself looking for a halau. I really enjoyed dancing in a traditional halau, so I was very happy to hear that Kumu Marlo Caramat was looking to add a Pinole location. I'd attended numerous Ho'ike's for TMTAT/NKAK but the classes were far from my home and my kids activities took up most of my weekends.
In 2007, I started my training under Kumu Marlo in Pinole, CA. I love his passion for the art and the camaraderie of my halau brothers and sisters. My daughter Kealani also started dancing and I can't tell you how much I loved sharing the stage with her. People have asked me why I continue to dance and dedicate so much of my free time to the halau. My answer is simple: I enjoy learning new things. I especially love watching the haumana grow and learn to love the dance & music that is shared with us. The rewards are exponentially greater than the free time I put in.
"I was invited to try a TMTAT/NKAK beginner class back in November 2008 and the rest is history. The only prior experience I had was dancing for the Polynesian Club at my high school, and little did I know dancing would soon become my passion. TMTAT/NKAK has only brought amazing and memorable experiences and Kumu Marlo has given me the honor of representing our halau on several occasions including, our annual Ho’ike, public performances, workshops (E Pili Kakou- Kaua’I & San Diego, CA), and hula competitions (Ia ‘Oe E Ka La, George Na’ope Hula Festival). One of my proudest moments was when Kumu Marlo, along with his Kumu Hula Mark Keali’I Ho’omalu, gave me the opportunity to train and share the floor with the amazing dancers of the Academy of Hawaiian Arts on the infamous Merrie Monarch (Hilo, CA) stage in April of 2015. Although the opportunities are amazing, the reason I continue with Kumu Marlo and the halau is the values Kumu Marlo continues to teach us, which don’t stray far away from the traditions of his lineage. Kumu Marlo not only teaches us how to be dancers physically, but mentally as well. We are always taught to work hard, work together, have respect, stay humble and have fun. He continues to challenge us and always proves he knows what we are capable of before even we do. Kumu Marlo’s belief in me has not only made me the dancer I am today, but also the adult I’ve come to be. When I am not dancing, you will find me pursuing my other passion in the Interior Design field, or out on the court playing volleyball." -Michelle
"My journey with Te Mau Tamari'i A Tiare / Na Kamali'i A Kiele began when I enrolled in June 2008 after being recruited by a good friend. During high school, I danced with Na Aikane E Ka Ohana (NKAK) at Santa Clara High School where I was trained in Hula and Ori by Maile and Gabe Cera under the instruction of late Auntie Carli Cera. Aside from dancing, I like to sew and craft anything that I find interesting. I also enjoy spending time with my kids and family. I continue to be part of TMTAT/NKAK because I have established good relationships with members of this halau and consider many of them family. With Kumu Marlo's strong foundation and lineage, I believe and trust that he will instill the same teachings and formal training with all his students as he was taught. My family and I will continue to be part of this halau as we continue to grow and create a stronger bond with its haumana. Together we define the true meaning of aloha." -Marjorie
My name is May Estioko, and I started dancing hula, for fun, during bingo nights in the Philippines. In High School, I joined the Polynesian Club and led the club as Vice President. I officially joined a halau in 2003 with Kawailehua Hula Ohana under Auntie Lorie and Uncle Chris Almogela. In 2007, my cousin, Jane Estioko, invited my sister and I to check out NKAK/TMTAT. Ever since then, I've devoted my time dancing hula with NKAK/TMTAT, gaining knowledge, and bonding with my hula brothers and sisters.
"After years of watching my sisters, May and Rose, dance hula and ori, I finally decided to tryt something new and join Te Mau Tamari'i A Tiare / Na Kamali'i A Kiele in 2009. Throughout the years, my love and passion for the style and culture continually snowballed to the extent it is today. Apart from the halau, I am an actor, singer, a lover of food and explorer. Continuing my training with TMTAT/NKAK is a no-brainer due to the quality of training that was provided to me and is continually provided by the whole team and, most importantly, by Kumu Marlo. This halau has planted its roots in my heart and has given me the opportunity to grow in countless different ways other than dance, and for that, I am forever grateful. They are my second family. I'm looking forward to making even more memories, strengthen bonds and endure all of the ups and downs of life, as long as its with these people I consider family." -Paul
"My name is Rose Estioko, but mostly known as "Tweety" by my family and halau family. I started my journey with dance 11 years ago with Kawailehula Hula Ohana, under the guidance of Kumu Lorie and Chris Almogela. When I entered high school, I joined the Polynesian Club which I later was able to run with a few of my good friends. During my sophomore year of high school, my cousin Jane Estioko invited my sister and I to try out Te Mau Tamari'i A Tiare / Na Kamali'i A Kiele. Since that time, this halau has grown to be more than just a place to share my passion of dance. It has become a place to grow, laugh, cry, and endure every journey we take together as one. With our wonderful team and the guidance of Kumu Marlo, I am forever grateful for the growth, pain, lessons and love my family and I have received through the years we've been dancing here. I look forward to making many more memories." -Rose