(HawaiiNewsNow) - To think that public performance of hula was banned over a century ago seems a far cry from hula as we know it today.
Hula traditions are alive and strong today because of the Merrie Monarch himself King Kalâkaua. Amy Kalili has more.
"He took seriously his obligation to promote culture, history, music and hula," said Kâwika Makanani
Kumu ʻIke Hawaiʻi of Nâ Kula ʻo Kamehameha, Kapâlama.
Ua ʻike ʻo ia i kona kuleana e hoʻonui i nâ moʻomeheu Hawaiʻi – i nâ hula, i nâ moʻokalaleo Hawaiʻi e like me nâ mele, a oli.
It was a personal rediscovery for him as well.
Ua ʻimi ʻo ia i ka hoʻonui ʻia o kona ʻike ponoʻî iho nô.
"He summoned practitioners to help increase his own knowledge of music, chants, history and overall traditional knowledge," said Kawika.
Ua kahea ʻo ia i nâ kahu mele, a oli, a moʻokalaleo kuʻuna, e hele mai ʻoukou a e haʻi mai iaʻu i kçia mau kuʻuna.
But it was the hula that took centerstage for Kalâkaua.
ʻO ka hula naʻe kâ Kalâkaua i ʻimi nui aku ai.
"Kalâkaua's famous saying was, ‘Hula is the language of the heart, and therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people,'" said LIlikalâ Kameʻeleihiwa of Polopeka, Kamakakûokalani.
Ua ʻôlelo mai ka môʻî ʻo Kalâkaua ,"ʻO ka hula ke kani o ka puʻuwai o ka poʻe o ka lâhui Hawaiʻi." No laila ua pono kâkou e hula.
In his "Merrie Monarch" style, for his 50th birthday, Kalâkaua held a two-week celebration of Hawaiian culture and hula.
Ma kona ʻano hoʻohauʻoli aku nô, no kona lâ hânau 50, ua mâlama ʻia he hoʻolauleʻa, ʻelua pule ka lôʻihi, i nânâ nui ʻia ai ka ʻike kuʻuna a me ka hula nô hoʻi.
"He invited kumu hula to ʻIolani Palace to perform," said Kawika.
Ua kono mai ʻo ia i nâ kumu hula e hele mai i ka Hale Aliʻi o ʻIolani, hiki iâ ʻoukou ke hôʻike mai i kçia mau hula.
The missionaries weren't very pleased with Kalakâuaʻs actions.
ʻAʻole hoʻi i nui ka hauʻoli o na mikioneli i kçia hana a Kalâkaua.
"But he carried on. The dancers performed many types of our traditional hula," said Kawika.
Akâ ua hoʻomau ʻo ia i kçia hana. Hôʻike lâkou i nâ mea hula ʻalaʻapapa, a me nâ hula ipu, pâ ipu a pçlâ aku.
"We honor King Kalâkaua and his steadfast support of our traditional ways," said LIlikalâ.
Hoʻomanaʻo mâkou i kçia ʻano o Kalâkaua. He koa ʻo ia. He môʻî Hawaiʻi ʻo ia.
It is only appropriate that the world's premiere hula event honors the man who revived hula.
No laila, he kûpono nô ka hoʻohanohano ʻia o ka mea nâna i hoʻôla ikaika mai i ka hula ma ka hanana hula nui kaulana a puni ka honua.
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