Friday, 11 November 2011

Dancing in Paradise

If you were to go to paradise surely the most enthusiastic thing you would want to do is to dance. Dancing is a way of expressing supreme happiness, and if you are in paradise you would certainly be happy.

 The Tahitian dance  is called the otea, characterized by the fast hip shaking. This dance is carried out by both male and female dancers and is played to music, generally fast drums, but has no singing. The dancers are often dressed in grass skirts with no shoes.

The dancers make gestures, re-enacting the preoccupations of daily life. The women’s gestures can be related to the combing of hair or the flight of a butterfly. Men’s gestures are often related to war or sailing.

The dance itself is a mesmerizing combination of body contortions to the pace of fast drums. Some dances make you want to join in and dance. This dance is for watching, as you quickly realize that you could not possibly do what they are doing, and you might as well watch for what it is, a unique and scintillating performance of dance.

However if you are in Tahiti, you should certainly try the otea. It will make you smile, it will make you laugh, it will make you cry. That’s when you know you are having fun!

 Watching this mesmerising dance inspired me to write a poem, The Tahitian Dancer.

 The Tahitian Dancer

With eyes of white and body brown,
Upon her head a flower crown,
With tension high and music low,
Her teeth shone row on row.
Brief, but bright was her dress
And in her smile, a sweet caress.
Her hair was black and fell in cascade,
As before us, her dance was laid,
The crowd, like puppets, she did pull
For she was so bright and beautiful!

She stood serene in classic pose,
But as the rhythm of the music rose,
All were silent, all were numb,
As she danced to the beating of the drum,
And with her body all in proportion,
She went through her contortion,
Then she fiercely swung her waist,
As through her timeless steps she paced;
With flashing eyes, she thrust her hips,
Waived her arms and pursed her lips,
For all just sat transfixed, entranced,
When that sweet Tahitian lady danced!!

                                                               Image from

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