Saturday, February 26, 2011

Think Hawaii ~ Think Hula

Palm trees sway under a tropical blue sky along Waikiki's famed Beach Walk. And depending on the route and time of day, you may see groups of people under those palm trees gyrating madly to the beat of drums or swaying to the gentle rhythms of the ukulele's melodies.

You'll be reminded that Hawaii is the land of Hula.

Hula c lass in Kapiolani Park -Waikiki
j.smith photo, (c) 2010
I've always loved watching hula dancers and have even been tempted to take a class . . .but never having been known for moving my feet and arms/hands in synchronized movement, I've opted not to give Beach Boy the pleasure of seeing Hula Babe trying to live up to her self-christened name.

What I think is absolutely the best part of this wonderful performance art is its history. Before the 1820's when a written Hawaiian language system began, all stories, tales, and lore were passed from generation to generation orally,through mele (song), oli (chant) and hula (dance).  Children learned from elders of gods and goddesses, family wisdom and history and were introduced to worlds both real and imagined. . .all without using a 'Google search'. 

Even today listening closely to the words being sung as a hula dancer performs, you will hear stories of lost loves, places and a yearning to return to those magical spots.

One of the free Beach Walk Hula Shows Waikiki
j smith photo, (c) 2010
If you find yourself heading to Hawaii in April 24-30, 2011and don't yet have a set itinerary, head to Hilo for the Merry Monarch Festival where you can see some of the finest hula ever performed.

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