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Curious
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Hula Dancing 101

By MaryLouise Alu Curto | Art by Robert L. Prince

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
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Curious
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Creative
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Caring
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Confident
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Learn to hula! Follow these basic steps and you and your family will be hula dancing in no time.
learn to hula

Hula is a Native Hawaiian dance that is hundreds of years old. The dance has a variety of purposes. It can be a form of entertainment or worship or a way to pass down stories. Explore the different parts of hula dancing! 

Musical Instruments 

For generations, Hawaiians have been sharing stories about their history, people, and natural world through music. They sing lyrical, chanted poems as they dance the hula and play musical instruments to tell these stories. Using shells, seeds, trees, and plants, Native Hawaiian people created all their own musical instruments. Many Hawaiians still make these instruments by hand today. 

Hula Basics 
  1. Find a flat, smooth surface. Take off your socks and shoes.

  2. Stand with your feet about four inches apart. Bend your knees. Place your hands on  
    your hips.

  3. Beginning with your right foot, step to the right and bring your left foot alongside. Step to the right again. Tap your left foot alongside. Repeat to the left.

  4. Once you can do step 3, add arm motions. When you step right, bend your left arm and raise it to your chest with your elbow straight out. Extend your right arm straight out to the side. Do the opposite when you step left.

Hand Gestures 

The hand gestures used in hula dancing help tell a story.

Rain  

Lift both arms up over your head. Slowly bring them down in front of you while wiggling your fingers.

Flower  

Place your palms up with fingertips pinched together.

Swirling Wind  

Put your left hand forward and circle your right hand over your head twice.

Rising Sun or Moon  

Start with your hands together at waist level. Move each arm outward and upward over your head. Form the sun or moon with your fingertips.