As the new year began, I found myself joining a new exciting real estate brokerage firm: Hawaii Life. As I worked through their marketing recommendations, I came across a memo that said, “Blogging is a suggested means to market yourself.” What? What is blogging, I asked? If you haven’t googled blogging, perhaps you should take a moment, don’t worry I’ll wait, and see how many thousands of articles there are about blogging.
According to the blogging websites I visited, step number one was to find your passion. Okay, my passion. This shouldn’t be hard. Right? Well, hula and Waikoloa came to mind rather quickly, so for my first blog, I’ve decided to write about my hula journey and where I live, Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Introduction to Hula
When I first arrived on the Big Island in 2013, I knew I wanted to connect with other women and dance hula. Where do I find a halau? Where do I begin?…. (almost like this blog). I saw a hula halau (group) performing at the Queens Marketplace located in the Waikoloa Resort area. I approached a local woman and asked her a series of questions about hula. Lo and behold, she turned out to be the Kumu’s sister and lessons were taught right in Waikoloa. Did I mention, I live in Waikoloa? What are the chances? So, hula began and so did my new life in Waikoloa.
Hula – More than Just a Dance
Being a professional dancer most of my life, I thought hula would be gentle to my aging body, unlike the rigors of ballet and other genres of dance. I was right for the most part, but hula is so much more than a dance class. It’s an expressive interpretation of Hawaiian history all bundled together with music, movement, instruments, chants, language, pa’u skirts, and native plants that tell stories about the Hawaiian culture. The “mana” or energy is respected and cherished the minute you walk into class. It’s hard to describe. It’s spiritual in a sense, almost sacred, calming, because you are learning about the past and traditions, from a Kumu. The Kumu (or teacher) is highly regarded and is steeped in tradition and family. I’m fortunate and honored to have two Kumus. Maybe I’m feeling ancient in my years, but I’ve never felt such a soulful connection in a tap or jazz class before.
Have you ever listened to Hawaiian music? The lyrics are all about the beauty of the land (the aina), nature, and the people. It’s a gentle reminder to cherish life and people each and every day. Not a negative word that I can recall. The language is exotic and is starting to make sense, as long as I pay attention. My Kumu always asks me, “Phyllis, are you smelling, seeing or hearing…….? (I’m still working on all that). The melodies are hypnotic and the dresses and costumes stunningly beautiful. I was hooked when I took my first hula class back in 2013. In fact, it was rather comical because my Kumu thought I was just a tourist who kept coming back each and every week. It’s been over six years since I began my journey in hula and I love it.
I also live in Waikoloa Village. It’s a small community north of Kona, but it is very similar to hula. We’re all family. Hula is family. We’re connected. In our Halau and neighborhood, we celebrate life together: weddings, graduations, and births to name a few. We make our implements together and share quality time together in our Halau. My Waikoloa neighbors share their fruits and veggies or work together on projects. We take care of one another. At first I thought, this is not what I wanted, but I was wrong. It’s wonderful to walk in to the local bank or grocery store and the bank teller doesn’t ask for your ID or the cashier runs and gets an extra coupon for the one you lost. To belong to a group or to become involved in your neighborhood, is a sure way to feel connected.
Ohana in Waikoloa
My neighbors are the best on the island. Okay, I might be a bit biased, but there’s such a sense of ohana (family) within our neighborhood. There’s a reason someone would choose Waikoloa, just like I chose my hula halau. It just feels right. We can’t compete with Hilo or Kona (and perhaps we shouldn’t), but we can offer a simpler lifestyle and a sense of community. If anyone reading my blog needs more information on living in Waikoloa or hula, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have a feeling my next blog will be about gardening.