I write this piece early in the morning reflecting on my sore muscles and bruised spirit. Movement of the body is something that has seemed to come easily for me. After a few tries, I can pretty much get the gist of it. Then I spend years perfecting the movement so that my feet, head, hands, and every other fiber of my body is able to do it without thinking about it. In education, we’d call that mastery. But hula…hula makes me feel body stupid. My feet and hips don’t cooperate. My body does not look anything like the the kukuis (helpers) in the front of the room. It’s so frustrating. I sometimes give up. But last night, I was inspired by my Kumu Hula’s dedication to teach us.
You see, there’s a move called the ‘uehe. It is going to be the death of me. One of the more advanced dancers kindly reminded me that it cannot be the death of me because harder movements are coming soon. The movement happens in 3 counts. 1) Step 2) Out 3) In. Somehow, my hips are pushing out to the right or left depending on what foot I step on. So if I step on the right foot, my hip should be on the left. Last night, my foot and hip were never on the side it was supposed to be…ever.
This is something we’ve been working on for quite some time. Kumu Hula thought that it would be helpful that we do this moving forward with one foot on stacked bricks. I cried (inside…because I am an adult woman). I became frustrated. I tried to figure it out by looking at others who I know have had a much longer experience with ‘uehes. Just when I thought I was going to give up, one of the kukuis told me how to make it better. Then I kept working on that.
At the end of the night when we started to practice our hula, what do you know…my hips, feet, hands, and all other fibers of my body were doing what it was supposed to be doing. Our Kumu Hula used a tool (low technology, but still technology) to educate us. Granted, it was our first time with this tool and I looked like a toddler still learning to walk, it helped me find success in the lesson’s objective.