Hula is everywhere on Maui, at sundown at the resort hotels, at shopping centers, at private family gatherings in parks and sometimes spontaneously on a patch of grass or the sand. All of the West and South Maui resorts have sundown music and hula shows. The dancers perform with the setting sun back-lighting their hair, arms and skirts. It creates an aura around the dancers. Remember this moment.
You’ll learn about the ancient hula kahiko done to chants accompanied by gourd drums and rattles. The missionaries tried to outlaw it, but King David Kalakaua revived it in the late 1800s with the addition of Western music. It’s been going strong ever since. Hollywood gave it a boost in the 1940s and since the 1970s there’s been a revival of interest in hula beyond its entertainment role.
A good place to see hula is the Napili Kai Foundation program, now running for 40 years at the resort on Lower Honoapi‘ilani Road. The program gives Maui children the chance to learn the dances of Polynesia. Youngsters in the audience get their chance to perform a few of the moves at the end of the program. Instructors add their panache to the evening.