The five initial lessons of the Aloha Chant
The Aloha Chant by Pilahi Paki contains instrumental lessons for students of hula and may be used as a guideline for correct behavior.
Akahai – is reflective of a hula student’s basic mind-set, especially towards the teacher in a classroom situation. Students shall be modest, restrained, unassuming, gentle, obedient, quiet, willing, flexible, docile, polite and pleasant.
The hula itself should also be gentle, never awkward or choppy.
“hai” means “sacrifice”, a hint that the student has to be ready to sacrifice time, ego and free will to a certain extent. The student who assumes this mind-set, is prepared to receive new knowledge and retain it, showing the teacher that she/he is worth her/his time and effort. A student with this mind-set will not disrupt class and will achieve success in learning.
Lokahi – this word describes the halau hula in its ideal condition. This is where harmony, unity and agreement prevail. A group in this state dances and chants in unison.
„kahi“ means „one“. When many act as one entity, harmony is achieved. A good example taken from nature is a flock of birds in flight.
„Külike“ –perfectly describes the vision of a well trained halau hula, dancing in formation.
„kü“ = to stand, „like“ – similar, meaning „standing in similar manner or in even rows“. This requires discipline, the ability to recognize one’s place and to stay in this place while dancing, as well as to see and feel those dancing around you and to be able to spontaneously even out spaces for a uniform appearance.
`Olu`olu – is the inner disposition of a hula student, radiating out while dancing, towards teachers and fellow students and everyone else. Pleasant, polite, kind, warm-hearted, at peace with oneself and stable, while flexible at the same time.
„`olu“ means graceful, supple, pliant and soft. Is there a better way to describe the ideal hula style?
„Mana`o“ – is the thought, the idea, the meaning and the intention. An important reminder for the hula student to not just train the body, but the mind as well. Hula always has meaning , without meaning it is not hula, but mere motions. If the dancer does not know the meaning of the hula, the dance will be without expression. When you know the composer’s intention and the choreographer’s concept you become a better hula dancer.
Ha`a Ha`a – meaning humble, tame, modest and gentle. This is how a well educated hula dancer behaves: being aware of serving a higher purpose and leaving ego problems at the door.
„ha`a“ – was the name of the indigenous dance of Hawai`i characterized by a deep bend knee stance. The terminology changed to „hula“ in the mid 19th century. Bend knees are symbolic of the humble state of the dancers, while at the same time assuring a powerful, close to earth position. The hula dancer draws energy from connecting with the land. And because of the low balance point, the hula dancer has a secure stance.
„Külana“ – is the position, the rank or the status. This indicates that there is a strict hirarchy in hula. Everyone is aware of their position and the responsibility that goes with it. In a more literal sense the word refers to the body posture, which is of crucial importance in hula.
Ahonui – means to be patient, persistent and enduring. It reminds us that it takes time to become a good student of hula. It is very important to be patient with oneself as well. The way to sucess is through steady, consistent commitment.
„aho“ – the breath, „nui“ – long. Figuratively, you need a long breath for your education as a hula dancer , but literally as well p.ex. when chanting.
„Lanakila“ – is victory at last, to triumph over all adversities. The promise that you will be sucessful striving for your goals will ease all strain.