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Hale Pulelehua
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Conversations on Own Halau:
Not relevant.

Future of Own Tradition:
Not relevant.

Opinions of Hula Today:
 Click to hear Audio transcript Click to see Video clip
Leilehua Becker Furtado
Honolulu, 2002
In this clip, Auntie Lei shares some advice for dancers.
Length: 5:35

LEI BECKER FURTADO: I'm so fortunate to have been brought up in Beamer...tradition. Because I think we-we really...we had great dancers. Just wonderful dancers. And that's what hula is, it's a face lighting up to--tell the story, and it's...everything about your body is, I love this. And you just don't get it much today.

You have to have...uh, a great love of what you're doing. To the point where you really work at it so that it-it becomes fluid and graceful. And uh...style. And that, of course-and I understand that years and years and years ago, different islands had different--styles. Which-that's what makes hula so interesting. It's the difference between the different dancers. And uh, the-the soloists they have at Merrie Monarch are quite good. The...`ölapa as well as-well...I don't know about the --`auana stuff. I don't know. I love the `ölapa, because--the girls come in and chant and-you know. And there've been a couple that were wonderful. Just fabulous. So that part's okay. But it's just the regimentation. You wonder what they're training with. A Metronome?...Or rock and roll? [CHUCKLES]

Oh, I'm not-I'm not lambasting the-I-I'm glad all of this stuff came back. It's just that to hone it down to an art form-'cause it is an art form. The hula is-is an individual art form. And each family had their wonderful art form. And that's blended now. I know in the family...for example. When you danced, you always had-if your hand was here, your-and this-had something to do. Now, the hand is hanging. Where is-why is it doing that? Put it some place. Anchor it. Little touches of-of sloppiness. Now, not at the Merrie Monarch. They're not sloppy. These girls are, you know, doing exactly what they're supposed to do, which is a regimentation. You know, like the Rockettes. It's all in the right place, but you don't have-you're not having hula, because you're not having the inside coming out. Of course, I-I-I should talk; I don't watch the whole Merrie Monarch. I try to watch when they have the soloists on and…You know, 'cause it's just not…not what we...knew hula to be. And I-I really don't think-it was never competitive. It was sharing. Hula's sharing, not...you know, I'm gonna win and you're not.

They practice so much, so all the hands will be in the right place-- All the feet will be in the right place. That's what the issue is, rather than the dance itself. It...for the most part, most of the time I see people dance, it...they don't convey the joy...of what they're doing. And that's-that's...really missing. A zest in it.

MAILE LOO: What's your...memory, visual memory of Auntie Lou dancing?

LEI BECKER FURTADO: Oh, I loved-I loved her dancing, 'cause she danced with zest. Yeah. It-it's just that she would get up and, boy. And then when Uncle Pono would get up with her-her dad-ah. I used to wait for those times. It was just perfect to see that. And when you see, that kind of zest and that kind of hula...everything else it seems superficial because it's not...inside. It's not the same kinda thing. And of course, we're-we're so prejudiced with our family. [CHUCKLES] And I know another thing. When we danced...each family had a style all their own. There were the Brays-- family. I mean, and you knew it. You knew who came from where. They'd always say, That's a Beamer dancer; That's a Bray dancer. It was wonderful to differentiate between the families. Which they don't-now it's all blended. You don't know who...who they took from.

Opinions of Hula Competitions:
Clip currently under production.

Advice for Young Dancers:
 Click to hear Audio transcript Click to see Video clip
Leilehua Becker Furtado
Honolulu, 2002
In this clip, Auntie Lei shares some advice for dancers.
Length: 3:11

LEI BECKER FURTADO: Practice. Practice the basics unstill-uh, until you-they're a part of you. Because they're very important. You-you learn the basics and you-I mean, you really work at the basics. And so that it becomes a part. So when you go out and dance, you don't think of hips--uh, knees, anything. It's automatic, that part. But you...even when we went with the family. We're all doing the same gesture, even though we haven't danced together in years. But uh, that's the part that's automatic. But you bring a part of yourself to it. And that's-uh, and I'm so fortunate to have been brought up in Beamer...tradition. Because I think we-we really...we had great dancers. Just wonderful dancers. And that's what hula is, it's a face lighting up to--tell the story, and it's...everything about your body is, I love this.

You have to have...uh, a great love of what you're doing. To the point where you really work at it so that it-it becomes fluid and graceful. That's why...the-you should start young to do the hula.

I...taught a hula to my uh, stepdaughter, uh, who's a ballerina, or was a ballerina. And...you just couldn't change...She was well trained in her dance. But you just can't change it. Especially stopping her from going one, two, three, four. [LAUGHTER] 'Cause they're used to kicking way up here. We don't do dat!

I'll tell you. I told my mama one day. I said, Mama, if you wanted me to be a hula dancer, why couldn't you have, number one, taught me the language? She spoke it fluently with my grandmother. Teach me the language. So that I'd know what the heck I was doing! You-you know your dance, but you don't know anything else about it. And uh, in those days, it wasn't...as acceptable to speak Hawaiian. Everybody had to speak English. Even Pidgin was not acceptable. But uh, it's too bad. Because you're learning hula, you should be learning Hawaiian. And it's so much easier for a child to pick that up...than an adult. I can't learn anything now. (Does motion: Goes in one ear, out the other.)
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