27 January 2006

January 21, 2006 - a day of firsts

Last Saturday was amazing. Everyone was uniformly attired, with flowers in our hair, and it felt like a dream. The pain in my legs from dozens and dozens of `amis assured me that this was indeed real. No pinch needed. It certainly was a wakeup call for me to practice more. I could barely climb the stairs when I got home. But the exhaustion came with a satisfaction that I gave my all.

We learned three songs.

Aia I Moloka`i Ku`u `Iwa - We used the ku`i step that looks nothing at all what most people think of when they hear the word "hula." Imagine combining Riverdance, the Virginia Reel, and a high-step Robinson Block (marching band formation). It is definitely high energy. Once the steps are solid, it will be a lot of fun.

He mele he inoa nou e Kalâkaua - Instead of the pair of `uli`uli, this uses only one, in the right hand. I had never even held one in my hand until then. Needless to say, I was quickly overwhelmed trying to learn the steps, gestures with the left hand, and how to make my `uli`uli motions look like everyone else's. Frustration seeping out my pores, I decided to learn the feet and left hand and tackle the `uli`uli later. That seemed to help it stick in the memory a little better. Still, when we broke for lunch, I fled upstairs and ducked into a hallway to shed a few tears. One of my sisters noticed when I came back down and gave me a hug. The support and encouragement helps more than she knows.
Perhaps I'll ask one of the alaka`i to show me how to use the other implements. That way, when the time comes to incorporate them into a song, I won't be trying to learn both at the same time. I had the same problem when I tried to learn my first kahiko with pu`ili.

3rd song (Auana) - A couple of us stayed around and watched the more advanced group learn a new song. After awhile, Kumu told us we could learn it as well, if we wanted. We hopped up and formed a line in the back of the room. I did not catch the name, but I will get the info at practice tomorrow.

The plumeria went over well. At first, I was worried, because there didn't seem to be much interest. Some of the flowers were made into leis for two friends from the office who were moving on to other companies. Others contributed to the leis for the officers, so that helped, too. The whole flower deal was not quite as organized as I usually am, so I hope no one was left out. Next time, I will definitely take orders and money ahead of time. This time, though, I felt it was important to have real plumerias for our first hâlau meeting.
God orchestrated it well, because there was an extra lei, made with the most dainty blossoms, and that was given to Kumu Pua. I didn't know ahead of time, but as soon as Kumu called her to the front and had her sit in the chair, I knew. What an honor! The tears fell in awe at this culmination of years of dedication and sacrifice. Witnessing this
'ûniki, we all saw that it is possible. It is a goal for which to strive. While some, like myself, cannot even see it on the horizon, for others it is closer, and the thought spurs us on.


'Ailina said...

(gasp!) Oh, I remember this day!!! Thank you so much for the sweet, sweet memories. Can almost smell it now. What a gift you gave. You know the olfactory memory is the most powerful. The fragrance of plumeria now reminds me of 'uniki.... Mahalo...