Yep. That’s right. Hula. Dancing, not hoops. Though evidently hooping is also all the rage at the moment with some of the cool kids. I, however, am keeping it real. Out here in the desert. The tropical oasis that Phoenix is. Anyhoo, so I picked up some hula classes at Tropical Polynesian Productions. Rarely one to lack enthusiasm or preparation for fun things, I watched a video or two to get motivated.
OK maybe not quite like that, but close.
I was pretty stoked to learn some Polynesian dance moves. See, my friend May runs a Polynesian dance studio called Polynesian Dance Productions in New York (videos below!), but I never took any of her classes while I was there. Because I was a big slacker.Which is unfortunate because May is all kinds of awesome. So with thoughts of making May proud, I put on my pareo and headed out to the northwest side of Phoenix for some hip shaking instruction.
Now, there are two main types of hula – Hawaiian and Tahitian. Hawaiian hula is the slower, more fluid looking dance.
Tahitian hula is the wicked fast hip shaking dance.
Guess which one I was dying to learn?
Our class was small and comfortable. A few students had been taking lessons for awhile, so I was the only noob. Kalena, the instructor, was really all about making sure you master the basics. We started with Hawaiian hula and some really basic steps. We pretty much did the same step for about 5-7 minutes before moving on to the next one. After learning a few steps for Hawaiian, we switched over to Tahitian and did some basic steps there. Again spending 5-7 minutes on each step. We paraded ourselves around in a square while practicing turning and rehearsing each step. While it didn’t seem like you were exercising, you should know that there was enough hip movement that my hips were actually tired at the end of classes.
Alas, Kalena would not let me shoot video during class, so no sexy hula videos for you. Sad. Warning: rant- I hate when people do that. I can genuinely recognize and respect the art of things and all; however, I’m not out to steal your secrets, people! Not to mention there’s this little thing called the Internet, where you can find out how to do just about anything on your own. All I’m trying to do is document and demonstrate my lack of skill. Not broadcast all your teaching secrets on the Interwebs. I mean, jeez. /rant.
Thing I learned: Repetition is good (sometimes). Though I generally resist mastery for a lot of things, I can appreciate laying the groundwork for upcoming layers. I suppose I’ll need to apply that to more things in my life. Probably could’ve used that for rock climbing…
So, I genuinely liked the hula classes and would’ve continued on (and joined the dance company!) if it weren’t for 2 things:
1) It was wicked far away from my house. Not a fan of long commutes.
2) Tae Kwon Do runs on the same nights.
However, I do feel that perhaps a Hawaiian luau themed party may need to happen in the backyard. You bring the coconuts, I’ll bring the hips.
Photo by Prestonise