MO'OLELO HULA

Halau Hula O Maiki

Halau Hula O Maiki finds their hula beginnings from the island of Kaua'i. The history of hula, according to Kaua'i tradition, begins with Moikeha from Waipi'o. He went to Kahiki , and stayed there for a while, then returned to Kaua'i. He got married and had a son, Kila. Moikeha missed his other son, La'a, who was in Kahiki. He sent his son Kila to get La'a from Kahiki. Kila returns with La'a, who brings with him a big temple drum. The sound of the drum is heard from the ocean, and Moikeha recognizes the beat from La'a because La'a beats like him, the beat of pure blood. La'amaikahiki brought the temple drum, then from the temple drum comes the hula drum.


Moloka'i hula people say hula began there and the Hawai'i people say hula began there, you know, Pele and Hi'iaka, and the Kaua'i people say that this island is the oldest and the gods used to live there...

And all the hula is so different because of the terrain and the environment. The hula of the Big Island, I feel, is bombastic, it's big, it's earthy, it's down here, rrowhr, you know, because there is such volume. And then you have Moloka'i which was known before as a place where the prayers are strong. They had such powerful minds and spirits that they could think out their dancing, and their hula has a lot to do with animals and the area because it wasn't heavily populated. And Kaua'i has such beauty, gentleness and mists, so that's how we understand it.

There are many, many traditions of the beginning of hula and I think when you really look at hula styles (and I don't mean the Merry Monarch Competion, I mean hula styles), you will find that it's true, they reflect the environment, the people, and the land where they come from.

There is a chant that comes from Kaua'i that every halau does. It is one of the oldest chants. And this chant is a foundation of kahiko, it is Kauliua, and it compares the mountain Wai'ale'ale to a woman. You know, when women love, they allow you to come close, and when they don't want you they keep you away, and the mountain is like that. It exposes itself when it wants you to approach its beauty and when it doesn't want you then it shrouds itself in mist. And there are some very special lines in it: "What I have done, I have done in good faith. What I say, I say in truth." And that is one of the main lines for your foundation of hula, for living. Every tradition uses that as the basis for hula.

A haku mele writes, but he's not gifted in melody, so his friend says, "How does this sound?" and they put it together and you have a beautiful song. And then, the kumu hula comes along, and the kumu hula must understand the poetry the haku mele has written. Sometimes there's really no way of the haku mele telling the kumu hula because maybe the haku mele has hala, so you must try to understand. And sometimes you hear a beautiful sound and you see a dancer and it all just comes together and you think, "Ah, Beautiful."

So, the success of hula depends on the haku mele, the music, and then the exponent of the hula, the kumu hula, will do the choreography to impart the understanding so that the student can express it. Then, you have beautiful hula.


"Hula is healing, it is powerful, you learn to make magic with your own self and gifts that you have."

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