Unit X: World Dance
Hula: is a dance form accompanied by chant (oli) or song (mele). It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The hula dramatizes or portrays the words of the oli or mele in a visual dance form. Hula dancing is a complex art form, and there are many hand motions used to represent the words in a song or chant. For example, hand movements can signify aspects of nature, such as the swaying of a tree in the breeze or a wave in the ocean, or a feeling or emotion, such as fondness or yearning. Foot and hip movements often pull from a basic library of steps including the kaholo, ka'o, kawelu, hela, 'uwehe, and 'ami. There are other related dances that come from other Polynesian islands such as Tahiti, The Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand (maori) however, the hula is unique to the Hawaiian Islands.
To point out the stomping feet and fiery passion is merely brushing the surface of flamenco dance. Flamenco dance, as one-third of the quintessential Spanish phenomenon of flamenco, has an extensive historical background that parallels the cultural development of Spain itself.
Hailing from southern Spain's outcast populations, flamenco dance and music drew early influences from Greek and Roman and later from Indian, Moorish, and Jewish cultures. With the arrival of the Moorish and Jewish populations to the Iberian peninsula centuries ago, Andalusia's already thriving music and dance inadvertently began extracting characteristics from the newly-arrived populations. The flamenco dance and music that we see today are the dazzling results of centuries of absorbing and flawlessly sewing together elements of this myriad of diverse cultures.