This research examines how hula is used in Christian churches on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. To do this, I interviewed five Christian hula ministry leaders and one church official from different denominations of Christianity about their experiences with hula in their churches, in addition to using participant observation to see how two of the represented churches rehearsed and performed their hula. I use Edward Bruner’s (1983) theory of “dialogic narration” and Judith L. Hanna’s (1979) theory of dance as a system of communication to examine three simultaneous and conflicting narratives concerning hula in Hawaiʻi, those being the popular culture narrative, the Native Hawaiian narrative, and the Christian Hawaiian narrative. Further, I found that my contributors’ views hula and its connection to ancient Hawaiian religion can be placed on a continuum from traditional Hawaiian to Christian fundamentalist, which correlate to most accepting of combining Hawaiian religion with their Christian denomination to least accepting. I conclude by explaining these conflicting narratives in relation to Victor Turner’s theory of “multivocal symbols.”
Sociology and Anthropology; Theatre and Dance
Donato, Emily, ""The Word Is Hula": An Exploration of the Use of Hula in Christian Churches on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi" (2016). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 7088.
Christianity | Dance | Ethnomusicology | Hawaiian Studies | Performance Studies
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2016 Emily Donato