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

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,