Hula Dance

Glorinela & Annette

When did the Hula dance originate?

With the arrival of the missionaries in the early 1800s, the role of the hula started to change. The Protestant missionaries denounced the hula as pagan, and soon its performance was banned. Then in the 19th and 20th century a new era of Hula dance began with a more western touch.

Hula dance is both recreational and ceremonial.

Hula dance is a recreational dance because now a days , the hula dance is done for fun. The reason the Hula dance can also be ceremonial is because Hula has its origins in ancient history as a ritual dance performed for the Volcano goddess, Pele. It is said that her sister, Hi'iaka originally performed the dance for Pele. The goddess Laka is the keeper of the dance. She was honored with prayers, offerings and leis which were given by the dancers. Laka is the goddess most often referred to when it comes to modern Hula dancing.

What special clothing or costume were used for this dance?

Traditionally, you will find both men and women wearing knee level skirts made of palm leaves as well as flower leights around their arms, lower legs and heads. However, prior to 1820, women wore skirts that were much shorter and men simply wore loin clothes. It was in 1820 that missionaries made them wear a less revealing wardrobe during their performance.

What music is the Hula dance done to?

"When the dance began, it was done to poetic chants performed by men. The chant was called the Mele. The men relayed the poetry and the female dancers played it out in expressive form. Instruments used were sharkskin drums, rattles, gourds and castanets. Costumes were not made of grass. Now a days the Hula dance is done to fast beat instrumental music."

Who would be found doing this dance?

Well now a days about any one who desires to do this dance can. While in Hollywood their are some movies where the actors or actress also do the dance. The only people who are famous and are seen doing the hula dance is Jennifer Aniston in the movie just go with it .

The hula dance is a reflection of ideas and beliefs.

"The last king of Hawaii, David Kalakaua, whose reign lasted from 1874 to 1891, brought it out into the open encouraging not only its performance but adding moves, costumes, text and songs. Known as the Merry Monarch, King Kalakaua loved to travel amongst the people and enjoyed festivals. Hula was part of the festivals and celebrations and was often danced in his honor. Early in the 20th century, prayers, rituals and training were still a major part of the Hula dance."

Hula Dancers in Poipu, Kauai