Developed by Hawaiian Polynesian settlers in 1894 – Hula is called “kahiho” and when performed is accompanied by a chant in their praise of the chiefs of their tribe.
The Hula skirt was originally made of “kupe”. The flowers, shells, and feathers to cover the dancers from the waist to their ankles. They also used the kupe for decorations, bracelets and necklaces to distinguish each tribe.
Hula skirts now, are made of corn husks, raffia, or straw instead of the traditional tree bark. The Hula skirt being of old tradition, is now preserved by Polynesian ancestors performing Hula dancing and performing at special festive functions called “Luau’s”.
Traditional Hula Dancing is made up of steps that define each movement performed let’s start with the first move.
Step One: Uehe
To start the “uehe”, lead with your right leg for 32 times.
- Stand with your feet apart 2 feet, with your hands in a fist position in front of your hips.
- Elevate your right foot from the floor and swing hips to the left.
- With the ball of your right foot stomp on the floor, lifting both heels and bringing your knees out to the outside.
- Put your right heel down and take your left foot up as you move your hips to the right.
- Stomp ball of your left foot to the floor, lifting both heels, bringing your knees to the outside.
- Continue the steps two through five several times before changing to next step.
Step Two: Hela
Continue from the last step, put your hands to your hips and ready yourself for the “Hela”, starting with right foot for 48 times. Start with right foot.
- Put in front of you your right foot to the floor, turning your body slightly to the right.
- Put your right foot beside the left foot to return to the center.
- Put your left foot to the floor in front of you, turning you’re your body slightly to the left.
- Put your left foot beside the right foot to return to center.
- Continue these steps four times with hands to your hips.
- For a couple of more rounds, 16 times, remove your hands from your hips, and bring them slowly up so your arms are even to the floor, your palms in front of you and facing the floor.
- Finish the step with your feet side by side.
Step Three: Kaholo
The kaholo step is next. Take your arms and legs from one side to the other and coordinate the placing of them.
- Put your right foot out and to the right and as you extend right arm out to the right.
- Put left foot to the right, as you make the steps together.
- Repeat your right foot to the right again.
- Now tap left foot inward to the right.
- With your left arm extend to the left and bring your right hand to your chest and step to the left.
- Put your right foot in toward the left.
- Put your left foot further to the left.
- Put your right foot in toward the left. 9 Continue these steps three times. You can vary this move some by trying the “ kawelu . This is placing one foot behind the other on steps two and six, than stepping together
Step Four: Tamau Ami Combination
Performing this step will be alternating between tamau and ami.
- See where you left off on the step kaholo. Your left arm was extended out to the left and right hand was in front of your chest.
- Put your right foot beside your left and move the end of your right arm out to the right while you lift left heel off the floor slightly and swing hips to the right.
- Put your left heel down and lift your right some as you swing your hips to the left.
- You will repeat steps 2 and 3 one more time.
- Swerve your hips counter-clockwise for a count of four.
- Now you will do an eight count between the tamau at half-tempo (hit one, hold two), swing your hips four times, and count eight times for the ami, rotating your hips four times. Continue these actions for a total of 64 counts, which is continued completely four times.
- Continue the same sets again at full tempo for 32 times before moving onto the kalakaua move.
Step Five: Ka’o
The swaying of the hips from side to side in a smooth motion
Written By: Cassandra Hitchcock and Amy Toner
Drawing by: Briana Brooks