Hawaii Hula Company

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Polynesian Dances

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The beautiful and cultural islands of Polynesia have many forms of song and dance. However, each dance is associated with a specific island group, and is special to a specific culture. Hula comes from the islands of Hawai`i, Tahitian derives from the islands of Tahiti, the Haka and Poi Balls originated in New Zealand, and fire knife dancing comes from Samoa. Although these dances may often be seen performed back to back in a Polynesian show, they are unique, and represent various cultures.

Hula Kihiko

Hula Kahiko

Hula is the dance of the Native Hawaiians. You may see beautiful graceful Hula Auana, or strong and powerful Hula Kahiko. Legend says that the Hula was originally performed for Pele, the goddess of fire, by her sister, Hi`iaka. Many Hula chants are an oral record of the history of Hawai`i. The Hula has greatly changed over the years, but its’ ancient roots are still portrayed in the dance. After the arrival of missionaries on the Hawaiian Islands in 1820, hula was banned. Although the dance was somewhat revived years later for the purpose of religious freedom, King David Kalakaua is credited for the full revival of the hula during his reign between 1874-1891. The art of Hula is credited for preserving the culture of the Native Hawaiians. Hula is well respected throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and can be seen at various events.

Tahitian Dancers

Tahitian Dancers

Ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance) is the dance of the Tahitian people. You may see the Otea, which consists of gyrating hip movements to drumming, or the Aparima, which tells a story through song. Tahitian people are known to love song and dance. In ancient times, the native people of Tahiti would perform various dances for special occasions. There was a dance to greet visitors at a ceremony, dances for prayer and worship, and other dances dedicated to ancient gods. Similar to the history of Hawai`i, upon arrival of the missionaries, they banned all songs, games, and dances- as they viewed them as vulgar. Ori Tahiti wasn’t revived until the 1950’s; over a hundred years after it was suppressed by British colonists. Tahitian dance is well and alive today. Many people consider the Tahitian O`tea one of the most spectacular dances of Polynesia.

The Haka is one of New Zeland’s traditional dances. There are many forms of the Haka. One of the most popular is the “Ka Mate.” The Haka portrays strong, war like gestures. Historically, the Haka was performed for a variety of purposes ranging from preparing for battle to funeral services. Another dance of the Maori people is called Poi. Poi balls are weighted balls connected to string. They can be long or short. Poi tells a story while the dancer creates rhythmic and geometric patterns with the poi balls.

Fire Knife Dancer

Fire Knife Dancer

The fiery fire knife dance comes from Samoa. It has been passed on from generation to generation. The dance involves the brave twirling of a war knife. Traditionally the dance was used in ancient time to prepare a warrior’s mind for battle. Today’s fire knife dancers have added additional style and boldness to their performance.

Although the islands of Polynesia may share some similarities, each island is unique, having many differences. The dances of each specific island is special to its’ people. Each dance is distinguished and beloved by its’ specific culture.

Hula Costumes

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Just as you would dress accordingly for the weather, a Hula Dancer dresses accordingly for the type of song he or she performs. Costumes are an immense part of preparing for any performance. Just as a dancer’s hands and expressions tell a story, a costume is supposed to enhance that story, and help bring it to life. Costumes range from traditional hula skirts to elegant dresses, to brightly colored cellophane skirts.

Hula Kahiko

Performing a traditional Hula Kahiko

Hula Kahiko: The Hula Kahiko is the traditional style of dance. Originally, only men would perform the Hula, but today both men and women enjoy dancing. Kahiko is performed to chants instead of music. The chants are usually accompanied by a pahu (drum) or an ipu (hollowed gourd) to keep the rhythm. Men often wear a malo (loincloth) while performing Hula Kahiko while women typically wear voluminous skirts. The Hula Kahiko is a very powerful dance that requires strength and discipline from the dancer. The chants often speak about Hawaiian legends and gods. Kahiko adornments are made from foliage and are typically worn around a dancer’s head, neck, wrists, and ankles.

Hula Auana

Performing a modern Hula Auana

Hula `Auana: The Hula `Auana the modern style of dance performed by both men and women. The mele (songs) are accompanied by musical instruments such as `ukuleles and guitars. Men wear aloha shirts with slacks, or may go shirtless. The women wear gorgeous, long flowing dresses or t-leaf skirts. Hula `Auana dancers will be adorned with beautiful flowers in their hair and around their neck. This particular style of dancing is soft and graceful. Through the art of Hula `Auana, the dancer is able to tell an entire story through the use of his/her hands.

Hula Dancers

Preparing for a Hapa Haole Hula set

Hapa Haole: Hapa Haole Hula is a form of entertainment that became popular in the 1940’s. The songs are sung in English and accompanied by modern instruments. Hapa Haole tunes are usually upbeat and a tad playful. Dancers may wear brightly colored cellophane skirts, grass skirts, or knee length dresses adorned with flowers.

Regardless of what type of Hula a dancer is preparing for, he/she takes great pride in appearance, and representing the song/chant well.


Professional Hula Dancers

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Those who have experienced the magic of a true Hawaiian Hula show often leave feeling mesmerized and pleased. However, many often question what it takes to be a professional Hula Dancer. The truth is, anyone who decides to enter the realm of professional hula dancing has a great passion for the unique, complex art form, and is eager to share the love of Hula with locals and visitors, alike.

Hula in Hawaii

The Ladies of Hawaii Hula Company

Hula is taught in a halau, which is a school for Hula. Children as young as two attend classes where both Hula Kahiko (ancient style of dance) and Hula ‘Auana (modern style of dance) are taught. Students in a halau form a close bond with their Kumu Hula (teacher) as well as the other students, which they refer to as their hula brothers and sisters. Years upon years of practice provide haumana (hula students) with the discipline, knowledge, and aloha they need to be successful Hula Dancers. Many halau perform at community events and festivals or train for Hula competitions to showcase their learning.

Hula Halau focus on hula basics. It is not uncommon for students to practice a basic skill until their kumu is satisfied with their performance. Students will also practice the same songs and chants repeatedly to perfect them.

Hula DancerHula dances may be performed with a dancer’s hands, or utilizing implements. The most common implements are the ‘uli’uli (Hawaiian feathered rattles,) pu’ili (split bamboo sticks,) and ipu (hand held calabash gourd.) However, dancers may also utilize kala’au (dancing rhythm sticks,) ‘ili’ili (smooth lava rock castanets,) or a puniu (knee drum.)

Dancing Hula

Aloha from Oahu’s brand new mall, Ka Makana Ali’i

Next time you’re gazing at a group of Hula dancers wondering how they learned how to dance, how long they’ve practiced for, or what made them become a professional Hula Dancer, just know it took them a lot of heart and soul as well as many years of dedication and determination. Hula becomes such a great part of a dancer that it becomes who they are instead of what they do. Most importantly, not only does a Hula Dancer share his/her culture and passion with you when they perform for you, but they also joyfully share a piece of themselves.



A Day in the Life of a Hawaiian Wedding Musician

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A Day in the Life of a Hawaiian Wedding Musician;  A blog entry from one of our Hawaiian Musicians…


So there I was…back on Oahu after my Hawaii Hula Company gig on Maui, gearing up for my engagement with a wedding couple in Waikiki. I just love singing for weddings! Everyone is so happy, love is in the air, and many eyes are misty with joyful smiles. My eyes often get misty and I have to remind myself that Iʻm working! What a contrast! because thats really why its called “playing” music!

After the work it takes to rehearse and learn those special love songs, like the Hawaiian Wedding Song, we play like its no work at all! And actually… by the time we rehearse our Hawaiian Love Songs to perfection, it never appears to be work! Go figure!


Solo Hawaiian Wedding Musician

I usually perform with my guitar in Hawaiian Style Slack Key, but this time the wedding couple requested that their Hawaiian Wedding Musician perform with an Ukulele. Not a problem for me, because the Ukulele was one of my first instruments. Thing is… after returning to Oahu, I suddenly remembered that my Ukulele was still on Maui! Luckily, I was able to borrow my granddaughters Ukulele and all was well in my world again. Mahalo nui granddaughter!

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It was a typical busy Waikiki day with traffic lights, road work, lots of people, parking… then I finally arrived at the wedding location selected by the bride and groom.

It was a sweet private family affair. The wedding couple had chosen a lovely alcove away from the hustle bustle, under a lovely bower of colorful bougainvillea. Family members present, photographer present, officiant arrives, all is in place. Special songs for a special day…Hawaiian Wedding Music begins.


With anticipation we all wait for the arrival of the bride and grooms sweet flower girl. She was just adorable as she accentuated the walkway with her flower petals, leading the way in for the bride, and taking her place with the bridal party.

Lovely Flower Girl

Lovely Flower Girl

My song selections included the traditional Hawaiian Wedding Song entitled Ke Kali Nei Au, a most appropriate processional for the bride. Some of the other songs played included:

E Maliu Mai, e Kuʻu Ipo – Listen To My Call, My Sweetheart.

White Sandy Beach.

A Song of Old Hawaiʻi. 

Hilo Bay. 

I’ll Weave a Lei of Stars for You. 

Akaka Falls.

A beautiful couple, beaming with love for one another. What a wonderful afternoon!

Tips for hiring Musicians and Hula dancers for your wedding

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Congratulations! You are engaged and now dreaming about how to make your special day your own. Once your have chosen your venue, choosing Entertainment can be next up on the list… 


It is so important to us at Hawaii Hula Company that our clients be a part of creating exactly the kind of entertainment they have in mind for their special day. After all, a wedding is an occasion that celebrates 2 individual people forming a special union.

It should be about the both of you, your preferences and your style.

This is why at Hawaii Hula Company, we do not offer “packages” for which our clients must fit into or choose from. We encourage you to create your own vision for entertainment and we, are here to help guide you. We offer a variety of services including but not limited to:

Hula dancers

Tahitian dancers, Hawaiian Musicians

Polynesian Musicians

Fire knife dancers

Polynesian Drummers

Sound System with technician

Lei presentations


Now… lets talk about your wedding day plans! 

Booking Hawaiian Music is really easier than you think. First of all, we do all the work for you.

You just need to know what youʻd like to enjoy and share with your guests on your special romantic day.



Hawaii Hula Company can provide all the entertainment your heart desires, to create everything from a sweet private ceremony, to a larger event on the beach, to a grand hotel ballroom, or a spacious outdoor location.

Here are a few guiding tips to help you decide what to book. If youʻre on the beach or a larger open area, consider making the wise decision to include a sound system and lighting, if needed (depending on the time of day).

Kane (Male) Tahitian dancer

The amount of sound you need will be determined by the number of Musicians and Audience size (Anything over 25 people, sound should be considered).

If you also wish to hire Hula Dancers for your reception, its a good idea to have as many dancers as musicians on stage. This creates a balance between the amount of musicians and the amount of hula dancers for that perfect balance on stage.

Another thing to keep in mind is…what kind of music you are looking to have. Traditional Hawaiian, Contemporary Hawaiian or a mix of both?


Audience Participation: Bridal Hula Lesson

Audience Participation: Bridal Hula Lesson

Our Wedding Musicians and Hula Dancers are professionals who arrive early, complete with costumes, flowers, and aloha, all together to deliver the very best of their talents and knowledge from years spent perfecting their craft. You and your guests will surely be the recipients of excellence in their performances, helping you create wonderful memories for years to come.

Family Hula Lessons

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Family vacations are so much fun because the experiences you share will last your life time. If you are visiting Maui, Oahu, or Hawaii island with your family, you’re probably researching all of the different activities you could do all together. You might want to do something where everyone can be involved and learn something new about the Hawaiian culture. Well, a hula lesson with Hawaii Hula Company is your answer.
As a hula instructor, I know that families who have shared the hula lesson have had a special bonding experience. The hula lesson, is a perfect way for families visiting to engage in “aloha”. The hula is not only for girls. In old Hawaii, the hula was practiced as a way for Hawaiian warriors to tell the story of certain battles. Hula is fun for boys, girls, babies, parents or grandparents.

Fun for the whole family

Our hula instructors come prepared with flowers and leis, which is the essence of a true Hawaiian experience. The strong scent of the flowers and the

Flowers, Family, and Fun

Flowers, Family, and Fun

Making Lei and Rosettes

Making Lei and Rosettes

activity involved in making a hair piece or lei is peaceful and relaxing. Families share this time learning more about the Hawaiian culture. They also experience a little of what old Hawaii was like, when things were simple, when families had time to sit, talk, and make things together. In old Hawaii, families did similar together, like making rope, pounding kapa, or preparing tools for the following day.
After spending some time making flower adornments, the family will get to learn a beautiful hula song. The instructor will teach the lower part of the bodies movements. Then you will learn the hand motions that will represent the words in the song. Learning to use your body parts in the hula is a challenge that will bring a smile to everyone’s face. After learning the feet movements and the hand motions, the family will have fun doing the entire song.


There is no comparison like learning the hula in a private setting compared to learning a quick and rushed song at a lu`au. Your hula instructor is there to teach you at your pace. You can learn the meaning of the song. You can learn reasons why your hands move in specific ways. Your hula instructor is your friend and is there to answer all of your hula questions.

Hawaii Hula Lesson

So, the next time you plan a visit to the Hawaiian Islands, check out a hula lesson, from the Hawaii Hula Company. It will be one of the best Hawaiian experiences of your lifetime.

Hawaii’s Hula Restored

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Hula by the ocean

When you think of Hawaii, one of the first things that will pop into your mind is the image of a Hula dancer, dancing effortlessly to sound of pleasant Hawaiian music.  It brings you to a sense of peace and utmost relaxation.  As you close your eyes, you begin to feel the tropical breeze that lifts soft drops of salty water to your face and the smell of flowers from the hula dancer’s adornment. Surfing, hiking, and snorkeling come second to enjoying the unique form of dance known as the Hula.

However, the strange truth is that the hula was once abolished from the public eye.   Missionaries in the 1820’s, shared their opinions on Hula, saying that it was offensive and suggested that Hawaiians rid their “heathen” past.  The Hula wasn’t seen in public for some 50 years. Thankfully, it was still practiced in private hiding from those who opposed it.  It was Hawaii’s last King, King Kalakaua who restored Hula and encouraged it to be performed for numerous public occasions.  It began with his 50th birthday celebration that lasted over two weeks with hula as a main source of entertainment.  He truly was a Merrie Monarch.

Lovely Hula Lady

In honor of his virtuous act to showcase Hula once again to the world, the famous event known as The Merrie Monarch Festival began and takes place once a year in the town of Hilo.  At this event thousands of hula teachers, known as kumu and their hula dancers, known as haumana come to participate in a hula competition.  It lasts three days, focusing on the traditional Hula known as Kahiko and the Modern Hula known as Auana. This is such an event, each year, halau (Hula schools) from all over the world fly into Hilo for it. The energy is intoxicating and the air is filled with the fragrant smells of all the lovely pua (flowers) being used by Hula dancers and spectators alike!

If you haven’t been it is a must for anyone who really loves Hula.

Hula dancers

Hawaii Hula Company Hula Dancers

Male Hula Dancer

The art of hula is so unique and is such a treasure to Hawaii and the world.  The hula represents life in Hawaii’s past, the present and the future.  It is truly special to still see it performed today. We at Hawaii Hula Company strive to share Hula with the world, one event at a time. We offer Hula dancers, Tahitian dancers, Musicians and Fire knife dancers for any event on Maui, Oahu and Hawaii Island.

Please give us a call at 808-646-1455 or email us at info@hawaiihulacompany.com to talk about how we can bring Hula and a bit of Hawaiian culture to your event.

pretty hula girl
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