Saturday, July 28, 2007

Heiva I Tahiti 2007 results

This years competition came to a close this past Thursday at Place To'ata in Papeete. Among the spectators were French Polynesia President Gaston Tong and many government officials. A special tribute to past artisans of Tahitian dance and music and founders of the annual event was orchestrated by some of today's prominent dance instructors.

The Complete results of the songs and dances of Heiva I Tahiti 2007:

Song Categories

Himene ruau:
1st place - Tamarii Tipaerui
2nd place - Tomite Tiona No Pueu
3rd place - Tamariki Oparo

Ute paripari:
1st place - Te Ui no Pare Nui

Tarava Tuhaa Pae:
1st place - Tamariki Oparo
2nd place - Autimatea
3rd place - Tamarii Tumuhau Avera-Rurutu

Tarava Raromatai:
1st place - Te Ui no Pare Nui
2nd place - Tamarii Tipaerui
3rd place - O Faa' a

Tarava Tahiti:
1st place - Tamarii Mataiea
2nd place - Tamarii Papara
3rd place - You Ui Api No Arue

Dance categories

Ute arearea:
1st place - Te Ui no Pare Nui

Best Raatira Tiatia:
Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu of the group Toa Reva

Best author and composer :
Valerie Gobrait (author of the topic of the groups Hitireva and Nohoarii)

Best dancer:
Tavaitoa Kinnander-Tehaatai of Hitireva

Best dancer:
Tuahiti Vernaudon of Hitireva

Best orchestra inheritance and creation:
Heikura Nui

Best vegetable costume:
Te Ui no Pare Nui

Best traditional costume:
Heikura Nui

Special award:
The Temarama association, whose goal is to initiate the young people of the districts to the culture, and who entered at Heiva I Tahiti for the 16th consecutive time

Category "Creation" dances:
1st place - Nonahere
2nd place - Toa Reva

Category "Inheritance" dances:
1st place - Heikura Nui
2nd place - Tamarii Tumuhau Avera-Rurutu
3rd place - Tamarii Tipaerui
4th place - Teva I Tai
5th place - Hitireva

More photos at Tahiti Presse

Friday, July 27, 2007

Heiva International

The Minister for the Culture and the Craft industry, Natacha Taurua, announced the opening of Heiva International this past week. She was accompanied by the Health minister, Jules Ienfa, and the president of the CESC, Patrick Galenon. The gathering at Sygogne Beach included 12 groups from the US mainland, Hawaii and Japan. Monday's opening ceremonies included a traditional kava ceremony and performances of song and dance by local groups. Minister Taurua thanked event organizers for the opportunity to share the Tahitian culture with so many outside of Tahiti. The event comes at the closing of Heiva I Tahiti 2007, which celebrated its 125th anniversary.

Tuesday saw participants taking part in a traditional ceremony at the Nuutere marae in Vairao. It was an opportunity to take in the rich cultural history and origin of Tahitian dance. Exhibition performances by visiting dance groups took place later that evening in a vibrant revue.

The event was organized by the Tahiti Nui International organization based in Hawaii. Tahiti Nui International has produced the Heiva I Honolulu competitions for the past 7 years. This years event was postponed due to organizers putting all their efforts into this event.

Participating groups include:
Nonosina (Los Angeles - California); Nemenzo (San Francisco - California); Tamalii (San Francisco - California); Te Poe O Patitifa (Stockton - California); Kananu (Salt Lake City - Utah); Here Tama Nui (Honolulu - Hawaii).
Japan: Tiare Heipua (Ishikawa); Mehana O Kala (Tokyo); Kalokemelemele (Tokyo).

Exhibition groups:
Hitia'a o te ra (Los Angeles) ; Tahiti Toa (Honolulu) ; Te Vai Ura Nui (Honolulu)

The solo competition took place Thursday at "Te Fare Tauhiti Nui" (House of culture, in PAPEETE). Finalists will perform Friday at To'ata Place PAPEETE. "The dancers of this event are carrying out a dream coming to Tahiti", expressed Raymond Mariteragi, of Tahiti Nui International.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

2007 Fano Maohi - Journey of Courage

Contributed by guest writer Leonard Lords

Fano Maohi 2007 is over and the groups were very competitive. Some of the groups who won are Hitia O Te Ra, Malialole, Da Island Way, Tehamata, and Tamariki Ariki. However one group out did themselves and since I'm friends with them I was very proud! A group from Las Vegas known as Ninth Island Productions stole the show. I've seen them practicing and thought they were fun but I was thinking they might be in trouble because of the strong field of competitors. However, when they came in to perform their aparima they were simply outstanding!!! The professional groups as well as the group from Tahiti were speechless. The crowd cheered and you could see tears in the eyes of the audience. Needless to say they took first place in the aparima category.

After the aparima they performed the Ute (song being sung with a small band). They left the audience singing along and tapping their feet. As they performed, the whole traveling group from Tahiti began singing along and clapping to the beat. When the song ended the crowd again exploded in cheer many gave them a standing ovation.

Ninth Island Productions was the overall champion of the event. At the hotel they became quick friends with the group from Tahiti. It was a magical moment as personality took over even though they could not speak the same language. They hung out together joking and having a great time. They discovered the people of Tahiti are as beautiful as the Islands and music. At the Fano Maohi pizza party the two groups sang together, took group shots with each group arm and arm, learned each others songs and exchanged Myspace addresses. It was a great time for all. I am sure when the troupe from Tahiti goes home to the Islands of Tahiti they will be talking about their fun new friends from Ninth Island Productions.

As for next year we already have troupes asking to be part of the event. Groups from Tahiti, Saipan, Micronesia, Yokohama Japan and other groups from California have expressed interest. Even more interest has been expressed by city officials for the 2008 event planning. Check back for more information as it becomes available.

Leonard Lords is a public relations spokesman for the event. He is not involved with judging the event.

Bora Bora Heiva photos and more...

The Heiva are in full swing (forgive the pun) in French Polynesia. Although we weren't able to make it down there, there are a few US groups who have made the trip. Nonosina, out of Anaheim, California is participating in the Heiva I Tahiti International in Papeete. Nonosina is one of the larger Tahitian dance groups based in the US.

Galleries are starting to show up on the web, most notably, flickr. Check out some of the photos from the Bora Bora Heiva, the International Heiva and a few of the others that are occurring throughout French Polynesia.

» Nonosina
» Bora Bora Heiva
» Heiva I Tahiti » Papeete - Papeete II

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Te Mahana Hiro'a O Tahiti - Laie, Hawaii Tahitian Dance Competition

Contributed by guest writer Christian Wilson

The 7th Annual "Te Mahana Hiro'a O Tahiti" Tahitian Dance Competition was held at the Polynesian Cultural Center on July 6-7, 2007. Each year a traditional heiva is held in Papeete, Tahiti to celebrate the culture and traditions of dance and drumming. The PCC holds its annual Tahitian cultural celebration in honor of the celebration. The preliminary competition started at 7:30 pm in the Hale Aloha Theater with every single seat taken. If you arrived later, there was standing room only. There were over 175 contestants mostly from the Hawaiian Islands and some from the mainland as well. The quality of dancing, costuming and music seems to improve as each year goes by. Families and friends of the contestants seems to grow in number each year as well. There were several age categories for girls and boys between 2-18 years of age. All of the judges, Moanaura Teheiura, Jeanne Mou’a Larsen, Roiti Tahauri Sylva, and Etua Tahauri, were from Tahiti and have a total of over 100+ years Tahitian dance experience.

The second day of the competition took place in the Pacific Theater inside the Polynesian Cultural Center with over a thousand people in attendance. The event started with the top 5 finalists of each category competing for the top 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies. It took a while for all the finalists to be determined. After that, the overall best male and female dancers were selected. This process was extraordinarily long and had many awkward breaks that you would think would have been filled with other presentations. The delays could have been minimized if the musicians had an alternate place to set up their equipment while another group performed.

Saturday's events also included the group ote'a, aparima and ahuroa competitions. The ote'a is the best-known Tahitian style of dance because of the fast, rhythmic movements and swishing skirts. The aparima, literally translated as "kiss of the hands," is a slower dance that uses the hands to tell a story. The ahuroa, or "long dress" is a slower, graceful female dance which is performed with long colorful fitted dresses. Dancers were judged in each category based on their skill, grace and, for the ote'a, speed. "We started the event as a way to help preserve these aspects of Tahitian culture and heritage through the tamari'i, or children," said Raymond Marieteragi, director of cultural presentations for the Tahitian village at the PCC. "This really gives the children's pupu ra'atira ori Tahiti, or Tahitian dance instructors, an opportunity to highlight their young students as they compete and display their skills in the exciting art of 'Ori Tahiti' or Tahitian dance."

The costuming and choreography of all three groups was impressive. My only complaint being the stage set up for the musicians. With such a large stage and multiple areas to set up support and musicians, the "dead" air was very noticeable. Delays in events could be replaced by explanations of how judges determine the best choreography, authenticity of costuming, proper dancing elements, history of Heiva, drumming beats, what to look for in a good dancer. etc

Although there are only about 200 expatriate Tahitians that live in the State of Hawaii, you wouldn't be able to tell that from the overwhelming support that Tahitian dancers receive from fellow Polynesians living in Hawaii. Most Hawaiians treat Tahitians as cousins since their languages, customs and dancing styles are relatively similar and share the same heritage.

Nonosina Hawaii (Laie, HI) used a traditional lauhala leaf helmet in their otea in a very creative way that I had never seen before. It was interesting to see how the leaves flowed during the dancers' vigorous dance movements. The helmet looked similar to an Egyptian headress, but it is was very Tahitian at the same time.

I was very impressed with some of the younger dancers under 9-10 years old that have mastered complex motions that normally only adult professionals acquire only after years of practice. The dance competition gives the youth of the community not only some recognition for their dancing skills, but it also can give an opportunity to prospective employers such as the Polynesian Cultural Center to hire new dancers.

Entertainment companies such as Cirque du Soleil routinely visit PCC's annual Fire Knife Competition to scout for new talented dancers. Some of the dancers they have hired have done very well for themselves. I have known many Tahitian dancers who danced as elementary and high school students who easily passed dancing auditions because of the practice they had in Tahitian or Polynesian dance troupes. Once they passed their auditions, they were able to work as they went to college and their employment helped them pay for most or all of their college education. Their dancing experience can open other doors for opportunities as well. Many talent agencies are interested in Polynesian dancers and having that skill can make a difference.

It is exciting to see the growing interest in Tahitian dance from people from all over the world such as Japan, the mainland, South America and Europe. As interest in Tahitian dance grows, more people will be motivated to visit Tahiti so they can learn more about them.

Competition rating (4 out of 5 stars)
Organization rating (3 out of 5 stars)
Dancer energy rating (5 out of 5 stars)
Community support rating (5 out of 5 stars)

Though organization and management could vastly improve, the dancers themselves, with their enthusiasm and vibrant costuming made the event an enjoyable occasion.

Event Press Release
Event Photo Gallery

Trivia note: Original design of the event website was designed by Black Pearl Designs

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tarena Tahiti gearing up for competition

Tarena Tahiti, the Tahitian heiva based in Daly City has announced its confirmed date of September 15, 2007. The event will take place at San Francisco State University. Organizers are excited to see the interest it is gaining from the internet. More information to come as it becomes available.

This event is known for its colorful and sometimes exotic costumes. The event features a solo competition for both men and women. In the past many have been chosen to be featured in a calendar produced by the event. For tickets and participation inquiries, contact Elizabeth Nemenzo Bertumen.

And if you are looking for ideas for Tahitian costumes, take a look at the extensive gallery on the Tarena Tahiti website.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New location for Fano Maohi Heiva in Salt Lake City

A new location has been announced for the Fano Maohi Tahitian dance competition. Due to scheduling conflicts the event has been moved to Central High School (501 East 3900 South, Salt Lake City). Event organizers are working to adjust to the new location and are advising dance groups and ticket holders of the change in venue. Last year's event was at the Salt Lake Community College. Look for more information on this event as it becomes available.

A few photos of the 125th Heiva I Tahiti

Here's some photos we've been able to locate about the 125th Heiva I Tahiti. The Heiva dance competition is taking place in Papeete at Place To'ata throughout July. The annual event is the most important and largest Tahitian cultural event in the world.

Flickr Gallery

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Heiva I Tahiti photos and news

The Heiva I Tahiti is in full swing. Tahiti Presse has a collection of photos that show some of the highlights including performances from Rapa Nui, the Society Islands, Tuamotus and other outer islands.

Here is a translated version of the reporting and link to the photos.

Monday, July 09, 2007

What are the Tahiti Fete and Heiva judges looking for? Part I

What are the judges looking for in a Tahiti Fete performance? With many of the competitions happening now or in the next month or so, this is a question that dancers and dance groups might be thinking about right about now.

There are the basics and then there are details that can make the difference in being awarded a placement and impressing not only the judges but also the crowd or performing without heart. We look at it this way - if you've been able to learn a new move, perfect a motion, created a new choreographed selection, learned a new Tahitian word or song, bent a little lower while doing the tamure, paoti or other basic steps, then you've helped to perpetuate and make each Tahitian dance event that more better. After all, if there weren't any groups to perform, there wouldn't be any events.

That being said, here's a reminder for all those Ori Tahiti dancers out there about what the judges are typically looking for in a performance:

1. The Entrance: The initial appearance of the dancer(s) on the performance area and the first impression created as the performer(s) begin the presentation. Basically, your performance begins before your performance. Watch your posture. If confidence can be shared among the group and shown to the judges, you're half way there in impressing them. The entrance should say to the judges that you are there to win, have fun and enjoy the opportunity to perform.

2. Personal Appearance: The physical presentation of the performer(s) including grooming and cleanliness. Make-up, if used, should only be applied to subtly enhance the natural beauty of the dancer(s). Basically, if you show up with a make-over from MAC complete with glittery lipstick and make-up that just won't quit, you might want to reconsider toning it down a bit. If you show up with costumes that don't match or are worn in an array of unrelated styles, you should look into making things match or complement each other.

3. Costume: The completeness of the the attire worn by the dancer(s) during the performance. Costumes are judged according to the appropriateness for the dance performed, coordination of adornments, accessories and neatness. Generally speaking, judges frown on PLASTIC materials. Think about what Tahitians used to use to adorn themselves. If you're not in the tropics, then see if you can substitute with local ferns, leaves or flowers. You can also send away for the greenery but it can get expensive. Feathers are always an option, fishing nets, dried leaves and flowers can be used in some of the most striking costumes as well. One last thing about costumes – make sure everything is secure. Judges (not to mention the stage crew) like to see that you took the care to secure your costume.

4. Feet: Position of the feet and the ease with which the dancer(s) moves relative to the choreography and styling of the dance performed. Doing the dance correctly can often mean that you are needing to put less effort into the dance than if you dance it incorrectly. With correct feet positioning you can make the dance seem naturally and right.

5. Hips: The Vahine need rotation and accented movement of the hips. If you can make it a natural skill and make it look like a natural skill, the judges look to see the ease in which you peform this basic. And remember, it impresses the judges all the more if you are in a group and all the hips move in the same direction at the same time. This is a huge undertaking when you have fast movements but if the basics are strong, you should have an easier time coordinating. For the Tane, hips should remain relatively stationary without any exaggerated movement.

6. Arms/Hands: GRACE. The position and movement of the arms and hands relative to the nature and performance of the dance. Arm motions and hand gestures should be large and punctuated by quick changes and performed with feminine grace. Also, if a movement requires large motions, always remember to... extend, just like in Hawaiian hula. For the Tane, arm and hand gestures should be strong and masculine in a performance.

7. Facial Expression: The facial conveyance and meaningful depiction of feelings, thought, mood, or sentiment relative to the performance. If you have a celebration in your dance remember that it IS a celebration. It's a story that you are telling the world.

As you can see, there are a... few things to consider when competing in a Heiva or Tahiti Fete. Look for more criteria coming next week with the second half of the pointers and suggestions.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hei Tiare exhibition performance

On July 21, Tiare Trompette’s troupe will close the Heiva festivities with an exclusive performance, sponsored by Hinano.

400 male and female dancers, singers and musicians, a group that won two awards at the Heiva’s last edition, a troupe leader who is also among the best dancers… so many excellent reasons not to miss Hei Tahiti’s only show, which will close the Heiva with an exhibition performance on July 21.

Look for other unique and fun promotions that Hinano has put together for the worlds' largest and lavish Heiva.

Te Mahana Hiro'a O Tahiti

The Polynesian Cultural Center's seventh annual Te Mahana Hiro'a O Tahiti — Tahitian Culture Days festival, will be held:

Friday, July 6th, 7:30 pm in the Hale Aloha luau theater
Saturday, July 7th, 9:00 am in the Pacific Theater

PCC's Director of Islands and Tahitian event coordinator Raymond Mariteragi said the 2007 Te Mahana Hiro'a o Tahiti dance competition will feature approximately 80 children in the only major event that focuses exclusively on young dancers, ages 3–18. "Many of these kids, some who come from the mainland U.S. and Hawaii's neighbor islands, wouldn't otherwise have a chance to compete. Most other heiva or performance competitions focus on adults."

Mariteragi added that last year's judge, Moanaura Teheiura — a well-known choreographer with the premier dance group O Tahiti E, a Heiva Tahiti judge, and a professor of Tahitian language at the university in Tahiti — will return this year as the chief judge for PCC's event. "Plus we'll have three or four local judges," he said.

Moanaura Teheiura, chief judge of the 2006 and 2007 competition, was also impressed with last year's performances. "That was my first time to this event, and the participants were great. As he addressed the crowd, he thanked all participants for paying "tribute to our great culture."

Mariteragi also announced that this year's competition — which has featured only solo dancers for several years — will include group competition on Saturday morning.

"The quality of dancing this year will probably be the best we've ever had," said Mariteragi. "All of these kids start learning at a very early age, so we expect the level of competition will be very high."

He also explained the solo competition consists of two major divisions: Tamari'i (ages 2-11) and Taure'are'a (ages 12-18). Tamari'i dancers are further divided into 0-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-11 categories; and the Taure'are'a into 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18 categories. The Group Mixed Otea competition is divided into ages 1-11 and 12-18 segments. Prizes will be awarded for each segment, as well as overall winners for each division.

"The sounds of the drums, together with the motions make Tahitian dancing very exciting," Mariteragi continued. "When your watching and hearing the beat, it's hard to just sit there without moving something — at least your hands or your feet."

He added that the PCC's Tahitian Islands will also present special cultural activities during the annual fête, including fruit carrying races (where the young men carry baskets of fruit on a pole across their shoulders), and fishing and spear throwing contests.