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  • Cultural system that nurtures & sustains native Hawaiian people

  • Recalls  collective history & identity as Hawaiʻiʻs indigenous inhabitants

  • Dance form accompanied by chant (oli) or song (mele)

  • Method of oral & visual record of cultural history & legends for centuries

  • Portrays the meaning & intent of the words in a visual dance form

  • Served as both worship & entertainment

  • Practiced by both males and females

 

  • Ancient hula, performed before Western encounters with Hawaiʻi, is referred to as hula kahiko

  • Accompanied by chant & traditional implements.

  • Evolved under Western influence in the 19th & 20th centuries; called ʻauana ("to wander" or "drift")

  • Accompanied by song & Western-influenced musical instruments (guitar, ʻukulele, double bass, & piano)

 

  • Performed by na kane (men), na wahine (women), na keiki (children) & kupuna (elders)

  • Hula practitioners are adorned with lei & florals, & dance to beautiful Hawaiian music.

 

  • Taught in schools or gatherings called hālau.

  • Teacher of hula is kumu hula, where kumu means source of knowledge, or literally speaking, a teacher. 

 

  • Many distinctions between hula studios where hula is taught by an instructor, & traditional hula hālau, under the direction of a kumu hula.

 

  • Hierarchy in hula schools - including but not limited to the kumu (teacher), alaka'i (leader), kokua (helpers), & then the 'olapa (dancers) or haumana (students)

  • ʻuniki means to complete intense course of studies under care & guidance of a Kumu with full rights, & to pass from one level to the next in a manner determined by the Kumu.

 

  • Hula is complex art form; many hand motions used to represent the words in a song or chant 

  • Hand movements can signify aspects of nature, such as the swaying of a tree in the breeze or a wave in the ocean, or a feeling or emotion, such as fondness or yearning

 

  • Many thousands of people around the world study Hula.  

  • Especially true in Hawaii, where keiki (kids) as young as 2-3 years of age are learning how to hula.