How do modern and traditional hula compare?
In traditional hula—hula kahikiko—the mele, or song, has Hawaiian lyrics and is usually accompanied by a percussion instrument or clapping. In modern hula—hula auwana—the mele is usually Ha-waiian lyrics and at times a few English words.
As a judge, what do you look for?
A dancer should not only know the words of the mele but the story.
How can you tell they know the story?
A: I look into the dancers’ eyes to see whether they “know” their mele and are not just doing a routine. That is called ’ike. When there is ’ike, you can feel it—it mesmerizes you.
August 30-September 1. Terrace Theater, Long Beach, ehulamau.org.