Discovering My Hips in Hula Dancing – The New York Times


On our 10th-anniversary trip to Hawaii, my wife and I had watched some Polynesian dances at a luauWe enjoyed the Samoan dance, which was terrifying, and the poi ball dance, which was quite acrobatic. By comparison, hula looked easy. I thought, “I could do that.”

I had been a folk dancer ever since college, and at the time I was very committed to Morris dancing, a flamboyant, extroverted English dance. But a few years later I felt the need to try something new, and I signed up for an introductory hula class at a recreation center in Santa Cruz. When I showed up for the first lesson, the instructor took me aside. “I don’t think some of the other students would be comfortable with you in the class,” she told me. Oh, I thought. Perhaps men aren’t supposed to do hula. I apologized and departed.

About this, too, I was mistaken. Go to any hula competition and you will see breathtaking, athletic and expressive male dancers. Men have done hula since the beginning. Hula was simply a way of telling a story, and there’s no reason that men can’t do that. As a true folk tradition, hula embraces all ages and genders.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | nyt comment:
What a beautiful story and video. Thank you. I’ve been performing and teaching morris dancing (and contra dancing) in New Haven since 1976, 44 years, and soon, I will be too old and worn out to do the leaps and capers of morris, or even the rigorous double step. We call it pagan aerobics. I’ve also been a serious student of Uechi Ryu Karate and Japanese Aikido. The karate was the first discipline I had to stop, partly because of age. As I soon transition to hiking, tai chi and bicycle, I will remember this wonderful article and dance performance, I will be forced to consider hula, and start moving my hips more regularly when I free dance in the kitchen.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs about the environment and the world at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s