Shake It: A Hula Expert Shimmies Like a Pro

Leialoha Amina, judge of the E Hula Mau Hula & Chant Competition over Labor Day Weekend, shares her wisdom

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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,

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  1. aloha

    August 27, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    isn’t it “Hula Kahiko”?