Holo Mai Pele

Holo Mai Pele – Hawaii – 2001 – Epic Hula Myth Performance.  Anyone wanting to witness the expression of a non-European stone-age culture still vibrant, even blossoming in the 21st century, should see this film.  Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, fire, lightening, wind, and the creation of land, is one of the most important deities in Hawaiian mythology.  Hundreds of legends tell of her exploits, family connections, and famous temper.  in Holo Mai Pele one of these legends is recreated in traditional style, using chants and hula to tell of how she sends her sister to another island to fetch her intended lover.  The chants, drumming, dance steps, and costume elements have all been passed down through the generations. A member of the family whose duty it is to  maintain Pele’s legacy, has knit these elements into an hour-long performance, originally aired on PBS.  The performance is divided into several sections, each with its own hula, performed in Hawaiian, with English subtitles.  Each section has an introduction in English, so you can follow the action, and have a sense of its meaning.  What you’ll be seeing is hula as it was danced before the arrival of the white man, revealing pre-colonial thought patterns and customs.  A 34 minute interview with the choreographer/director gives further insight into details of the performance, and its meaning today.  Although Hawaiians suffered the usual list of calamities at the hands of white colonizers, the destruction wasn’t as complete, it happened over a shorter period of time, and Hawaiians retained a greater amount of control over their destinies than natives in North America.  As a result traditional Hawaiian culture has a more prominent position in the mainstream, and is in a stronger position to nurture and provide guidance to the few Hawaiians who remain, as well as to remind other residents whose land they’re occupying.

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