Two ancient dances from two ends of the world have more in common than one would imagine. As storytelling devices, hula and bharatanatyam both originated as dances devoted to mythology and spirituality, and are accompanied by percussion and chanting.
Hula was one of the earliest forms of sign language; chanting and dancing were used to impart history, traditions and stories down the generations. The dancers’ eyes give expression to the story, the movement of their feet and hips bring rhythm and power, and their hands tell the story. Every movement, expression and gesture in hula has a specific meaning, from representing various plants or animals, the weather such as rain, the sun or moon, to actions, such as searching, sailing or listening.
From South India, bharatanatyam, the classical dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu, also conveys narrative in dance. Through rigorous control of hand gestures, head, eye and body movements, emotions and story elements are conveyed through codified expressions by the dancer, leading the audience towards rasa, which is an experience of a sentiment.
Join Halau Nohona Hawai’i and Kalpana Sivan & Ensemble as they come together in an artistic discovery of each other’s practices.
As part of A Tapestry of Sacred Music, join us for a series of exchanges between international and locally based traditional artists whose artforms share thematic resonances. Listen as the artists demonstrate the similarities and differences in their sounds, movements and approaches, and gain insight on the significances and functions of their artistic practice within their respective communities.