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Ancient Hula Type Name
Click to hear the pronunciation
Hula Ka`i (Entrance dance)

Further Detail
A Hula Ka`i, or entrance dance, is a practical means for dancers to enter the stage in a ceremonious manner. The particulars of style and choice of chant will vary depending on the hula tradition. In Hula Pahu (dance with drum), a chant does not always accompany the Hula Ka`i and the steps used are moving versions of specific pahu steps.

Common Hula Ka`i chants with ipu accompaniment are "Ho`opuka Ka L Ma Ka Hikina" and "Ho`opuka Ka L I Kai O Unulau." With chants such as these, dancers may enter the stage with repetitive footwork and hand movements or with varied footwork and hand movements that tell the story of the chant. Whether the Hula Ka`i is a Hula Pahu or accompanied by ipu, the entrance dance positions the dancers onstage.

The complement to a Hula Ka`i is a Hula Ho`i, or exit dance. The same varied approaches to getting on the stage apply to exiting the stage as well.

General Body Position: K (standing)
Can be for Game, Pastime, or Sport: No
Implement or Instrument: With or Without

Published Research Sources

Hawaiian Dictionary (Puku`i/Elbert)
- Definition #1 of "ka`i" has a number of descriptions. The ones relevant to this hula type read "to come dancing out before an audience", and "the chant during which dancers appear and leave." There is no listing for "Hula Ka`i."

N Mele Hula volume 1 (Beamer)
- This Volume contains one Hula Ka`i on pages 70-71, namely "Ho`opuka e Ka L ma Ka Hikina." Beamer includes background on the hula type and chant, full text with translation, and her chant melody.

N Mele Hula volume 2 (Beamer)
- Volume 2 contains a Hula Ka`i in the Beamer tradition, namely "Ho`opuka Ka L I Kai O Unulau." Beamer provides recollections of learning this hula type and chant with her grandmother, background on the chant, and full text with translation.

Hula Pahu volume 1 (Kaeppler)
- Page 75 of Chapter "The Classical Tradition" describes the ka`i (entrance) and ho`i (exit) movements for Hula Pahu as moving versions of specific pahu steps. The pattern is repeated until the dancers are in place and is not accompanied by chant.

Hula Pahu volume 2 (Tatar)
- Page 298 explains how the Hula Ka`i of a Hula Pahu are not determined by the chant text but rather the drumbeat patterns. Often there would be no chant accompaniment to a ka`i (entrance) for a Hula Pahu.

Sacred Hula: The Historical Hula `la`apapa (Stillman)
- Page 21 notes a "Ka`i with Ipu" as "`Ike i ka wai `ula iliahi o Waimea." Pages 29-30 provide insight into how most Hula Ka`i conform to the characteristics of Hula `la`apapa. Appendix A contains five references to "ka`i" (entrance).

Additional Notes
Please see "Published Sources" section above for greater detail on where to find documented research on this Hula Type.

Please also consult the "Kupuna" section at bottom to read and hear what our elders have to share.


Related Chants
Ho`opuka Ka L I Kai O Unulau (The sun rises over the sea of Unulau)

Related Implements/Instruments

Related Küpuna
Beamer, Nona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha
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