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HAWAII - HULA : A Hip Tradition

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Bianca
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« on: September 16, 2007, 09:42:12 am »

                                                         






                                             A   H I P   T R A D I T I O N





The age-old art of hula is still moving and shaking
 
By Mimi Kirk
 
For many of us, hula conjures up visions of slender Hawaiian women in leafy skirts, coconut bras and plastic leis. Think Blue Hawaii, a 1961 Elvis movie, or the Brady Bunch's ill-fated trip to the islands, complete with a Tiki curse and Alice in a grass skirt.

Until recently, those stereotypes threatened to become the only readily available representations of hula, an age-old Hawaiian cultural practice enacted through chanting, singing and dancing. Each of hula's movements has a meaning that helps tell a story about gods and goddesses, nature or important events. Rather than simply a performance geared for tourists, the dance is something Hawaiians did for themselves for centuries, at religious ceremonies honoring gods or rites of passage and at social occasions as a means of passing down history.
                             
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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2007, 09:46:02 am »








After years of Western imperialism—under which hula was first discouraged by Christian missionaries in the early 1800s and later marketed as kitsch in the mid-1900s—the dance, in many Hawaiians' eyes, was losing any real sense of history or culture.

"Outside influences were making it obsolete," says Rae Fonseca, a kumu hula, or hula master, in Hilo on the Big Island. As a result, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a renewed interest in hula's traditional roots began to sweep across the state. Adrienne Kaeppler, curator of oceanic ethnology at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and an expert in hula, helped form the State Council on Hawaiian Dance in 1969. "During its meetings," she says, "we brought in some of the older hula masters who were willing to share their dances in a variety of workshops." The classes filled quickly, signaling the beginning of hula's renaissance. "It just went on from there," Kaeppler says.

Today, serious hula is everywhere in Hawaii. The dance can also be found among the mainland diaspora and other places such as Japan, Europe and Mexico. Even Hollywood has joined in—Hula Girls, this year's Japanese entry in the Academy Award's foreign language category, tells a charming tale of rural Japanese girls learning the dance.

Halaus, or schools of hula, have cropped up in most Hawaiian towns, and men and women of all ages study the dance diligently. "I have my classes twice a week for each age group," Fonseca says. "It entails a lot of dedication."
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2007, 09:48:16 am »


HULA DANCER IN KAPA SKIRT







Kumu hulas generally teach their students both hula kahiko (traditional hula) which involves chanting accompanied by percussion instruments, and hula 'auana (modern hula) which features songs, mainly sung in Hawaiian, and instruments such as the ukulele and guitar. Early hula kahiko costumes for women featured skirts made of kapa, or bark cloth.

Men wore the skirts, too, or just a loincloth, called a malo. A lei for the head and its counterpart for the ankles and wrists—called kupe'e—were made of plants or materials such as shells and feathers. Hula 'auana emerged in the late 1800s, when international visitors introduced stringed instruments to the culture.

It was at this time that the ubiquitous grass skirts came on the scene as well, though costumes for hula 'auana are often more Western in appearance—fabric tops, skirts and dresses for women, and shorts and pants for men, but with lei and kupe'e as adornments. These accessories, however, depend upon which type of dance is being performed. "In hula kahiko," says Noenoelani Zuttermeister, a kumu hula who teaches at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, "a circular lei would be worn on top of the head, whereas in hula 'auana, the dancer may affix flowers to one side of the head."
                             
But while hula historically has involved a merging of different cultural forms, kumu hulas of today want blending stopped. Rather than integrate Japanese or, say, Mexican dance traditions with Hawaiian hula in Tokyo or Mexico City, Fonseca says hula must be kept pure, wherever it is performed. "It's up to us teachers to stress that where we come from is important," he says.

Zuttermeister strongly agrees: "If the link is not maintained as it should, then we're not passing on something that is hula and we're not being true to our culture."
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2007, 09:50:57 am »










But while hula historically has involved a merging of different cultural forms, kumu hulas of today want blending stopped.

Rather than integrate Japanese or, say, Mexican dance traditions with Hawaiian hula in Tokyo or Mexico City, Fonseca says hula must be kept pure, wherever it is performed. "It's up to us teachers to stress that where we come from is important," he says.

Zuttermeister strongly agrees: "If the link is not maintained as it should, then we're not passing on something that is hula and we're not being true to our culture."

Fittingly, hula is strongly associated with family tradition. Both Fonseca and Zuttermeister come from hula-focused families: Fonseca's grandmother was a hula performer in the 1930s, and Zuttermeister's mother taught the dance.

Perhaps the best example of a hula dynasty in action is Aloha Dalire, a kumu hula from the town of Heeia on Oahu and the first winner of the Miss Aloha Hula title at the famed Merrie Monarch festival.

This weeklong event sponsoring three days of hula competition has been called the "Olympics of hula." The dance's best and brightest compete, and the contests are so popular they're televised live in Hawaii.
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2007, 09:54:32 am »


MISS ALOHA HULA 2007
Keonilei Ku'uwehiokala Kaniaupio Fairbanks danced to the mele "O Ko'u Aloha Ia Oe" during the 'auana (modern) portion of the Miss Aloha Hula competition at the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo. Fairbanks, who belongs to Ka Pa Hula O Kauanoe O Wa'ahila under the direction of kumu hula Maelia Lobenstein-Carter, won the competition






Miss Aloha Hula, as one might imagine, is part beauty pageant winner, part mind-blowing hula dancer. Dalire won the title in 1971, a time, she says, when the contest was open to anyone "over 18 and ready to step into the limelight." She hails from a long line of dancers—she's the seventh generation—and her three daughters followed suit. They each individually won Miss Aloha Hula, in 1991, 1992 and 1999.

Dalire believes the Miss Aloha Hula contest births many kumu hulas. That may be true, but the path to becoming a hula master is not universally agreed upon.

Each hula school has its own particular steps and rituals. Several kumus seemed reluctant to describe these, instead uttering the Hawaiian proverb, "All knowledge does not come from one," when pressed about them. Dalire says students must study Hawaiian history, culture and language, as well as dance. Malama Chong, a protégé of Fonseca's, says lei-making and costuming are also important.

In addition, students may be required to heed kapus (taboos), including abstinence and food restrictions. "It's a serious undertaking that requires years of training," Chong says.

Indeed. Hula has again taken its place as a proud and integral part of Hawaiian culture. The next time you hear Elvis crooning "Rock-A-Hula Baby" on Turner Classic Movies, remember Dalire's parting words:

"We don't always run around in grass skirts—they're only for sharing hula. We're modernized as much as anyone else."

And, for the record, she's never worn a coconut bra.



                                                                       
                                                                         DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
                                                                         Bernice Alohanamakanamaikalanimai Davis-Lim
                                                                         performed last night during the kahiko portion
                                                                         of the Miss Aloha Hula competition. Davis-Lim
                                                                         won the title of Miss Aloha Hula 2006
                                                                         with 1,164 points.



Mimi Kirk is an editor and freelance writer in Washington, D.C.


www.Smithsonian.com
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2007, 10:52:00 am »

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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2007, 11:01:20 am »








From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the Hawaiian dance. For other uses, see Hula




 
                                                        H U L A






                   
Hula is often performed as a form of prayer at official state functions in Hawaiʻi. Here, hula is performed by Kumu Hula Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett for a ceremony turning over U.S. Navy control over the island of Kahoʻolawe to the state.Hula (IPA: ['hulə]) is a dance form accompanied by chant or song. It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The chant or song is called a mele. The hula dramatizes or comments on the mele.

There are many styles of hula. They are commonly divided into two broad categories: Ancient hula, as performed before Western encounters with Hawaiʻi, is called kahiko. It is accompanied by chant and traditional instruments. Hula as it evolved under Western influence, in the 19th and 20th centuries, is called ʻauana. It is accompanied by song and Western-influenced musical instruments such as the guitar, the ʻukulele, and the double bass.

Terminology for two additional categories is beginning to enter the hula lexicon: "Monarchy" includes many hula which were composed and choreographed during the 19th century. During that time the influx of Western culture created significant changes in the formal Hawaiian arts, including hula. "Ai Kahiko," meaning "in the ancient style" are those hula written in the 20th and 21st centuries that follow the stylistic protocols of the ancient hula kahiko.

Hula is taught in schools called hālau. The teacher of hula is the kumu hula, where kumu means source of knowledge.

There are other dances that come from other Polynesian islands such as Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga and Aotearoa (New Zealand); however, the hula is unique to the Hawaiian Islands.
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2007, 11:04:30 am »








Hula kahiko (Hula ʻOlapa)
 
Hula kahiko performance at the pa hula in Hawaii Volcanoes National ParkHula kahiko encompassed an enormous variety of styles and moods, from the solemn and sacred to the frivolous. Many hula were created to praise the chiefs and performed in their honor, or for their entertainment.

Serious hula was considered a religious performance. As was true of ceremonies at the heiau, the platform temple, even a minor error was considered to invalidate the performance. It might even be a presage of bad luck or have dire consequences. Dancers who were learning to do such hula necessarily made many mistakes. Hence they were ritually secluded and put under the protection of the goddess Laka during the learning period. Ceremonies marked the successful learning of the hula and the emergence from seclusion.

Hula kahiko is performed today by dancing to the historical chants. Many hula kahiko are characterized by traditional costuming, by an austere look, and a reverence for their spiritual roots.
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2007, 11:13:11 am »








Chants


Hawaiian history was oral history. It was codified in genealogies and chants, which were memorized strictly as passed down. In the absence of a written language, this was the only available method of ensuring accuracy. Chants told the stories of creation, mythology, royalty, and other significant events and people.





 Instruments






Dancer with ʻuliʻuli (Hula kahiko), Merrie Monarch FestivalIpu — single gourd drum

Ipu heke — double gourd drum

Pahu — sharkskin covered drum; considered sacred

Pūniu — small knee drum made of a coconut shell with fish skin (kala) cover

ʻIliʻili — water-worn lava stone used as castanets

ʻUlīʻulī — feathered gourd rattles

Pūʻili — split bamboo sticks

Kālaʻau — rhythm sticks



The dog's-tooth anklets sometimes worn by male dancers could also be considered instruments, as they underlined the sounds of stamping feet.
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2007, 11:16:49 am »








Costumes



Traditional female dancers wore the everyday pāʻū, or wrapped skirt, but were topless. Today this form of dress has been altered. As a sign of lavish display, the pāʻū might be much longer than the usual length of kapa, or barkcloth, which was just long enough to go around the waist. Visitors report seeing dancers swathed in many yards of tapa, enough to increase their circumference substantially. Dancers might also wear decorations such as necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, as well as many lei (in the form of headpieces, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets).

Traditional male dancers wore the everyday malo, or loincloth. Again, they might wear bulky malo made of many yards of tapa. They also wore necklaces, bracelets, anklets, and lei.

The materials for the lei worn in performance were gathered in the forest, after prayers to Laka and the forest gods had been chanted.

The lei and tapa worn for sacred hula were considered imbued with the sacredness of the dance, and were not to be worn after the performance. Lei were typically left on the small altar to Laka found in every hālau, as offerings.
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2007, 11:21:18 am »









Performances


Hula performed for spontaneous daily amusement or family feasts were attended with no particular ceremony.

However, hula performed as entertainment for chiefs were anxious affairs. High chiefs typically traveled from one place to another within their domains.

Each locality had to house, feed, and amuse the chief and his or her entourage. Hula performances were a form of fealty, and often of flattery to the chief. There were hula celebrating his lineage, his name, and even his genitals (hula maʻi). Sacred hula, celebrating Hawaiian gods, were also danced.


All these performances must be completed without error (which would be both unlucky and disrespectful).


Visiting chiefs from other domains would also be honored with hula performances. This courtesy was often extended to important Western visitors. They left many written records of 18th and 19th century hula performances.





Hula kahiko (Hula ʻOlapa) teachers

Sonny Ching
 
George Naope
 
Tiare Noelani Chang
 
Kealiʻi Reichel

Charles Kaʻupu
 
Kahaʻi Topolinski

Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu
 
Rolanda Mohala Reese
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2007, 11:25:57 am »










Hula ʻauana
 
 
Dancer (Hula ʻauana), Merrie Monarch FestivalModern hula arose from adaptation of traditional hula ideas (dance and mele) to Western influences. The primary influences were Christian morality and melodic harmony. Hula ʻauana still tells or comments on a story, but the stories may include events since the 1800s. The costumes of the women dancers are less revealing and the music is heavily Western-influenced.






Songs



The mele of hula ʻauana are generally sung as if they were popular music. A lead voice sings in a major scale, with occasional harmony parts.

The subject of the songs is as broad as the range of human experience. People write mele hula ʻauana to comment on significant people, places or events or simply to express an emotion or idea. The hula then interprets the mele.






Instruments




The musicians performing hula ʻauana will typically use portable acoustic stringed instruments.


ʻUkulele — four-, six- or eight-stringed, used to maintain the rhythm if there are no other instruments

Guitar — used as part of the rhythm section, or as a lead instrument

Steel guitar — accents the vocalist

Bass — maintains the rhythm

Occasional hula ʻauana call for the dancers to use implements, in which case they will use the same instruments as for hula kahiko.
                             
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2007, 11:33:40 am »








                                                 H I S T O R Y   O F   H U L A






Legendary origins




There are various legends surrounding the origins of hula.

According to one Hawaiian legend Laka, goddess of the hula, gave birth to the dance on the island of Molokaʻi, at a sacred place in Kaʻana. After Laka died, her remains were hidden beneath the hill Puʻu Nana.

Another story tells of Hiʻiaka, who danced to appease her fiery sister, the volcano goddess Pele. This story locates the source of the hula on Kauaʻi, in the north shore valley of Hāʻena.

Another story is when Pele, the goddess of fire was trying to find a home for herself running away from her sister Namakaokaha'i (the goddess of the oceans) when she finally found an island where she couldn't be touched by the waves. There at chain of craters on the island of Hawai'i she danced the first dance of hula signifying that she finally won.

PELE HULA
Pele (in the red), the goddess of Volcanos, dances the hula with her sisters.
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2007, 11:35:12 am »









During the 19th century




American Protestant missionaries, who arrived in 1820, denounced the hula as a heathen dance. The newly Christianized aliʻi (royalty and nobility) were urged to ban the hula — which they did. However, many of them continued to privately patronize the hula.

The Hawaiian performing arts had a resurgence during the reign of King David Kalākaua (1874–1891), who encouraged the traditional arts. Hula practitioners merged Hawaiian poetry, chanted vocal performance, dance movements and costumes to create the new form, the hula kuʻi (kuʻi means "to combine old and new"). The pahu appears not to have been used in hula kuʻi, evidently because its sacredness was respected by practitioners; the ipu gourd (Lagenaria sicenaria) was the indigenous instrument most closely associated with hula kuʻi.

Ritual and prayer surrounded all aspects of hula training and practice, even as late as the early 20th century. Teachers and students were dedicated to the goddess of the hula, Laka.

Women wearing 'mumus' imposed on them by the missionaries
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2007, 11:35:47 am »











20th century hula




 
Hula is universally known as primarily a Hawaiian dance. It was featured prominently in the Walt Disney movie, Lilo & Stitch.Hula changed drastically in the early 20th century as it was featured in tourist spectacles, such as the Kodak hula show, and in Hollywood films. However, a more traditional hula was maintained in small circles by older practitioners. There has been a renewed interest in hula, both traditional and modern, since the 1970s and the Hawaiian Renaissance.





Contemporary hula




Contemporary hula festivals







Dancer with pūʻili (Hula ʻauana), Merrie Monarch FestivalKa Hula Piko, held every May on Molokaʻi.
Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long cultural festival and hula competition in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

Hula Workshop, Hoʻike and Hawaiian Festival, held every July in Vancouver, WA.

E Hula Mau, held every Labor Day Weekend (September) in Long Beach, CA.

World Invitational Hula Festival, a 3 day art and culture contest held every November on Oahu, Hawaii in the Waikiki Shell.
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