September 4, 2012

Tahiti Week 2: Dance, Dance History and Tattoos

By Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

by Veronica Sedano (written on August 5)

Week two started off with practice from the time we woke up to the time we had dinner. Our dance practices were for two full days, Monday and Tuesday. One of the crew members, Falea, is very involved in Tahitian dancing and volunteered to teach us. We learned a total of 13 dances. Within that time we also had the opportunity to make our costumes like the Tahitian people do. We hand made them all with leaves and string and added flowers for our headpieces.

Costume making

Costume making

Working on our costumes

Working on our costumes

Wednesday finally came and we were able to perform our dances to the community. It was a lot of fun and it tied in well into our course because we discussed the history of Tahitian dancing and we also visited a Tahitian dance museum to learn more about the history.

Performance day! Falea is in the middle.

Performance day! Falea is in the middle.

Some of the girls and I on performance day

Some of the girls and I on performance day

Museum Costume Collection

Each year the museum adds a costume to the collection of the best costumes worn at the Heiva, an annual dance competition held in Tahiti. They only showcase one a year. So only the best of the best!

Later that week we were personally invited by one of the locals here to attend his dance performance. His dance performance was from the Marquesas Islands. We were able to see the differences between the dances but also the commonalities they share because of their importance. In addition to inviting us to his dance performance, he also came to talk to us about the significance of tattoos (he is also a tattoo artist). He explained that a lot of Polynesians have them and how it is not really seen as taboo here, but rather something that showcases where you come from and what you have done.

Tao tao the tattoo artist/Marquesan dancer

Tao Tao the tattoo artist/Marquesan dancer

Tao Tao with Veronica

Marquesan Dancers

Marquesan Dancers

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