Hula Dancing | Hawaiian Hula | Go Hawaii

Hula

下に
スクロール

Hula in the Hawaiian Islands

On its surface, hula is the storytelling dance of the Hawaiian Islands. As with all of Hawaiian culture, when you are fortunate enough to learn more about it, much deeper, more powerful and empowering truths may be revealed. Hula can be paired with chants or contemporary music, slow and sentimental in tempo or fast and energetic. But no matter its style, it is all part of a cultural practice of sharing a trove of stories that connect dancers and audiences to the foundation of Hawaiian ancestral knowledge. Hula animates history, genealogy, prophecy, and the tales of those who came before.

For dancers who connect more deeply through their hula traditions, dance is just one part of the practice, which often involves stewardship of the environment. For example, there may be a reciprocal relationship where dancers care for the forests, which in turn provide for them, including ferns, maile and other materials to make lei and garb that enliven the performance. Practices differ from halau (hula school) to halau, but they all aim to create a tangible, personal connection between the dancer, the stories he or she is dancing about, and the legendary origins of hula itself.

Hula, A Continuing Tradition

Hula has many roots, with various traditions offering different origins of the art – reflecting the beauty of the Hawaiian respect for multiple perspectives in a way that does not need to be mutually exclusive.

Two overarching styles of hula are hula kahiko (ancient hula) and hula auana (modern hula). To simply categorize the two as old and new, however, minimizes the differences between the two and overlooks important distinctions.

Hula kahiko is traditionally performed as part of or as an extension of a ceremony, set to an oli (chant) and accompanied by percussion instruments. While many of the oli we hear along with hula kahiko are compositions from generations ago, there are also new oli and accompanying hula composed today. To call hula “ancient” improperly implies that the art is static. Rather, hula kahiko has strong roots in the past and continues to grow in modern Hawaii.

Hula auana is less formal hula, performed without ceremony. Around the turn of the 20th century, more new hula began to emerge in this less formal style. A story is told with the accompaniment of song and stringed instruments such as guitar, bass, steel guitar and ukulele.

Enjoy Hula Respectfully

Hula dancers train for years with the physical intensity of professional athletes and the academic rigor of doctoral students under the tutelage of a kumu hula (hula teacher) before performing in public, so it is important to enjoy a performance respectfully.

If you happen upon a hula performance as part of a ceremony, note that it may not be intended as a public performance. You may be asked to keep a respectful distance, be silent, refrain from taking photos or video, or follow some other request to maintain the sanctity of the ceremony. Even if you are not asked to do so, it is appropriate to maintain a respectful distance.

Hula, A Pacific Dance Tradition

Though it is one of many Pacific dance traditions, hula is distinctively Hawaiian. Hula is often showcased alongside the Samoan fire dance, Tahitian otea, and Maori haka, particularly in luau shows in Hawaii. But hula should not be confused with those traditions from other lands.

Find More Information About Hula

Hula on Kauai

Read more about hula on Kauai.

Read More

Hula on Oahu

Read more about hula on Oahu.

Read More

Hula on Molokai

Read more about hula on Molokai.

Read More

Hula on Maui

Read more about hula on Maui

Read More

Hula on the Island of Hawaii

Read more about hula on the island of Hawaii

Read More

Hula Terminology

Kahiko: ancient, long ago.

Auana: to wander, drift, go from place to place.

Halau Hula: Hula School

Kumu Hula: Hula Teacher

Hoomakaukau: To prepare, make ready. 
Often used by the kumu hula (hula teacher) before the hula performance has begun to signal the halau to get ready.  

Ae: yes; to say yes.
The halau’s response to the kumu hula, letting him/her know they are ready to begin. 

Pa: a sound; to sound; beat; signal to begin a dance

Haina: the two or more last verses of a song.
You may hear this term used by the halau in the middle of the performance. This means the halau is nearing the end of the song, the end of the story. 

See Hula Performed at a Luau

Please note: We apologize for any inconvenience, but our preferred business listings below are in English only.
Filter Results
showing 1 - 10 of 20
GERMAINE'S LUAU WAHINE ON BEACH
Oahu
Germaine's Luau
91-119 Olai St
Kapolei, HI 96707
Summary

At our Luau Site, step back in time 100 years to the Hawaii of yesterday and "Experience Ohana" as you dine under palm trees and stars at our beach while being entertained Hawaiian-style. We also offer professional Polynesian entertainment for weddings, parties and conventions at your event space.

Websites
Ahaaina Luau
Oahu
Ahaaina Luau
2259 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
Summary

Waikiki’s only oceanfront dinner show is a culinary and sensory celebration, commemorating Hawaiian culture and transforming the traditional island experience in grand Royal Hawaiian style. The Royal Hawaiian’s ‘Aha‘aina is a lavish epicurean journey through time.

Websites
Fireknife Trio
Maui
Drums of the Pacific Luau
200 Nohea Kai Drive
Lahaina, HI 96761
Summary

Experience Polynesian culture at the Drums of the Pacific Luau located at the Hyatt Regency Maui. Enjoy song and dance from the islands of Polynesia, including an all-you-can-eat buffet with traditional island fare, authentic imu ceremony, and three-man Samoan fire-knife dance, all oceanside.

Websites
Huki5
Oahu
HUKI: A Canoe Celebration
55-370 Kamehameha Hwy.
Laie, HI 96762
Summary

Come experience our canoe presentation sure to both inspire and entertain. Our colorful midday production explodes with Polynesian spirit, stories, and fun depicting the allure and adventure of ocean life through ancient myths and customs, inspiring local history, and favorite island songs.

Websites

Explore More History and Culture

Go to the Main Culture Page