That the Hula has been part of the Hawaiian culture since ancient times is clear from the multiplicity of traditions about its origin. Various places, including the islands of Hawai'i, Moloka`i, O`ahu and Kaua`i which are said to be the birthplace of hula and link its beginnings to a number of gods and humans. Some claim that Hopoe was the first dancer. Others call Kapo'ulakina'u the first divine protector of hula, or they mention the long and beautiful story of Keaomelemele as the founding myth of dance. Still others link its origins with various forms of the Pan-Polynesian culture hero, the great navigator Laka / La'a / Lata.
The first forms of Hawaiian dances, the hula apples, were used both in their sacred forms (ha'a) and in their public forms (hula). The ha'a was usually performed as part of the cult in the heiau (temple), under the direction of a kahuna (priest). These dances were often performed in conjunction with rituals and ceremonies related to the specific temple and also to specific deities within those temples. Other times they paid homage to the gods with tales of their deeds or honored the ali'i - the chiefs and the royal family - whose genealogies often linked them to the gods. There was a lot of Mana or life force and spiritual energy in the words, in the precision of the execution, in the discipline and harmony of the dancers' movements and in their spiritual composure, all this connected the gods with man and nature.
Every movement, expression and gesture in the hula has a specific meaning, from representing plants, animals and the elements to listening, searching, sailing and much more. Hand movements are of particular importance, a good hula dancer observes their hands at all times and not the audience. The songs accompany the dance and help to tell the story.
Kuhi no ka lima, hele no ka maka
- Where the hands move, there let the eyes follow.
For the Hawaiians, the Hula is more than just a dance, it is an artistic representation of the islands themselves.
The Hula has a deep connection with the Aloha spirit, it is a way of being happy and finding harmony, it is closely and profoundly linked to the origins of the Hawaiian people.