What was Who thinking ?????
Nathaniel Emersonʻs 1915 translation/retelling of the epic saga, Pele and Hiiaka, places this mele right on page 1 of Chapter 1. At Peleʻs request, Hiʻiaka entertains her with the dance taught by Hiiaka’s companion, Hopoe.
This mele is one of the most venerated of hula ‘āla‘apapa. It is among those dances that have been passed down continuously for generations. It can be documented definitely back into the mid-1800s at the very least. Moreover, as a hula ‘āla‘apapa, and quite arguably as a hula Pele as well, this mele would be ranked among those marked as sacred under the old system of kapu.
So why on earth would anyone think of re-staging it so completely on a group of novice dancers? The choices made (in movement, paʻi, and the broken-record yelling of “huki” that tears apart the placename “Nanahuki”) demonstrate, moreover, that whoever made those choices of re-staging did so with the most questionable absence of background to do so.
To me, the most tragic thing in something like this is that the clueless do not even know how clueless they are, and that is precisely why, in the end, this clip is a glaring example of cultural disrespect at its most.