Tuesday, April 30
Here's another short video from the 2012 Te Maeva Nui (Constitution Celebrations) cultural dance competition. This video shows the southern group island of Aitutaki with their ura Pau (drum dance). Aitutaki was awarded an A grade for this item.
Don't forget that if you're interested in the best of Cook Islands culture and dancing your can buy videos (DVDs) of 2012 and previous years Te Maeva Nui and Dancer of the Year competitions. Available from the Ministry of Cultural Development.
Saturday, April 13
Here is another video from Burma (Myanmar).
Mandalay itself was a short-lived capital of Burma but the surrounding area hosts several former capitals.
Sagaing was capital of an independent Shan kingdom in the 1300s. (Mandalay is in Shan State).
Innwa (or Inwa, or Ava - take your pick) was a capital for almost 400 years from 1365 until 1841 with a couple of brief interludes.
In 1841 the capital moved to Amarapura but this was another short term event as the penultimate Burmese king Mindon Min moved to Mandalay in 1861.
Nothing much remains of any palaces in these towns because the kings used to dismantle then rebuild them on the new site. Recycling to the max! The palaces were built of wood, teak, and intricately carved so it was worth doing. There were, and still are, plenty of monasteries, pagodas and stupas.
Sagaing is sometimes called the Vatican of Burma because it has hundreds of stupas, monasteries and nunneries and thousands of monks and nuns.
Amarapura is now a modern town. Its most popular tourist site (and possibly Burma's most photographed) is U Bein's bridge - the world's longest teak span.
The Mahaganayon monastery is near the bridge. Here, every lunchtime, hundreds of tourists watch thousands of monks line up for their last meal of the day.
It's a fascinating area.
Monday, April 1
Here's another short video from last year's Te Maeva Nui dance competition.
This one is of the northern group island of Rakahanga with their reo metua (legend) or pe'e (chant).
This category has been called the pe'e in the past but in 2012 it became the reo metua on the programme. The chants always involved legends or historical events from the islands concerned, based on the theme of the competition (this time it was "Traditional language of our communities and islands".
Rakahanga received a B grade for this item.