Day 73 | Honolulu Hawaii | Kuhi no ka lima, hele no ka maka

Mar 22, 2017News0 comments

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

Rumi

Kuhi no ka lima, hele no ka maka means “Where the hands move, there let the eyes follow.”

Prior to the arrival of Christian missionaries, Hawaii didn’t recognize the concept of a specific place of instruction like a school. Elders and family provided the education. Children showing a promise in certain areas would live with a master in their home, or halau. Children joining a school for hulu training, or halau hula, dedicated themselves to the training of the hula dance. They underwent strict rules of conduct which banned the cutting of hair or sexual activity. Students, or haumana, had to show dedication, respect, perfect posture, and skills of grace. The teacher, or kumu, and the chosen students were highly respected for this sacred and dignified dance.

Every movement, especially the hands, have particular significance as they represent the elements, humans, flora, and fauna in relation to using the senses. A good dancer will keep her eyes on her hands and never look at the audience.

Spirituality, an always-present part of the hula, gives the dancer the feeling of control and balance. Those watching absorb the feeling of harmony. Traditions and legends of history have been preserved and recorded in the various hula dances. Chants, or mele, add a narrative of deeply felt emotion. The ancient form of the hula, or hula kahiko, is still performed in traditional costume with percussion instruments. The modern version, or hula auana, is performed to the sounds of guitar or ukulele with dancers wearing elaborate Victorian clothing. For tourists, the grass skirts are often made of plastic and coconut bras. A teacher, or kumu has the responsibility to pass on the traditions of past ancestors.

At the dance presentation given on the ship, the narrator was the teacher for a little girl about five years old. The teacher told the story of how her own mother passed on certain movements. Now she was passing them on to her granddaughter. Hula is the soul of Hawaii. A true Hawaiian hula dance will leave the viewer mesmerized with a greater awareness of its deep spiritual energy.

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