Polynesian and Hula Dance – Fun and grounding, centring, balancing and invigorating. Beginning with gentle warm ups, flowing movements to loosen hips, legs, arms, hands, connecting ourselves with the earth, expressing feminine grace and sensuality. Gradually building up strength, speed and intricacies. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels. This can be a spiritual practice, an offering, a prayer. This can be a great physical workout for abs, butts and thighs. This can be in preparation for performances to share. This can be a mental and emotional medicine, a nurturing place and time to tune into you and your body, the beautiful music of Polynesia, the company of other dance lovers. A space where you can relish the smooth flowing ocean in your own hands and hips…
Having been a part of various Maori and Pacific Island culture groups, I’ve learned Maori poi, waiata, haka and action songs, Cook Island and Tahitian dance and Hawaiian hula. Performing for various community events, also professional corporate and private functions in Sydney, with ‘Wahine’, ‘Pacifica Tanga’ and ‘Ipu Orana’ in Palm Island, Hope Vale and Cairns with ‘Te Ko Tahi Tanga,’ ‘Ko Aaparangi’ and currently with ‘Price of Fire.’
I have facilitated Polynesian Hula Dance workshops at Weipa Community 2016 International Women’s Week, Wallaby Creek Festival 2015 and 2016, Cairns Festival 2013, SUBUD Australian Congress 2012 and at ARC disability Services. I’ve taught Hula Dance for wedding presentations and community building events in Cairns and Tulabudgera, with sharing group performances at the end.
Hula History. The earliest forms of Hawaiian dances, the mele hula, were used either in their temple forms (ha’a) or their public forms (hula). Ha’a were usually performed as part of worship in the heiau (temple), under the direction of a kahuna (priest). These dances were often done in conjunction with rituals and ceremonies related to the specific temple and also to specific deities within those temples. Some of these were like a form of worship, paying homage to the gods with tales of their exploits. Other hula honoured the the chiefs and royalty – whose genealogies often linked them to the gods.
Every movement, expression and gesture in the hula has a specific meaning, from representing plants, animals, and the elements to listening, searching, sailing and so much more. The hand movements are of particular significance. Chants accompany the dance and assist in telling the story.
Regardless of the subject, the hula was danced with spirituality, an ever-present part of the experience for both dances and audience. In both the hula and the chants are recorded the cultural history of the Hawaiian people, with legends, traditions, genealogies and history being preserved and passed down.
Hula provided, as it continues to provide today, a source of pleasure and, more importantly, a means of educating both Hawaiians and non-islanders in the mythic ideology and the ideals that gave meaning and continuity to ancient Hawaiian culture. Hula is no longer danced only by native Hawaiians. There are many non-native people who resonate with and wish to perpetuate this beautiful dance and its sacred teachings worldwide. Whilst we may not be “island born” in this lifetime, there is a deep cellular remembrance and great respect by many who hear the chants and dance the movements.
“It was also danced for pleasure, with themes filled with deeply felt emotions. There was mana or life force and spiritual energy in the words, in the precision of the performance, in the discipline and harmony of the dancers’ movements, and in their spiritual composure, a sacred continuum that linked gods with man and nature” (Lakainapali).