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American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai'i

4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Price: $34.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: CustomFlix
  • DVD Release Date: July 13, 2006
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00030J23I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,764 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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For Hawaiians, the hula is not just a dance, but a way of life. Yet while most Americans know only the stereotypes of 'grass skirt girls' from old Hollywood movies and tourist kitsch, the revival of the ancient art of hula tells of the rich history and spirituality of Hawai'i.

American Aloha discovers a renaissance of Hawaiian culture through music, language and dance as it continues to grow in California. Following three kumu hula, or master hula teachers, the film celebrates the perpetuation of a culture -from the very traditional to the contemporary- as it evolves of distant shores.

With more Native Hawaiians living on the US mainland that on the islands, the hula is a living tradition that connects generations far from home to their heritage. Revealing the challenges of cultural survival through the struggles of Hawai'i's past, American Aloha is a proud reminder of the power of reclaiming tradition for communities creating a home away from home.

Featuring Kumu Hula Sissy Kaio and Hula Halau 'O Lilinoe Na Pua Me Kealoha, Kumu Hula Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu and Na Mele Hula 'Ohana, and Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakane and Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu.

National Broadcast on PBS on the P.O.V. series on August 5, 2003


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars educational, entertaining and mesmerizing...... October 5, 2005
This was first aired, two years back, on POV (Point of View), an independent film show on PBS. Not only do we get a sense of the history of the art form (as a form of worship and cultural expression), but also as a community builder for Hawaiians who have migrated to the Main Land. This dance form isn't exclusive to Hawaiians, either. It has crossed over with Anglo, Black and Asian dancers as well.

This documentary looks at the art of hula in three distinctive segments, as interpreted by three different choreographers.

The first is a glimpse at the traditional interpretation of the art form, as a choreographer who is a direct descendent of a Hawaiian priestess builds a community of dancers as part of the Halau (or dance congregation), and encourages people of all ages to dance together, and stick to the traditional movements and rhythms. The second part looks at a man who has taken artistic license with the traditional rhythms of hula, pushes his dancers to be the best, as competitors, and is scrutinized by traditionalists who do not approve of the variation of rhythms he has incorporated, along with traditional movements. The third part looks at the revolution and evolution of hula, today, and at a choreographer who is taking the art form to the next level. He sets traditional movements to techno and contemporary popular music, while maintaining the authentic choreography and a true feeling of respect for the dance form. Hula was once a forbidden dance in the Hawaiian islands, once English colonists arrived, and, therefore he conveys that in history lessons that accompany the performances with his dance group.

Not only is the dancing beautiful and sensuous, but you also come away with a better sense of hula and where it comes from. Never again will you only think of (to quote a dancer interviewed in the documentary) "Don Ho and 'Tiny Bubbles.'"
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoa! Patrick Makua-ane! Yum! May 19, 2005
This documentary has three goals. 1) It shows that hula is not Hollywood kitsch, but a true art form. 2) Both sexes, not just women, are dedicated to it. 3) It's not a cute, easy dance: it is a culture and requires intense practice.

This film says that more Native Hawaiians live on the Mainland than in Hawaii. Throughout you hear Hawaiians mention how much they miss the island. I think many diasporan and immigrant peoples could relate to this. Nuyoricans have said the same about Puerto Rico. Chamorros on the Mainland have said the same thing about Guam. I wonder if the British in New England or the Swedish in Minnesota would say the same about their homelands, respectively.

In this film, one sees that hula is a highly gendered dance. The women dance in a very feminine way and the men in a very masculine way. There is bi-gendered dancing here, but its style never stands out. This documentary says that the hula resurgence has also stirred a resurgence in Hawaiian music and language. Though musicians beat gourds and the dancers sing in Hawaiian, there was not enough focus upon the music and the language revival. Perhaps that can be captured by another documentary.

I personally think Polynesians are drop-dead beautiful. In this documentary, others will get to see how accurate my opinion is. Many of the dancers here were either part or entirely Asian, Black, or White. The interviewees never say, "Yes, hula is for everyone, not just Polynesians." Ironically, by not stating this it seems to suggest just how inclusive this dance culture is.

One hula instructor named Patrick Makuak-ane is possibly the most beautiful man on Earth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awaken your mind and spirit! August 9, 2007
This DVD is so beautifuly presented it makes you want to join a hula halau as soon as it is over. This presentation really makes you aware how important hula is to the Hawaiian culture and its people. Three kumu hulas are interviewed in this DVD and some of their shows are presented as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Documentary May 13, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A great documentary about Hula kumus in California. An excellent look into how Hawaiian culture survives away from the islands. I just wish there was more dancing!
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