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Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakane founded his dance troupe in 1985, to preserve the Hawaiian culture through hula. VOA
  • Kumu Hula (Master) Patrick Makuakane and his innovative form of hula are the subject of a new book
  • In the late 1700s and early 1800s, hula began to change with the introduction of Western instruments
  • The movements in this traditional hula are powerful and angular

On stage in their grass skirts and colorful shirts, the hula dancers look like a traditional island group. But when the music starts, it’s obvious this performance is anything but traditional. With their stylized, lively movements, the dance seems closer to Broadway than to the ancient dance developed in Hawaii by the Polynesians. But for those familiar with Patrick Makuakane’s style, it is another opportunity to enjoy his interpretation of hula mua, or progressive hula.

‘The Natives Are Restless’

Kumu Hula (Master) Patrick Makuakane and his innovative form of hula are the subject of a new book, The Natives Are Restless: A San Francisco Dance Master Takes Hula Into The 21st Century, by journalist and writer Constance Hale.

Hale, who was born in Hawaii, but is not ethnically Hawaiian, started dancing hula at the age of 7, and wanted to explore the long history and rich tradition of the art.

She says that to many people, hula is all about pretty girls in traditional costumes waving their arms. But hula is not about movement at all. In its traditional form, she explains, hula is all about poetry and storytelling.

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“‘Hula kahiko,’ that means ancient dance, is generally a dance to chant. Hula kahiko also praises gods and goddesses [and] places in the island. Sometimes hula tells love stories, especially native classical love stories.”

The movements in this traditional hula are powerful and angular. Hale says it begins, for example, when the dancer bends at the knees, goes as low to the ground as possible, and then the movements of the legs and the arms are straighter, with angles.

Constance Hale's book follows Patrick Makuakane's evolution of hula.

Constance Hale’s book follows Patrick Makuakane’s evolution of hula.

Modern hula

The dance has evolved over a long period of time. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, hula began to change with the introduction of Western instruments. That’s how the modern hula, or what’s called hula auana, came into existence.

“And, of course, in the 20th century, you have the influence of Hollywood and the tourism industry,” Hale said. “Many more hula songs were written in English and described quite secular subjects. Hula auana is very fluid and graceful and more danced to guitars and ukuleles and Western melodies, as opposed to Hawaiian chants.”

By the mid-20th century, Hawaiian culture was in decline. “Hawaii had been annexed to the U.S,” Hale noted. “There was a great influx of the American culture. And the Hawaiian language had almost become extinct. And many cultural practices were on the way. There was a resurgence in the late 20th century. In 1970s, 1980s, hula was really part of that resurgence.”

Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakane

That’s when Patrick Makuakane was attracted to hula.

“He sort of discovered hula at the age of 13 or 14,” Hale said. “He loved it and was actually dancing professionally in Honolulu as a teenager with one of the famous musicians in Hawaii. He practiced hula in a traditional way, but when he moved to San Francisco and started to participate in the underground club scene, he started to push hula in new directions.”

In The Natives Are Restless, Hale describes this master’s style through the dances he choreographed for his company.

“The hula company is Na Lei Hulu i ka Wekiu. Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakane has invented his new style of hula, which he calls ‘hula mua’.”

Hula mua

Sometimes hula mua dancers dress in hula traditional costumes. Often, they don’t. “For example, it might be a tree leaf skirt,” Hale said. “Then on their head, they might be wearing a garland of ferns or wearing wrist and ankle bracelets of nuts. Those are the traditional costumes. In hula mua, or modern hula, they might be wearing black velvet gowns or colorful street clothes. It always is going to depend on the song.”

Though the hula mua style uses many traditional movements, Makuakane incorporates some very nontraditional choreography.

“For example, in some dances, you’ll see movements that look more like Broadway than like hula. The dancers align themselves in a formation and throw open their arms in a way that’s very Broadway.”

And the music is different. “[It] might be Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, or it might be Madonna’s song, Rain, or it might be an electronic track by a British band. He takes music from all over the word and pairs that with traditional Hawaiian vocabulary.”

Hula narratives

What also separates Makuakane from other hula choreographers is that he’s imagined narrative shows. Hale explained, “He’s choreographed a full-length evening like a one-hour or two-hour show taking on a major theme or a major story, a piece of mythology, or a historical account. ‘Salva Mea,’ one of the dances in the troupe’s Natives Are Restless show, is an example.”

Salva Mea depicts — in a traumatic way and with electronic music — the clash of Christianity and the native Hawaiian culture, when Christian missionaries came to the islands in the 1820s. “He has dancers going across the stage as in ballet, or maybe it looks a little bit like Riverdance, if people are familiar with the Irish clog dance,” she said. “He’s taken some movements from other dance styles, he’s integrated them into some dances.”

Hale says Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakane is not the only native Hawaiian artist who realized that in order to live, hula must change and grow. But he stands out as a pioneer in pushing the boundaries further and exploring what it means to be Hawaiian in the 21st century. (VOA)


Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Char Dham Yatra resumed on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

As weather cleared up in Uttarakhand, Char Dham Yatra restored on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

According to sources, road leading to Badrinath has been repaired and helicopter service has also resumed.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Dungi village and met families of people who were missing after the landslip incident, and consoled them.

Dhami assured them of all possible assistance. Two people from the village are still reported to be missing.

Pilgrims were seen leaving from Rishikesh Char Dham Bus terminal and Haridwar bus station for the pilgrimage since morning.

As per the state government, various departments -- Devasthanam Board, police are assisting the pilgrims.

Police Chowki Yatra Bus Terminal, Rishikesh, was announcing passenger-information via loudspeaker.

Free RT-PCR tests of pilgrims were being conducted at Rishikesh bus terminal.

Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board's media in-charge Dr Harish Gaur said pilgrimage was on in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, while for Kedarnath, helicopter service was also available.

Though the weather was cold in all dhams, thankfully there was no rain, he added.

Portals of the temple in Badrinath will close on November 20, Gangotri on November 5, while that of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 6.

Uttarakhand floods, triggered by a major downpour from October 17 to 19, have claimed 65 lives so far, 3,500 people have been rescued while 16,000 evacuated to safety.

Seventeen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 5,000 police personnel have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.

The state has already been provided with Rs 250 crore Disaster Fund which is being used for relief works.

To prevent spread of the diseases, the Central and state governments have decided to send medical teams to the affected areas.

Snapped power lines will be restored at the earliest, the government assured.

The state government said that as soon as alert for heavy rainfall was issued, the Incident Response System was activated at state and district levels, and pilgrims were halted at safer places. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Uttarakhand, India, Char Dham Yatra, PushkarDhami, Rishikesh.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The Centre has continued the Naga peace talks with the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) leaders, but negotiations face roadblocks as the Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The sources aware of these developments said that the Centre was hopeful that a successful solution of the six decades-long peace talks would arrive at a logical conclusion, but in the recent statements, Naga leaders have accused the Centre of offering post-solution options.

Sources quoting the stand of Naga leaders said that NSCN's stand was loud and clear that it would not follow the forbidden route to the Naga solution that was linked to foregoing the Naga national flag and Constitution, which is the face of the Naga political struggle and identity.

The Naga leaders have also said that the Centre has been using divisive policy and flattery in the name of finding the Naga political solution when the matters heated up.

When the Centre resumed the peace process in September this year and sent the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) A.K. Mishra as the Ministry of Home Affairs' emissary to the rebel outfit's chief negotiator and general secretary T. Muivah, he assured him (Muivah) that the peace talks would be initiated under the original framework signed in 2015, a source in the Naga rebel group said.

"Here we are talking about the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution), the two issues that are holding up the Naga solution under the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks in Delhi.

"The chequered history of the Indo-Naga political issue is clear enough before us, with accords and agreements that were never meant to be implemented in letter and spirit", an important office-bearer of the rebel outfit said while criticizing the governments' stand.

Accusing the Centre, he further accused the Centre of persuading the Naga people again to accept whatever is being offered to hurry up the Naga talks.

On the invitation of the Centre, the senior leaders of the NSCN-IM including T. Muivah arrived in the national capital on October 6 this year to hold another round of talks with the Centre.

Both, the Centre and the Naga leaders had indicated their keenness on resolving this long pending issue by the end of this year in an amicable manner.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is also chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had been actively involved in the resumption of the peace talks and taking it forward to a logical conclusion.

Soon after the transfer of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks on August 29, 2014, to Tamil Nadu, the peace talks resumed on September 20 in Kohima when the Centre representative met the Naga leaders and invited them to visit Delhi for further rounds of peace talks.

The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 1997 and over 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre have been held in the past in successive governments. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Nagaland, India, Constitution, Politics, Flag.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

India-England test series will now be played next year from July 1 at Edgbaston Stadium

The series decider for the Test series between England and India will now be played at Edgbaston from July 1 next year, said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday. India is currently leading the series 2-1 before the fifth Test at Old Trafford was cancelled hours before the start due to concerns over COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp.

"The fifth match of the LV= Insurance Test Series between England Men and India Men has been rescheduled and will now take place in July 2022. The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid-19 cases inside the camp," said an ECB statement.

"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," added the statement.

ECB also said that due to the rescheduled Test, the white-ball series between England and India will now start six days later than originally planned. The T20I series will begin on July 7 at Ageas Bowl with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge hosting the second and third matches respectively on July 9 and 10. It will be followed by the ODI series starting on July 12 at The Oval followed by Lord's and Old Trafford hosting the second and third ODI on July 14 and 17 respectively.

"Ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day," further said the statement.

"We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far. I'm very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they've shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I'd also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible," said Tom Harrison, the CEO of the ECB.

"We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance. We recognise that accommodating this extra match means a tighter schedule for the white ball series. We will continue to manage our players' welfare and workloads through next year while we also continue to seek the optimum schedule for fans, players and our partners across the game."

"I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale. The BCCI recognizes and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow Board Members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window. I thank the ECB for their understanding and patience in finding an amicable solution," said BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Britain, BCCI, Test Match, Cricket.