“My ancestors did not have a written language, so Hawaiian culture was passed down through oral traditions of chant, mo‘olelo (storytelling), and Hula. People think of Hula as a form of dance, but it’s the texts and chants that give Hula its motions and meaning. Within those texts are stories behind place names, plant names, and the names of the winds and rains of the island areas. When we dance Hula, we are telling those stories. If we don’t dig up the words of our ancestors, then their knowledge just sits there. And, if we give life and movement to that knowledge, it will live on in the next generation.”
About the Contributor
Vicky Holt Takamine, a member of the Commission on the Arts, is the founder and kumu hula (master teacher) of Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima, a school of traditional Hawaiian dance with classes on Oʻahu, KauaʻI, and New York City.
Rahele Megosha via the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
Fairy Tale with Laryngitis and Resignation Letter
Commission on the Arts
The Commission - drawing on the expertise of its members who are artists, scholars, activists, and leaders, as well as the input of people across the country who participated in listening sessions - dedicated itself to recognizing and supporting the essential role of the arts and artists in American life.