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Arts & Culture

The Movement of Hula

Hula dancer at House Without A Key

Hula has been an integral part of the Hawaiian culture for many years. This complex art form portrays the words of the oli (chant) and mele (song) in a visual dance.

The two main categories of hula are the Hula Kahiko (ancient hula accompanied by chant and traditional Hawaiian instruments) and the Hula ‘Auana (less formal hula accompanied by song and the western influenced musical instruments like the ukulele and the guitar).

Hula dancers, whether performing the Kahiko or the ‘Auana, practice for many years with strict discipline and physical intensity to appear graceful, free flowing and effortless.

Some of the benefits of hula dance include:

  • Strengthens the Core, Arms & Thighs: Consistent movements of the pelvis and hips are essential to hula, which help chisel the core without the evident rigor of a typical fitness routine. Hula isolates the larger muscle groups, defining the abs, glutes, quads and thighs. The elevated arm movements stretch and strengthen the upper body as well.
  • Increases Endurance: Do not be fooled by the flowing style of this dance. The constant swaying requires a great deal of stamina and endurance while raising heart rate and metabolism.
  • Improves Rhythm: Hula’s movements are fluid and elegant, mirroring the tides of the ocean that surround the islands. Combining alluring footwork, graceful arm and hand gestures and rhythmic hip movements while staying on beat with traditional Hawaiian music is no easy feat.
  • Quiets the Mind: Learning to hula takes time and patience, allowing oneself to center in on the body’s movements and breath while quieting the mind of any stressors.

To learn more about how this traditional art form is interpreted by our Halekulani featured soloists, visit our Living TV episode, “Heart of Hula”. Kanoe Miller, Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Jeanne Kapela, Allison Chu, and Brook Lee, all Miss Hawaii pageant winners and lifetime hula dancers, share how they receive balance performing at award-winning House Without A Key restaurant at sunset with stunning views of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach as their backdrop.


Photos Courtesy Nella Media Group for Living Magazine

Brook Lee, Former Miss Universe, dances hula at House Without A Key
Hula dancer at House Without A Key
Hula dancer at House Without A Key
Hula dancer at House Without A Key

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