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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How much hula have you seen?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25799 points ) April 11th, 2012

It’s time for the Merrie Monarch Festival again in Hawaii honoring hula and the legacy of King David Kalakaua.

Here is a tremendously exhilarating example of the hula kane kahiko or men’s traditional hula. It has some explanation and beautiful chant and, of course, hula.

Here is a thrilling example of hula wahine kahiko or ladies’ traditional hula. Again, there is a bit of explanation and beautiful chant and hula

It’s important to note that the costumes by all the dancers, men and women, are handmade by themselves requiring many hours of devotion to the craft.

Are you familiar with hula?

Is there traditional dance or music from your area you can share with the collective?

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31 Answers

janbb's avatar

I just worked with a student who was doing a research paper on hula and its significance. I was surprised by how many journal articles there were.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Lots of luaus and contests on Kauai, oh and the keiki at the malls sometime twice in a week.

Blackberry's avatar

Not much at all. I’m not familiar with the culture.

wundayatta's avatar

I haven’t seen much hula in my life, I don’t think. I’ve never seen the formalized hula you see in the videos you reference. It is interesting to me because of the commonalities I see with many other forms of traditional dance I’ve seen, most notably the difference between men’s and women’s hula. As with most traditional dance, the men’s form is more angular and involves deeper bends and is more martial.

The martial aspect is not surprising, since dance has been used to train men in the martial arts for millenniums. Indeed, we see today that boys can get dance martial arts training, which allows them to move their bodies in a socially acceptable way. Throw in a spear and a sword short stick and a long stick and you are fully operational and ready to do battle.

Dance, traditional or not, reflects these themes wherever we are, I think. I see a lot of dance and I love dance. It is so expressive, and all the more so when the improvisation is free instead of having to stick to traditional forms. I wonder what modern hula looks like. Or hula informed by other forms of dance or martial arts. Hip hop hula! I’m sure you can see it on the streets of Honolulu.

Well, thanks for the introduction, @Hawaii_Jake.

JLeslie's avatar

I was just saying last time I was in my Zumba class that I wish they would do a hula or two.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@wundayatta : Here’s some modern-style women’s hula or hula wahine ‘auana.

And Here’s some modern men’s hula or hula kane ‘auana.

ro_in_motion's avatar

Having lived in Hilo, I used to follow and attend the Merrie Monarch Festival every year! The hula wahine would just kill me. I could never be that graceful and strong at the same time.

I have also seen way too much Morris Dancing in my day. How much is too much: The first time you see it. I had to see it several times a year for years.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Do the men and women ever dance together tradiotionally?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie : No, at least not that I’ve ever seen.

wundayatta's avatar

I was going to ask that, too. What about completely improvisational hula?

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Is it forbidden for some reason? Like how it is in some religions? Or, do you think it is just the dances are very different for men and women?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@wundayatta : Yes, there is improvisational hula, but they draw on the movements and motions learned through years of practice.

@JLeslie : In ancient Hawaii, hula was performed by the men only. I think it has more to do with the styles of dances that keeps them separate.

MilkyWay's avatar

The only type of Hula I’m familiar with is from Lilo and Stitch :)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@MilkyWay : lol. That counts.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Here’s a fun men’s hula honoring the surfing and Olympic legend Duke Kahanamoku.

Sunny2's avatar

Only on my trips to Hawaii. Enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for your examples.

wilma's avatar

On every trip I have taken to Hawaii I have enjoyed going to Luau’s and all the different forms of Hula.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I’ve only seen hulas on TV .. I’ve never been to Hawaii!

I have seen a lot of hula hoops and used to be pretty good at it .. if that counts! :)

downtide's avatar

Iv’e never seen hula, except on TV.

The local dancing indigenous to this part of England is Lancashire clog dancing

linguaphile's avatar

25% of what I know about the hula comes from growing up with a Hawaiian girl who moved to Florida. She also taught me some phrases in Hawaiian- one in particular was ‘Haole,’ something she’d call me when she was mad.

75% of what I know about the hula comes from chatting with YOU @Hawaii_Jake and watching these scrumptious videos!!

janbb's avatar

@downtide I had a pair of Lancashire clogs made for me by one of the last clogmakers in Warrington in the 1970s.

flutherother's avatar

Scottish country dancing is still popular over here.

janbb's avatar

This is how we dance in New Jersey.

flutherother's avatar

@janbb Ah, but you have Bruce Springsteen.

janbb's avatar

@flutherother We got lucky indeed!

anartist's avatar

Never been to Hawaii, so just seen it a couple of times at Smithsonian Folklife Festival or similar venue, and probably missed a lot of the ambiance. Seems it would be a nicer experience in a firelit setting on a tropical evening.

Bellatrix's avatar

I got married on Norfolk Island where many of the people have Polynesian heritage. We had some of the young people dance for us and our guests. This is not that occasion but I found it on YouTube. Norfolk Island dancers.

Jeruba's avatar

In addition to scattered instances in movies and TV shows, I watched this fascinating program a few years ago via Netflix:

Holo Mai Pele: The Epic Hula Myth

I really enjoyed seeing the movements performed in the context of their cultural significance, with explanations.

I also had a few classes in hula dancing when I was in junior high school. Even that little exposure heightened my appreciation of the beauty of this art form.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@linguaphile “Haole”, in my experience, be used as an offensive term. One of my Hawaiian friends told me that he was 21 before he realised ‘fucking haole’ were two words. ;)

linguaphile's avatar

@ro_in_motion Yep… that was the only way I knew when my friend was pissed at me! That’s funny, about it being two words :)

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