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Polynesian dancing

As I am writing this, we have had the great fortune to see Polynesian dancing on multiple islands. One occasion, our visit to Tahuata stands out. We visited a small village, only composed of a few houses and a church. They would only occasionally receive tourists; without an airport, a harbour, or shops, our arriving there was not a common event. This island was particularly famous for bone carving, with their art being sent to Tahiti to be sold. For us, they had set up tables with their products on display, like a little Sunday market. To our surprise, they decided to show us their dances, all accompanied by live music. The people selling their wares were singing along the whole time, while a few women of the village showed us the accompanying dances. Completely against my expectations, I was soon in tears. I was truly touched. Later, I discovered at least half of us had also been trying to hold their tears, some without success as well. Still with a tear-soaked face, I and all the women present were asked to come forward and join in the dance, with the men following suit soon after. It was a magical morning.

I have since been trying to reflect on why we were all so touched. Firstly, we were impressed by the effort they had gone through to bring us this experience, for example by bringing all their instruments including large drums. It is also important to note the women dancing were not professional dancers; they were just women living in this tiny village, who we had met earlier in the morning when passing by the church. They had not been practicing every day to bring a perfect show, they were just dancing the dances they knew. I couldn’t help smiling and feeling joy as they giggled while occasionally peeking at each other when they forgot their steps. Especially for us, they were sharing their traditions, showing a little part of their culture. It warmed our hearts.

It was not a village party, it was a performance, but you could still feel the sense of community strongly. They all came together there in that moment, in dance and song. Having fun but also working together to hopefully sell something for their livelihood. It was the purest sense of community I had felt in a long time. I could feel the emotions of the songs, see ancient stories being told through dance and I could feel the deep human connection they had amongst each other. And although my tears were tears of happiness, I also felt sadness. If only I could sing the songs of my ancestors with my neighbors like they can. It must be such a special thing to be Polynesian, to be a descendant of these amazing seafarers and artists, to be able to share the stories of your people in song and dance. I hope to find a sense of community like I got to witness that morning for myself one day. I will go home keeping the feelings I felt close to my heart, motivated to find more ways to connect to people around me.

Written by:
Marretje Adriaanse | Guide



Beautiful! Thank you Marretje!

Gelu  |  30-06-2024 01:58 uur

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