How to Perform Hula?

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Hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance that involves fluid movements of the hips and hands. Here are the basic steps to do the hula:

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

2. Place your hands on your hips or extend them out to the sides.

3. Begin swaying your hips from side to side in a smooth motion.

4. Coordinate your hand movements with your hip sways, using graceful gestures and flowing arm motions.

5. Keep your upper body relaxed and maintain a gentle smile on your face.

6. Practice different hula steps and incorporate them into your dance routine.

Remember, hula is not just about the movements, but also about expressing the story and emotions through your body. Enjoy the dance and embrace the aloha spirit!


The islands that make up Hawaii, the 50th state, are located more than 2,000 miles off the coast of California. When people think of Hawaii, one of the first images that come to mind is that of vibrant hula dancers. However, hula is more than just a dance for Hawaiians.

The exact origins of hula are uncertain. According to various Hawaiian legends, it is believed that a god or goddess, such as Laka or Pele, created and introduced the dance. With its connections to Hawaiian deities, it is no surprise that hula is considered a sacred form of dance.

Hula is an expressive dance style that has been practiced in Hawaii for centuries. Despite the legends, it is likely that hula was developed by the Polynesians, the original settlers of the Hawaiian Islands.

Hula involves dancing accompanied by either chanting (referred to as oli) or singing (known as mele). Through movement, hula brings to life and interprets the words of the oli or mele, giving them visual meaning.

Ancient hula, known as Hula Kahiko, was performed as a sacred ritual with chants and traditional percussion instruments. The oli and mele conveyed stories of legends, history, nature, and devotion to the goddesses Pele and Laka.

Over time, hula became a part of popular culture and gained interest beyond Hawaii. Under the influence of Western culture, a new form of hula called Hula ‘Auana emerged, incorporating songs and more modern instruments like guitars and ukuleles.

For those who have never witnessed hula dancing, it may be difficult to comprehend the complexity of this art form. Hula dance moves range from simple to intricate steps, including the Kaholo, Ka’o, Hela, ‘Uwehe, and Ami.

The fundamental hula dance moves involve swaying of the hips and sidestepping, also known as “vamping.” A complete hula dance can be quite physically demanding, with some dancers equating it to an athletic performance!

Hand motions also play a significant role in hula. The hand gestures made during hula represent the words in the oli or mele. For example, hula dancers use their hands to depict words or ideas such as a swaying coconut tree or rolling ocean waves.

Female hula dancers typically wear skirts and colorful tops, while male dancers usually wear pants or loincloths. Dancers often adorn themselves with leis, wristbands, and ankle bracelets.

Hula can be performed while sitting, known as noho dance, or standing, known as luna dance. Some hulas incorporate both noho and luna dances.

If you reside in Hawaii and wish to learn hula, you can do so through schools or groups called hālau. The instructor of hula is referred to as the kumu hula. Kumu means a source of knowledge or teacher, making the kumu hula the teacher of hula!

Give It a Try

Ready to experience hula? Prepare your dancing hips and give it a go! Invite friends or family members to join you for added fun.

The best way to learn hula is from a Hawaiian dancer. If you are unable to visit Hawaii, a good video tutorial is the next best option.

Hula Dancing Tutorials

If you are interested in learning how to hula dance, there are a few websites that offer great video tutorials. These videos will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to perform this traditional Hawaiian dance.

For those who want to make their hula dancing experience even more authentic, there is a fun DIY project you can try. Create your own homemade lei to wear while you practice your hula moves. It will add a special touch to your dance routine!

Recommended Video Tutorials:

  • How to Hula Dance 1
  • How to Hula Dance 2

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