The hula dance is one of the most beautiful and unique things about Hawaii and its culture. Every year in Hilo Hawaii, usually the week after Easter, is the Merrie Monarch Festival.
The festival is a weeklong competition of the best in hula.
Men and women from all over the mainland and Hawaii come to partake in this graceful festival of dance.
The late Hawaiian King David Kalakaua once said, ʺHula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.ʺ This olelo (saying) is the pride of the Hawaiians.
According to Calorielab.com, 60 calories are burned by doing the hula every 15 minutes, or 238 calories for one hour.
Now here is some interesting information and history about the hula.
The hula is the graceful movement of the hands and body. Hawaiian dancers usually dance the hula barefoot. The movement of the hands and body translate the story of the song or history of Hawaiians.
The hula is usually confused with the fast-paced Tahitian dance. At one point, the hula was exclusively danced by men. The hula is always taught by a kumu hula (teacher) at a hula halau (hula school).
The Hawaiian legend is that Laka, the goddess of the hula, gave birth to the hula dance on the island of Molokai. According to Discover-Oahu.com, ʺin the early 1800’s, American Protestant Missionaries arrived in Hawaii and denounced Hula as a lewd heathen dance. The newly Christianized Hawaiian Ali’i (royalty) were urged to ban Hula. The Ali’i banned public performances of hula, but continued to patronize it.ʺ
There are two types of hula dance. These are the ancient kahiko hula and the modern hula known as hula auana.
The ancient kahiko hula is taught by a very seasoned kumu who is passing down the knowledge of ancient Hawaiians. Since there was no formal history written, the Hawaiians use kahiko hula to tell their history of Hawaii. The kahiko dance is accompanies by meles (chants) and a pahu (ancient drum).
It seems the modern hula auana has been influenced by western culture. A ukulele or slack key guitar are generally used to accompany the auana hula dancer.