Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What I Learned at the Luau; or, The Cool Hot Center Guide to Hawaiian Narrative Dance

The Memsahib and I are having a wonderful time over here in Hawaii.  A couple of evenings ago we attended the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui, the biggest in Hawaii.   The centerpiece was a number of performances by native Hawaiian dancers illustrating the history, legends, and sayings of these lovely islands.  The narrator was an elderly "chanter."  I had some trouble understanding everything he was saying, but by listening carefully and correlating the young dancers' movements with the spoken word, I believe I was able to piece together a lexicological guide to interpreting the moves of traditional Hawaiian interpretive dance.

For example:

 "Maori warriors voyage to Islands by canoe in 1823,
conquer local tribes, introduce electric pedal steel guitar"

 "Our President notwithstanding, we hardly have any black people in this state"

"Captain Cook dump boatload of round-eyed devils on Islands, spread many social disease, boat with penicillin sunk in Kanalua Harbor by Ho'wardcurl'ai, God of Imbecility"

"King David Kmlppailekekekeke'i'i revered among all Hawaiian monarch for develop theory of global mellowing -- also restore alcohol sale in gentlemen hula club"

 "We welcome you, O descendants of honky of the tiny brain bring mongoose to Hawaii in 1923 to hunt rat when rat is nocturnal and mongoose is diurnal, resulting in many hungry mongoose 
who eat the eggs of cute native bird, but no rat"

 "I smile only for you, O Greatest of All Deities Walletcleanakoi'ai, God of Tips"

 "Angry God Mahuunawhirly only be placated by offering of 
twisted charter helicopter wreckage in remote Na Pali canyon"

"Much native trinkets available at front counter half-price today only"

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