A couple of weeks ago I posted a couple of videos of the New Zealand Blacks team doing the Haka; a traditional Maori dance. It sparked an idea to do some posts on traditional dances from indigenous/First Nations peoples from around the world. Cultural appreciation!
I ran the idea past LeChategris, who gave me some advice on cultural appreciation vs. appropriation. I'm going to try to focus on dances that are for public consumption; competitions, buskers, etc. and try my best to avoid sacred dances which are for the private viewing of members of the culture only.
So; first up, the Hula. I won't presume to get into the complex history, but here's the wikipedia entry (not always reliable source, but perhaps a starting point);
Hula is performed by both men and women, although outsiders are more familiar with women's hula. I thought I'd feature the men's hula because it's not as well known. The men's dances, while graceful, emphasize power and strength. Oh, and the audience does show appreciation at the "sensuous" sections of the dance!
I'm going to be drawing from the Merrie Monarch Festival
http://www.merriemonarch.com/ which is a public festival devoted to the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture. From their homepage intro;
Welcome, and thank you for sharing your aloha for hula and the Hawaiian culture. The Merrie Monarch Festival is a non-profit organization that honors the legacy left by King David Kalākaua, who inspired the perpetuation of our traditions, native language and the arts.
It is also worth noting that Hawai'i was a sovereign nation, that was forcibly annexed by the United States.
And please let me know if you spot anything that you think is inappropriate, in a cultural appropriative kind of way.