Saturday, July 25

Te Hiva Nui drum dance – ‘ura pa’u

Cook Islands drumming and dancing is famous throughout the Pacific, justifiably so.
Drumming is an important part of the dance, particularly for setting the tempo. ‘Ura pa’u is pronounced (roughly!) oora pow.
The book ‘Cook Islands Culture’ describes it:
“ ‘Ura pa’u (drum dance)
Usually with a faster tempo than kapa rima (action songs), with emphasis on lower body movement. Music is provided by a full ensemble of drums. Drum dances actions by a group are uniform and performance is intended for an audience.”
This is one of the styles people associate most closely with Polynesian dancing. As you can see in the video, it is fast and furious, non-stop action all the way. The boys move their legs in a way that must be great for toning inner thigh muscles (fitness fans take note) and the girls swing their hips as though they’ve got elastic spine and hip joints.
Takes a lot of practice but the end result is awesome!