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Today it is estimated there are nearly 2 million people dancing hula in Japan— a figure greater than the entire population of Hawaiʻi. With more people dancing hula in Japan than in Hawaiʻi where the native art was born, this explosive growth has created a multimillion dollar industry based on culture as commodity. But what motivates Japanese students and teachers to dance hula and how is it translated into a foreign culture? How do Native Hawaiians participate in this cross-cultural exchange?
NĀ KAMALEI: THE MEN OF HULA
NĀ KAMALEI: THE MEN OF HULA captures the journey of legendary master teacher Robert Cazimero and the only all-male hula school in Hawai’i as they prepare to compete at the world’s largest hula festival. Beyond deep-rooted stereotypes of ‘grass-skirt girls’, the film tells a story of Hawaiian pride as the men celebrate their 30th anniversary in continuing the revival of men dancing hula.
AMERICAN ALOHA: HULA BEYOND HAWAI'I
For Hawaiians, the hula is not just a dance, but a way of life. Yet while most Americans know only the stereotypes of ‘grass skirt girls’ from old Hollywood movies and tourist kitsch, the revival of the ancient art of hula tells of the rich history and spirituality of Hawai’i. American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai’i discovers a renaissance of Hawaiian culture through music, language and dance as it continues to grow in California.
Following three kumu hula, or master hula teachers, the film celebrates the perpetuation of a culture from the very traditional to the contemporary as it evolves on distant shores. With more Native Hawaiians living on the U.S. mainland than on the islands, the hula is a living tradition that connects generations far from home to their heritage revealing the challenges of cultural survival through the struggles of Hawai’i’s past, American Aloha is a proud reminder of the power of reclaiming tradition for communities creating a home away from home.
One Voice tells the story of the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest through the eyes of the student song directors. Every year in Hawai‘i, 2000 high school students compete in the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest where young leaders direct their peers in singing Hawaiian music in four-part harmony. The Contest is a unique cultural celebration that has become a major local event, broadcast live on TV, played on the radio, and streamed on the Internet.
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