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Everything About Hawaiian Hula

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Everything About Hawaiian Hula

Hula, a captivating dance form with deep cultural roots, shows how much Hawaiian values different ways of thinking and including everyone. The dance’s roots are deeply connected to Hawaiian traditions, making it an important part of heritage. 

Broadly classified into two styles, Hula Kahiko (ancient hula) and Hula ʻAuana (modern hula), these categories extend beyond mere labels, embodying unique expressions that deserve recognition.

Ula Kahiko, rooted in tradition, often accompanies ceremonies, guided by soul-stirring chants known as ‘oli’ and rhythmic beats from percussion instruments. While some ‘oli date back generations, contemporary compositions add a dynamic layer, dispelling the notion that hula is a static art. Instead, Hula Kahiko remains firmly rooted in the past while evolving in the vibrant context of modern Hawaiʻi.

In contrast, Hula ʻAuana embraces a less formal, more contemporary style. Emerging in the early 20th century, this genre narrates stories through song and is complemented by stringed instruments such as guitar, bass, steel guitar, and ʻukulele.

The journey to becoming a hula dancer mirrors the dedication of professional athletes and the academic rigor of doctoral students. Guided by a ‘kumu hula’ (hula teacher), dancers invest years refining their art. Therefore, when witnessing a hula performance, it is crucial to approach it with the utmost respect.

Should you chance upon a hula performance within a ceremonial context, recognize that it may not be intended for public display. Respectful distance, silence, refraining from photography or video, or other requests may be made to honor the sanctity of the ceremony. Even in the absence of specific instructions, maintaining a respectful distance is always appropriate. 

And remember, during our Dolphins and You, Turtles and You, and Whales and You tours, delight in the added bonus of our crew’s fantastic hula performance, enhancing your experience with the beauty of this timeless tradition! Check out andyoucreations.com for more information.

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