Hula is the heartbeat of Hawaii. Halau Mohala ‘Ilima presents traditional hula, called hula kahiko, dancing to the sound of the drum and the ancient chant, oli, and a beat that echos across centuries. The halau also dances hula auana, modern hula, presented with the music of ukulele, guitar and modern instruments. The songs are still sung in the Hawaiian language.
Dancers prepare for their hula presentations by making feather, fern or flower lei for head, neck, wrist or ankles. For some hula they carve or create hula implements, used in the dance. Though they dance together, moving as one unit, each dancer perfects every move, every nuance of hand, body and feet.
Every movement of the hands, feet and body has a meaning, a purpose in the dance. No movement is just for “show”. Words, chant and song, are necessary for the hands to tell the story. The kumu, the teacher, uses drum and ipu heke, double-ended gourd, to create rhythm for the chant. The dancers voice answers the kumu’s voice and the dance begins.
“In 1867 Bernice Pauahi Bishop replanted a coconut grove at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau in ceremonies calling for the return of the sacredness to that troubled land. “Aloha Honaunau”, composed in 1991 by a decedent of the care takers of Hale O Keawe, commemorates the history of the pu’uhonua and its kahu, from ‘Ehukaimalino in the fifteenth century to Pauahi in the nineteenth.” Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is an ancient place of refuge, dating back to 1200.