There’s no school like old-school! Especially with all the fitness trends that are spinning out of control. When I run into a new dance fit craze I check to see…
- Who’s culture has this evolved from?
- What is their claim to fame?
- How can the average person benefit from it?
However there’s one dance style, that in it’s OG form, you would have to be at the peak of your game. In other words are you physically, mentally and emotionally ready to take on Hula? [OG: slang for original gangster.]
In it’s original form you were expected to devote your life to memorize song genealogy. Talk about fitness for the mind. And practice for hours on the sand in the heat of the day. Truly physical and grueling. Finally, portray the story through facial expressions which connects the viewer to the soul of that particular Hula. Fitness for the mind, body and soul.
A typical practice might be an hour of basic steps followed by learning or perfecting a song. Each step has an origin and each Kumu [teacher] has their preference. Basically it’s similar to martial arts. Each form has a purpose and you can add them together to create fight sequences. But in this case it’s choreography.
Speaking of martial arts there was a time when a student devoted their life to the craft. Yet, today I see 3 year olds with black belts. The practice became diluted with the lure of quick and easy. Form, history and protocol went right out of the window. This is what I see happening to Hula, but it can be so much more.
This past weekend I taught a session during 3 DAYS OF ALOHA in Vancouver, WA. The participants danced their muscles into a tired and happy frenzy. The Na Kumu [teachers] are some of Hawaii’s finest.
If your Kumu tells you to hold a position you don’t ask, “How long?” You just do it. And heaven forbid you have to do the Hula sequence over and over again. But if you do make sure you’re smiling.
Why do we torture ourselves? For the Love of Hula and the gift of storytelling. If you truly want to challenge your fitness levels while maintaining grace and finesse learn to Hula. Seek out a Kumu with an amazing history and genealogy.
Hula is fitness when taught by a master and practiced daily. It doesn’t need to be diluted or modernized to techno-beats. Hula is both art and fitness uniting. This is MANA: strength that is generational. PEACE Be the Journey