Our hula program helps students develop skills in coordination as well as an appreciation for movement through dance and exercise. Before the learning of dance occurs, every class begins with a routine of students stretching while counting out each stretching segment in Hawaiian.
The process of stretching and rhythmic counting gives students the opportunity to clear their minds and begin to focus. This is key in cultural learning. In order to take in knowledge, students must ho‘omākaukau, prepared themselves to do so. Our goal is that students value this process so much that they ho‘omākaukau iho, self-prepare themselves in every learning situation they encounter, in our program and out of it.
Each class consists of this sort of routine. In unison, students stretch, then proceed on to a patterned routine of practicing their basic hula steps. Afterwards, students run through chanting exercises using their voice.
Embedded in the hula and chant lessons is background on the history of the mele including lessons in important Hawaiian words and phrases related to each mele.
90% of our students have little or no hula background.