The two essays posted in this section are exercises for thinking through challenging questions. Originally posted elsewhere, this blog site offers an opportunity to bring them together.
This piece was written around 1999 at the request of Auntie Maria Hickley, then owner of the online CD vendor Hawaiian Music Island www.mele.com. The site hosts one of the most comprehensive directories of hālau hula. She asked if I could provide some guidance for responding to the many requests she received for recommendations. This is what I came up with. The piece has been embraced by numerous kumu hula, many of whom distribute copies to new students, and post it on their hālau websites. It is gratifying that so many have found some of these comments useful.
I composed this piece as a followup to “So You Want To Study Hula?” It was first posted online in 2008. It brings together much thinking and discussions with many friends, mentors, and associates. In recent years, there has been a marked increase in contention around the notion of a “kumu hula.” Some of the contentiousness has arisen around the institutionalization of formal training courses. But some of the contentiousness also gestures toward one of the tragic consequences of colonialism–how practitioners were separated from heritage resources and knowledge. Dear readers, that is a story for another time. This particular piece stands, in the meantime, as away of thinking through some of the many facets of a kumu hula‘s kuleana.