“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, December 1, 2011

On Marrying Hula

I'm always surprised at the hula steps that come easy to me and the ones that give me grief.

Some moves I get right away. When I attempt them and conquer them I think 'wow, that sounded hard and I pulled it off. yay me.'

Then there are other moves that sound easy, that seemingly everyone in class, but me figures out and executes perfectly. Both dances we are learning in class this month (and next) have both kinds of moves.

My right 'ami is stronger than my left 'ami, but there is this one part in the current kahiko we are learning where my arm movements and my right 'ami don't sync, but strangely, when it's time to do the left 'ami, I do it just fine. My arm movements and my left 'ami work just fine together. Go figure.

In the 'auana we're learning, in one part we go from two right kawelu to two 'uwehe. Easy peasy, right? When I get to that part I get all  hmmm, what's the word? The only thing I can think of is 'tongue-tied' which isn't the right phrase, but I think you get my point.

Last night at hula I think Kumu got a tiny bit frustrated. Although the class was following his instructions, we weren't really doing what he wanted. He finally stopped class and said "Will you marry Hula?"

When I got home I started thinking about that phrase. "Will you marry Hula?"

I can think of a lot of idioms that mirror the same sentiment. I don't know who said it but everyone has either used or heard the phrase "jumping in with both feet." People have made quotes based on the same sentiment. Robert Mondavi said "Whatever you do, pour yourself into it." MC Hammer said "Either work hard or you might as well quit." There's even a bible verse (Colossians 3:23) that says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart."

I understood what Kumu meant when he said "Will you marry Hula?"

The hard part is putting it into practice. I think 99% of the people in my class agree that hula class is not like other dance classes.  Is not an exercise class. We are not there to tone our booties, we are there to feed our souls.  Sure, after a night of learning a new kahiko that is full of nothing but 'uwehe we go home with tingling hamstrings and wake up the next morning reaching for the ibuprofen to calm down those sore muscles, only to emerge stronger and more able to endure another night of 'uwhe, 'ami, 'oniu, kaholo and hela. But physical strength is only a byproduct of class. It is not the intent.

We are there to learn an art form, absorb the culture and perpetuate a lifestyle. We wear our hearts on our collective sleeve, showing each other (and sometimes an audience) our emotions, our confidence, and while we're learning the hula, our insecurities.
Hula deserves and needs a wife; someone to take care of it, someone to learn its stories and be willing to retell them.

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