Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?
I have a variety of artistic outlets, but my favorite is dancing. I began dancing hula as a child and quit before high school. In the years I wasn’t dancing hula, I tried other dance forms, like jazz, ballet, latin, even modern. I also endured my fair share of dance-related injuries, including shin splints, sprains, and a dislocated knee. 6 years ago, I returned to hula and have been dancing regularly, twice a week, for 2-3 hours each practice.
For me, hula isn’t just exercise. It has permeated all aspects of my life, informing my career, my life, and my relationships. It’s taken me to grand and humble stages around the world to learn about new cultures and dance forms, and to be able to recognize and honor their parallels to Hawai’i. As Maya Angelou has said, “we are all more similar than different” and that truth has been reaffirmed in the connections I’ve forged, engaging with the people, environments, and myths of those locales, all while knowing myself better in the process.
This December, I’ll be celebrating a major hula milestone. I will ʻūniki, which involves the rites and ceremony to become a kumu hula or hula teacher. With the privilege of teaching comes the license and immense responsibility to uphold and perpetuate the hula traditions of the lineage of which I am a branch.
I am grateful for such an immense honor, yet I am currently experiencing anxiety in transitioning from dancer to teacher. I can still dance after ʻūniki, but it will no longer be my primary role and the artistic expression I have enjoyed as a dancer will need to be redirected and re-channeled to my duties and functions as a kumu. Inspiring and teaching the compositions, choreographies, philosophies, and every other aspect of being a hula practitioner that were taught to me by my kumu and his kumu before him, will eventually serve as a creative outlet, but for the next 8 months, I plan to dance as much as I possibly can.
Daily Prompt: Express Yourself | http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/daily-prompt-express-yourself/
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featured photo credit: m. yamanaka