In Hawaii, the Merrie Monarch festival -- an annual hula competition -- is on par with the Olympics.
While its performances are always talked about within the Aloha state, one woman's performance this year blew everyone away, earning her the title of Miss Aloha Hula, the top honor for female solo dancers. Watch her captivating performance below:
Kayli Kaʻiulani Carr delivered an incredible, fast-paced oli (chant) and two beautifully executed dances. The 25-year-old performed both a kahiko (traditional hula) and an 'auana (modern hula), both of which had our jaws on the floor.
The Merrie Monarch festival takes place on the Big Island and brings the very best hula dancers together for a celebration of the traditional art, which is considered to be one of the most vital parts of native Hawaiian culture.
For many native Hawaiians, hula is not simply a dance, but a way of life. In ancient Hawaii, hula was a way of communicating stories and perpetuating the traditional culture -- a lesson that Carr takes seriously.
"Hula is alive," she told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "and the basis of hula is olelo (language), so that’s why it’s important to perpetuate Hawaiian language. That’s how we tell our stories, and that’s how they’re passed down from generation to generation. And eventually, when we leave, that’s the only thing people will have."