Marquesan Dancing

Our arrival on this little island paradise was timed just right for us to see three performances of the traditional dance competition. We were flabbergasted to see four local groups compete with highly elaborate and styled costumes, performing different local dances every night. What a delight after living in rhythmically underdeveloped Hawaii to sit next to a percussion group banging away on giant carved wooden bass drums, rattling over split bamboo sticks, clonking on hollowed out logs and little maybe foot high bucket drums holding it all together with complex rhythm patterns. This group accompanies from twenty to thirty dancers, the ladies in elegant costumes doing dance steps that make them seem to float through the air and the men howling and stomping testosterone saturated warrior moves. A feast for the eyes, ears and the awestruck mind.

Just yesterday we had a chance to see how embedded in everyday life these dances are. While visiting the local Catholic Church and admiring the amazing wooden sculptures that adorn it, we heard some drumming outside in the courtyard. Coming out of the church we saw a group of young men performing a dance to the drumming and teaching it to three young boys. They very diligently taught the words and gestures and made sure that they were executed right. The male dances are tough, testosterone soaked rituals, growling vocals and warrior like gestures and men and boys were really into it. So here we have it, living culture that survives in spite of the Western culture trying to replace it.

2 Responses to “Marquesan Dancing”

  1. Paz Says:

    How wonderful to hear that you are discovering new worlds!!
    un abrazo carinoso!

  2. Finally a Video! « Aluna’s Travel the World Blog Says:

    […] Finally a Video! By alunaboat We’ve moved our anchors just a little yesterday and are now just a little bit closer to the WiFi antenna on the dock. For the first time here in French Polynesia I have been able to upload a video! Nothing fancy and just a short glimpse, but here is the video of the dances we saw during the July festivities (see post Marquesan Dancing) […]

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