Basic Hula Moves

Hula dancing is a beautiful and graceful form of dance. It combines foot movement along with meaningful hand movements that tell a story. In ancient Hawaiian times there was no written books of daily life and special events however the Hawaiians have created hula dances and chants as ways to document events going as far back as to their first inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands 0-500ad. There are several different styles of hula (like Hawaiian, Tahitian, Fijian). Hula is an excellent form of exercise and is also a fun activity to include when having a Hawaii themed celebration. Hula is popular all over the world and you can usually find a hula group, known as Hula Halau, no matter where in the world you are. To find one google "hula halau" + your location in the world! Then contact them to find out information on how you can take lessons, join the group to perform, find out where they will be performing live, or hire them as performers at your Hawaii theme celebration! Below are basic Hawaiian hula moves:

A Few Basic Hula Steps

Right - rotate hips counterclockwise, one rotation for each count.

Left - rotate hips clockwise. Bent knees make the 'ami easier.

For video instruction of 'Ami click here!

Hela: Point right foot forward, bring back, then point left foot forward, then bring back. For video instruction of Helai click here!

Huli: Rotate around while swaying the hips.

Kaholo: A kaholo is more of a sliding step, rather than lifting the foot as you move. It is used to step side to side, front to back, and diagonally. For video instruction of Kaholo click here!

Ka'o: Sway hips by shifting weight to the right side and lift left heel. Then shift weight to the left side and lift right heel. For video instruction of Ka'o click here!

Lele: Step right, then left, either forward or back.

Basic Hula Steps Warm Up Video


For video instruction of basic Hula Hand Movements click here!

Love Hand Movement: Hands cross at chest to show embracing love.

Ocean Hand Movement: hands gently beat up and down showing the rhythm of the waves.

Rainbow Hand Movement: palms of the hands meet at the left... right hand lifts and shapes an arching rainbow.

Rising Sun Hand Movement: start at the knees, both hands part and rise above the head to shape the sun.

Singing or Story Telling Hand Movement: hand gracefully gesturing at mouth for song.

Swaying Palms Hand Movement: left arm becomes the land, right arm and fingers sway showing a waving palm.

Swirling Winds Hand Movement: left hand forward while right hand circles twice over head.

Tide roll Hand Movement: hands continually roll over each other to show the rolling sea.

YouTube is a great resource for instructional videos.
Below are a few links:

How to Hula Dance

Learn to Hula Dance

How to Hula

Easy Hula Dance Routine to Tiny Bubbles

If you are having a Hawaii themed celebration, include hula dancing! Teach your guests a few moves or hire a hula expert to come and do a lesson. Your guest will have a fun memorable experience and learn something that is very sacred it the Hawaiian culture!

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All content on the website was written by Mike or Kim Crinella. All photographs on the website were taken by Mike or Kim Crinella, were submitted to A Friend in the Islands by a website user, or were Public Domain Fair Use at the time of publication.