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Tahitian Dance

Mention Tahiti and you'll get a myriad of responses. It's the birth place of one of the most vibrant and entertaining ethnic dances in the world - the tamure. Tahiti e Imua.

First-hand experiencing of the enchanting beauty and charm of ancient Tahitian dances and cultural presentations is unforgettable. The pulsing drums, the blur of the hip shaking, intoxicating tropical flower scents, and the unmistakable energetic performance that is Tahitian dance are brought together here. Feel free to explore our growing collection of information and sources of the dance and culture of Tahiti.


Tahitian Dance Groups Directory and Tahitian Dance Events Calendar.

More and more of the Tahitian dance groups are coming online. This makes it easier to get in touch, organize and coordinate to give you the information you are looking for. Visit your local Tahitian dance group or look into finding a group in your area.

Dances and Songs of Tahiti

The true name of the Tahitian dance is "'Ori Tahiti". The first names of all the kind of dances have completely disappeared. Today, only the word "Hura" is still used.

The most spectacular of all Polynesian dances, performed by a group of male dancers (‘Ote’a Tane) or a group of female dancers (‘Ote’a Vahine), or sometimes male and female dancers (‘Ote’a Amui). It is inspired by old legends; the themes consist of a certain number of variations, the length of each one being determined by the beats of the To’ere. Sometimes the theme of the ‘ote’a is a contemporary one (celebration of a wedding, welcome of an important visitor, marking of an important event, etc.). The ‘Ote’a are usually performed in traditional costumes (A’ahu More).

For the male dancers

  • The basic step is the pa'oti.
  • Knees open and close as scissors. Knees are slightly bent.
  • Feet stay flat on ground with heels slightly raised. Feet must not been spread - apart.
  • The torso must remain straight (vertical).
  • Two styles of the pa'oti include Pa'oti to'ere (fast movement) and pa'oti pahu - (slow movement, with heels flat.
  • The" tu'e " (kick forward accompanied with move of fists)
  • The " horo " (running move) which can be use for the entrance and for the changes of the dancers places.
  • The " otaha ", combination of poses and skipping used especially to forward.

For the female dancers

  • Keep the knees slightly bent.
  • Keep the bust and shoulders motionless.
  • Keep your arms out stretched at shoulder level with only a slight bend to avoid a rigid look and present a more feminine appearance. Avoid dropping the elbows.
  • Feet are to be flat on the ground. Heels joined and the toes slightly separated to form a "V" shape.

definition: 'apa (kiss) rima (hands), the kiss of hands.
The Aparima tells a story set to music and mimed by gracious gestures of the hands. The Aparima is a group dance inspired by scenes of the daily life; a boy meeting a girl, a vahine combing her hair, paddlers in an outrigger canoe, description of a beautiful site, etc.

The Hivinau is danced divertimento which ends most of the celebrations; it is lead by a dancer famous for his impromptus talents. TheTahitian word comes from the English language " heave now ", used by the sailors when they put themselves in a circle on the bridge of their boat to make their plans.

This dance is generally inspired by scenes of fishing or hunting; it is performed by a limited number of dancers.

It is rythmed by the palms of the hands beating the ground and performed by a male and a female dancer. It has a wild and erotic flavor.

‘Ori Tahiti
The ‘Ori Tahiti, better known as the Tamure.

The Ute are impromptu familiar and satirical songs and are among the most popular Tahitian songs. an improvisor (Taata Pehepehe or Faateni) is accompanied by a small number of other singers.

Himene Tarava
These are choirs performed by an important number of singers (50 to 150) divided into 3 groups, each one being directed by a soloist.

Courtesy Tahiti Tourism Board

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