Aloha! E hulakukakuka! Let's talk Hula!
I got asked recently if I taught hula via the internet because people live across the Pacific and can't get over to Hawai'i to learn good hula. PA'I Arts & Culture may be connecting to a distance learning program in a future experiment so stay tuned...but not right now... www.paifoundation.org
And after our last email, because I posted a video of one of my students, Char, dancing Honolulu at our monthly Kanikapila, which is tonight, if it was ok if they learned the motions from the video.....uh....no!
Choreography is intellectual property rights. Its not cool to take someone else's choreography and use it if you never learned it from them directly. I know its happening but thought maybe we should start putting it out there that's not the way to learn mele hula. I have students in New York City and I am travelling back and forth from Hawai'i to teach them. They practice on their own, email questions and sometimes send me video of their practices... the Video is a refresher tool and one that can be used to fine tune level, hand positions, body positions etc...its not perfect, you don't get to see everything on a flat screen, and its hard to teach about the emotional passion that comes from dancing if its not in person.
Halau is different somewhat from most dance schools. In halau you make a commitment to the kumu hula, the master teacher that's very difficult to break. You become a family and have kuleana, responsibilities and priveleges that come with being in the family. You are connected to a genealogy of teachers that you are responsible to that have come before you and will come after you and a family of kumu hula, brother and sister halau that will hold you responsible for your choices and actions.
It is this relationship, that can not be connected via the internet or video. We will in the future, experiment with teaching hula through distance learning. This however, is not halau.