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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teachers don’t correct you unless they think there is value in it, at least that’s what I’m choosing to believe in this case.

I have referred to it before. I knew it would happen again. It happened last week. Hula just got a little bit harder. At class last week, Kumu spent most of the class going over fundamentals. Were we sinking into `aiha`a low enough? Were we placing our feet flat on the ground for hela? Did our knees pop out just the right amount, in the right direction and at the right time when we did `uwehe? Were our hips moving correctly as we practiced our `ami? And lastly, the `oniu. The move I have not mastered. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t know it needed that much work. Kumu corrected me. (He not only corrected me, he came up behind me, put his hands on my hips and moved them to the beat of the drum in the hopes that I would catch on and be able to do it myself. I’m not pleased that I don’t do a good ‘oniu, but am confident that I will soon. I’ve been practicing and practicing.) `Oniu is such a great move. When I become the master of the `oniu my hula dancing will totally benefit.
Another thing Kumu did was talk to us about learning the Hawaiian language. He said that there is a growing wave of halaus in Hawai`i where the haumana speak Hawaiian. Kumu is going to be incorporating more and more Hawaiian into the class in instruction and in general conversation. I can see his point on this one. We recite Hawaiian words, sing songs in Hawaiian. We know words here and there, but to put it all together, to know the meaning of the phrases, and not just the meaning of certain words will definitely make us better dancers. I know I can use all the help I can get. (Speaking of help . . . .There’s a woman from the Thursday class named N. One night after practice for the show she came up to me and told me that she could tell by looking at my face how much I love hula and how hard I’m trying but there were a few simple things I could do, a few things I should be mindful of that would improve my dancing. I took her advice. After the show at the Palace of Fine Arts she came up to me and told me what I great job I did. I told her thank you and it was because it was her advice that helped me. She graciously said that it wasn’t her advice. She just handed me some tools, it was up to me to use them. Sound familiar?)
So, now that classes have once again, officially gotten a little bit harder, a little bit more involved. Our kuleana has gotten stronger. (Kuleana is the principle that one has the responsibility, the right, the obligation and the privilege to do something or take care of something. In hula, it is my kuleana to dance to the best of my ability, always try harder, go to class every week, practice, learn and respect what I’m taught.)
I wonder who will decide that this particular building block in our hula education is the straw that broke the camel’s back? I don’t want anyone to leave. I love my hula brothers and sisters. As hula gets harder and harder and more is expected of us it is going to get harder and harder so see people leave. I know it will happen. I’m just not looking forward to it. The longer we dance together the more we become one in our dancing; sort of like putting a drops of water into a glass. The droplets disappear and come together as something bigger.

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