The Hula is a uniquely Hawaiian dance that is usually accompanied by a chant or a song that perpetuates the stories, traditions and culture of Hawaii. According to legend, the dance originated on the islands of Molokai and Kauai, however each island has its own special version of it. There are plenty of places where visitors can learn to hula – regardless of what island they may be on. Here are some great places to try it out...
Hula Alapa`i I Maluuluolele in Maui
Hula Alapa`i I Maluuluolele is a hula school on Maui that was founded by Sharon Ioana Bailey Balidoy. Sharon studied hula from an early age from her mother. She states that she never remembers having to ‘learn’ hula, as it was simply a part of her life. As Maui attracts a lot of tourist, visitors can often get brief hula lessons for free at their hotel, but undertaking lessons from Sharon assures that visitors not only get in depth lessons, but learn the unique history behind the dance too.
Pua Kaholokula in Kauai
The Pua Kaholokula Hula School is run by Sally Jo Keahi Manea, who started her career in hula at the age of eight from a Navy wife in Florida before her family was transferred to Pearl Harbour. She continued hula all the way through college, when she decided to follow her calling and become an instructor. Pua Kaholokula specializes in teaching the Hula Kahiko and Hula Auwana, which are native to the island of Kauai.
Hi'iakainamakalehua in Oahu
Hi'iakainamakalehua is a hula school that is run by a whole group of former and current hula dancers who take pride in not only their dance, but in their culture as well. This hula school is the only place in Hawaii that teaches not only the local styles, but the styles from the other islands as well. Not only does this massive collection of hula teachers offer both public and private lessons, chanting and song – they also hold educational classes on Hawaiian history, culture and language. One very special class that is only held on weekends is an introductory course to fire dancing, but it fills up fast.
Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko in Molokai
Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko was founded in 1991. As Molokai Island is not visited by as many tourists as the Big Island, Oahu, Kauai and Maui, this school is more traditional in its education style. Visitors to the island should not get confused by the hula school name as it shares the same name of a festival that happens each May. For those who are in the area for the festival, the school features group dances, chanting and drumming, as well as things more functional in Hawaiian culture, like how to roast pig.