Long before statehood in 1959, the grass-skirted hula dancer had emerged as the pop symbol of the Hawaiian Islands.
Popularized by Hollywood, the ancient Hawaiian dance form was minimized, synthesized and brought to the screen by stars like Clara Bow, Shirley Temple and even Minnie Mouse.
However, Hollywood barely skimmed the surface. In its authentic form, hula is the most powerful expression of indigenous Hawaiian culture that exists.
The chants that give reason to the dance and music are the oral history of Hawai‘i’s native people. Passed down from one kumu hula (hula teacher) to another, the stories have survived Western contact, early missionary censure, U.S. takeover and statehood.
In Hawai‘i, there is no shortage of hula dancers. Hula hālau (hula schools) attract dancers from both genders and all ethnic backgrounds. For the serious dancer, the training is rigorous and demands a long and intense commitment. On Kaua‘i, you can see free hula shows at selected resorts and shopping centers.
Any of the lū‘au around the island include hula performances as part of the evening’s show. As you ride up Wailua River to the Fern Grotto, SMITH’S KAUA‘I entertains its riverboat cruise guests with lively hula performances. LU¯‘AU KALAMAKU¯ 808-245-5608 OR 877-622-1780 SMITH’S KAUA‘I 808-821-6895