By Trisha Watson, Native Hawaiian Liaison Office, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii July 22, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (July 19, 2013) -- People across the world have come to know and love hula, the traditional Hawaiian dance form, which, according to Kumu Hula Paulani Kauila, "is a form of storytelling, where the expression of a story is told through the dancer."
Hula workshops made available to the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii community through the Native Hawaiian Liaison Office are among the most popular workshops offered.
Yet, those who take up hula need not give it up once they leave the islands.
Hula has become so popular across the globe that classes are taught in nearly every state and in dozens of foreign countries, including countries like Japan and Germany.
"Our goal is to introduce the Army community to hula through the USAG-HI Native Hawaiian Liaison workshops, and our hope is that an appreciation of hula will grow into a passion that stays with students for a lifetime," said Matt Sproat, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner for the Native Hawaiian Liaison office.
"We want people to realize hula can be a lifelong pursuit. Even if you don't live in Hawai'i, chances are there is a hula school nearby. It is a wonderful global community. People all over the world actively dance hula."
The liaison program offers hula workshops weekly.
•Beginning hula workshops are held every Monday and Tuesday at 5 p.m.
•Monday workshops are held at the Aliamanu Military Reservation Community Center.
•Tuesday workshops are held at the Kalākaua Community Center.
New students are welcome, and no experience is necessary. Workshops are for adults and children ages 6 and up; however, younger children are welcome to attend with their parents and to participate to the extent possible.
"Once students have experience, they can move into the intermediate workshops or even look into studio classes, hula schools or hālau in communities outside the installation. Hula schools offer a range of opportunities, from studio hula classes to competition hālau," said Sproat.
Studio classes allow students to drop in when they are available. These are better for students who cannot commit to attending regularly. Hālau often require regular attendance and more commitment. These groups may compete or perform publicly.
Summer is a great time for new students to join hula schools. Most hula schools often open new recruitment periods during the summer or fall.
Prospective students should contact the individual schools for information on recruitment procedures and additional information about attendance requirements.
Prince Lot Festival
Summer offers some wonderful opportunities to enjoy community hula performances, such as the 36th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival, 9 a.m., Saturday, July 20, at Maunalua Gardens. It is the largest noncompetition hula festival in the state and features numerous hālau, hula schools from across the state. This event is free.