Get Your Hula On: The Ultimate Guide to Hula Dancing

Aloha, aspiring hula dancers! Are you ready to shake your hips and put on a lei? Look no further because we have got the ultimate guide to help you start hula dancing in style. From its rich history to its unique moves, hula is one dance that has stood the test of time. So grab your grass skirt, turn up the ukelele tunes and let's get started!

Get Your Hula On: The Ultimate Guide to Hula Dancing

What is Hula?

Hula is a traditional Polynesian dance form dating back centuries, originating in Hawaii as a way for ancient Hawaiians to tell stories through movement and song. It was considered both an artform and cultural expression.

Fun Fact: Did you know there are two forms of hula? Kahiko - which dates back centuries- and Auana which originated in 1860 during missionary times.

Kahiko is very traditional with low chanting or drums for music while auana is more contemporary with guitar or ukulele accompaniment.

What You Will Need To Start

Excited about starting but not sure what items are essential? Here's our list:

  • A grass skirt
  • Lei
  • Beach towels
  • Comfortable clothing e.g., a sundress
  • Socks / Shoes (preferably flip flops)

We suggest when starting out with Hawaiian arts incorporate floral colors such as pink & purple added by greenery “for good vibes”

How Does One Learn The Art Of Haku Mele?

As one starts considering learning this cultural artform it can be overwhelming luckily many resources accessible to all ages via online instructionals or lessons at local community groups. For those who opt for virtual classes here are some recommended steps;

1) Find an instructor who offers tutorials aimed towards beginners. 2) Record yourself moving along online tutorial perhaps hand signs simultaneously while standing. 3) Watch your recording back to improve on technique, flow etc. 4) Ask for feedback via instructor or peers in any online groups.

By following these steps one can easily follow through with the basics and add more challenging movements.

Understanding Hula Terminology

As with all dance forms there is specific language used that might look confusing but no worries we’ve got it covered! Here are some commonly used words;

Hawaiian Word Meaning
Aloha Hello / Goodbye
Ohana Family
Hula Kahiko  Older//Traditional style of hula dance      
Auana       Modern style of hula dancing                           

We may seem overwhelmed--however having a better understanding will enhance communication amongst fellow students & instructors alike.

Fun Fact: Did you know Na Kumu (“master teacher”) were considered as embodied links between 'ancestral knowledge' & present/future generations?

Basic Footwork To Start With:

Get down low while keeping posture straight and hands relaxed by your side- Practice shuffling from left to right foot (and vice versa!) in a slow continuous motion while moving your hips synchronously(back // forth). Once you feel comfortable move up towards leg motions;

1) Front • step forward• onto left foot 2) Backward – Step backwards onto right foot 3) Side•step slightly wider allowing both feet onto floor at same time.

To spice things up try circling around (clockwise + counterclockwise!)

Now let’s smash misconceptions out of the water concerning hand motions regarding movement within luaus…

Most beginners use stiff wrist motion avoid this by slowly waving arms from elbows.. controlling movements.

Within every maneuver performed the ‘hands’ play a major role although these special twists can be added over time.

The Importance of Hip Movement

As mentioned prior, your hips should be moving throughout the entirety of a performance which underscores the emotion and meaning behind each song narrative… although one may feel hesitant with hip motion depicting immodesty Hawaii cultivates an LGBT supportive society joining in their forms of movement.

Fun Fact: Did you know hula was nearly extinct in Hawaii around 1827 due to Western influence? In that same year King Kamehameha III declared Hula legal affirming its importance as a historic tradition!

## Advanced Techniques

Once mastering basic footwork moves let's introduce some challenges:

1) Flower Picking-Imagine picking blooms from side to side then reaching up. 2) Wave formation-arm extended waving arm back & forth while performing leg motions on opposite foot.

Each challenge or further chapters could connect traditional ones (kahiko style) until small performances are managed adding props or accessories…

Whereas every student must conduct own progression towards new levels, improvement often happens by trial-&-error perfecting routines showing off at luaus.

Lastly here are some pro tips for nailing hula;

1 - Ignite spirit— move with soul 2 – Positive energy— enjoy yourself 3 – commit time into learning techniques/lifestyle emerging into Hawaiian culture…every step counts starting becomes lifelong elements regarding Polynesian lingua franca.

There you have it! The ultimate guide to help all “Kane”(Men)| “Wahine”( Women)- learn this ancestral art form—that will leave audiences mesmerized & leaving wanting more. So "Aloha oe" (Until We Meet Again), and we hope to see you join us soon dancing as joyful participants.. Mahalo!

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