Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Learning to hula

Here's a tip: If atttending the sort of tourist-oriented free hula show that usually takes place in shopping centers, don't sit near the front row. Such seats are reserved for those who want to be dragged from the seclusion of being a spectator into the bright light of being a performer. It's all in good fun. Although the shopping center shows are performed in the authentic hula styles, they are to be distinguished from other offerings where the onlookers are meant to stay in their seats. Hula is a many-centuries-old method of dance—accompanied by chants and percussion—that memorializes the events of Polynesian culture. On each island are hula halaus, which are groups of men and women, young and old, who perpetuate the tradition. Statewide competitions are held, most notably the Merry Monarch Festival on the Big Island.