Ori Tahiti: a step closer to Unesco
The first booklet listing the different steps of ‘ori tahiti’ was officially presented this Friday at the Artistic Conservatory of French Polynesia (CAPF). This booklet will serve as a basis for the recognition of ori Tahiti dance as an integral part of the intangible cultural heritage of France and will support the application of traditional Tahitian dance to the world heritage of Unesco.
“We did not think it would take so much time,” Minister of Culture Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu said in a preamble during the presentation of the Tahitian dance steps on Friday morning. “It took us three years.”
A long-term work, gathering around a table the volunteers of the Artistic Conservatory of French Polynesia (CAPF), the federation of ‘ori Tahiti, the leaders of troops, but also dancers, photographers, directors.
Not an educational guide
The goal? “Make a slide, a photograph of steps to have a common language, to preserve ancestral practice,” says Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu. Fabien Dinard, director of the CAPF insists about the freedom left to the artists: “it is not a libretto which freezes the steps, it is not an educational guide”. It is not intended to learn dance.
It consists of a linguistic, descriptive and artistic approach to a number of traditional Tahitian dance movements. It details steps and postures, from historical steps to current steps, supplemented by a lexicon. It is not his ambition to sum all the existing steps, nor all the postures, but only the most practiced.
Similar project attempts have been made in the past. A film was shot, “but we have not found it,” regrets Heremeoana Maamaatuaiahutapu. “So we had to start all over again.” The discussions about the terms, the wording to keep were often lively. “There are steps that carry two or three different names!”
58 steps and 6 postures
Once the steps were listed, the selected terms (there are 58 steps in the booklet, 32 for the vahine and 26 for the tane and 6 postures), the dancers entered the scene. “In particular, the best dancers and dancers of the heiva, those who were distinguished” were called upon. Video cameras and cameras have captured everything. In total, 44,000 images were produced by Tahiti Zoom. Archipel Prod and Marc Louvat are in charge of the video part. They sign the videograms which are presentations of dance steps to which are added testimonials.
The repertoire of steps of the Tahitian dance is an official collection that will be distributed to dance schools and troop leader in priority. He was shot at 350 copies.
The Unesco recognition
It will also serve to recognize the ‘ori tahiti nationally and internationally. It will serve as a basis for integrating the practice into French intangible cultural heritage. It will support the nomination of traditional Tahitian dance to UNESCO World Heritage. “He give us our report before March 31,” said the Minister of Culture in this regard. “We are competing with three other candidates that I do not know, we will have the answer in June.”
The libretto consists of two large parts, the movements of men (tane) and those of the women (vahine). The order of appearance of the important movements is proposed accordingly to the frequency of their use. The appearance of the movements of less importance is proposed in alphabetical order. For schools, these parts come in two separate booklets.
The iconographic elements contained in the booklet will soon be available on the Artistic Conservatory website of French Polynesia.
Source: Tahiti Infos – PAPEETE, February 2nd, 2018 –