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Hula Is More Than a Dance—It's the 'Heartbeat' of the Hawaiian People

On the Hawaiian island of Kauai, hula teacher Leina’ala Jardin guides her hālau (class) in a sunrise chant before the anniversary performance. This Kumu Hula (master teacher) holds the important responsibility of passing on the tradition of the ancient art form to her students. In this immersive short film by Bradley Tangonan, experience the ritual and beauty of the hula as Leina’ala Jardin reflects on the invaluable role the dance has played in continuing their cultural heritage. “The Hawaiian people did not have a written language, and it was the hula that kept all the stories alive.”

Produced by MVNP in partnership with Hawaii Tourism USA.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.