Monthly Archives: February 2013

Digital storytelling is like the Hula…


Trust me – it relates…

hula girls

CC Image by By artolog Art Siegel

Years ago, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room, waiting for my mother-in-law to come out of her knee replacement surgery.  It is amazing how many magazine articles you find interesting when there is nothing else for you to do to pass the time.  I came across an article about Hula dancing – not the tourist Hula that I have always pictured with beautiful dancers with huge flowers in their flowing hair, but the “true” Hula in its purest terms.  As such, the photos were of everyday looking people of various ages engaged in dancing.  The article spoke of Hula as a true art form – an interpretive type of dance that tells a story from the heart.  There was a photo of a master Hula dancer, an older woman, a little gray and a little chunky, who was performing a spontaneous Hula dance – the dance was a gift for a friend’s birthday – just because it felt right.  Ever since then, I have wanted to learn how to Hula.

This past week, I created a short digital story using Animoto as a project for class.  My good friends had just come for a visit and the time we spent together caused a flow of thoughts & feelings about what their move away has meant to our friendship.  I had been stuck for inspiration for the project, but I began gathering photos – just because it felt right.  As I arranged the photos, my thoughts & feelings flowed naturally around them.  When the project was completed, I shared it with my friends who were now back at their home on the other side of the state.  They loved it (as good friends must).  It really spoke to them & actually had them tearing up – a much more powerful impact than I thought the digital story would have.  They thanked me for it – and right at that point I had an eye-opening insight – my story had been a gift.  I can’t say that I set out thinking it was a gift for them.  I knew without a doubt that they were the target audience, I knew that I had things I wanted to share with them, but I was not consciously aware that I wanted to give them a gift of sorts.

In retrospect, the project was my own little digital Hula.  Just like that master Hula dancer, I myself am getting a little gray and a little chunky (ok, maybe more than a little), and I created a gift for a friend – just because it felt right.