Hula in New York City?

Given the extraordinary range and diversity of the performing arts in New York City, it is perhaps not a surprise that there is a thriving, though small, community of hula halaus (schools) in the area. Halau literally defines as a “branch from which many leaves grow.” A halau is led by a “kumu hula,” or teacher/source of knowledge.

Many of the area halaus came together recently for a “picnic” at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. As is normal for these folks, there was much dancing and much eating. If you haven’t eaten chicken long rice or kalua pig, you have not lived. Here are a few photos of these folks at play:

The halau with which I am most familiar is Halau Hula O Na Mele Aina O Hawaii which was launched in 1968 by Luana Haraguchi. She still runs it (50 years this past May) and dances with the group as well. My wife practices twice a week with the halau (in Central Park during warm months) and performs with them at places like the Botanical Garden. The skinny on the halau is here: https://bit.ly/2MFBPnb The gallery of photos below are a small sample of the group in action. There are future performances scheduled at NYBG for July 8, 9 and 22. They dance three times each day at noon, 1 and 2.

 

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