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Bringing Hula Back

A Potrero Hill–based dance company turns hula into a form of opera.


Leave the fake leis and ukulele at the resort; the real hula is happening here on the mainland. Patrick Makuakane has given the traditional Hawaiian dance a 21st-century refresh with his Potrero Hill–based hula company, Na Lei Hulu/Ka Wekiu, where he’s spent the past 30 years building what are essentially hula operas—narrative pieces that weave together multiple hula routines and costumes with just a hint of pop influence (some Michael Jackson here, some Boy George there). Check out Makuakane’s latest show, The Natives Are Restless, at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre (Oct. 15–23), or go even deeper on the dance company with author Constance Hale’s new history of the troupe, also called The Natives Are Restless (Oct. 11, Spark Press).


Originally published in the September issue of San Francisco

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