The origin of hula dance itself always been shrouded in mystery. Hula practice as an expression of cultural identity and spirituality among the Hawaiian people today is stronger than ever. For many non-Hawaiians, a basic knowledge of the worldview and history behind hula can act as a reminder for the cultivation of respect for the Earth and its inhabitants.
A legend speaks of how two girls Hi'iaka and Hopoe who were best friends and loved to spend hours in the forest together taking in the natural ambiance of their surroundings. More than anything the girls wanted to understand the language of the forest. One girl mentioned to the other, "How old this forest is... it must be very wise and able to teach us many things." Listening to them was the goddess of the forest "Laka". She was impressed and decided to grant them their wish. From then on the both of them were able to tell stories of the forest with movements of their hands and bodies. The First Hula - (paraphrased) www.kaahelehawaii.com
By the 1820's, American Protestant missionaries in Hawaii denounced hula as heathen and it was banned. As a result practitioners were forced underground. It wasn't until the reign of Hawaiian King Kalakaua some years later) the dance was revived and allowed to be performed in public once again. The Merrie Monarch Festival (in Honor of King Kalakaua the Merrie Monarch) was held in Hilo, Hawaii. Today, this annual hula competition draws hundreds of dancers of all diverse ethnicity to participate and a worldwide audience of thousands enjoy hula today! (paraphrased) www.visionmagazine.com
*Kahealani's Aunt (1st Miss Aloha Hula 1972) and mother were among the several dance schools to participate from this festival's inception.