HEIVA I TAHITI 2016: The worlds premiere traditional Tahitian dance festival opens on June 30 with a Hura Tau line up that promises to be one of the most exciting yet. Discover Tahiti Dance Online’s Top 5 favourites.
Returning 2015 champions ‘Temaeva’ are among this years titan groups battling it out for top Heiva honours. Current choreographer 75-year old Coco Hotahota founded the group in the 1960s with a mission to emphasize and preserve the importance of traditional dance moves in the wake of modern trends and adaptations. Currently crowned best Ori Tahiti group on the planet, and coming from a previous fourteen-year win drought, they intend to keep their title by all means. Performance scheduled for 8th July.
(photo credits: Karim Mahdjouba and TDO)
Opening this years Heiva festival is vogue group of the nineties ‘O Tahiti E’ created by cultural crusader Marguerite Lai in 1986. From their iconic performance of ‘Te Tiaoro’ in 1997 they have become the most successful dance group in Ori Tahiti history winning their last title in 2012. Last year they set a record with 230 dancers on stage but failed to clench the podium and placed a disappointing 4th overall. This year marks the group’s 30th anniversary and with histories weight on their shoulders and a bone to pick, be sure that the show will be particularly spectacular. Performance scheduled for 30th June.
Internationally renowned Ori Tahiti choreographer Coco Tirao and his crew ‘Ahutoru Nui’ are no strangers to the Heiva scene. In 1992 ‘Ahutoru Nui’ was created by the district of Arue as a grass roots initiative and incentive for cultural preservation among youth. Winning first place in 2001 and 2004 cemented the groups reputation as serious contenders. In 2012, they came in second as Coco forged a new era for the international Ori Tahiti community by prominently featuring foreign dancers. Innovative and daring, this group will definitely be seen as the dark horse. Performance scheduled on 14 July.
Millennium group ‘Hitireva’ founded by Kehaulani Chanquy in 2007 has rocked the Ori Tahiti world with their modern and edgy interpretations of Tahitian dance. Since winning their first Heiva in 2007 they have continued to place among the top three with every participation, and also winning third place in 2014. With top honours up for grabs we will surely see an explosion of creativity that will possibly secure the win. Performance scheduled for 09 July.
(photo credits: Blaine Harrington and Stephane Mailion)
‘Hei Tahiti’ created in 2004 by Ori Tahiti icon Tiare Trompette has proven to be one of the most successful groups in recent history. Coming up through the ranks by winning their first Hura Ava Tau participation in 2005 and with their last successful Heiva campaign dating back to 2013, they will surely be gunning for this one. Characterized by their bold choreography, experimental group shapes, quirky dance moves and costumes, ‘Hei Tahiti’ never disappoints. Performance scheduled on 07 July.
(photo credits: Tahiti infos:SB and Matareva)
Months and months of preparation and practice will soon come to fruition in a kaleidoscope of bright colours, wicked energy and Polynesian flare at the Heiva i Tahiti 2016. So, will the judges pick classic over innovation? Will ‘Temaeva’ win back to back titles? Will ‘O Tahiti E’ redeem themselves? Will ‘Ahutoru Nui’ cause an upset? Will ‘Hitireva’s’ edginess get them closer to the ultimate prize? Or will ‘Hei Tahiti’ conquer them all?
Who is your 2016 Heiva favourite?
Mauruuru and Ia Heiva te Heiva i Tahiti!