The History Of Hula Dancing

hawaiian-hula-dancers-377653_640Hula dancing has long been associated with the island of Hawaii. All different forms of Hula dancing are based on only six traditional movements with a wide variety of different interpretations to create unique performances.

In ancient history the Hula dance was performed as a ritual for Pele, the volcano goddess but the goddess Laka was the keeper of the dance and the one most often associated with modern Hula dancing.

Originally the dance was performed by women accompanied by poetic chants from the men called Mele that describes the story of Pele and Hi’aka.

During performances both men and women wear knee length skirts made from palm leaves with flower leis around their heads, arms and legs. Prior to 1820 the skirts of the women were very short until missionaries insisted on making them wear attire that was less revealing. In ancient times Hula dance costumes for women were made of cloth and men’s costumes were loin cloths. After the rituals the leis were placed on an altar as an offering to the goddess Laka.

Hula dancing is more than just a ritual dance as it incorporates smooth, flowing bodily movements and gestures which are believed to tell historical stories and to represent movements in nature – like the wind blowing in the trees or fish in the ocean. It was a way for the Hawaiians to keep record of their history, much of which was lost after the dance was banned in 1820 by Christian missionaries from New York City who viewed the ritual dance as pagan, vulgar and sinful. When Queen Ka’ahumanu was converted to Christianity she had the goddess images and temples destoyed and banned the ritual dance.

For a while the Hula was performed in secret until it was re-established by King Kamehameaha III in 1830 when he granted Hawaii religious freedom. King David Kalakaua, who reigned from 1874 – 1891, encouraged the performance of the Hula dance and even added new dance moves, songs and costumes to the repertoire. the Hula became part of celebrations and festivals and was often performed in his honor.

During the 20th century, under the influence of Hollywood, the Hula was commercialized and portrayed in a totally different manner accompanied by music from new instruments such as the ukulele and guitar. Today there are two types of Hula: the ancient hula kahiko and the modern hula auana.

Despite modern influence Hula dancing has retained its ancient roots and the movements still symbolize all the contrasts in nature and the gentle swaying movements of the Hula dance remains beautiful to watch and perform.

The History Of Salsa Dancing

Let's Tango!Salsa, a mixture of Latin musical genre has a primary component in Cuban dance music. It has its roots in Eastern Cuba from the Cuban Son (Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo) and the Afro-Cuban dance like the rumba. The term “salsa” however was created in New York and the Hispanic origin of the dance style was cultivated there. The term “Salsa” includes a musical evolution of various dance styles and musical rhythms including the Rumba, Guaracha, Mambo, ChaChaCha, Son, Danzon, Bomba, Merengue, Cumbia, Festejo, Plena and others. Many have retained their individuality while others became mixed in the creation of the “Salsa”.

Salsa also combines several different cultural genre. It is therefore very difficult to pinpoint one single culture or country that can take the credit for the development of the Salsa dance. In Salsa, music and dancing are closely connected but its main purpose is to dance. There exists an ongoing debate on the exact origins of the dance with many people believing it originated from Cuba. Due to social and political restraints imposed on the people of Puerto Rico and Cuba in the 1930s, many emigrants fled to America, bringing with them their individual music styles. These Caribbean music styles were gradually blended together and eventually the term Salsa was coined in New York.

The late Celia Cruz, popularly known as the “Queen of Salsa” is believed to have said that salsa as a rhythm does not really exist but rather that it is an exclamation for Hispanic music styles such as the Rumba, Bolero, Guaracha, Son, and ChaChaCha. The dance steps are similar to that of the Mambo – a six-step pattern danced over eight music counts, both sharing many similar movements. However, turns are an important feature in Salsa, which differs from the Mambo style. Mambo moves are generally forwards and backwards while Salsa moves tend to be more from side to side.

MangoTango

Not only is MangoTango my favorite crayola crayon color, it’s what we use to describe our Hawaiian version of Salsa Dancing. Alright so it’s also a name of a cocktail too! What is the Tango? Tango is a partner dance that originated in the 1880s in South America. Antonio Todaro from Argentina is considered to be the legend of Tango dance, and it’s our goal to take his style of Tango and infuse it with our own Hawaiian flavor. So not only will you be doing synchronized head snaps, our element includes jumps, embracing and of course hip popping and locking.