“Hula is the language of the heart, and therefore it’s the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people”

If you’re like me, then your only pre-existing image of hula is filled with swirling lines of fire, grass skirts, big leis, and an ability to move the body so gracefully it doesn’t seem possible. What we have in store today will show us the magnificent and true spirit of this gorgeous tradition.

Source: Pixabay

Today on Ever Widening Circles (EWC), we’re featuring two videos that may give you new insight on the training that goes into learning and performing hula, as well as why they’re even dancing in the first place. Our hope is that you leave this page today with a little more appreciation for those who are considered the storytellers of Hawaii!

This first video, brought to us by the wonderful channel, Great Big Story, shows us what goes into preparing for the biggest hula competition in the world, the Merrie Monarch Festival. Check it out!

Wow.

They make it look so effortless… until you realize that they’re in a squat with a smile on their face for the majority of their performance. It’s one testament that most, if not all, forms of dance are a truly grueling test of the body and mind. Because of this, in ancient Hawai’i, hula was used not just as a means expression, but as a tool to choose their warriors. Only those who were the best dancers were chosen!

The all-male school, Ke Kai O Kahiki, has their students train in the same way their ancestors would years ago. Here’s Great Big Story with more…

As you’ve seen, contrary to some beliefs, hula isn’t simply swaying the hips and looking beautiful. It isn’t a dance exclusive to one gender, it sure isn’t easy, and it wasn’t created simply to bring in tourists.

Instead, it’s an artform that can teach us so much about the history of the Hawaiian culture and keep their culture alive. It helps the aloha, or love, stay strong in the community.

Does your culture have a dance connected to it? How does it make you feel when watching it performed?

The art of dance can inspire us, change the way we think, and how we feel. It can give us a new, insightful connection to the human body, and expands the boundaries of what we think we can do and say.

If you allow yourself to be open to new possibilities, happiness will stay nearby.

  • Sam
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Notes:

  1. “More Than a Dance: What It Takes to Be a Hula Champion.” Great Big Story. YouTube, 28 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 May 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NhPqimnr3o>.
  2. “Warriors of Hula.” YouTube. Great Big Story, 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 May 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFT-M18N2A4>.

Samantha Burns

Executive Assistant, Staff Writer

Samantha is a listener, creator, collector of knick knacks and lover of most, if not all, types of cheese.