- Barbara B. Smith
- , revised by Amy K. Stillman
Generic name for Hawaiian dance, sometimes applied loosely to other dances of the Pacific Islands. In Hawaiian hula, gestures of the upper torso and limbs interpret the semantic content of poetic texts called mele, the mood and feeling being conveyed through facial expressions, eye contact and with the hands; named patterned dance steps are coordinated closely with hula-percussion beats. Hula categories reflect combinations of subject matter, choreographic motif and accompanying instruments, mostly played by separate musicians. Seated dances are classified by the name of hand-held implements dancers use in self-accompaniment, e.g. ...