Let the body speak in the poetry of dance

After attending “Let the Body Speak”, a performance/ lecture by Bob Holman and the Alonzo King Lines Ballet, I realized that hula is one of the few dance forms in which text and dance are necessarily entwined. The hula is always accompanied by chant, and often the dancer sings the chant before performing the dance, which is accompanied by percussionist and chanter. Throughout the dance, the dancer may call out, sing, or reply to the chanter.

Rather than following the rhythmic flow of the words, the dancer uses their body as a kind of abstract mime. The hands trace out stylized representations of the words’ meaning, while the body follows a more formal pattern.

Hula and its chants have been a nexus for the retrieval of the Hawaiian language and culture, which had nearly disappeared under colonizing influences during the twentieth century.

Here is the link to a dance from the most prestigious hula competition on the islands. Miss Aloha competition 2015