Hip hula show from Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu

Courtesy PhotoModern and traditional: Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu’s annual hula show includes both classic and contemporary takes on the Hawaiian art form.

It’s a bad pun to say that hula is hip, but in the hands of Patrick Makuakane, it couldn’t be truer.

Makuakane, director of the San Francisco-based hula group Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu, has organized flash mob hulas in the Castro and on Hawaiian Airlines flights. His dancers perform what he calls “hula mua” — Hawaiian dance accompanied by non-Hawaiian music.

“We use pop, alternative, electronic, opera and jazz — all types of musical genres,” says the Hawaiian-born Makuakane, who founded the company 27 years ago. “We use traditional movement vocabulary as a foundation, but the movement is somewhat contemporary. I am influenced by the S.F. urban scene, so that finds its way into the choreography. But first and foremost, we are a Hawaiian dance company, so we don’t leap, we don’t do turns. Hula remains the foundation.”

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 12px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

“The Hula Show 2012,” which opens Saturday at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, features traditional hula — with roots in Hawaiian poetry and oral storytelling — and hula mua.

A remix of Coldplay’s “Clocks” is one tune that Makuakane transformed into a vehicle for hula mua. Seen on YouTube, the movements are unmistakably hula, with undulating hips, softly stepping feet, calm shoulders and poised arms.

Yet there’s a palpable buzz while dancers perform ancient movements to the pulsating contemporary pop. The dancers beam, the audience is rapt and brief solos, not unlike a breakdancing competition, showcase virtuoso moves.

“The Hula Show 2012” is packed with 15 premieres, including a work inspired by King Kalakaua’s jubilee of 1886, the jazzy “The Little Black Dress,” a hip-hop remix hula and the new “Birth Certificate Hula” — a satirical response to the citizenship controversy surrounding President Barack Obama.

Audiences can also dance at an interactive family matinee Oct. 28.

lgallagher@sfexaminer.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

SF judge holds GOP House candidate Omar Navarro on stalking charges

Navarro is accused of his threatening ex-girlfriend: ‘I’m going to have antifa come after your family’

San Francisco community advocate to join District 5 supervisor’s race

Daniel Landry is the former president of the New Community Leadership Foundation

Vital link between two Muni train cars ‘failed’ while carrying passengers

A Muni train carrying passengers suffered a mechanical failure causing two rail cars to reportedly loosen and bump into each other

Dog owners sue over new pet restrictions at Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Three dog owners’ groups and a recreation association sued the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in federal court in San Francisco

SF man accused of attempted rape of 99-year-old acquitted of most serious charges

The attorney for a man accused of attempting to rape an elderly… Continue reading

Most Read