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How to Hula Dance

Get a little hula in your life by learning how to do these basic moves.


  • Step 1: Stand facing your mirror with your feet about four inches apart. Bend your knees and put your hands on your hips.
  • TIP: Dance on a comfortable surface; the hula is always done barefoot.
  • Step 2: Use this four-beat pattern for your feet. First, step eight inches to the right with your right foot. Second, bring your left foot toward your right without sliding it. Third, step with your right foot again, and fourth, bring your left foot toward your right, tapping the ground on the fourth beat. Switch directions, leading with the left foot.
  • Step 3: Now bring your hips into the four-beat mix. As you step to the right, lower your foot toe-heel and lift your hip; repeat with your left foot and hip. Sway right, then left, right again, and then left again. Repeat to the left side.
  • TIP: Keep your knees bent – it helps your hips sway!
  • Step 4: Bend your left arm so your hand is in front of the left side of your chest, palm facing down, fingers together and gently extended. Extend your right arm away from your body at shoulder level and keep your elbow slightly bent, your palm down, and your fingers together.
  • Step 5: Without letting your left arm touch your chest, bend your elbows and wrists so they are swaying in a wave motion. On the first step to the left, switch so the left arm is extended and the right arm is in front of your right breast. Repeat.
  • TIP: As you move, keep your body relaxed but your shoulders still.
  • Step 6: Look out at your extended hand while you're dancing. If mele, or traditional song, accompanies your dance, use your face and eyes to tell the story of the song. And don’t forget to smile! Hula dancing is for celebrations.
  • FACT: 19th-century Christian missionaries urged Hawaiian women to replace the hula skirt with a high-necked, long-sleeved gown called a holoku.

You Will Need

  • A full body mirror
  • A sense of rhythm
  • All the grace and sensuality you can muster
  • Mele
  • the sung poetry that accompanies a traditional hula dance (optional)

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