The young hula dancers of Halau ("hula group") Kahula O Ka Moana Pakipika prepare to dance on a breathtaking location: at the edge of Kîlauea, one of Hawaii's active volcanos.
The dancers were at the lip of the Halema‘uma‘u crater on the summit of Hawaii's Kîlauea volcano – the legendary home of volcano goddess Pele. There is not a more powerful place for a hula dancer to perform than here. The occasion was the annual investiture of the royal court for the Aloha Festivals that take place each year around Hawaii.
This is a solemn occasion for practitioners of Hawaiian culture, and dancers take their role seriously. For them, hula is much more than a form of dance; it is immersion in the traditions of native Hawaiian culture, including not just the dance, but language, legend, earth science and more. These girls – who call themselves "hula sisters" – want to dance perfectly when honoring Pele.
It is always tempting with dancers to show the whole body, but by cropping in like this I was trying to suggest more with less. For me, this image shows the seriousness with which hula dancers approach their art, even girls of this age. I see in the photograph innocence, power and a sense of 'ohana (family).