Day 63 | Auckland New Zealand | Non-stop Smiles Were Contagious

Mar 12, 2017News0 comments

Live to the point of tears.

Albert Camus

Why would a young girl with a Master?s Degree in Science be shaking her hips in front of a ship?s audience? Tepaeru-Ariki, born in the Cook Islands, started dancing at a very young age while learning the tamure or Tamoure dance. Tamoure, for most of the world, is the mark of Tahitian dance. The dance is usually danced with both guys and gals wearing more (the Tahitian skirt made of fibers from the bark of the purau or hibiscus). Boys shake their knees like pa?oti or scissors and the girls shake their hips. The knees are the engine that drives the hips with feet staying stationary as well as shoulders. The band, playing a variety of handmade drums, increases the tempo to a point where only the fit dancers can keep up. The sexual innuendos may be more or less obvious depending on the audience and dancers themselves. For that reason, local purists deny the dance as being part of Tahiti culture and it was outlawed by some missionaries.

Choreographing Cook Island international touring groups and teaching science fill Tepaeru-Ariki?s life. Anuanua, the Auckland based Cook Islands dance group, who performed on the Aruroa ship, values her as a member.

With every beat of the drum, a sense of pride flowed into every soul watching the performance. Knees and hips moved so fast that I had a hard time concentrating on one dancer. When one of the dancers kneeled before me, took my hand, and asked me to dance, I couldn?t say a word. (in many of the performances on the ship, the entertainers ask members of the audience to come on stage to participate) Ah, to be 25 again!


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Jackie Chase

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