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Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Least Favorite Hula

Everyone hula dancer has her own "go-to" dance. Y'know, the one that if asked to dance hula they would say OK I'll dance "(insert favorite hula dance here)." And, y'know, I'm guessing everyone has a hula they really don't like to dance.

Last night towards the end of class Kumu pulled out a  makua lua ho Ľohiluhilu kula  (my attempt at translating 'golden oldie'), Papalina Lahilahi. Then we danced some we learned in the last few years like Waikaloa, plus we danced some that we learned more recently like Pua 'Ahihi and Pua Lililehua.

I started thinking about all the dances I've learned during my time with my halau. Some of them I really really love. Some of them  . . . .  I was going to say 'some of them I don't like so much' but stopped myself. Some of them I need to get to know a bit better.

It would be wrong to say I don't like some of the dances. What is more appropriate is to say I don't know them well enough, I haven't practiced them enough. The reason I think I don't like some of the dances is because I don't know them. I don't have them pa'a. If I knew them, I'd like them.

I can't miss any weeks when we're learning a new hula. I need the first night when Kumu hands out the paper with the mele, goes through the lyrics and explains the kaona. I need each week we learn a new verse or two. If I miss it, even when I learn it later, every time we dance it I think "I missed the week we learned this" and it trips me up every single time. (Example - "i ka hunehune i ke kai" I missed the first week we started learning this dance. I can do it now, but I still think "i missed that week." every single time that line comes up.)

Those are the hulas I think I don't like, but not because the hulas are unlikeable. I don't like to dance them because I don't know them.

Then there are some dances that have particular steps that I just can't seem to get. I am in class, learning every single verse in class the first time it's taught and I still can't get it. Once in a while there are little glimpses of hope when I do get a particular step down. I think "I've got it. I love this hula now" then the next time comes around that we dance this particular hula and I miss the step. Like in the 'auana version of Aia la o Pele i Hawai`i in one part we go from huli hema to hula akau to huli hema and 'oniu. I can't keep up in that verse.

I know all it takes is practice and those hulas I need to get to know a bit better and I will become great friends.

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