Hawaiian Dance costumes can be great for a performance or just for a costume party. Hawaiian dances and their related costumes have a long tradition.
Hawaiian Dance Tradition
The hula, the most well-known Hawaiian dance, is appreciated and admired by people from around the globe. The gentle, smooth motions in combination with the story of the music and movement enchant watchers.
While enjoyed by many, the dance has sacred roots in Hawaii. The first hula was said to have been performed by a goddess or group of goddesses, who shared the dance with the Polynesian peoples who settled Hawaii. Because of its foundation in the Hawaiian religious system, the hula was used for ceremonies and rituals, not entertainment. Today's hula is based in the Hawaiian dance of old, but it is used primarily for entertainment.
Classic Hawaiian Dance Costumes
Hawaiian dancers are often pictured in a grass skirt, a coconut bra, and several leis. To make grass skirts, Hawaiians use ti leaves, which are wider than the strands used in most artificial grass skirts. The leaves grow one to two feet in length and have long been used to make articles of clothing, including grass skirts and even rain capes.
Other costumes include long skirts, called pu'a, made of cotton or similar fabric, in traditional prints. The dancers wear a top made from the same fabric or a coordinating color to complete the outfit.
In most cases, Hawaiian dance costumes include leis, used to adorn the neck, head, wrists, or ankles. Costumes may also include anklets made of dog teeth or whalebone.
Finding a Costume
If you are looking for a dance costume with a Hawaiian theme, you have a wide array of types and styles to choose from. For one-time use, such as for a costume party or luau, you may consider a party supply store or a costume shop.
Retailers, such as Party City, offer highly affordable hula attire, such as grass skirts or coconut bras. Online retailers also sell grass skirts, coconut bras, and other accessories for a small financial investment. For example, check out Spirit Halloween. You can buy individual pieces or "kits" that contain the essentials, both for adults and kids.
If you are a hula enthusiast, you may consider purchasing a longer lasting outfit. A company in the contiguous 48 states called Aloha Outlet has a selection of new and pre-owned costumes for sale at extremely reasonable prices.
KTS Hula Supply, headquartered in Honolulu, offers coconut bras in various sizes and also ti leaf skirts made from silk, as well as an assortment of musical instruments used in hula dancing. KTS also sells a variety of leis, including nut, shell, and a variety of plant and flower types.
Making a Costume
If you prefer, you can make your own Hawaiian costume. However, ti leaves may be difficult to get, depending on where you live and how well the leaves survive shipping. To make a grass skirt of artificial materials, you can use a soft rope for a waist band and raffia, purchased from a craft store. Measure a length of rope that encircles your waist and add 12 inches. The additional length allows you to tie the skirt around your waist.
Measure lengths of raffia based on the length of the skirt you want to make. Traditional skirts reach to approximately mid-calf, though you can make your grass skirt shorter or longer. Begin tying the lengths of raffia in the center of the rope and work your way to the end, being sure to leave six inches on each end without raffia. Try on your skirt and have fun.
Choosing an Outfit
Hawaiian dance costumes, though they follow certain guidelines, allow flexibility in length, color, and even style. You can choose from among grass or fabric, coconut bra or cloth top, and even leis or whalebones. With some creativity and imagination, you can find the costume that is perfect for you.