Top Tahitian Dancers Showcased at cultural festival:
July 10, 12 & 13, 2013
The vibrant and spirited culture, music and dance of Tahiti will be on display during the 14th annual Te Mahana Hiro’a O Tahiti fête (festival) at the Polynesian Cultural Center on July 10, 12, and 13. This year, the cultural celebration will feature a Tamure Marathon for the first time in the festival’s history, followed by two days of Tahitian dance competition.
Attracting visitors and locals alike, this crowd-pleasing festival features tamari’i (youth) and taure’are’a (adults) dancers from around the island competing in solo and group divisions.
“This annual fête provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the thrilling talents of different skill levels ranging from the eager-to-learn tamari’i to experienced taure’are’a,” said Logo Apelu, PCC’s Chief Operating Officer. “It is a joy to see both tane (male) and vahine (female) performers display their many artistic talents and skills, but more importantly, to see their passion for Tahitian culture come alive on stage.”
New to the fête this year is a three-hour Tamure marathon on Wednesday, July 10. The fun and interactive event introduces beginners to the basic steps and movements of traditional Tahitian dances. The workshops held one after the other are led by expert instructors, with all participants receiving a tee shirt.
The invitational division on Friday, July 12 is one of the most anticipated components of the festival. Only the most skilled and graceful dancers, including many who have won the title of “Best Tahitian Solo Dancer” in other major heiva (a celebration of Tahitian culture) nationwide, are invited to compete individually.
“Our Te Mahana Hiro’a O Tahiti festival is timed each year to coincide with the annual Heiva held in Papeete, Tahiti,” added Apelu. “We are proud to have hosted this festival for 14 years as it honors our mission of preserving the cultures of Polynesia.”
The final day of the festival features tamari’i (children) group performances in the ote’a and aparima styles of dance and solo ote’a performances. The ote’a is the best-known Tahitian style of dance where fast, rhythmic hip movements are synchronized to the rapid beats of wooden to’ere (long wooden drums with a hollowed slit) and other drums. The aparima, literally translated as “kiss of the hands,” is performed to music, including the Tahitian ukulele, and uses hand motions to tell a story similar to the Hawaiian hula.
Competitors in each category are judged on several criteria including skill, grace and speed during the otea as well as their costumes, coordination and timing of the dance with the drumming, and the overall presentation of their performance. Tane, or male dancers are also judged on their paoti – the masculine style of ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance) that features sharp scissor-like movements of the legs.
Te Mahana Hiro’a O Tahiti’s schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, July 10, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tamure Marathon (Novice Tahitian Dance Workshops), Tahiti Village
Friday, July 12, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Invitational Division, Tahiti Village
Saturday, July 13, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Solo and Group Performances, Pacific Theater
Admission for each day of the festival is $10 for adults, ages 12 and up, and $6 for keiki, ages five to 11. Entry into the Tamure Marathon is $10 for adults, ages 12 and up, and $6 for keiki, ages five to 11. Kamaaina Annual Pass holders, full-day ticket holders and keiki under the age of five receive free admission to PCC and all Te Mahana Hiro’a O Tahiti events (excluding the Tamure Marathon).
For more information or to make reservations, visit http://www.Polynesia.com, or call the PCC ticket office at (808) 367-7060. On Oahu, call (808) 293-3333.
[The photo at the top depicts the PCC’s 2011 Te Mahana Hiro’a O Tahiti event.]