Designates hula as the official dance of the State.  (SD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                S.D. 1
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that hula has significant
 2 historical and cultural importance to Hawaii.  The first oral
 3 account of a hula performance dates back to the seventh century.
 4 Hula performances were documented on the Kona coast at Kealakekua
 5 Bay, and on Oahu at Waimea Bay, although there were numerous
 6 other undocumented hula performances during that time.  Hula
 7 later experienced a decline from 1830 to 1870 when Queen
 8 Kaahumanu, influenced by her Christian teachings that viewed hula
 9 as a "heathen practice", forbade public hula performances.
10 However, despite the edict, hula continued to be a major source
11 of communication and historical preservation to the Hawaiians as
12 evidenced by the fact that clandestine hula schools operated in
13 every district on all the islands and that people were
14 irresistibly drawn to hula performances.  It was not until King
15 David Kalakaua's reign that the ban on public hula performances
16 was lifted, at which time hula gained widespread acceptance and
17 flourished at both official and unofficial functions.
18      In the early 1900s, hula became a feature at carnivals and
19 pageants, endearing itself as the standard entertainment to the

Page 2                                                     746
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 1

 1 growing tourist trade.  Due to the audience's lack of knowledge
 2 in the Hawaiian language, hula became a style of dancing in which
 3 the gesture became the important feature instead of being a dance
 4 form to portray a cultural story.  As such, the non-traditional
 5 hula dancer became the image of Hawaii in the visitor's eye.
 6      The legislature recognizes that in the last thirty years,
 7 the Hawaiian renaissance sparked a newfound interest in
 8 traditional hula.  This has led to the birth of numerous hula
 9 festivals in Hawaii and around the world, including the Merrie
10 Monarch Hula Festival (Hawaii), Queen Liliuokalani Keiki Hula
11 Competition (Oahu), Ka La Hula I Orlando (Florida), Hula Festival
12 of Tokyo (Japan), and Ka Leo O Na Hula Seminario (Mexico), to
13 name a few.  Hula's recent worldwide acceptance can be attributed
14 in part to the fact that people appreciate the significant role
15 that hula plays in perpetuating the Hawaiian culture.
16      In the words of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, "hula is
17 the language of the heart, and therefore the heartbeat of the
18 Hawaiian people".  The hula mele ma'i was composed to honor gods,
19 chiefs, the newborn of royal families, and on occasions of
20 importance to the whole populace, such as the completion of a
21 canoe house, and the consecration of taro fields.  However, more
22 importantly, there is no "true" version of a dance, for when it
23 comes to hula, the stories are true to the hula dancer as

Page 3                                                     746
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
                                                        S.D. 1

 1 influenced by his or her environment and experiences.  As such,
 2 hula is an important tool to teach the history, values, and
 3 philosophies of the Hawaiian culture.
 4      The purpose of this Act is to bestow formal recognition on
 5 hula as a special livelihood with deep cultural roots in Hawaii
 6 by designating it as the official state dance.
 7      SECTION 2.  Chapter 5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 8 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated to read as
 9 follows:
10      "5-     State dance.  Hula is adopted, established, and
11 designated as the official dance of the State."
12      SECTION 3.  New statutory material is underscored.
13      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.