How to Hula Dance to The Hukilau Song

How to Hula Dance to The Hukilau Song. Hula is a choreographed dance. So to hula dance correctly, you need to make sure your gestures match the content of the song you're dancing to. Practicing arm gestures to "The Hukilau Song," a well-known song that combines both Hawaiian and English lyrics, is a good way to make sure you're conveying what you want to in your dance.

Hula to the First Stanza of The Hukilau Song

Focus on the first stanza of the song, which is, "Oh, we're going to a hukilau; A huki, huki, huki, hukilau; Everybody loves a hukilau; Where the laulau is the kau kau at the big luau." The first stanza is also the chorus.

Indicate going somewhere by bringing your right hand into a loose fist but leaving the thumb out. Gesture over your shoulder with your thumb twice in time with the music.

Show the hukilau with your hands by making motions at approximately hip level to indicate pulling in a net. First do the gesture twice to the right side, and then do it twice to the left.

Emphasize "everybody" by crossing your arms low in front of you, sweeping them up over your head in an expansive gesture and bringing them back to a neutral position. Then, repeat your "hukilau" gesture from Step 3.

Illustrate the food that's served after the hukilau by bringing your arms in front of you and overlapping your hands. Make a fish-like movement with your hands to show that the laulau, a festive Hawaiian dish, is made from fish.

Keep your right arm extended forward and turn it over to expose your palm. Sweep the first 2 fingers of your left hand across your right palm and bring them to your lips, mimicking eating because "kau kau" is a Hawaiian word for "food."

Repeat the gesture for "everybody" from Step 4 to show that everybody will be at the big luau.

Hula to the Second Stanza of The Hukilau Song

Listen to the second stanza, which is, "We'll throw our nets out into the sea; And all the ama ama come-a swimming to me."

Mimic throwing a net to your left, bringing your arms in front of your face and then down to shoulder level.

Create the effect of ocean waves by keeping your arms extended in front of you and making wave-like motions with them. Start the waves on your left and move them across your body to your right side.

Show the ama ama, a type of fish, by making the same gesture as you did in Section 1, Step 5 for the laulau.

Emphasize that the fish are swimming into the hukilau net by moving your arms as if you're doing the breast stroke. Repeat the movement twice in time to the music.

Repeat Section 1 to dance to the chorus, which comes after the second stanza.


  • Listen to "The Hukilau Song" to understand the overall narrative of the song before you dance to it. It's about an old Hawaiian way of fishing using a large net that a number of people would pull in. More than just a way of fishing, it was a community event. When your arm isn't expressing something, keep your hand in a loose fist and rest it on your hip. This is only one way to choreograph "The Hukilau Song." Other hula choreography can tell the same story in different ways, just as we can use different words to tell the same story.

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