The Heartbeat of Hawai`i

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The phases of the moon are important to hula dancers and other Hawaiian cultural practitioners. Here are some links to help you:

Lunar Geographic Society
Moon Phase Calculator

Lunar Phase Images

Astronomical Information Center
To convert from UT to Hawaii time, you subtract 10 hours; if the result is less than 0, you add 24 and go to the previous day.

LeiManu Designs lu`au torches add to the Hawaiian ambiance of a yard - perfect light to dance the hula by! Click image for more information.

Hawaiian theme jewelry in hand-hammered copper
Made in Hawai`i

Hand-hammered copper art pieces
Made in Hawai`i


The Four "B"s of Hula Photography and Recording

     Be courteous. The hula has its roots in our traditional religion and spiritual belief. Some of our hula and hula practice is private and not for public consumption. And some people may simply not wish to be photographed or video taped. Please respect the privacy of the individual. Unless an announcement has been made that photography is ok, please ask permission before photographing or recording people, including spectators and crafts people as well as dancers, chanters, and singers.

     Be considerate. If your work is for publication or commercial purposes, ask permission before publication. Tell the person you wish to photograph or record where you will use the images, and why. Offer them a copy of your work.

     Be polite. Other people want to see the hula as much as you do. Please allow them to do so.

     Be respectful. Do not disrupt the hula, music, or chant by climbing on the stage, platform, or dance area, using flash photography, or being obtrusive in any way.

     Those who keep these things in mind will find that most hula and other cultural practitioners will go out of their way to provide photographers with beautiful images to remember the performance by!


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the Heartbeat of Hawai`i

     A lovely hula girl sways with the rhythm of the palms as the music of steel guitars fills the soft night air. . . While this is a popular image of the hula, this ancient dance form is far more. 
      King David Kalakaua said, "Hula is the language of the heart, and therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people." 
     The hula is almost synonymous with Hawai`i. Anywhere one travels, as soon as people learn that Hawai`i is home, they ask, "Can you do hula?" Most of them picture the hula of the Steamer Days, "grass" skirts swaying to "Little Grass Shack" and the piercing sweetness of the steel guitar. Yes, that is hula, but it is one small part of hula.
     To read more, click here...

Click image for beautiful hula posters from!

Kumu Hula Leilehua Yuen telling the story of Hi`iaka at Hilo's historic Palace Theater

photo by Kaori Mitani

    Each Wednesday at 11:00 am, Kumu Leilehua hosts Hawai`iana Live! at the Palace Theater in Downtown Hilo. Now in it's fourth year, the show features Bob Alder on the theaters historic pipe organ. Each week different stories, hula, chants, and guests help to tell the story of Hawai`i's history and culture.

The First Hula

     There are many stories of how the hula began, and many locations claim the honor of being the first place where hula was danced. And each on, it is firmly believed, is true. Probably, each of the stories tells how the dance came to each of the different groups of people who share the dance.
     In some `ohana, families, the hula was passed down as temple dances reserved for the men. In others, it was danced by the women. In yet others, both men and women danced. How each of these traditions came to their practitioners is reflected in their own stories and legends.
     One such story comes from the tradition of Pele, the volcano goddess who lives at Kilauea, on the island of Hawai`i. In it, Pele's youngest, and favorite, sister, Hi`iaka, and her best friend, the mortal woman Hopoe, are credited with bringing the hula to the Hawaiian people.
     To read more, click here...

Types of Hula

     From its most ancient beginnings, hula has been marked by wide diversity in kind and style. The hula can be divided by style, by subject matter, by era, and so many other ways. There are over 300 different kinds of hula which have been cataloged so far by the Hula Preservation Society, including puppet hula, animal hula, standing hula, and sitting hula.
     Within each of the main categories of hula are many variants and styles. Some are specific to geographic areas; the hula of Moloka`i are different from the hula of
Hilo, the hula of Hilo are different form the hula of Kona. Some are specific to families; Kanaka`ole hula are very different from Beamer hula. The hula is a living art form, and innovative kumu evolve new styles. Other kumu focus on preserving the old. Every hula dancer learns the saying: A`ohe pau ka `ike i ka halau ho`okahi - "Not all knowledge is taught in one school."
     To read more, click here...

In hula ki`i, the human dancer plays a supporting role to the puppet. Photo by Kaori Mitani

Hula Kane, male hula, is often characterized by strong leg movements and bombastic action.

The four Grandparents of Hula

     One way to think of the beginning of the hula is to imagine it as having four grandparents. One tutu wahine - grandma - is the sweet nature hula of Hopoe and Hi`iaka.
     The second tutu wahine is the hula of the maka`ainana - the common people - story in song and dance which tells of their daily lives. Love songs, fishing stories, and various adventures.
     One tutu kane - grandpa - would be the sacred hula of the temples. Only the men dedicated to those temples would know them. Do people still dance them? Perhaps - but kūpuna tell us that those of us not from those bloodlines will never know.
     And the other tutu kane is the dance of the warriors. Imagine telling stories of great battles! You are so excited you jump up and pantomime exactly how you defeated your enemy! The warrior in charge of training you young men notices how much fun you all are having, and decides to incorporate those moves into your exercise.
     To read more, click here...

    Ka`ahele Hawai`i  is an electronic magazine of Hawai`i Island. We hope to provide material of interest and usefulness to readers both on and off Ka Moku Hawai`i. Website design and management is by Yuen Media Services. We would like to invite YOU, the reader, to participate in the development of this site. Please let us know of any suggestions you may have to make this site more useful and enjoyable. Mahalo, Leilehua Yuen.




  All artwork and text, unless otherwise noted, is copyright D. Leilehua Yuen and may not be copied by any means, electronic or otherwise, without permission of Leilehua Yuen.

Note from Leilehua:

To copy my - or any other artist's - work without permission constitutes theft.

You wouldn't walk into my house and steal one of my paintings, would you? Why steal it from my website? If you like my work that much, do the honorable thing and purchase it honestly. That way I will be able to afford to keep producing more.