A single dancer or lines of dancers all moving as one, dancing in perfect unison, can bring tears to an audience. The hula kahiko, ancient hula, brings stories across centuries – stories that have been chanted from one generation to the next, never changing, recounting the historic moments, places and feelings of the earliest voyagers arriving to find the pristine Hawaiian islands.
The dancers of Halau Mohala ‘Ilima study hula in the halau, the school of hula. Dancing in perfect unison, they are taught by the kumu, Mapuana de Silva, who has learned from a lineage of hula teachers reaching far back into the past.
At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the slopes of the active volcano, dancers stand on the hula pa, the raised hula platform on the rim of the volcanic crater, Kilauea. They raise their hands and voices to begin a traditional chant honoring the goddess of the volcano, Pele.
Lynn Cook is a freelance arts and travel writer, based in Honolulu, covering Hawaii and the Pacific Rim. When not on assignment, she steps carefully as she picks her way across ancient lava fields to photograph, draw and study the 2,000-year old rock art petroglyphs of Hawaii, documented in her new book, “Petroglyphs From Hawaii-Na Ki’i Pohaku”, besspress.com