Story by Rita Goldman | Photography by Bob Bangerter
If you think that hula is merely young women swaying in “grass” skirts, telling stories with their hands, you need to see an upcoming exhibit at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer Gallery. Maui’s rich hula history will be on view from November 9, when Ho‘oulu: The Inspiration of Hula dances into town.
Paintings and stunning black-and-white photographs of renowned kumu hula will encircle the perimeter. While most people think of kumu as “teachers,” the word also means “source.” And these men and women are truly the keepers of hula culture—the history of these Islands. The exhibit will also feature implements, costumes and adornments from three prestigious families with unbroken genealogical connections to hula on Maui: the Fardens, Nina Maxwell, and the Longs.
See the art in practice at a performance by the Fardens on November 27 and hear family hula stories on December 11. The Center’s cultural programs director, Hokulani Holt, is one of Maui’s most respected kumu hula and a member of the Long ‘ohana (family). Her hope is that people who are unfamiliar with hula will discover that, more than an entertainment, it’s a lifestyle, a genealogical continuum, the beauty of the environment revealed through dance.
Presented in collaboration with the Arts in Public Places Program of the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture & the Arts.