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BY: SOKO BANFORD

The Tauolunga is one of many Polynesian dances. Its often performed by girls at family gatherings such as
weddings and family reunions. The Tauolunga is very graceful and is a series of hand movements. It is a very
sacred dance of Tonga and is performed accordingly to its rules of movement and direction. The Tongan
Tauolunga was adopted from the Samoan Taualuga. The Tauolunga was developed for young maidens of
the village to perform, showcasing their grace and untouched beauty. This dance is a notable symbol of
Tongan heritage. The beauty of being taught to Tauolunga is who is chosen to perform is held with sincere
regard, loved for every second they dance and honored as a jewel of their family.
The movement of the head is also important. Your head and
eyes should follow the direction where your hands goes and
also it is to be directed towards the guest of honor and the
audience. From time to time you would nod your head within
one beat or two, its called a teki. Its a must for the girl
performing this dance to smile. Most of the time the legs must
stand still only small steps and a turn around is allowed. Each
movement you make has to be steady. The girls hand actions
tell the story of whatever song she is dancing too. In overall
the girls movement should be humble, softened, and royal.
The costume illustrates the culture of Tonga. The
Tauolunga girl is usually wrapped in a traditional dance
dress made of Tapa cloth or fine Tongan mats. Its hand
made with many materials with drawn with traditional tribal
designs. The materials include hand-woven leaves of variety
of colors, sweet smelling flowers and plants. Also to top it off
shells and feathers. Around her middle she wears a belt
made from leaves and fragment flowers. The more natural
materials are used for her whole dress the better it is. The
outfit is traditional.

They apply oil on her exposed skin parts so that they


shine, embracing her beauty. Legend says that if the
oil dries up quickly then the girl is not a virgin.
Tongan oil was used but nowadays baby oil is being
used to put on their skin. It is usual for a girl to start
the dance, then parents, cousins, family members or
friends come on the stage to put money notes on her
oiled skin, and then join her. The money is to reward
her.

Tahitian dance is vibrant and has a long history of cultural


significance. These dances can be performed at certain events
and occasions. They are many dance styles. Tahitian dance has
had a difficult history, but despite setbacks it remains to be very
popular. The name obviously speaks for itself, Tahitian dance
came the island Tahiti. It consists of fast, rhythmic hip
movements. These hip isolations are highlight of many luau
performances. Tahitian isnt also for females, its also for
males. It involves them opening and closing slightly bent knees
like scissors.
Early age of Tahitian dancing, performances were symbolic and
significant. Not just an art form. Native people of Tahiti had different
dances for different occasions. Tahitian myths and legends were acted
out through traditional dance. One of the most popular style dances is
otea, which is performed by a large group of either all male or female
dancers. The costumes worn are obviously traditional. Mostly all
Polynesian dances, the costumes have to be traditional.

This dance is performed all around the world. Visitors


around the world would travel to Tahiti or Hawaii to be a
part of the Polynesian festivities. Its very fun to watch.
Each and every dancer stands out on stage. Their hip
shaking turns a lot of heads. Smiling is a must while
performing; it wouldnt look right if they werent.
Fa`arapu is one of the most basic moves, all it is a fast
circle. A complete circle might I add, it has to be full.

Their training is extensive and the movements


that you see are breathtaking. Its not as easy as
it looks. The movements of the hips and the
gracefulness of the hands tell a complete story.
The beat of the drums keep the dancers in
rhythm as they move around the floor with ease.
Each dance portrays a symbol of life in one way
or another. Toma is an easy move, its just one
hit to the side. Toma toma is two hits to one side,
then two hits to the other side.

Tau'olunga
(Tongan/Samoan)

Tahitian
(Tahiti)

Hula
(Hawaiian)

Meke
(Fijian)

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