Celebrating the True Spirit of Hula

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Samantha Burns

“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 preexisting 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.

It wasn’t until I heard the quote above, spoken in our first video today, that I truly became intrigued by what the dance meant to the people that performed it or understood the true spirit of hula.

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.

It’s never occurred to me how looking so effortless could be so hard…until I realized that they’re in a squat with a smile on their face for the majority of their performance. Most, if not all, forms of dance are a truly grueling test of the body and mind.

In fact,  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 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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