Wreathed in Meaning
Photograph by Richard A. Cooke III
Each movement of leg and arm, each position of foot and hand has a name and a significance. With its dancers wrapped in long ti leaves, sweetly fragrant maile, and delicate ferns, the hula story is told through gesture and chant. Authentic hula is the history and literature of the Hawaiian people—their Genesis and Exodus, their Homer and Shakespeare. "To watch a hula," says Big Island–based teacher Leilehua Yuen, "is to read a book about Hawai`i."