Living the Dance: The March 5th Celebration (with DVD)

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Kinslow, Aurelia Anastasia
Polynesia - French Polynesia - Tahiti
artifact description
'Ori Tahiti or Tahitian dance plays a central role in contemporary Tahitian society's community celebrations and gatherings like weddings, public dedications, and receptions for visiting groups. However, the context of entertainment for tourists is the one 'Ori Tahiti is best known for. At the onset of this research project I set out to show that like many other forms of performance, 'Ori Tahiti can be a powerful tool for the expression of political viewpoints and activism. As opposed to taking an approach often employed in past studies in which the focus was in describing and analyzing the dance form in itself, I offered to begin to locate these performance traditions within the cadre of power relations with the West. I wanted to offer a new look at 'Ori Tahiti from the perspective of a longtime performer of this dance form, in hopes that this study will in turn motivate further interest in the resistance of the Maohi people to French colonialism and in the role dance plays to promote change. SYNOPSIS OF DVD Living the Dance: The March 5th Celebration The montage on the attached DVD gives a visual representation of the author's lived experience in Tahiti in the spring of 2005 as she is unexpectedly invited to participate in the first of a week-long, annual protestant cultural festival in commemoration of the arrival of Christianity in Tahiti. The montage is built in three parts. The first part gives a glimpse of the political climate upon the author's arrival in Tahiti with the campaigning and demonstrations in the streets of Papeete. The second part shows the members of the dance group as they prepared for the performance in the March 5lh festivities. Weaved into this narrative is Terito's casual performance of one of the group's most heart-felt numbers, "0 oe te oe rima", with the song interpreted by Bobby Holcomb playing in the background. Finally, the night of the performance is shown, with images of the group's presentation as well as clips from several of the other groups that performed that evening.