How to dance like hawaiians

Hula Moves \A Friend in the Islands Interesting Information About Hawaii and Resources to Easily Create a Luau

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Hula dancing is a beautiful and graceful form of dance. Hula combines foot movement along with meaningful hand movements that tell a story. Hula dancing is easy to learn, is good exercise, and is a fun activity for a Luau or Hawaiian theme wedding. There are many hula dances that have very simple steps which can be easily learned and have people dancing hula in one lesson. A popular easy to learn hula dance will be shared in below on this page that can have you hula dancing by the end of today!

There are several different styles of hula danced by Polynesian cultures like Hawaiian, Tahitian, Fijian, and Maori. In the Hawaiian hula dance style there are two types, hula kahiko and hula 'auana.

Hula Kahiko

In ancient Hawaiian times there were no written books of daily life and special events however, the Hawaiians have created hula dances and chants as ways to document events going as far back as to their first inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands 0-500ad.

  Hula kahiko is the traditional ancient Hawaiian style of hula which also includes chanting and percussion instruments like uli uli, puili, drums and ipu gourd drums. The kahiko style of hula focuses on the hula practiced by ancient Hawaiians which was how they communicated with and honored the Hawaiian Gods by sharing stories about Hawaiian life, history and culture. Students are taught how to make their own instruments and their own outfits for performances. Some hula schools require their students to learn and speak Hawaiian.

Hawaiian Hula Performers in 1890

When Western missionaries arrived in the Hawaiian Islands hula was seen as indecent and immoral. In 1830 missionaries convinced Queen Ka'ahumanu to outlaw hula for the good of the Hawaiian people. Hula along with the speaking of the Hawaiian language were banned in the Hawaiian Islands. Many of the chiefs and people of Hawaii did not agree with the ban and hula and the Hawaiian language was practiced in secret.

Hula dancers at King Kalakaua's 49th Birthday Celebration at Iolani Palace

November 16, 1886

In 1851 public hula performances became regulated and a heavy fee was paid to obtain a license for each performance. Throughout the 1860s secret hula schools continued to teach and the number of students grew. The Hawaiian King David Kalakaua openly supported hula dancing before he became King in 1836. He is credited for preserving hula kahiko and bringing back native Hawaiian dance during his reign as King having spectacular performances of hula at his coronation in 1883 and at his 49th birthday celebration in 1886.

Hula 'Auana

Hula 'auana is the modern style of Hawaiian hula dance which emerged after Western contact and is often associated with slack key guitar, ukulele, and upbeat Hawaiian music. The 'auana style incorporates the traditional hand signals, steps, and percussion instruments with a more show business flare to the presentation than the kahiko style and costumes can be much more flashy.

The focus with hula 'auana is more on entertainment through hula story telling rather than communicating and honoring the Hawaiian Gods.

Both styles of native Hawaiian hula dance are excellent forms of exercise.  Hula dancing is also a fun activity when having a Luau or  Hawaiian themed celebration and below are three tips on how to add hula dancing to your festivities:

1) Learn an easy hula dance and dance it at your celebration to entertain your guests!

2) Learn an easy hula dance and teach your guests how to hula dance!

3) Hire an experienced hula dancer to perform and/or teach a hula lesson at your celebration.

It is fun to learn to dance the hula at a Luau!

Hula dancing is popular all over the world, some people refer to this style of dancing as Hawaiian hula hula.  No matter what you call it or where you are in the World, you can usually find organized groups of hula dancers, known as Hula Halau, that can be hired for hula dance lessons or to perform at a celebration.

To find one, google "hula halau" + your location in the world, such as "hula halau san diego". Then contact them to find out information on how you can take lessons, join the group to perform, find out where they will be performing live, or hire them as performers or to teach hula dancing at your Hawaii theme celebration!

The hula dancers are wearing skirts made from fresh ti leaves

Now it is time to learn how to hula dance!


Hula dancing is a fun Luau activity for kids and adults.


Below are easy Hawaiian hula dance steps:


'Ami Right - rotate hips counterclockwise, one rotation for each count.

'Ami Left - rotate hips clockwise. Bent knees make the 'ami easier.

Hela: Point right foot forward, bring back, then point left foot forward, then bring back. For video instruction of Helai click here!

Huli: Rotate around while swaying the hips.

Kaholo: A kaholo is more of a sliding step, rather than lifting the foot as you move. It is used to step side to side, front to back, and diagonally.

For video instruction of Kaholo click here!

Ka'o: Sway hips by shifting weight to the right side and lift left heel. Then shift weight to the left side and lift right heel. For video instruction of Ka'o click here!

Lele: Step right, then left, either forward or back.

The hula dancers are doing the hela hula dance move

Below are easy Hawaiian hula hand movements:


Love Hand Movement: Hands cross at chest to show embracing love.

Ocean Hand Movement: hands gently beat up and down showing the rhythm of the waves.

Rainbow Hand Movement: palms of the hands meet at the left... right hand lifts and shapes an arching rainbow.

Rising Sun Hand Movement: start at the knees, both hands part and rise above the head to shape the sun.

Singing or Story Telling Hand Movement: hand gracefully gesturing at mouth for song.

Swaying Palms Hand Movement: left arm becomes the land, right arm and fingers sway showing a waving palm.

Swirling Winds Hand Movement: left hand forward while right hand circles twice over head.

Tide roll Hand Movement: hands continually roll over each other to show the rolling sea.

These boy and girl hula dancers are wearing pa'u skirts and lava lava



This instructional video teaches an easy hula dance routine to the song Tiny Bubbles by Don Ho. You can learn this hula dance in one session!

There is a great resource of hula instructional videos on YouTube.

Below are a few links to continue your hula training:

What to Wear While Hula Dancing

Skirts allow for freedom of movement while dancing the hula and are worn by women, men, girls, and boys. For tops men and boys typically wear a tshirt when practicing and go topless when performing. Women typically wear a sports bra, spaghetti strap top, tshirt or tank top when practicing and for performing may wear a coconut bra, bikini top, sequined bra, or tube top. Fresh lei or silk lei accessories be worn on the head, neck, ankles and wrists. Hula dancers dance barefoot.


Types of skirts worn by hula dancers include:


Pareu, Lava Lava or Sarong- a long piece of cloth wrapped around the body and tucked into the waist

Grass Skirt- made from natural or synthetic raffia.

Natural is tan in color and can be dyed green or a rainbow of colors.

Ti Leaf Skirt- fresh or synthetic ti leaves are fashioned into a skirt along the stem end of the leaf.

Pa'u Skirt- a modern hula dance skirt made with colorful Hawaiian printed fabric and an elastic waist. They are worn short like a mini skirt or long which covers the dancers legs to mid shin.

The hula girls are wearing ti leaf hula skirts and have a set of uli uli hula implements

Show your Aloha for by creating a fun creative video and we may use it for a promotional video like this one!
Email your I Love video to [email protected]

Hot Hula Fitness is a new modern form of hula which incorporates traditional hula movements and performs them to upbeat Polynesian and contemporary music providing a vigorous fun low impact aerobic workout! The Hot Hula fitness style of hula isolates the larger muscle groups, increasing strength and definition to the core with specific emphasis on the abs, glutes, quads and arms.

If you are having a Hawaiian themed celebration, include hula dancing! Teach your guests a few moves or hire a hula expert to come and teach you and your guests a hula lesson. Your guests will have a fun memorable experience and learn something that is very sacred in the Hawaiian culture for a true authentic Luau experience!

Photos of people who helped to bring hula to their Hawaiian theme celebration!

Use the search box above to find additional hula supplies on Amazon!

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Send us pictures of you hula dancing or from your Luau or Hawaii Theme Wedding!

If you would like to share photos of you hula dancing or from your Luau or Hawaii Theme Wedding/Vow Renewal please email them to

Email: aloha@alohafriends. com

Note: all photos submitted become property of A Friend in the Islands and may be used for promotion.

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Learn How to Hula Dance! | How to Hula Dance for Kids


Famous for its sandy beaches and warm weather, Hawaii is a tropical paradise. Part of what makes Hawaii so special is its rich island culture. Hawaiians have their own traditions, language, and even their own dance form called Hula. Hula is a graceful art form that is danced to the words of a song (mele) or chant (oli). Ancient Hawaiians danced Hula to tell stories about their history and to celebrate the beauty of nature. But you don’t need palm trees to enjoy Hawaiian culture. Get ready to move your feet, swing your hips, and learn to dance the Hula with Little Passports! With a these easy-to-learn dance moves, you and your little ones can bring the beauty of the islands right to your doorstep.

Step-by-Step Hula

Move your feet!

Stand facing forward with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees. Step 8 inches to the right. Bring your left foot to meet your right foot, keeping your left foot slightly off the floor, and tap the ground once with the ball of your left foot to complete the move. Repeat, taking another step the right, bringing your feet together, and tapping the ground with the ball of your left foot. Now go back the way you came! Step to the left, bring your right foot to meet your left and tap the ground with the ball of your right foot. Repeat this move to the left again. That’s it! Continue to practice stepping two times to the right and then two times to the left until you feel comfortable with the footwork.

Did you know?  Hula is almost always danced barefoot.

Did you know?  Traditional Hawaiian instruments that accompanied Hula dances were made of shells, rocks, and even teeth!

Now add your hips!

Keeping the same pattern–two steps right and two steps left–try adding some hip movements. During the Hula, your hips should keep a gentle rocking or swaying motion–similar to the ocean waves! When you step to the right, lower your right foot toe-to-heel and lift your left hip up. As you bring your feet together, switch so that your right hip is up. Before your next step, sway your hips side-to-side. Repeat the same motion as you take your second step to the right. Remember to sway your hips side to side before each step. Now try this motion to the left: left foot toe-heel, right hip up, feet together, left hip up, rock hips side to side. Repeat. Make sure to keep your knees bent and hips loose as you continue to step and sway!

Complete the move with arm motions!

Extend your arms out to the side at shoulder level. Bend your left arm so your hand is in front of the left side of your chest and your palm is facing down. Your right arm should stay extended, with your elbow slightly bent and fingers together. As you take your steps to the right, move your arms in a gentle,  wave-like motion. Before your first step to the left, switch your arms so that the left arm is extended and the right arm is bent in front of the right side of your chest. As you take your steps to the left, continue to move your arms in a wave-like motion. As you move, keep your body relaxed and your shoulders still. Remember to switch arms every time you switch directions.

Did you know?
Hand and arm motions can be used to represent emotions or aspects of nature.

Add your own flair!

Once you’ve mastered this basic Hula dance, feel free to add some more moves from the list below to spice it up! Remember to use your face and eyes to tell the story of the song you are dancing to.

Ami: With hands on your hips, rotate your hips in a circular motion.

Ka`apuni: Keeping your hips moving in a circular motion like the Ami, pivot around the left foot and step slowly with the right foot around the left foot to complete a full turn.

Rising Sun Hand Movement: Start with your hands together at knee level. In a sweeping motion, move the arms outward and upward until they are above your head and fingertips nearly touch. Form the shape of sun with your arms extended over your head with your palms turned upward and your fingertips touching.

Uwehe: Standing with feet hip-width apart, step in place with your right foot. Keeping knees bent, lift both heels up off the ground in a popping motion, and then place them back down. Now step in place with your left foot. Do the popping motion again.

Hela: Starting with your feet together, point your right foot forward. Return feet together. Point the left foot forward. Bring your feet back together.

Love Hand Movement: With your palms facing your body, cross your hands in a X-shape on your chest to show embracing love.

Don’t forget to smile and have fun!

Learn How to Hula Dance! from Little Passports on Vimeo.


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Hawaiian hula dance Online publication "Elements of Dance"

And outside the homeland, the dance can be seen quite often. The peculiar spiritual practice of the Polynesians appealed even to the conservative Japanese: in some dance schools in the Land of the Rising Sun, up to 5,000 students study hula.

The formation of the dance took place over several centuries, and today there are several versions of it: the Polynesian hula kahiko proper and the modern hula auana formed under the influence of Europeans, and it is the second version that is popular. As for kahiko, since ancient times this dance has been more solemn than entertaining. It was dedicated to the goddess Laka, and also performed at ceremonies honoring the leaders. They treated him with full responsibility: the slightest mistake during the dance was interpreted as a bad sign.

Hula is associated with ancient legends about local gods and heroes: according to one of them, the author of the dance was the aforementioned Laka, while in another it is about the mighty hero Hiiaka, who, with the help of this dance, tried to calm his angry sister Pele, the patroness of volcanoes. According to another version, the creator of the hula was Pele herself, who first performed it on the top of the crater.

The people, who for a long time did not have a written language, created their chronicle through movements, and the hula dance is a story in which every gesture has a meaning. Connected with nature and dependent on its whims, since ancient times, the Hawaiians have sought to appease their gods, glorifying the spirits that patronize the mountains, the ocean, and the earth.

To Europeans who arrived in Polynesia at the end of the 19th century, hula seemed to be an overly frank pagan dance, and therefore fell under the ban. The Christian missionaries must have been shocked to see the practically naked dancers dressed only in grass skirts. However, having undergone censorship, the dance did not disappear without a trace - it simply entered a new phase of development. This is how auana arose, a variant of hula, which today is considered almost a local landmark and attracts tourists from all over the world. And girls adorned with flowers and making leisurely wave-like movements with their arms and hips can be seen in every creation of the Hollywood Dream Factory, if we are talking about Hawaii.

But the essence of the dance has not changed, and it is still based on the idea of ​​unity with nature, despite the fact that even the musical instruments that accompany it are of Western origin: electric guitar, bass guitar, ukulele (Hawaiian variety guitars). Initially, kahiko hula instruments were bamboo sticks, volcanic stones, gourd, coconut and fish skin drums. Traditionally, the hula is sung to the accompaniment of singing, but the text of the song can change, and it can tell about the events of ancient times, as well as about the incidents of our time.

In the West, hula is considered a dance of women, but it has long been performed by men, whose traditional attire was loincloths, complemented by bracelets and necklaces. A distinctive feature of the male version was more abrupt movements, demonstrating the strength and courage of the dancer. It is interesting that so far the dance teachers are men.

There is no consensus on how to dance hula: there are a number of movements that can be performed in any combination, depending on what the song is about. Knowing the meaning of the text, the dancer creates an image, choosing the necessary “building materials” from movements and gestures.

In addition to being beautiful, graceful and exotic, hula also has a beneficial effect on the body, as it promotes relaxation, helps to find spiritual harmony, restores balance and simply allows you to enjoy life at any age - and, by the way, the Hawaiians themselves most revere the elderly dancers who managed to keep a young heart.

Hawaiian dance lessons in Yekaterinburg: prices, reviews and addresses

Hawaiian dances - prices and reviews. Comparative table of dance schools in Yekaterinburg, where there is a Hawaiian dance training service for children and adults.




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The portal contains information about Hawaiian dances in Yekaterinburg: addresses and phone numbers of schools, prices for one-time classes and full subscriptions, reviews of students from various studios. Thus, each visitor will be able to choose the perfect option for all their wishes! For greater convenience, a search by metro stations and city districts is presented.

Hawaiian dances: simple movements with a deep meaning

What dance styles are not taught in Yekaterinburg: Irish, Indian, Arabic, but to find teachers of Hawaiian dances, you have to try. Hawaiian dances are not yet widespread enough in our country, but in recent years this hobby has been gaining momentum.

Types of Hawaiian dances

Hawaiian dance, hula, has two main varieties:

  • Kahiko, or traditional style. These are dances that originated in the Hawaiian Islands in ancient times, even before the arrival of Europeans there. Kahiko are performed accompanied by live music and national chants.
  • Auana is a modern style of hula. At the end of the 19th century, the traditional style mixed with European culture, and a new trend of Hawaiian dances emerged using modern musical instruments.

Both men and women dance in the kahiko style in Hawaii, while the awan is a women's dance, and the participation of men in it is more of a funny and comical character.

How are Hawaiian dances performed?

No choreographic training is required to start hula dancing. Hawaiian dance is a kind of storytelling. With the help of smooth movements of the hips and hands, the dancer tells about what the song is about: the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, love, fidelity.

Each image corresponds to a certain hand movement: waves, the sun, a flower, mountains - all this can be depicted in the dance with the language of gestures. There is also a basic set of steps and movements. But just learning gestures and movements is not enough, you need to do them softly and smoothly, and fill the dance with emotions and experiences.

Why is hula useful?

Despite the apparent plainness and simplicity of the dance, teaching hula has many useful points:

  • Relaxation. Movement helps to relax the muscles of the pelvis, improve blood circulation, teach balance and balance - both physical and internal.
  • Emotional relief. Hawaiian songs are almost completely devoid of sadness. They glorify nature, life, love, native lands. Telling these stories with movements, the dancer smiles and fills the performance with positive emotions. Hula gives a boost of energy, fills the dancer with love and joy.
  • Development of femininity. Gentle music, beautiful outfit, flowers in the hair - all this helps to feel more attractive and take a fresh look at the world.
  • Teaches you how to express your emotions. Losing feelings in the dance, a person becomes softer and freed from psychological clamps.

And of course, hula is just a beautiful and attractive dance, which is a real pleasure to do.

Where to study and what to take with you?

There are several studios in Yekaterinburg offering Hawaiian dance lessons for children and adults. When choosing a school, the main thing you should pay attention to is the professional training of the teacher. It is important that he be trained by a native Hawaiian or a hula master (Kumu Hula). It is believed that this is the only way to convey the correct ideas about the dance.

Classes are held in special Hawaiian pau skirts, which are a large piece of fabric gathered with an elastic band. Hulu is danced barefoot, so no extra shoes are required.

Learn more