Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.
Pacific Island Dancing

Tahitian


Pat, Nita, and Amanda performing tales of an enchanted Tahiti

 

Dancing is another of my favorite interests and on Moorea I was able to attend Tahitian dance lessons with Pat who I introduced in "Sugar." Our tutor was Nita who had a ready effervescent smile and a love of dance that radiated through the class. Nita wore a fresh bright yellow flower crown that highlighted the standard class dress of a small top or bikini and a length of fabric wrapped around our hips called a pareau. Dance class had been running for three months twice a week, so needles to say I ended up dancing two movements behind everyone else. We practiced five dances, three that were slow and fluid in movement with songs expressing Tahiti, her islands and her people. The other two dances were the traditional Tamure, a fast rhythmic drum beat to which you essentially wiggle your hips in a rapid movement to the drums, keeping your feet flat on the ground and upper body still while moving your arms. It all looks rather easy but then you then have to walk and turn remembering to keep your eyes following your hands. I was rather glad class was just an hour and a half for at the end my bottom felt like Jell-O and my thighs as if they were in a monkey grip. Over all it was a great workout, a lot of fun, and an insight into Tahiti's charm.

 

Cook Island

With a few days free in Rarotonga I hope to be able to persuade someone teach me a local dance or two. Cook Island dancing is similarto Tahitian but without the dramatic Tamure. The feet are moved more, with alternating feet being presented sideways on each beat of the music. The upper body remains still while the hands, arms and eyes tellthe story. I've asked around but there is no one who gives lessons and a few people even suggested that I attend aerobics instead, guess I'll keep asking.


Traditional dancing, Cook Islands.

 

Vanuatu


Traditional Custom Dancing of the
Small Mambas, Malakula Island

 

We were invited to watch a dance performance by the village at Banam Bay on SE Malakula Island. As a means to create income for the village they have formed a culture group to perform their traditional dancing. Their art of dancing had nearly been lost and was restored and taught three years ago by a village elder who now overseas the performances.

The men dance separate from the women and it is tabu for the village women to view and enter the men's sacred dancing compound called a Nasara. It is here that the men danced dances of life representing happiness, the sun, circumcision, and the life of a warrior. The women's compound is just outside and we watched the women and children dance to a quick slit drum rhythm and chanting. They stood in two rows and every so often in time to the music would cross over finishing with a whoop and holler. The women invited the ladies in our party to join in and we proceeded with a slow run and hop crossing over to the other line now and then. It was exciting standing next to these strong proud women dressed only in grass skirts, for time seemed to stand still.


Amanda joins the women in performing custom dancing

I had worn my flower crown that I made in Tahiti and Jean who I had met the day before was very interested in it. I asked for some pandanas and if it was possible to pick some flowers and leaves to show her how it was made. Before long we had quite and audience and I ended up giving her crown as a present. In return she presented me with a pandanas mat she had woven. Plaiting a seam down the middle then joining two halves together starts their most common mat. The end product is a little smaller than the Fijian mat but has an interesting center seam from which radiates dyed strips.

I spent time joining my new friends Mehaf and Jean under the trees in the shade swapping information on our lives. I had bought ashore some Scottish Country and Tahitian dance music and did a small performance, they giggled and exclaimed when I wiggled my hips to the Tahitian tamure, and gazed in amazement at the footwork of Scottish. I even convinced a couple of women to join me, they found that it hurt to point their toes for the Scottish steps though they enjoyed the rhythm.


Amanda chatting with Jean after dancing


Amanda shops for a Ni-Vatu "Mother Hubbard" Dress

 

Arriving in the capital of Port Vila I had fun scoping out the local market, having enjoyed the colorful "Mother Hubbard" dresses of the Ni-Vanuatu women I had a great time choosing a dress.

 

Click on your interest for:

Hiking - Noumea

Pacific Island Weaving

Pacific Island Quilting

Braided Eye Splice

Dancing - Vanuatu



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