I have been studying hula on and off for about 4 years. I danced through my pregnancy with Naia, I strapped her to my back and danced with her as a baby until she got too big and wiggly to come to class with me. Then I took about a year off and got right back to it again as soon as I was able.
There are so many things I love about hula. The music, the traditions, the language, the chanting, the color, the meaning. Banish all thoughts of coconut bras, it's so much more than that. In any given class we might learn the song we're dancing on the ukulele, learn Hawaiian language, chant, play the ipu (gourd drum), or dance to the full moon.
My step-mom turned me on to hula when we first started visiting my parents on the Big Island. She dances with the kupuna (elders) and it's just so beautiful and captivating to watch them dance. Their group starts at about age 60 something and goes one up and up. It's such a lovely way to work mind and body and soul no matter how old you are.
Naia is not a happy camper when it's my hula night. She always wants to go with me and pouts as I head out the door. When I get home, I always try to show her dances we're working on and that usually makes up for it. Even before she went to Hawaii, she's been a fan of hula. She loves hearing the music, she loves when I sing to her in Hawaiian at bed time, she loves "playing" ukulele with me, and often when she is allowed to have some screen time she wants to watch the Merrie Monarch Festival videos. All of this of course makes this mama quite happy.
When we announced we would be traveling to Hawaii the one thing she begged to be able to do there was hula dance. We brought her to watch and dance a bit with the keiki (kid) group. She was in awe of the big girls who have all been studying hula since they were not much older than she is now. And of course she also wanted to go with grandma to kupuna. Oh my, this request tickled grandma pink and she was kind enough to let Naia come to her kupuna group practice.
Then she couldn't resist. She gleefully went over to grandma and danced and danced and danced with her. Two happy hula girls.