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Founded and directed by Kumu Lani Isaacs, a lifelong dancer, teacher and choreographer, ‘Alohi Polynesian Dance Academy is a hālau providing training in Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Maori dance.


‘Alohi Polynesian Dance Academy’s curriculum is grounded in the learning of basic hula (dance) steps in Hawaiian, Tahitian and Maori disciplines. In our meticulous Level 1 classes, you will learn how to perform the basic steps in the Academy’s style, as well as the dance terminology that goes with it. In our Level 2 class and above, you will learn dance choreography in unison with each cultural mele (song), chant and drum beat. Knowledge of the cultural languages is not required, though, during the course of your studies, it will be necessary for you to learn to sing or chant some or all of the words to many of the songs.

Performance skills are incorporated into the teaching, and your training will be based on helping you develop into a skilled performer. Performances are an aspect of our curriculum as they provide the means by which we achieve our goal as an educational institution. Participation in performances is based upon need and skills as determined by Kumu Hula only.

Be advised that preparation for some performances and/or community events may require changes in the class schedule; which includes temporary cessation of regular classes.


Members are required to purchase APDA uniform to wear during practice (2 shirts for $28).

  • Hula pā’ū are $25 for kaikamāhine (girls) and $35 for wāhine (women).

  • Pareau are $5 for tamahine (girls) and $10 for vahine (women).

  • Poi balls are $10/pair.

Ka Papa Hula

  • Kaikamāhine dancers wear a hālau hula pā’ū, an APDA t-shirt and Danceskin style shorts (mid-thigh). All wāhine dancers wear a red hālau hula pā’ū, APDA t-shirt and Danceskin style shorts (mid-thigh).

  • Keikikāne (boys), ‘ōpio and kāne (men) dancers, wear loose fitting black basketball type shorts (no running shorts) and an APDA t-shirt.

Ka Papa Tahiti

  • Tamahine (girl) dancers wear a pareau, an APDA t-shirt and Danceskin style shorts (mid-thigh). All vahine dancers wear a red hālau pareau, an APDA t-shirt and Danceskin style shorts (mid-thigh).

  • Tamaiti (boy) and tāne (men) dancers wear loose fitting black basketball type shorts (no running shorts) and an APDA t-shirt.


​The origins of hula are lost in the distant past. The ways in which hula was taught and lived have changed dramatically over the years. The ways in which hula is taught today differs from decades ago. Despite those changes, there are still rules of behavior that govern how we are to behave in the hālau, in our classes, and towards our Kumu Hula and their Kōkua (assistants). The following are the formal Policies and Procedures of ‘Alohi Polynesian Dance Academy.

  1. Personal hygiene and grooming are very important in hula! All garments should be clean and pressed.

  2. Attire for attendance in all classes is the Academy uniform: black APDA t-shirts for both kāne (male) and wāhine (female). Kāne dancers are required to wear black loose-fitting shorts. Wāhine and kaikamāhine dancers are required to wear hālau issued hula pā’ū  and pareau.

  3. Kāne with long hair and all wāhine/kaikamāhine should have their hair up neatly in a bun, pulled back or braided.

  4. Please be courteous to the class. If you are running late, are ill, or intend to not attend class, please inform Kumu or your class kōkua (assistant) before class starts.

  5. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what was taught and to then learn it.

  6. Questions are welcomed, but please do not disrupt class. Ask at an appropriate moment, preferably during a break.

  7. Guests who visit with an interest to join APDA are welcome to sit and observe one class. If you return to observe again, you will be considered a walk-in, and will be required to pay the $25 walk-in session fee.

  8. Parents and young siblings, and other family members of students are welcome to stay and observe one class. We ask that they sit quietly and watch without disrupting the class. 

  9. Video and photography is NOT allowed at any time.

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In addition to the formal policies above, there are important hula hālau protocol which every dancer should know and observe:

  1. Always  show respect to the alaka’i and kōkua (assistants). They should be addressed by their first name or by the acceptable title of “uncle” or “auntie.” Kumu Lani should be referred to by her title, “Kumu.”

  2. At the end of class, all students should help clean the hālau. Students must sign up for weekly hālau kuleana (see bulletin board for assignment sheet).

  3. When Kumu is speaking or showing an example, please keep quiet and pay attention. listen and learn from what is being said or demonstrated. you will benefit from paying attention.

  4. Think before asking questions. Use your own eyes and ears first: learn by observing.

  5. Learn and practice what you are taught so you can keep up with your class.

  6. Always take off your shoes before you enter the heart of the hālau. Please leave your shoes in the designated cubbie just inside the doorway. When you go outside, put your shoes on so that you don’t bring dirt back into the hālau.

  7. Beepers and cell phones should be turned off unless you are expecting an emergency call (if so, please explain to the Kōkua or Kumu before class).

  8. Handle your hula attire with respect: hula pā’ū are considered to be a sacred garment, and should not be treated casually or carelessly.

  9. As you continue your training, you will often hear the phrase, “ai ha’a”  which literally means, “bend down” or “go lower.” This low-to-the-ground style of dancing is a trademark of the Academy. Also,“ha’a” or“ha’aha’a” means to “be humble,” which is a trademark of hula. Please remember to always respect your “hula elders,” which means not only your teachers and their assistants, but also your hula sisters and brothers who have more experience in this hālau than you do.

  10. When you join a new class, show respect for your classmates by remaining at the back of the class. The front row positions belong to the more experienced dancers; wait to take a front row position until you are asked to by an assistant or your Kumu.

  11. If you visit a class that is not your own (for example, to review your basics), remain in the back of the class. Keep in mind that you are a guest when you are not in your own class.

  12. Try to remember to ask the kōkua or alaka’i to help you, and not your classmates. It is the responsibility of the kōkua or alaka’i to help you, and they will be sure to show you the correct movements.

  13. All students (haumāna) start in the Level 1 class and will be placed in an appropriate class based on skill level as determined by Kumu. Please be aware that ongoing attendance is necessary to be successful in class, as choreography is learned in progression.

  14. It is inappropriate to share what is learned at ‘Alohi Polynesian Dance Academy with non-Academy members, including choreography or original mele, without permission from the kumu.

Final Points

  • The hālau is NOT a playground. Children should be discouraged from running, yelling, or playing inside the hālau.

  • Practice is fundamental! Some people find it helpful to (audio) record the class so that they can practice at home; others make note of steps and choreography. Whatever you need to help you learn is recommended. Keep in mind your reasons for wanting to learn to dance and apply those reasons as part of the discipline of learning.

  • Community kōkua are a big part of the Academy’s mission to mālama (take care) and support our island communities. Please show your support and plan on participating in these activities when called upon by Kumu.


Class Kōkua (helpers), or alaka’i, are there to assist Kumu Lani with some classes. Be sure that you introduce yourself to him or her, as they may be new to your class. Academy communications are primarily channeled via email, the class bulletin and our website. Keep in mind that there are many of you and only one Kumu. It is imperative that we have a way in which to get in contact with you (email and telephone).


It is your kuleana (responsibility) to regularly check your email, the class bulletin or the website for updated class and event information.

Lastly, if you eventually decide that ‘Alohi Polynesian Dance Academy is not for you, please continue to show your respect for the Academy and the Kumu Hula: (1) let your Kumu know you have decided to leave and why; (2) let your Kumu know where you intend to go; and if you choose to study at another hālau,  (3) let the new Kumu Hula know where you’ve been studying and why you left.

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