“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Weed out the Riff-Raff, with Aloha of course.

Maybe it's all in my head, but this time I don't think it is.

When I started taken hula from Kumu Patrick at Na Lei Hulu, there were about 160 people in my class. Now we are down to about 50, give or take a few.

Every once in a while, maybe about every 8 months something happens and I look around and notice that someone I used to see all the time isn't there anymore. I think "oh, where's xxxx?" and then I realize that that person hasn't been around in quite some time. Sometimes people send out an email to the group stating their intentions to leave the halau. Sometimes they just disappear.

I notice that this happens right after or during a particular event. When we moved from just working on the basic hula movements to learning our first kahiko it got a tiny bit harder and people dropped out. When we moved from kahiko to chanting, then to chanting solo in front of the class, people dropped out. When we started our first 'auana, people dropped out and so on, and so on, and so on.

The biggest exodus was right after ho'ike and Kumu joined the two classes into one big class. Three years later our class is half the size it was at ho'ike.

It's getting harder again. We're preparing for a show that will take place in October. I wonder who will drop out when the dancing becomes more intense and Kumu is harder on us to do our best. I wonder how many people will leave right after the October show.

As we prepare for our huaka'i that takes place in 2 years, I wonder how many of my hula brothers and sisters will still be with me.

It's as though Kumu is thinking "ok, I want to take you all with me, but I want you to be sure you want to be here too. here are the tools. it's up to you to use them."

In a way, it's a good life lesson. "Here are the tools. It's up to you to use them."

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