Hula Dance

The Hawaiian Hula Dance

Not to be confused with the traditional Tahitian Otea Dance, the Hula Dance is typically a much slower pace-dance. The dancers follow a singer singing a Hawaiian story in Hawaiian with Mele which is the name for Hawaiian music. Often times, a hula dance has a religious meaning and is performed for a celebration or a blessing. It is an event we hope you experience while visiting Maui, either at a Luau, at an outdoor concert, or a gathering. The dance is beautiful, captivating, and poetic.

You will notice that most of the dancers are women though men can also perform the dances and do so beautifully. Men often perform fire dances but those are not considered hula dances.

When you attend a luau, you will most likely enjoy dances from other South Pacific islands like the Fiji Islands, Tahiti, and New Zealand. If you are staying in a hotel or a condo with a concierge, ask the attendant if there are any free hula dancing events happening. There seem to be one somewhere on the island every day!

There are two types of hula dances: Hula Kahiko and Hula Auana.

Hula Kahiko is the traditional hula directly related to hula lineage with dancing and singing. The musical instruments used for huka kahiko are typically percussions like the ipu which is a Hawaiian drum. Due to its deep spiritual significance and importance to the Hawaiian culture, this type of hula requires many years of dedicated training.

Hula Auana is the modern version of the hula that the schools of hula often teach their students. It is often accompanied by modern instruments such as the ukulele (yes it is considered a modern instrument) or a guitar.

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Enjoy these videos from hula videosGREAT BIG STORY, a global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling. We, at Maui.Best love their work! For more information about their awesome videos, we encourage you to visit their website.

More Than A Dance: What It Takes To Be A Hula Champion

Hula is a dance of illusions. Behind the grace and the sway there is grit, athleticism, and a knee-breaking, blister-inducing effort to leave everything you have on the dance floor. Every year, the best compete at the Merrie Monarch Festival, the world’s most prestigious hula competition. Kayli Ka’iulani Carr, who is in her last year of eligibility for the contest, is trying to win the festival’s solo competition, Miss Aloha Hula. Does she have what it takes?

Warriors of Hula

A common misconception about hula is that it's a dance tradition strictly for women. Nope. In ancient Hawai'i, men were the first to dance hula, and the best dancers were even chosen to become warriors. Today, Ke Kai O Kahiki-one of Hawai'i's most famous male hula schools-is carrying on this tradition by telling warrior stories with dance. To do so, dancers train in the same way as their ancient forbearers, using the land itself as a harsh and unforgiving gym. To dance like a warrior, you need to train like one.

Find out where the best Luaus are on Maui »

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