na hula, no hula

Posted by kyden on Wednesday Aug 20, 2014 Under Uncategorized

sienna has been wanting to take hula classes for a long time. remember this video from last may? well, there are 2 halaus in our area — one in danville and one in pleasanton — and both have a minimum age of 3 years old.  that’s one of the reasons why sienna has been so looking forward to turning 3! the pleasanton halau only has saturday classes for na keiki, but that’s no good because we reserve our saturdays for birthday parties and playdates.  luckily, the danville halau has a wednesday evening class.  now that my soccer session is over, that class fits perfectly into our schedule! we went to the danville halau today to check it out and watch a class in session.  whoa.  there is no amount of practice that could get sienna (or mommy!) to be able to move her hips the way that some of those little girls can!  we stayed for the entire class, and sienna was ready to sign up and get to hula-ing.  but mommy wasn’t so sure.

the kumu (teacher) never smiled throughout the entire class.  she barked commands like a drill sergeant — “raise your arm higher”, “chin up”, “elbows bent at 90 degrees” — and definitely did not seem like she was teaching 3-5 year old girls.  after class, mommy talked to her for a few minutes and asked some questions.  she was the same way with mommy as she was with the dancers.  that’s not the aloha spirit!  she handed mommy a page full of rules that dancers must agree to when joining the halau.  here is a sample:

  • 20140820-1E7A5138no video recording.
  • if a student misses class, it is her responsibility to learn the material before the next class.  (umm, how are you supposed to do that if there’s no video allowed?)
  • if you leave the halau, you are required to tell kumu why you are leaving and which new halau you will be studying with, if any.

and there were 2 additional pages that outlined the dress code, including the mandatory practice attire: hula pa’u (skirt) and tahitian pareau (sarong) which must be purchased from the halau for $45 and $12 respectively. that’s a lot of rules.

the kicker was that there is a holiday performance coming up in december.  the kumu said that sienna could participate if she’s ready.  at first, mommy thought she meant “ready”, as in “comfortable enough to dance on stage in front of a bunch of people”.  that’s thoughtful.  no.  she meant that sienna could participate if she was good enough.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  it’s an in-house performance, not a competition!

yes, perhaps studying hula at this halau might help sienna reach her hula dancing potential and she might go on to win hula competitions across the country, but that is not the goal.  at our age, our classes and activities are intended to let us try new things, meet new friends, gain confidence in new environments, and most of all… HAVE FUN.  at least, that’s the goal that mommy and daddy have for us.  proficiency in soccer, basketball, gymnastics, hula, etc. is NOT the goal.  (except for swimming.  we really do want to get good at swimming to make sure that we are safe in/near water.) needless to say, we will not be going back to the halau in danville.  it’s a little — no, a LOT — too intense for us.  so for now, sienna will just continue to hula at home.

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