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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Hula
South Sea Hula Dancer

               Out in the Hawaiian Islands, the Hula is recognized as an expression of life and love, of the stars and seasons, it is a dance of worship. It was danced to the Shark Goddess and the gods of Wind and Fire as well as the chieftains. This ancient ritual is only danced by the young. The thump of the drum, the rattle of the gourd and the sound of the surf in the distance, the light of the Kukui torches all add to the flavor of this dance. The Hula is a dance form accompanied by chant (oli) or song (mele). It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there.

The hula dramatizes or portrays the words of the oli or mele in a visual dance form. There are many sub-styles of hula, with the main two categories being Hula 'Auana (modern or Western influence) and Hula Kahiko (Ancient or prior to 1893). There are also two main positions of a hula dance. One is sitting (called the noho dance) or standing (called the luna dance). Some styles do utilize both forms.

        This dance tradition includes the hand extended at shoulder height, the head bowed, one bare foot placed at a right angle to the others instep. The "Lehua" flowers adorn the hair, while the "leis" (flowers strung together) hang around the shoulders. From the waist hang "Ti

leaves", partly revealing the hips, legs and knees. They sing to the music as they sway to the rhythm. Often times the hula is called Hawaiian dancing. This dance is a story told with the hands as well as the body. The Hawaiians invented (some say the Portuguese) the Ukulele from the Portuguese guitar in 1879 with the Kings (Kalakaua) help, this instrument became a Hawaiian tradition.

        The Hula had lapsed for a time due to Missionary influence, however it was not lost due to the secret dancing rituals. The hula is said to have originated with the beginning of time, when the race sprung from the gods.

        It's Origin or Hawaiian Legend: There are various legends surrounding the origins of hula.
1) Laka, goddess of the hula, gave birth to the dance on the island of Molokaʻi, at a sacred place in Kaʻana. After Laka died, her remains were hidden beneath the hill Puʻu Nana
2) Hiʻiaka, who danced to appease her fiery sister, the volcano goddess Pele. This story locates the source of the hula on Hawaii, in the Puna district at the Hāʻena shoreline. The ancient hula Ke Haʻa Ala Puna describes this event.
3) Pele, the goddess of fire was trying to find a home for herself running away from her sister Namakaokaha'i (goddess of the oceans) when she finally found an island where she couldn't be touched by the waves. There at chain of craters on the island of Hawaii she danced the first dance of hula signifying that she finally won.
4) Pele asked Laka to amuse her because Pele was bored. So right away Laka got up and began to move gracefully, acting out silently events they both knew. Pele enjoyed this and was fascinated thus Hula was born.

      Don Wallace is said to have refined the nightclub Hula (Hukilau) into the ballroom Hula in 1949. The Night Club Hula, which became popular in the movies in the 1910's and 20's such as the "South Sea Hula" with Gilda Gray. It is basically a wiggle, a straw skirt, a blatant rhythm, a file of bushy-haired girls with paper leis waving their hands and shaking the hips. This version hardly resembles the original hula of the Hawaiian islands.

"Mahalo"

Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

Hawaii n/a Polynesians Ritual Dance
 

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a 1896 - Moanalua (David Nape) 1915 - Yaka Hula
      They're Wearing 'Em Higher 1916 - Hula Hula
            1920 - My Little Bimbo on Bamboo Isle
            1922 - Where the Bamboo Babies Grow
            1923 - Stingo Stungo
            1931 - Pagan Serenade (Al Bowly) (Clip)
            1961 - Rock a Hula (Evis Presley) (Clip)
            Aloha Oe [mp3]
            Hilo Hula
            Holo Holo Kaa with Lani McIntyre (Clip)
     

CD Music Compilations

Hukilau Song
      Hula Hula Dance V.2 [CD] I Will Remember You (Bud Tutmarc) (Clip)
      Huka-Hula Dance V.3 [CD] Ke Kali Nei Su [mp3] (Hula Wedding Song)
      Lovely Hula Hands [CD] Kukuna O Ka La [mp3]
      Na Kumu Hula v.2 [CD] Little Grass Shack [mp3]
      Songs From The Source V.1 [CD] Lovely Hula Hands [mp3] (Clip)
      Vintage Hawaiian Treasures, V.1 [CD] Makin' Wickey Wackey Down in Waikiki (Ray Noble) (Clip)
      Vintage Hawaiian Treasures, V.2 [CD] My Honolulu Hula Girl
      Vintage Hawaiian Treasures, V.4 [CD] New Hula Blues (Taj Mahal) (Clip)
      Vintage Hawaiian Treasures, V.5 [CD] Olaha Oe
      Vintage Hawaiian Treasures, V.6 [CD] Pauoa Hula [mp3]
      Vintage Hawaiian Treasures, V.9 [CD] Pua `Iliahi [mp3]
        Sweet Leilani
        Tiny Bubbles [mp3] (Clip)
        Waikaloa [mp3]
        When Hilo Hattie Does The Hilo Hop (Clip)

 

Night Clubs

Theaters

Locations

1938 - Kens Hula Hut - CA. n/a Hawaii
1943 - Hotel Lexington - Hawaii Room       Pali, Waikiki
        ceremonies at the heiau
         
 

Television

Instructional / Exercise DVD's

Publications

Don Ho Show (1966) Be a Hula Girl [DVD] 1944 - Hula Mag (Tongg)
Bay Watch (1989) How To Hula [DVD] $ A Pocket Guide to How to Hula
Big Hawaii (1977) Hula For Children [DVD] $ "Birthday Hula" Choreography
Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii (1973) Hula For Health [DVD] $ Collection of Hawaiian Hula Chants
Harry Owens Hawaiian TV Show (Clip) Hula Workout [DVD] $ How To Hula (Murray)
Hawaii Five-O (1968) Hula Workout - ABS & Buns [DVD] $ Hula (Jerry Hopkins)
Hawaiian Heat (1984) Hula Workout - Cardio [DVD] $ Hula (Lisa Shea)
Lawrence Welk - Hawaiian War Chant Hula Workout for Beginners [DVD] $ Hula Dancers & Tiki Gods
Lucky Strike Hula Commercial 1953 (Clip) Hula Workout Gift Set (v.1&2) $ Hula Girls and Surfer Boys
Magnum P.I. (1980) Hula Workout for Weight Loss [DVD] $ Hula Heaven: The Queen's Album
Ozzie & Harriett Throw a Tiki Party (1957) (Clip)   $ Hula Historical Perspectives

Ballets / Stage

Hula Accessories

$ Hula Kahiko Choreographies
n/a $ ECCO 'Hula Girl' Sandal $ Hula Kapu (Selma R. Davis)
  $ hula by Tilt (Shirts) $ Hula Pahu: HI. Drum Dances
  $ Kulanui of Hawaii Store (Bags) $ Images of Hawaii's Ancient Hula
    $ The Art of Hula (Laes)
    $ Under the Hula Moon: Living in HI.
    Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine
     
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Video Clips (pop-up)

Films, Movie, Clips

Video Clip not available at this time 1914 - The Hula Hula Land
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1936 - Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1961 - Blue Hawaii (Elvis Presley)
Video Clip not available at this time 1914 - The Cave Man
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1937 - Hula Heaven (Eddie Peabody)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1966 - Paradise, Hawaiian Style (Elvis Presley)
Video Clip not available at this time 1917 - Hula, Hula Hughie
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1937 - WaiKiKi Wedding
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1987 - Dirty Dancing (Hula Hana)
Video Clip not available at this time 1919 - The Hula Cabaret
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1937 - Zula Hula (Betty Boop)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1988 - Black Hula
Video Clip not available at this time 1920 - Hula Hula Town
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1939 - Hawaiian Nights
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1989 - Kumu Hula: Keepers of a Culture [DVD]
Video Clip not available at this time 1922 - South Sea Hula
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1939 - Honolulu
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1994 - The Lion King
Video Clip not available at this time 1926 - Aloma of the South Seas (Gilda Gray)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1940 - Dance, Girl Dance (Lucille Ball) Video Clip not available at this time 1995 - Under the Hula Moon [DVD]
Video Clip not available at this time 1926 - Yak-A-Hula-Hick-A-Doola Video Clip not available at this time 1940 - Hawaiian Rhythm Video Clip not available at this time 1999 - Kumu Hula: Keepers of a Culture [DVD]
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1927 - Hula ! (Cara Bow) complete film
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1941 - Ana Lani
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
2000 - Holo Mai Pele - Hālau ō Kekuhi
Video Clip not available at this time 1927 - A Hula Honeymoon
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1941 - In The Navy (Hula-Ba-Luau - Andrews Sisters) Video Clip not available at this time 2002 - Hula mo, huli ko
Video Clip not available at this time 1929 - South Sea Rose
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1942 - Pardon My Sarong
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
2003 - American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1933 - The Royal Samoans
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1942 - Song of the Islands
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
2006 - Hula Girls (trailer)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1934 - Flirtation Walk [DVD]
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1942 - Tuttles of Tahiti Video Clip not available at this time Entertainers in British Films: century in British Cinema
Video Clip not available at this time 1931 - Ideal Cinemagazine (Aloma Hawaiians) Video Clip not available at this time 1945 - Tahiti Nights?    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1931 - T A B U
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1950's - Manuana of Tahiti    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1932 - Betty Boop Bamboo Island
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1951 - Hula La La    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1933 - Little Giant Video Clip not available at this time 1954 - Screen Snapshots: Hula from Hollywood    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1934 - Down to Their Last Yacht (HI Stroll)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1958 - Conny Hula Hopp    
 

Other similar or Related Dances or styles of the time...

ʻālaʻapapa (Hula kahiko) Hindu Dance Indonesian Dance ote'a
aparima Hula Hands kapa haka Poi
Belly Dance Hula - Hawaiian Hospitality Lakalaka Polynesian
Fa'ataupati Hula - Holoholo Kaa Lakalaka tamure
Flamenco Hula - Liliu E Mime Tau'olunga
haka Hula - Song of Old Hawaii ʻolapa(Hula kahiko)  
haʻa (Hula kahiko) Hura Oriental Dance  
 

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

Political

Aloma Hawaiians (1931) Keeler and Powell Captain Cook - (1728-1779) (discovered Islands)
Bernice Gomez Kuulei DeClercq King Kalakaua, David - (1836-1891) (Liliuokalani's Brother)
Don Wallace La Meri King Kamehameha - (1738-1819)
Doris Keppler Mano Napoleon Queen Liliuokalani - (1838-1917)(wrote Aloha-Oe song)
Gilda Gray Martha Homsy goddess Laka
Huapala  Martha Raye      
Iwalani Downey Miriam Hurley      
Jean Erdman        
 

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title

Author

Date Published

Publisher

Dance Encyclopedia Chujoy, Anatole 1949 A.S. Barnes
The Hula Magazine n/a 1950 Tongg Publishing (HI.)
                       
 

Musicians

Singers

Poets / Writers

Aloha Pumehana Serenaders [CD] Cliff Edwards (1895-1971)  
Breen, May Singhai (1895-1970)   n/a
Brothers Cazimero [CD]        
Kaai, Ernest (1881-1962)        
Kamae, Edward Leilani (1927-????)        
Keawe, Genoa [CD]
       
Smeck, Roy (1900-1994)        
Hoopii, Sol        
 

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Ai Kahiko hula maʻi (genitals) Mango Puritans
Beach, Surf Koa Missionaries Superstitious / Superstition
Calabash Drum Lais Pali tapa (or barkcloth) Ukulele
Hau Trees leipo'o pāʻū, (a wrapped skirt) Sugar Cane farms  
Hawaiian Luau Pineapples (farms)    
Holokus malo, (male loincloth) Polynesian, Tahitian    
 

Other...

n/a