Genre: YA Magical Realism
Title: The Forbidden Hula
Word Count: 88,000
Song: Sweet Leilani (Chris Isaak version: https://www.youtube.
Pitch: Pele reaches out to Lani through her grandmother's dance. Find me. Free me. Tell the truth. Lani will betray hula, her kumu, her heritage, if she dances this heretic hula. But Pele demands sacrifice.
250: In the old days, when the islands of Hawaii were young, the magic of creation still lay thick upon them. And it was wild. It hung in the rocky crevices and treetops like a fog, with the fog. It rushed with the lava. It needed to be controlled. Already the mountains twisted themselves into volcanoes, ready to destroy. Already the people of the islands retreated farther in and higher up and looked with fear upon nature as it gave birth to itself, over, and over, and over. They pleaded for help. They looked to their chiefs.
Kanehoalani was not the greatest chief, but he saw the magic that lingered in the world, and he felt his responsibility. He would tame the island. He would absorb the magic into his own soul. No, the Creator said. He could not hold back the volcano. Only his daughter Pele, who stirred the poi pot, who spoke to the sharks, who learned the movements of the palms could become The Lady of Fire. She would save her people.
"Watch those shoulders!" Lani called over the ukelele music.
Lani's job was to get this roomful of little girls to swing their hips and keep their shoulders still -- basic beginning hula. But they weren't having much luck. They looked more like defective dashboard dolls than the spirit of aloha. Lani stopped the music on her ipod.
"Ok, girls, watch me. What do I do first?"
Lani put her hands on her hips.