The Beauty of the Modern Hula, Last of the Merrie Monarch 2013

As we entered the Merrie Monarch Competition for the last time I was sure I would not enjoy it. This night was the Auana. The modern-day hula. When visitors come to Hawaii, this is what they think of when they think of the hula. It is not as historical as the Kahiko which is ancient hula nor is it as exciting.

It is graceful, musical, and colorful. You are more likely to see swaying hips and hands as graceful as swans, slowly waving hypnotically.  The dancers are fully clothed more often than not as this was part of the influence of the missionaries.

Unlike the Kahiko, there is singing and instruments playing. You don’t have the drums nor chanting. I was pleasantly surprised at the dancing this night though and the music was fabulous as well as the singing. There were many noted performers singing t and it was like a consort and hula competition all rolled into one.

IMG_0967The photo above is of Queen Kapiolani who was the wife of King Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch.


These ladies came from Japan to watch their kumu. As it happens this particular kumu (teacher) also teaches in Japan as well as in the islands. I just loved how they all chose to dress up in this particular style for the night. They looked beautiful


Hard to tell what their hula was portraying. A lot of the auana dances have fun themes.


These costumes which are also part of the competition were so unique. You can double-click on these to get a closer look at the hair pieces.


So colorful.


When these women all dance in unison along with the color it is beautiful to watch


Long hair adds so much to the gracefulness of the dance.


Here you can see that the musicians are on the side of the stage and not on the stage as in the Kahiko where the kumu drums and chants.


The men step lively


These women reminded me of swans


Not only were they beautiful in their purple dresses their hats and flower pieces in their hair were stunning.


Close up of their hats


Such color


They had the jade plant in their hair and they looked beautiful


Beautiful velvet dresses swaying


Even though some colors show up more than once they are still unique in their style and headdress


These lively guys were just a joy to watch. I really enjoyed their dance


Now were getting down to the grass skirts

DSCN2020And what most people think of as in hula when the come to the islands.

So my trip to Hilo was full of surprises, a bit of disappointment (my camera) but most of all It was an exciting experience. Happily I enjoyed the auana too. I enjoyed it all.

If you want to take in the Merrie Monarch some time I would suggest that you get your tickets last month! Yes it sells out that quick.

My next visit to Hula land will most likely be the competition at the Hilton Hawaiian Hotel to see my grandson dance. Let’s hope they have not picked up on the Merrie Monarchs forbidding and that they will still allow us to use are DSLR.