72 hours of hula! E Hula Mau was this weekend in Long Beach. It’s the big California hula competition. We don’t compete, but we love to go watch. We headed up early Saturday morning and got there just in time for the first group. Basically, E Hula Mau is halau competing from 10 am until 5 pm both Saturday and Sunday. There’s a lunch break and a short afternoon break, but other than that it’s back-to-back hula. The only trouble with this schedule is that we want to spend time shopping at all the vendors, but we don’t want to miss any performances because they’re all so much fun. We managed to do a fair bit of shopping damage nonetheless. :) Saturday night was kanikapila in the lobby of the Westin (the host hotel). Sadly, it wasn’t true kanikapila (which is backyard style everyone haning out playing ‘ukulele and dancing), but the music was good. The musicians just weren’t playing for hula dancers…no hula tempo, too many musical interludes. Because hula is the translation of the words into movement, when there are no words, there isn’t much for the dancer to do. So we bailed on the kanikapila about midnight and headed to Mai Tai’s!!! Where we proceeded to drink TALL mai tais, dance, and make new friends. A short cab ride and deliciously greasy pizza later, we were all exhausted.
Sunday morning was rough and sadly affected our attention span to the ‘auana competition that day. But we stuck it out, even through the awards ceremony. Instead of joining in the Mahalo Bash or another round of not-so-kanikapila, we ate dinner and crashed early in preparation for Monday. Now, Monday’s event is not part of E Hula Mau, but seeing as how the majority of hula dancers in Southern California are in Long Beach on Labor Day weekend, the organizers decided it would be perfect. The World Hula Conference (Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Halauaola) happens every five years and the next one is next summer in O’ahu. If you want to be a part of the opening ceremony, you have to learn and perfect several chants and ancient dances. So they decide to teach us mainlanders all six chants in one day. It was grueling, especially after such a long weekend, but it was a great workshop. I think we learned everything pretty well, and they gave us a parting gift of the CD of chants for to practice. So we’ve got just under a year to perfect all that. All in all, a good hula-ful weekend.