Monday, April 5, 2010

The Nuances of Hula


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A world reknown hula competition like the Merrie Monarch Festival is the best example of world wide love for this expression of dance and joy. It covers all age groups of participants sharing their love, from old to very young.

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There is a lot to see and understand in hula dancing and techniques.  Below is a simple primer in understanding the hula dance and all its nuances.

Hula is typically broken down into two different styles of hula dancing. The hula kahiko is the more ancient/traditional style of dancing which is done to chants and traditional instruments like pahu (various drums), ipu (hollowed gourd), iliili (small flat rocks) and other percussions. Here dancing and movement is done with an ipu.

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The hula auana is the more modern style associated with a graceful dancing and movement. This is accompanied by harmonious music with contemporary songs, beautiful and elegant costumes, and exotic adornment like haku leis (intricate braids of fresh flowers and leaves) on the head, neck and various body adornments.

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Most Halaus (hula dance troups) spend an inordinate amounts of time practicing together under a kumu hula ( teacher).  Most kumu come from Hawaiian heritage and have a deep love of the culture and hula that they impart on their haumana (students) . There are special halau’s for the keiki (children), women’s troups, men’s troups and the tutu’s (grand parents). Hula is universal in its appeal to all age groups and is celebrated by the entire family.

The hula hand will show various hula gestures that pertain to a certain act or description.

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This gesture means aloha or love

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This gesture means mauna or mountain

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This gesture means moana or ocean

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In watching the final’s competition of the halau’s during the Merrie Monarch Festival, one is completely in awe of the sheer beauty and pure love that each and every hula dancer imparts on the audience. You can actually feel through the music, chanting and mesmerizing moves pure joy in celebrating dance. The audiences are all enthralled and show mass cheers for each and every performance.


Take a look at one of these final competition performances and see if you can see any of the simple gestures above from this show.  This is last years Miss Aloha Hula winner of 2009.



To gain a better understanding to hula dancing and its history, you can visit this site for more information. http://www.kaimi.org/history_hula.htm

For other My World Tuesdays, go visit. http://showyourworld.blogspot.com/

25 comments:

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I love this post. So informative and the photographs capture the gracefulness of the dancers.

Sylvia K said...

Fantastic post, Noel! I agree with Yogi, it is so informative and you do capture the gracefulness of the dancers beautifully! Really delightful! Thank you so much for sharing this with us today! Hope you have a great week!

Sylvia

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

I'm loving these pictures! Great blog... xoxoxoxxo

Jossie said...

Really enjoyed your post. I saw hula dancing on Tahiti and wonder if there is any similarity with the Hawaiian hula. Anyway they are both graceful and wonderful to watch.

Barb said...

I enjoyed your information and the wonderful photos. The flowers (and smiles of the dancers) are just lovely. I like the fact that this traditional dance is enjoyed by all ages, too.

Coffeeveggie addict. said...

aloha!
while im reading your post im totally amused on how this hula is all about and this is one great post giving us the chance to learn what's in your world...thank you for sharing and thank you for the visit..do stop by whenever you like...im following 2 of your great blogs...

Rajesh said...

Gorgeous shots of dance festival.

Indrani said...

Such beautiful glimpses from your country!
Thrilling shots.

Carolyn Ford said...

I love the hula and make every attempt to see as much as possible when I am in the islands. Your captures really show the beauty and grace of this art...very nice post and "aloha" to you!

J Bar said...

Fantastic post.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

LadyFi said...

Such grace and beauty and joy in this dance. Wonderful and uplifting!

Cameron said...

Noel - Fascinating story and photos! I've been to Hawaii twice. If it were just closer! :-)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

walk2write said...

I've enjoyed reading this post and the other ones before it on the page. You do a great job of describing the different styles of hula and capturing the pride and joy of the dance and its participants. I have always wanted to visit Hawaii, and now I can learn what makes it special by reading your blog. Thank you!

Noelle said...

Hello Noel,

I absolutely love my visits to your blog. I have always wanted to visit your beautiful state and I love the glimpses that you give us into life there and the culture. So, until I get to visit Hawaii in person, I am thankful that I have your blog to visit :-)

Kimberly said...

Noel, how wonderful that this lovely form of dance and expression shares your homeland! Thank you for the translation and photos, as well as the video...feels like we can enjoy the festival right along with you!

Edith Hope said...

Greetings Noel, This is a truly wonderful record of the art of hula dancing as well as being a fascinating insight into a very different culture. What impresses one here is the pure joy which is felt by all the participants as well as the outstanding degree of professionalism which is achieved. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all.

And, dear Noel, thank you so much for making a 'Favourite' of my weblog. I do regard this as a great privilege as well as a huge kindness. I always enjoy your postings enormously.

Edith Hope said...

Greetings Noel, This is a truly wonderful record of the art of hula dancing as well as being a fascinating insight into a very different culture. What impresses one here is the pure joy which is felt by all the participants as well as the outstanding degree of professionalism which is achieved. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all.

And, dear Noel, thank you so much for making a 'Favourite' of my weblog. I do regard this as a great privilege as well as a huge kindness. I always enjoy your postings enormously.

EG Wow said...

Ah! The hula is a far more complicated dance than I had thought!

gippslandgardener said...

Thanks for sharing this information and beautiful pictures of the Hula Noel! I really like the idea that this dance can be shared and enjoyed by everyone in the community from the children to the grandparents.

Meredith said...

A lovely post, Noel. I knew a teeny bit about hula because of belly dance, believe it or not. It sounds strange, but the two dances are thought to share a common root thousands of years ago, and when I was studying the one, we learned a bit of the history of the other. I'm a bit jealous that your culture celebrates dance, as I wish my own did. Gorgeous video!

debsgarden said...

I just love the photo of the old guy! His expression says it all. Thanks for an informative and enjoyable post.

Bangchik said...

A dance is a flowing expression without a word... so expressive that we can almost understand what it is meant for. Hands stretching out almost like a sunflower stretching out its petals, pleasing the sun, expressing its eternal love! ~bangchik

Erin said...

Okay, I don't know if I should thank you or not. We just spent one half hour watching hula on youtube. It was awesome!

Sheila said...

Aloha - I'm visiting from the carnival of Aloha.

I enjoyed reading your post and the photos are excellent. I just love the capture of the gentleman in the second photo.

Evelyn said...

Thank you for putting this post together, Noel! I love the pictures, the text, and the comments left by your other visitors!

The colors are so vibrant and the expressions on the faces of the dancers are heartwarming!

So beautiful!

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