Do you know everything about Hula in Hawaii? On the surface, hula is the Hawaiian Islands’ storytelling dance. When you are lucky enough to understand more about Hawaiian culture, far deeper. That’s when you expose more powerful and empowering realities.
Some facts about Hula in Hawaii
Hula can be accompanied by chants or current music. And its speed can be slow and nostalgic or quick and energetic. However, regardless of style, it is all part of a cultural practice of presenting a treasure trove of stories. They connect dancers and audiences to the base of Hawaiian ancestral wisdom. Hula brings history, genealogy, prophesy, and the stories of those who have gone before to live.
Dance is only one element of the practice for hula dancers who connect more profoundly through their hula traditions. That typically includes environmental care. For example, there might be a reciprocal relationship in which dancers care for the trees. They give them ferns, maile, and other materials to construct lei and costumes that enliven the performance. The practices vary from halau to halau. But they all strive to create a tangible, personal link between the dancers. And the story he or she is dancing about. More than that, the fabled beginnings of hula itself.
Hula: A Living Tradition
Hula has diverse beginnings. With different traditions presenting different origins of the art. It reflects the beauty of the Hawaiian appreciation for multiple perspectives. And in a way that is not mutually exclusive.
Hula kahiko (old hula) and hula auana (modern hula) are two overarching hula genres (modern hula). To merely label the two as ancient and modern, on the other hand, reduces the contrasts and overlooks key disparities.
Hula kahiko is typically performed as part of or as an extension of a ceremony. It’s for the accompaniment of percussion instruments and set to an oli (chant). While many of the oli we hear accompanying hula kahiko are compositions from previous generations. There are also new oli and accompanying hula produced today. The term “ancient” indicates that hula is a static art form. Rather, hula kahiko has deep historical roots and continues to thrive in modern Hawaii.
Hula auana is a less formal type of hula. They performed it without ceremony. Around the turn of the twentieth century, more new hula in this less formal style began to emerge. They use a song and stringed instruments such as guitar, bass, steel guitar, and ukulele to tell a story.
Respectfully enjoy Hula in Hawaii
Before performing in public, hula dancers train for years with the physical intensity of professional athletes. On the other hand the academic rigor of doctoral students under the guidance of a Kumu hula (hula teacher). Thus it is crucial to enjoying a performance appropriately.
If you happen to see a hula performance as part of a ceremony, keep in mind that it may not be intended for public consumption. To ensure the sacredness of the event, you need to remain at a respectful distance. Besides you need to be silent, refrain from taking photos or filming, or obey another request. Even if they don’t tell you, it is polite to keep a respectful distance.
A Pacific Dance Tradition Is Hula
Despite being one of many Pacific dance traditions, hula is uniquely Hawaiian. Hula is frequently performed alongside the Samoan fire dance, Tahitian otea. And they also do it with Maori haka, notably in Hawaiian luaus. However, you should not confuse hula with other cultures’ traditions.
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