Hula is the ancient, sacred practice of perpetuating the history and traditions of Hawai'i's past. Thought to be evil and sacriligious by Christian missionaries who arrived on the islands in the early 1800's, hula was banned and those caught performing hula were severly punished. Converted to Christianity, the Ali'i (royalty) were convinced to have all of the sacred hula temples destroyed. Kumu Hula (Hula Masters) secretly continuted to practice hula in order to preserve sacred and valuable documentation of Hawai'i's ancestory, culture, history, mythology and the 'aina (land). In the late 1800's, King Kawika Kalakaua, who wanted hula dancers in his royal court, raised the prohibition on hula restoring it as respectable artform in society.
However, Westernization continued to influence Hawaiian culture and hula. With the introduction of ukuleles and guitars, Hawaiian music and hula became melodious and poetic. The growth of tourism spawned a new genre of entertainment hula, far removed in form, from its true origin and sacred roots.
Tiare's Hawai'i native parents had moved to Southern California, as have many islanders, who move to the mainland for better job opportunities and education. Meeting at hula classes was a means for people of Hawaii to connect and socialize, as well as perpetuate Hawaiian culture. Her beloved mother Elizabeth (aka "Auntie Betty") who was a beautiful and dedicated hula dancer, brought Tiare to weekly hula classes since the age of seven. Her teacher, Tani Marsh, had been recruited from Hawai'i in the 1940's to appear in movies such as "Blue Hawai'i", "South Seas", "Hawaiian Nights" and many more, including several appearances on national television such as the "The Liberace Show" and "The Jack Benny Show". Her teacher eventually opened her hula studio in Hollywood, California, where Tiare learned traditional hula and acquired Tani's alluring show biz flair.
A perpetual student of hula, Tiare continues her studies under Kumu Hula and recording artist, Kawika Alfiche of San Francisco. She had the honor as a guest dancer with his group, Halau O Keiki'ali'i, in his New York Times acclaimed production of "Ka Wa Hula" in 2011.
"The Sacred Hula: Ka Wa Hula- Hula Through Time" at Symphony Space, NYC
Hula and the Spirit of Aloha
Passionate about sharing the Aloha Spirit, Tiare's hula performances are both educational and entertaining. Through storytelling and dance, she makes special connections with her audiences, pre-schoolers through senior adults. Her shows are engaging and interactive, leaving audiences with a deeper understanding of Hawaiian culture, the origins of hula and the true meaning of Aloha.
The term, Aloha is popularly known to be a greeting, however, the true essence of the word is about love, kindness, compassion, caring and respect for all. The "gift" of Aloha is shared upon meeting as well as parting. Aloha is a way of life, hence the campaign, "Live Aloha", and the gift that Tiare enjoys sharing, one hula at a time.