Hips Shake at Maui International Hula Competition in September

Those who visit Maui in September get a special treat. Award-winning hula dancers from across the islands and mainland gather to perform at the Ku Mai Ka Hula Annual International Hula Competition. This is an opportunity to watch artists performing both kahiko (traditional hula) and auana (modern hula interpretations). Read on to learn about the Maui International Hula Competition.

Maui International Hula Competition Overview

Sponsored by the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, the hula competition takes place at the Castle Theater in Kahului. Those attending will have access to pre-show performances and food and beverage services. In addition, the cultural center will also sponsor hula lectures, demonstrations and workshops. This is the island’s only adult hula competition.

The two-day festival allows guests the opportunity to see professional hula dancers and learn about Hawaiian culture. Make sure to check out the panel discussion to hear about what inspires them, what they wear and style trends.

About Hula Traditions

This traditional Hawaiian form of communication dates back to the early Polynesians that settled the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, hula is a story told through dance. In the absence of a written language, early Hawaiians used the oral tradition of story telling to pass history, religion and legends from one generation to the next.

Typically accompanied by a chant and traditional Hawaiian instruments, dancers use a combination of hip-foot movements and arm-hand gestures to dramatize a story. Traditional hula portrays ancient stories of creation and mythology, as well as historical accounts of notable people and events in island history.

In modern times, hula has become an intricate art form, but it still tells a story or makes a comment. Modern hula interpretations are usually accompanied by guitars, steel guitars, ukuleles and drums — rather than gourd rattles, fish skin drums, rhythm sticks and sea shell ankle bracelets of the past.

Can’t make it to the Maui International Hula Competition? Check out other top Maui festivals.