Hawaii BAH: Get to Know the Hawaiian Dance

Hawaii BAH is probably one of the most remarkable moments you will experience in your life when you choose on living off-base. This is because Hawaii has a lot to offer to you so you can relax even under the pressure of military life. Even the residential spaces for military members are filled with a lot of recreational activities and the beauty of nature. Wherever you go, you are provided with a pretty sight ad fresh air. These are just some of the many things you will see in Hawaii.   

If you know Hawaii, you probably know their ever-famous dance hula. This is what we will be sharing to you in this article. 

Hula, or in laymen’s terms the Hawaiian dance, reflects the rich culture of Hawaii. It has many roots that represent the many origins of Hawaiian art. For the dancers, the hula dance is a way not just to connect with their ancestors or present their Hawaiian traditions, it is also connecting deeply with nature and being one with it. Overall, the hula dancing brings to life history, ancestry, genealogy, prophecy, and the tales of before.   

Hula has two arching styles: the ancient hula or the hula kahiko and the modern hula, hula auana. Both are reflective of the Hawaiian culture and simply categorizing them into old and new does not give justice to the rich story behind them. The two styles, although still a hula dance, have many distinctions that need to be considered. On the one hand, hula kahiko is danced as part of a ceremony. It is oftentimes set to a chant and goes with percussion instruments. The dancing style still has modern variations but it still has strong roos in the past. On the other hand, the hula auana is considered to be less traditional and formal than the hula kahiko and has been the result of modernistic interpretation and modification since the start of the 20th century. It is commonly performed without a ceremony and can be accompanied by different stringed instruments like ukulele, bass guitar, steel guitar, and more. Hula auana dance often tells a story.   

The hula dance, either the hula kahiko or the hula auana, needs to be treated with respect even when you are the audience. Hula auana, although considered to be less formal, still needs to be taught by a hula teacher and danced by students with formal education, training, and practice of the dance. The dance requires both educational rigor and intense physical training. Enjoying the dance as a viewer still needs to be treated with respect. Some dances are performed not with the intention to entertain. This means that the dance is not intended for public view and when you are caught in the situation, you need to silently watch, do nothing, refrain from taking photos and videos, and follow all the instructions and requests asked from you. More importantly, even when not asked, keep a distance from the performers.   

Hula is something that also makes Hawaii distinct from the other traditions. If you happen to visit Hawaii or live there for a couple of years, it is important to remember all of these to be respectful of their hula performances.