Hula

Despite efforts of missionaries and the other non-Hawaiian population, the hula never became extinct although it faded from public sight during the middle decades of the nineteenth century.

For a long time this authentic native dance form existed underground, banished from the towns but still quietly and surreptitiously performed among the rural people.

It was performed as a form of religious rite to honor the gods and the chiefs. It was usually dedicated to its patroness Laka, goddess of the hula.  The ancient Hawaiian dances were performed by both men and women.  The men’s hulas were vigorous and forceful while those of the women were more sensual and esthetic.

Early missionaries disliked the hula they saw. The sight of scantily clad women moving in rhythm to poetry offended their puritan ethics and they made strenuous efforts to abolish this aspect of ancient Hawaiian culture.

For a time, the lovely hulas of Hawaii were in danger of disappearing forever until the reign of King David Kalakaua.  He was particularly enthusiastic about reviving the hula in all its splendor and joy.  During his reign, professional hula troupes became popular again and they meandered about entertaining people at luaus, public occasions and  the theater.

 

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