by Michael Ogi

In ancient times when there was no written language hulas and chants of Hawaii related history and told of customs. In these early times the hula was a sacred and religious ritual. These hulas are called hula kahiko and are accompanied by chanting and drum beats.

Modern style hula called hula ‘auana utilizes modern musical instruments and songs.  These hulas perhaps described a queen’s charms or told of a king’s trip around the world. Since Hawaiians have a great love and admiration for nature, they also describe and pay tribute in their hulas to various places, mountains, waterfalls, bays, the rays of the sun, island flowers, foliage, and more.

Hula is more than just hands and hips. It is the expression of the eyes and face, the grace of the hands, the rhythmic swaying of the hips and the even movement of the feet--all coordinated into one smooth flowing picture of grace and charm to delight the eye of the audience. Everyone can dance the hula including children, grandmothers, men and boys.

There are many hula steps and interpretative hand motions. In this workshop for beginners of all ages you will dance barefoot and learn four basic hula movements: kaholo, hela, ami, ami ku ku. Then we will work on the hand motions to the song, “The Hukilau.” Since this Hawaiian song is sung in English you will be better able to remember the dance and incorporate the hula movements with the accompanying hand motions. So come and dance the hula with me.

Michael Ogi is the director of Harsanari, a San Francisco-based Indonesian dance company formed in 1997. He has performed with Harsanari at numerous Bay Area venues, including the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Indonesian Day festivals, and the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. For more information on Harsanari, or classes, visit www.harsanari.com or send an e-mail to Michael at info@harsanari.com


SFFFF 2006: