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Belly Dance and Hula


I lived in Hawaii for 6.5 years and first studied belly dance on O'ahu.


Because of those juxtapositions, many people in my area think that I teach hula or can perform it due to a confusion between hula and belly dance.


While I can do some basic hula, it is because I have studied the dance, not because hula and belly dance are related.


The two are similar in a few ways.


Both use bent knees and hip movements.


Both focus on grace, beautiful hands, and subtleties of facial and eye expression.


Hula, though, is essentially a story-telling dance with use of sign and movement to communicate the stories of the gods, chiefs, or the land.


The movements are deep and grounded yet lovely.


(Side note: I would love to spend five years studying sign-related dances: hula, Bharatanatyam [an Indian dance], and ASL dance.)



On the other hand, belly dance interprets the music--it is the embodiment of rhythm, melody, and mood. In pre-Islamic times, dance* would have been used in worship of various gods (and Sufis still use dance as a part of religious ecstasy), but in the present, Middle Eastern dance is primarily used as a dance among women, communal dance, or performance.


There are exceptions, but those go beyond the scope of this incredibly surface level look at the two dances.


What do you notice about the two dance forms? I encourage you to watch Merrie Monarch videos and a variety of belly dance videos to see the differences within hula forms and Middle Eastern dance.




*I don't refer to belly dance but to whatever dance was used at that time.





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7 commentaires


Martha DeMeo
Martha DeMeo
21 janv. 2022

How interesting! I never know the difference between the hula and belly dance! I love the videos.

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Invité
21 janv. 2022
En réponse à

I have to figure out how to sign in so I'm not "unknown" 🤗 Martha D

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Invité
21 janv. 2022

Very cool to learn about the differences! I have been to the Middle East but never to Hawaii 🌺 Now it getting time! Tamara

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
21 janv. 2022
En réponse à

You should visit! The Big Island is a must-see and Kailua on O'ahu.

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Invité
21 janv. 2022

I like hula! The first photo of the blog post is so beautiful!

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Dominique Brooks
Dominique Brooks
21 janv. 2022

I would love to spend time learning both as well. I used to dance when I was younger -- I keep adding it to my bucket list to get back into dancing again... I enjoyed watching both videos. Both forms of dance are lovely!

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