When I was growing up, there was a wonderful hula show in Waikiki that we'd check out. It was mainly for tourists but the locals enjoyed it. Originally, the Kodak Hula Show was started in 1937 by a member of Kodak Hawaii as a way to provide a daytime photo opportunity for all the tourists.
Up to that point, most hulas were performed at the luaus sponsored by hotels at night. Early cameras often had trouble capturing good photographs in limited light. Even now, it can be challenging to get that perfect photo of something happening at night. The executive decided that tourists needed a place to go during the day, watch the hula and be able to snap picture after picture. Of course people would think of Kodak due to their sponsorship but tourists went home with pictures to share.
Over the its 65 year history, there were three shows a week, every week, year round. The show came complete with an MC, dancers and musicians. It was quite popular. I read that the first shows had only about 100 people but later ones hosted 3000 attendees. Understand, not everyone who attended was a tourist. Many locals would go to watch, just because it was fun to see.
I did some research to find out when and why it stopped. According to an article I found, its last show was back in 2002 due to the economy and a decrease in tourism. Tourists provide a substantial boost to the Hawaiian economy. Now, there are some shows left but they aren't the same.
You can still see regular hula shows today at the following places.
1. Kuhio Beach. There are shows three days a week weather permitting. I love going to these shows because the local hula schools rotate performing.
2. The Royal Hawaiian Center offers hula lessons, hula and Hawaiian music shows.
3. Ala Moana Center often offers hula shows
4. There are a few other shows but most require an entrance fee.
There is a fancy show at one of the hotels which requires an entry fee but if you end up in just the right place, you can watch it for free. I'm not going to tell you where but I'll give you a hint. Its down at the hotel located at the Ala Moana Center side of Waikiki. A few friends and I found a spot outside of the gates with a terrific view and enjoyed the show. Yes, we sat on the cement but it was fun and we had a great time......LOL