Members of Hawaii Community College’s hula halau, Unukupukupu, have been invited back to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2013 after opening the festival last year with a performance on the mainstage that thrilled the international audience.
Taupouri Tangarō and four other members of Unukupukupu will travel to Washington, D.C., this summer and take part in one of the Folklife Festival’s programs called “One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage.”
In preparation for the event, the Smithsonian has produced a short documentary video in which Tangaro, a hula professor at Hawaii CC, describes the connection between Native Hawaiian language and hula dancing. “If there’s a hula dance, there’s words,” Tangaro says in the video. “We can’t dance without narrative. The language is how we communicate to our universe. People think hula is choreography. Hula is first a language that has a choreographical piece to it.”
The Smithsonian published the video in December. It can be viewed at this link: http://www.festival.si.edu/2012/hula-preserving-native-hawaiian-language....
Last year, the University of Hawaii was among 20 public land grant universities featured in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Dozens of faculty, staff, students and community members traveled to the festival and shared Native Hawaiian culture. The 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is June 26-30 and July 3-7.