The Tahiti Traveler

Ori Tahiti, the famous Polynesian dance, soon to be in the Guinness book of Word Records?

It is inadmissible: the record for the largest group of Ori Tahiti dancers in the world, the dance that is the pillar of Polynesian culture, is held by…Mexico! A Tahitian dance teacher took this as a direct challenge, and on January 30th, will attempt to take the record back where it belongs!

It was September 5, 2015 when more than one thousand Mexican dancers gathered in a stadium to beat the record of the world’s largest assembly of Ori Tahiti. Choreography, flower crowns… nothing had been left to chance to ensure the performance made it into the record books. The gamble paid off (see video).

“The Ori Tahiti belongs to Polynesia!”

But it could be that this record will not last very long! Very quickly, Tahitian Makau Foster and his Tamariki Poerani dance troupe decided to do everything possible to bring the “trophy” home!
“The Mexicans launched the challenge and for me, it is extremely important that it takes place in Tahiti, to show the world that the Ori Tahiti belongs to Polynesia. The choreographer professed to the Dépêche de Tahiti that, “It is we who must have this record, because what is dangerous, is to one day see the Ori Tahiti belonging to someone else!

The goal is to assemble at least 3000 dancers, 4950 maximum. Mark your calendars for January 30th, in Tahiti, the birthplace of the Ori! The only thing left to do is hope that the event has the same success as the previous record broken in Tahiti, when in April 2015, 4750 musicians gathered to play the ukulele! So… Faaitoito!
(Good luck, in Tahitian)

Learn the Ori dance steps here: www.tntv.pf/Record-du-monde-Ori-Tahiti-la-choregraphie-officielle_a9255.html

The Ori Tahiti in a few steps

It has greatly evolved during the 20th century, yet the Ori Tahiti remains one of the most valuable cultural heritages around which the Polynesians rekindle their pre-European roots. In it, one discovers the ancestral legends and realizes the importance of oral culture in Polynesia.

The Ori Tahiti is composed of four different dances executed alternatively in a performance:

-Otea: a breathtaking but very physical and highly technical dance which reveals its warrior origins. Often backed by rapid drums, men execute the Paoti: chest out and motionless, legs bent and feet together, the knees are opened and closed to a steady paced rhythm. For women, the famous hip undulation is the basis of Otea, but the shoulders remain tenaciously static…

-Aparima: literally the “kiss that sends the hands” (from “apa”, the kiss and “rima”, the hand). The hands play an important role, portraying the gestures of everyday life or feelings. The Aparima is a true dance narrative, carrying out the Polynesian oral tradition.

-Paoa: is the dance related to the production of tapa, the ornamental cloth obtained from beaten bark. Seated on the ground, women pound bark in a song accompanied rhythm to keep spirits high and break the monotony of the task. One of them could stand up and start to sing a solo or dance.

-And finally, the Hivinau is a cheerful dance practiced in circles that share a common center or axis where men and women usually dance together. A group leader, or the ‘ ra’atira “, recites a story while a chorus of whirling dancers churn around him…

Practical information
Saturday, January 30, 2016, meet at noon at the Atimaono golf course. The world record attempt must start at 3:30 pm!
Follow the preparations for the record on Facebook: www.facebook.com/recorddumondeoritahiti2016/
Illustration credit: www.oritahitibynatalia.com