Last night we had our hula ho’ike. Our recital. Oh my gawsh, I felt like an honest-to-goodness hula dancer.
I was really awkward when I joined my hula class. Seriously awkward. The midwest is not exactly the hub of the hula world. Missouri? No hula champs in my recollection. Minnesota? Ditto. And Lutherans are not exactly known for their hip-shaking, joyous chanting antics.
Hula is active. Precise. And it’s hard. Like pat-your-head and rub-your-belly at the same time hard. Well, harder than that.
I don’t exactly have a dance background. The only dance classes I have ever taken were when I was in my late ’30s. We were living in Singapore. I took tap dance lessons at the American Club. Hit me up if you want to see a rather stiff “shave and a haircut, two bits!” I can also crack off a shuffle-ball-change.
Miss O was a cheerleader in high school. I went to every game. Football (which I like,) basketball (which I hate…it’s too squeaky.) A couple of soccer games. That was downright excruciating. Soccer players don’t want cheerleaders. Anyway, the point is that I watched a disproportionate number of cheerleaders, doing cheery things. Trust me, this will come into play shortly.
I couldn’t even decide where to look during my first few lessons. Feet are going. Hands are going somewhere else. Things are turning in opposite directions. AT THE SAME TIME! And then there’s the whole chanting thing. In Hawaiian. Often while doing all of the above. I am entranced.
I kinda narrowed it down to the feet as a starting point. Maybe if I wasn’t actually crashing into the other dancers I would have a chance. The same general direction, you know. Logic was on my side. But we all know that the arms will have to follow at some point.
The arms. Ahhh. In cheerleading the coach claps and the hands snap into place on each count. Pretty much the opposite of lovely hula hands. Lovely hula hands look like they are dancing. They tell a story. They are graceful and smooth. They are elegant. Somehow my hands and arms tried to mesh the two, cheer and hula. Chula. Think about that for a while.