Dork-o-Rama: The Random Thoughts of a Total Goofball

Embracing the Dork Side....Because Life is Too Short to Take Yourself Too Seriously

Monday, May 14, 2007

Waaaaay outside the comfort zone...

This month in hula class, Kumu's making us chant by ourselves.

Let me back up a bit, and bring you this information about hula from Wikipedia:

"Hula is a dance form accompanied by chant or song. It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The chant or song is called a mele. The hula dramatizes or comments on the mele.
There are many styles of hula. They are commonly divided into two broad categories: Ancient hula, as performed before Western encounters with Hawaiʻi, is called kahiko. It is accompanied by chant and traditional instruments.
Hula as it evolved under Western influence, in the 19th and 20th centuries, is called ʻauana. It is accompanied by song and Western-influenced musical instruments such as the guitar, the ukulele, and the double bass."

(See, you get an education here along with the extreme dorkiness!)

What we've been learning since last summer is hula kahiko, so we dance to chanting and drumming on a double-gourd (ipu heke). And we're learning the chants as well. Some of these chants are done without an accompanying dance, such as the one we're doing in front of class.

There's a pretty good example of what I'm talking about here (and wow, the dancing after the solo chant is pretty amazing too). Not only do we have to get the words right, we're supposed to sound like we know what we're saying, and do it with the proper vibrato. It's pretty challenging.

What is my point? It's like singing a solo. And I'd much rather dance a solo than sing one. I've done karaoke, and this is nothing like that. For one thing, there's no alcohol in hula class. Or loud music. Or loud people. Still, I got up and chanted tonight, mainly because I didn't want to spend the next two weeks stressing about it.

HOLY CRAP. My heart was in my throat as soon as I raised my hand and said I'd go first tonight. (If I had any balls, I'd have done it last week, as five of my hula sisters and brothers did.) I am pleased to report that I got it right, after a false start in a key that's too high for me, and didn't vomit from the nerves. I even managed to make eye contact with my hula brothers and sisters, while smiling (the chant is all about welcoming people, so to do it with a scowl or a look of terror is entirely inappropriate).

And now I don't have to worry about it anymore. Until he makes us do something like this again...

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At 15 May, 2007 03:29, Blogger The Savage said...

Woohoo! Congrats and stuff!
Educational dorkiness is pretty darn sexy in my book....

 
At 15 May, 2007 05:43, Blogger Blondie said...

Good for YOU!! Be the brave hula beyotch! WHEEEEEEE! I'm still always impressed by the class alone. I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to shake my hips in public.

 
At 15 May, 2007 11:45, Blogger Chrissie said...

Awesome! Good for you! So did you get a grade? Do you get to like... move up to the "next lvl" like a karate class? lol...

 
At 15 May, 2007 12:25, Blogger Reg said...

You are a very brave soul. I am terrified of singing in front of others. Forget karaoke. There's not enough alcohol or bar noise to cover up the sounds of farm animals being slaughtered also known as my singing voice. It gave me chills just to read about chanting in another language, alone, and in front of an audience. You go girl!!!

 
At 15 May, 2007 14:00, Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

There's nothing like facing a fear and overcoming it. I know this because I sang lead when my kids did a little White Stripes tune for their music recital last year. I always wanted to sing but was too terrified to do it.

Best part- my kids didn't hate me afterwards.

Just don't make me watch the video, not with a straight face anyways.

 
At 15 May, 2007 14:29, Blogger terry said...

savage, i aim to please.

blondie, oddly enough, the hip-shaking comes pretty easily. the chanting does not.

chrissie, no grades...THANK GOD...just a hearty round of applause from my classmates and kudos from kumu. and we'll be the beginner's class until next year, when the next beginner's class gets underway. then we'll be intermediate beginners....!

reg, thank you. i felt like that's exactly what i sounded like, but i was assured otherwise.

then again, this class is all about encouragement and support, so it would be rude to say someone sounded like crap...!

heidi, that's awesome! i've always wanted to be a rock star. and i love that you sang with your kids.

 
At 15 May, 2007 16:48, Blogger Love Monkey said...

Good! That's the best way - jump in an get it over with. Dumb ole'chanting hula thingy. Now you can get back to hula-ing without the pressure!!

How long have you been hula-ing???

 
At 15 May, 2007 16:50, Blogger terry said...

exactly, love monkey. it felt SO good when i was DONE. no more sweating over this. until the next solo chant. and maybe that one won't be as terrifying.

i started hula-ing last july. i was just thinking last night that i'm amazed by how much we've learned since then.

 
At 15 May, 2007 18:55, Blogger Laura said...

oh, i am so proud of u! I remember chanting, when I did hula as a little one, i always thought i was a good singer, so there was no anxiety. now, though...i would die!

prom is june second.

 
At 15 May, 2007 19:11, Blogger The Savage said...

I got more naughty poetry on my blog ifn's ya wanna look...

 
At 16 May, 2007 06:30, Blogger Natalia said...

Sheesh!!! I am so in awe of you. I don't think I am up for anything hula-related yet. But I shall get there.

-N

 
At 16 May, 2007 13:52, Blogger SignGurl said...

Good for you, brave Terry!

 
At 16 May, 2007 21:32, Blogger barngirl110 said...

That's fabulous, Terry! Where's the video?!!! (I think I'd pay to see that!) :-)

 
At 17 May, 2007 12:32, Blogger sassinak said...

it's amazing the first ten times i taught i was this little bundle of funny nerves the whole time...

and man i sucked

now? it's turning into my comfort zone. funny huh?

 
At 17 May, 2007 19:10, Blogger The Savage said...

I dedicated my HNT label to ya....

 
At 17 May, 2007 19:28, Blogger Queen of Cheese said...

Congratulations!

I bet your chant was the best in the class.

:o).

 
At 17 May, 2007 21:38, Blogger terry said...

laura, i'm sure your chanting was lovely. i wish i'd seen that..

dang! i'm going to be in new york during your prom weekend, or i'd make you have coffee or dinner when you come over for your mani/pedi.

savage, always!

nat, thanks! there's really no cause for awe, though. and i hope you DO hula one day. it's really wonderful.

signgurl, thank you!

barngirl, with any luck, there will NEVER be any video of this spectacle...!

sass, that's fascinating. i doubt, though, that i'll ever get comfortable with the solo chanting. dancing, perhaps. i'm better at that.

cheese, thank you...! i was definitely not the best, but i was also definitely not the "worst" (not that i'm judging or anything. ahem.)

 

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