Why I’ll Never Be a Hula Girl

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Maui, Hawaii

Going to a luau is the first thing on everyone’s to-do list in Maui and it was certainly on mine.

Besides delicious pork there’s the hula girls, and I’m a bit ashamed to admit I didn’t think it would be very difficult to do, kinda like belly dancing right.


Oh so wrong.


As Shakira says, hips don’t lie and I’ll never be a hula girl because I have no idea how they can move like this.

My first luau in Maui was at the Westin Wailele Polynesian Luau and it wasn’t considered a traditional Hawaiian luau because it includes fire dancing, which is actually Polynesian.

Regardless of the authenticity I was drawn in from the first performance.



But I was okay with that because they guys dance with fire. Even if it’s not Hawaiian it is still amazing to watch.


polynesian luau

Maui seems to have turned me into a 12-year old girl because I have chef crushes, cowboy crushes and now fire dancing crushes.


That’s a lot of crushing for one girl.


As entertaining as the fire dancing was, I was really captivated by the women dancing. It’s a level of grace on par with ballet and ballroom dancing, up close you see it takes years of training to be this good.

When my mother arrived she also wanted to see a luau in Maui so it was the perfect opportunity to go to the Old Lahaina Luau which everyone raves about and it’s considered the best on Maui. I sat at a table with crusty locals who had free tickets and were ready to criticize but even they had to admit from the costumes to the dancing Old Lahaina was completely traditional.


They don’t have the flash and energy of the Wailele Polynesian Luau but the luau takes you through the history of Hawaii and the costumes reflect the earliest days through when new settlers decided they should cover up. But the story remained beautiful and impressive.


Maui Luau

Maui Luau

I had so much respect for the dancers, but also for Maui to continue teaching visitors the story of their land. Just another reason why Maui is so much more than a great beach, the indigenous heritage remains strong. Every day it captures a bit more of my heart.


Disclosure: I was a guest of the Maui Visitors Bureau, they did not request that I write a favourable review or insist that I feel like a robot for not being able to move as gracefully as a hula dancer.

Join the Conversation

  1. The Hula is so beautiful in Hawaii. I have always dreamed of going to watch the Mary Monarch Hula Festival on the Big Island. You are right, there is a level of skill and beauty to Hula that is breathtaking.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh I am sure the festival would be incredible.

  2. as much as I hate luaus, i have to say that i just LOVE watching hula. I hear you, my hips just don’t move like that!! 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You hate luaus? Why?

  3. Carolyn Jung says:

    I wish I could gyrate like THAT! So graceful and so full of emotion. Instead, I just have two left feet and hips that practically creak. 😉

  4. I’m also amazed by the way they can move their hips. I’m happy to know that it takes years of training to learn it because now I don’t feel so bad for not having rhythm.

  5. Chrystal McKay says:

    I tried belly dancing – I’m not good at that – no rhythm at all. So this would look incredible too!

  6. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    I would love to take a hula class, how much fun! How beautiful is that 1st video?

  7. Audrey | That Backpacker says:

    Dang, they can move! Shakira may have taken a lesson or two from them… 😉

  8. Waegook Tom says:

    Great post! Not sure if my hip action would lend itself to a career as a hula dancer either, although I think I’d look rather fetching in a grass skirt. My hand-eye co-ordination (or lack thereof) rules out dancing with fire immediately.

    You’re right about how it’s great that Maui teaches visitors about its culture. Unless people go looking for it specifically, the underlying cultures and traditions of a place can go overlooked. Education and breaking down borders in Hawaii!

  9. Holy fack that is impressive. The dancing! Ahhhhh! Amazing. I LOVE that first photo too. I need to go to Hawaii…

  10. Angie Away says:

    Ooooh I love Hawaii so much! I’ve been three times but still haven’t been to a luau… I think it’s about time. Maybe I can take a hula class?

  11. Hawaii is on top of my bucket list for long. Hopefully soon ! Thanks for sharing this beautiful post 🙂

  12. I have always wanted to be a hula dancer. My big chance was when I dressed as a hula girl for Halloween when I was 8-years-old. Then it snowed and I had to wear a coat over my grass skirt. That was as close as I got, and it wasn’t even close. 🙁

  13. Jonathan Look, Jr. says:

    I was once dragged into trying Hula in Hawaii. I felt like such a dork. Those ladies are amazing. My body just doesn’t move that way.

  14. I’m sure this would be really great to watch, but I’m with you, my hips do not move like that!

  15. You know… for kids!

  16. I tried belly dancing in the middle of the desert in Dubai. Let’s just say it was a good thing I was in such an isolated spot!

  17. I love hula. I was able to go to Merrie Monarch festival this year to watch the different hula troops and I was entranced. It was such a special occasion and I loved the different costumes and routines. A very unique experience that I was glad I was there for!

  18. Kristen Shawn says:

    That is the coolest dance I have ever seen. I will have to go to Hawaii so that I can have a first hand experience of this. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  19. Bret @ Green Global Travel says:

    I love luaus! First time I ever went to Hawaii, I went to a huge one thrown for visiting media, with the suckling pig, poi, the whole nine yards. My buddy and I decided to order our fruity tropical drinks by color rather than name, and by the end of the night we’d drunk ourselves through the rainbow. Bad idea, but GREAT hula girls!

  20. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey says:

    Now I’ve got a craving for pork and a Shakira song stuck in my head…

  21. I’d be up for trying this when I’m in Hawaii next month!

  22. Cole @ Four Jandals says:

    Looks like loads of fun! Love watching traditional dances.

  23. I was in a Polynesian dance group in college, and the video brought back great memories! I sorely wish I had continued on with the dancing, I loved it so much! *sigh* I’m going to go live in Hawaii one day! 🙂

  24. I love watching hula dancers! I used to watch the professional show at the Polynesian at Disney World when I was a kid. And I’ve loved Maui.

  25. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    This post reminds me of learning to salsa in Ecuador. My instructor kept saying, “Mueve las caderas.” Hula dancers are even more impressive I think.

  26. Camels & Chocolate says:

    I’ve been to luaus in the Cook Islands, but I don’t think I ever made it to one in Hawaii any of the three times I was out there. Shameful–I know!

  27. Never did see one when in Oahu, thought I did search but all seemed so commercial…

  28. Christine says:

    I like the videos and pictures you posted about hula dancing. It brings back fond memories of the my visits to Maui.

  29. I’m always in love with fire performances – not matter how cliche or touristy they are. It is always impressive. These pics are great Ayngelina. <3

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