Thursday, October 20, 2011

Introducing our new Tahitian Dance database site -

After having to move to a new system, we've finally got our dance group directory back online. It's been a few months, but we hope you'll find it was worth the wait. Let's be clear on one thing straight off. This is our Tahitian dance directory. It's not a Hawaiian hula directory (although we do list many groups that do dance hula and other Polynesian dances but we require that they teach or perform Tahitian dance to be included on this directory), nor is it in any way endorsing or meaning to provide any false, out-of-date, or inaccurate information about any group.

This is a tool for dance groups, those that are searching for a dance group, and organizations or events that are helping to educate and promote the dance of Tahiti.

Now that that is out of the way, let's get to the benefits. Our new database is in constant motion. Currently it lists the dance groups that we are aware of. We put them in the directory, but one of the great things about this new directory is that dance group leaders are now able to personally edit their own dance group page. Leaders can now update group information (phone, address, contact info, etc), add photos, add videos (via YouTube or Vimeo) that help promote the group, include information (rates, synopsis of services, or latest news), add social media links to group pages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+), and awards (coming soon). In addition, it's another avenue to get potential bookings. It's an opportunity to showcase your dance group on a website that has more traffic and searches than your typical dance group website. And it's FREE!

Another area of the site is the events and calendar. This is where you'll be able to see upcoming Heiva & Tahiti Fete. Events will include award results of soloists and groups as provided by individual events and will be searchable.

As this is a fresh start to our directory, there will be updates in design, information and services. We're excited to open this up for the Tahitian dance community. We'll be sending out invitations to dance group leaders soon via email to create an account, but if you can't wait and are wanting to get started, you can go ahead and apply for an account.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heiva calendar updates for 2012

It's been a few months since we've posted any updates on the blog but we were a little busy trying to get our new Tahitian dance database up and running. It's almost there for Phase I and it has updated group information as much as we have been able to gather. We are specifically looking for dance groups that dance Tahitian. In the future we may expand, but for now, we are staying focused on Tahiti.

Along with the dance group directory, we have the Tahitian Heiva events calendar. As with everything on the new site, things are in a work in progress. We are working to make it more accessible for dance group leaders and event producers. In addition, we are working on a new awards area. It will be searchable and clickable to allow for multiple ways of accessing the information.

So if you are looking for a calendar of events for next year, look no further, we are continually working with event producers and have the most up-to-date information available. Check back often for updates or sign up for updates via Twitter, Facebook or RSS feed.

Events that have updated 2012 dates include Heiva i Honolulu, Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete , Hura Tahiti, Tahiti Fete of San Jose, Heiva i Kauai, Tahiti Taurua Nui i Las Vegas and Ori Tahiti Las Vegas, to name a few.

More to come on our new website for Tahitian dance.

Oh, by the way... it's

Check it out and look for more information about its official debut coming soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heiva i Tahiti 2011

Heiva i Tahiti 2011 activities have already started in Tahiti this year. Amateur dance groups have held exhibition performances as the heralded Toata Place in Papeete starting last week. The annual event brings together some of the best from all parts of French Polynesia. Activities not only include traditional Tahitian dance, or ori Tahiti, but also drumming, sport including canoe, or va'a, racing and for the first time, the Miss Tahiti pageant.

The official grand opening will take place this evening at the Conservatoire Artistique de Polyésie Française. This will be followed by the Miss Tahiti pageant next Friday evening, June 24. The current reigning Miss Tahiti, Lucie Poehere Wilson, hails from Laie, Hawaii and has been a consistent award winning dancer at many of the heiva in the US. She will hand over the crown to the 51st Miss Heiva from a field of 16 young women competing this year.

From there, starting July 1st, the Heiva i Tahiti Va'a first round race will start from Papeete Harbor. Races will continue the following day and on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 14th. Traditional athletic events will take place starting the 14th and include javelin throwing, stone lifting, copra (coconut) husking, fruit carrying racing, boat racing, and coconut tree climbing.

Traditional dance, music and drumming competitions will occur throughout the month starting Friday July 1 with an exhibition Fireknife spectacular. The song competition will start off with two groups competing in the evening - Tamarii Hautimatea and Vaihoataua. And in the Hura Tau dance category NONAHERE, who last competed in 2008, will again compete and looks to repeat for a 3rd crown in the last 5 years.  The group is led by Matani Kainuku and is based in Mahina.

Returning title holder, FARE IHI NO HUAHINE, under the direction of Paul Tehare, will be the final performing dance group of the festivities. The awards will be given out the following week on Thursday, July 21 and a special encore performance by the new title holder and other award winners will take place the following evening.

Here's the schedule for the dance groups:

Friday, July 1

Saturday, July 2
MANAHAU (Hura Tau)

Thursday, July 7
HITITAU (Hura Ava Tau)

Friday, July 8
HANATIKA (Hura Ava Tau)

Saturday, July 9
TE UI NO PARE NUI (Hura Ava Tau)
TOAKURA (Hura Tau)

Friday, July 15

Saturday, July 16

Thursday, July 21
Awards Presentation

Friday, July 22

Friday, March 11, 2011

Heiva i Waimea

Get ready Hawaii. The annual Heiva i Waimea, presented and produced by the award-winning Tahitian dance group, Manutahi Tahiti, will once again be hosted by Waimea Valley on the North Shore of Oahu. With the registration packet just being released, dancers can now start registering for the competition.

This is the 5th year of the solo competition event. The event starts with a Tamarii Exhibition, and is followed by the Tamarii/Tamaroa solo competition and finally the Vahine/Tane solo competition. Activities begin at 9:30am and run through the day concluding with an awards ceremony. Soloists will be competing in various age groups and will dance 1-2 1/2 minutes in front of judges and audience.

Sarah Liva
2010 Overall Senior Soloist
Photo by David Shimabukuro

Dancers will need to show their abilities in basic steps, creativity and adaptability to various Tahitian drum beats. The vahine (women) may use various steps and styles including but not limited to: fa’arapu, tairi tamau, afata, varu, nu’u, fa’arapu eraro, and te’i. The tane (men) may use various steps and styles including but not limited to: Paoti, paoti eraro, ruru, faarapu, and afata.

One change that you will see this year is the expansion for the 22-27 age group so an even wider range of soloists can compete. In the past, the cutoff was age 21.

Being in such an inviting tropical botanical garden, it's expected that we'll see some amazing leis and headdresses that compliment the traditional soloist pareu.

Admission to the event is $10. Children 12 & under are $5 each. For more information, contact the event organizer, Pola Teriipaia at (808) 222-4346 /

For those of you who were there last year, here are the results:

Age 5-6 Tamahine
1 Jazzylyn Samuseva of Marania Haoragi
2 Kiana Aniya of HereTama Nui
3 Tiffany Alcos of HereTama Nui

Age 7-8 Tamahine
1 Nicole Graham of Tamatoa
2 Breeze-Makana Agpaoa of Pupu Ote Iti Ra
3 Malia Hokulani Pedro of HereTama Nui

Age 7-8 Tamaroa
1 Kaleb Poniatowski

Age 9-11 Tamahine
1 Vaekehu Parker of Marania Haoragi
2 Kasidy Taylor Vergara of Pupu Ote Iti Ra
3 Kavanoe Keahi of Na Kamalii O Ke Akua

Age 9-11 Tamaroa
1 Reecie Brown of Manutahi Orlando
2 Keoki McGowan of Manutahi Orlando

Age 12-14 Tamahine
1 Sarah Liva of Pupu Ote Iti Ra
2 Cailin-Tiana Sabado of Pupu Ote Iti Ra
3 Breyhanna Agpaoa of Pupu Ote Iti Ra

Age 12-14 Tamaroa
1 Kaiko Gouveia of HereTama Nui
2 Taleon Lele of Kalena's Polynesian Ohana

Age 15-17 Vahine
1 Joesalyn Aguindaldo of Te Vai Ura Nui
2 Naomi Baldomero of Te Vai Ura Nui
3 Angela Jeanell Cezar of Tiare Ura O Tahiti

Age 18-21 Vahine
1 Alexa Ashley Cezar of Tiare Ura O Tahiti
2 Burgundy Keriseano of Fiere De Tahiti
3 Kayleen Kamali'I Wahine Bradshaw of Fiere De Tahiti

Miss Heiva I Waimea 2010
Tiane Kong of Manutahi Orlando

Overall Junior Soloist
Reecie Brown of Manutahi Orlando

Overall Senior Soloist
Sarah Liva of Pupu Ote Iti Ra

Photos from last years' event are available on David Shimabukuro's website, 1 Moment in Time.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tahitian Drums hit the iPhone, iPod and iPad

Two brothers, Aaron and Andrew Llavore, who have partnered to create a new company named Love4Apps, have  come up with the first app to tackle the needs of the Tahitian drumming crowd.  Tahitian Drums

We're always on the lookout for Polynesian activity on the internet and in the world around us, and more specifically Tahitian activity. A few weeks ago we got an alert via our Facebook page of a new iPhone app that featured Tahitian drumming.  We bought it, started playing with it and found that we were in dire need of brushing up on our Tahitian drumming thumb skills. Nevertheless we found it so intriguing that we knew we had to share it with our readers. If you find yourself in the doctors office waiting and waiting... and waiting, or between breaks at work or school, and you are find yourself without your to'ere, this is the app for you.

The Tahitian Drums app (available now on the iTunes store, among the other Apple branded online store outlets) is only $.99 and is a bargain at that. It features 5 distinct to'ere (hollowed out hardwood drum) sample beats and 1 pahu (traditional low key bass) beat. Just pick a comfortable spot to sit down and select the app and you're set. Using both thumbs is recommended. One for the bass and 1 for the toere. The different tones are determined by where you hit the to'ere just as a real toere would typically sound if it was hit in the same area. You can visually see when and where you tap and you can tap both to'ere and pahu at the same time so it realistically portrays what a drummer would do when using both instruments in concert.

Aaron handles the artistic side of the application. He created the layouts, illustrations and handled the audio recording of the instruments as well.  His brother Andrew has handled all the technical aspects of designing the app to work on the various platforms, programming and encoding.

We caught up with Aaron recently and had a nice Q&A session with him about his exciting new foray into bringing Tahitian drumming to a whole new world.

First of all, great app and initiative bringing Tahitian drumming to a tech savvy crowd.  We're equally excited to just learn that the next update 1.1 is just days away as well.

BPD: Are either of you drummers or dancers yourselves? If so, what group?
Aaron: Yes, I've been a musician/drummer for Kawailehua, based out of San Jose, California for roughly 10 years now.  Our group is an active participant in the annual Tahiti Fete of San Jose, as well as Heiva i Maui, and the Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete in Merced.

BPD: What made you decide to make the app?
Aaron: As a fellow Tahitian drummer myself, I'm often itching to play the Tahitian drums and often times, I'm not around a to'ere and pahu (or it's too late in the evening to make a lot of noise). So, I thought the idea of being able to mimic playing the Tahitian drums on your phone would be fun!  From my experience, being around other fellow drummers - Tahitian drummers eat, breath, and sleep playing the drums - as it is highly addicting! With this app we hope to offer something to the Polynesian dance community, whether you have any drumming/dancing experience or not. And for the general public,  we hope its a new avenue to spread the love of Polynesian dance and music.

BPD: What are the main benefits that you see users getting out of the app?
Aaron: It's just plain fun to play around with!  

BPD: Is there plans to have a fa'atete added?
Aaron: Not yet,  but I think our next step in a future update would be to add a to'ere piti as well.  Then you can get really creative with playing Tahitian beats.

BPD: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and creating this fun and great new tool/instrument.
Aaron: Maru'uru. Glad to be able to share the culture with the iPhone audience.

If you find yourself a little timid or find you need a little inspiration, there will also be a convenient in-app link to the Tahitian Drums YouTube Channel that has a growing selection of demo videos and examples of basic beats that will be available soon. In addition, other new features in the 1.1 update will be including an iPad version, an updated look, and larger playing surfaces to make it easier to play.

And for those of you who haven't taken the leap to the iPhone, not to worry, work is already underway to port the app to Android phones as well. Looking forward to future updates. Sign up for updates on the site or Twitter. For more information about the app and to see some videos about it, visit the Love4Apps website.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Get Ready for the 32nd Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete

California's first Heiva of 2011 will hit Merced March 25-27. The event, produced by Rebecca Manandic and staff, is the longest running Heiva outside of Tahiti. Now in it's 32nd year, the event features solo, couple and group competition. The Merced County Fairgrounds once again serve as the centralized venue.

One of the key elements to the success of this event is the division of beginning and advanced dancers. "This enables advanced/professional performers to compete at a higher level and truly challenge their capabilities," states the history documents of the event. "At the same time this also allows the beginner/intermediate dancers to gain experience and be awarded for their progress." It remains the only event that has a beginner category.

Tickets are $15 each, Children (5-12) $11. Adult 3 Day Pass is $39 (Children $29).  For more information, call Pacifica (209) 726-1925 (10am-6pm, M-F) or visit the event website at

In addition to being a venue to showcase the visual art of Tahitian dance, music and costume, the printed program for the event highlights artwork and written compositions of Polynesian design. Be sure to pick up your copy. Feel free to submit your work. We'll be watching.

If you'd like to read more about the event, here is a history written by Eric "Ka'ahele" Morales, of how it all started.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Heiva i O'ahu 2011

It's been about a decade since the award winning Tahitian dance group Te Vai Ura Nui produced a heiva, but that is all going to change now. Charles and Cathy Temanaha have announced that Heiva i O'ahu will return and will be held Saturday, March 26, 2011 in Kaneohe, Hawaii at King Intermediate School. The event will feature soloists, groups and drummers competing for event titles.

The event has the standard forms and rules, all of which are available on their website. Tane and vahine soloists 5 and up may compete. Tamari'i dance groups are made up of children 12 and under. Groups will compete in Otea, Aparima and Ahupurotu. Being in the islands, an emphasis on natural fibers, flowers and leaves is expected. As always, live musicians and drumming are a must in this competitive field.

As this is the first Tahitian dance competition in the islands this year, this is a great opportunity to showcase new music, costumes and choreography. It's also a great opportunity to refine the basics and fine tune old and new groups.

In addition to the dancing and drumming; Tahitian and Polynesian arts and crafts vendors will be set up for you to visit.

Admission is $10. Children 12 and under $5. For more information, applications and details, visit the event website or contact the event producers directly at

Keona Cross crowned as Miss Purotu 2011

Keona Cross, Miss Purotu 2011
The second annual Miss Purotu pageant was recently held at the Aloha Tower Marketplace and crowned Keona Cross of Maili as the new reigning Miss Purotu. She succeeds Miss Purotu 2010 - Lesly Poerava Goo. Tiare Alvarez claimed 1st Runner Up and Candice Panoke was named 2nd Runner Up. In addition, Miss Purotu Iti (Tamarii) Taylor Acosta was also crowned. The event is organized and produced by Purotu Designs' Nalini and Manari'i Gaulthier who also head up the award-winning Tahitian dance group Ia Ora Tahiti Nui.

Nine contestants from Oahu vied for the crown and competed in 5 categories that included:
• Costume Naturel - Contestants must create and model an outfit made from natural materials.
• Pareu – Contestants given fabric from Tahiti to create an outfit that reflects their personality.
• Talent - 1) Contestants must perform a solo Ote'a and 2) Choose between singing a Tahitian song or dancing a slow Aparima (Ahuroa).
• Island Formal - Contestants will model a Tahitian style dress - Purotu, custom fit and designed for them by designer Linda Mataoa from Tahiti.
• Interview - Contestants must answer questions proposed to them by the Master of Ceremony.

Miss Photogenic - Darla Carino
Keona received $1,500 in cash and additional prizes upon receiving the crown. The Miss Photogenic title went to Darla Carino who dances for Manutahi Tahiti, who also won the Best Talent category. Miss Congeniality went to Kathleen Valdez.

The evening event included not only the pageant, but also Tahitian entertainment, a Tahitian dinner and cocktails. Sponsors of the event included Purotu Designs, Fashion Quick, Arii Creations, Hawaii's Wedding Professionals, Rotui Tahiti, SNJ LLC, and American Income Life.

The Miss Purotu Pageant is a Tahitian style pageant that allows young women to develop and share their inner and outer beauty, talent, and love for the Tahitian culture.