When clients ask how much space should be reserved for our hula dancers to perform, the typical response is that large spaces are the best. However, a sufficient, roomy performance area where dancers are able to move about freely can always be worked with. Our dancers are versatile and able to put on a show in almost any space. However, we ask that you keep in mind that each of the hula dancers you hire for your event will need enough space to be able to extend his or her arms fully without touching anyone or anything. We also ask that the space in which our dancers perform be clean and free of clutter and anything that may injure their feet, as hula requires dancers to work barefoot. We also suggest allowing each hula dancer a 5-10 foot radius to work their magic for your guests. It is also important to know that from time to time, hula dancers shift positions and move both toward the front of the performance area, and away from it, making space for an optimum luau experience something that one should consider.
Audience participation is always a fun addition to any luau show; however, you will need to consider that additional space is required in order for your guests to fully engage, participate, and learn from the hula dancers (or to just shake their stuff). While on stage, our hula dancers try to keep the audience participants close to each other in order to maximize performance space.
If you are considering having a fire dancer in your luau show, such as a fire performance or fire poi dance, please remember that space between your guests and the performance area is highly important, and something we require in order for our specialized performances to happen. The distance of at LEAST ten (10) feet between your audience members and the performance area is critical. This way, when the fire dancer performs, there is a smooth transition, and no need arises for the emcee to ask your guests to move themselves during the show. Even though most performers are professionals who've done it a million times, accidents can happen, and no one wants that. We strive to keep our performances, clients and their guests, safe.
On average, our hula dancers change costumes approximately five times per hula show, so you can imagine how important it is to have a dressing area close to the performance area. Usually after each number, the hula dancers will quickly move off stage to change costumes, and the clock starts ticking.
Although our hula dancers often rotate numbers (so there is always a fresh dancer ready in costume), the hula show will always run more fluidly when hula dancers aren’t having to sprint from one area to the next (hula dancing is already a workout). In addition, having stairs or an elevator tends to complicate things even more. Ideally, a dressing room within fifty feet works well. We also require that our hula dancers DO NOT change in public restrooms. Not only is it unsanitary (as dancers are working barefoot, and their costuming bags are placed on the floor; their costumes and personal items are left unattended and exposed to the public.
WE have done many hula shows where guests floated through the performance area, without a real, designated, audience space. To maximize viewing of the hula dancers and performers, while keeping audience members from floating through the performance area or having to stand on their "tippie-toes" to see the dancers, you should consider having a designated performance area, or designated seating, set out in a way that allows all audience members a premium view of the performance area. We recommend the crescent-chair configuration which seems to work well should you need to arrange seating.
Hula dancing is an absolutely beautiful art form. If you provide your hula dancers with a great performance space, they'll pay you back ten-fold with a beautiful, engaging, and entertaining performance.
Have a great luau show, ALOHA!
*Modified notes from Chris Tuiaana