Born and raised in the Tuamotu Archipelago, Makau started dancing at age 4 in her local district of Taunoa despite the prohibitions of the era.
As a young adult she reconnected with her culture thru Tahitian dance thanks to the Polynesian Cultural Center of Laie in Hawaii. Once back in Tahiti she started dancing in hotel shows before creating her actual famous Ori Tahiti group in 1973, Tamariki Poerani.
In 1999, her dance group won the first prize Hura Ava Tau during the contest Heiva I Tahiti. Since then Tamariki Poerani presented many shows that permitted them to win a lot of prizes in the category Hura Tau.
Her and her daughter Kohai, own one of the biggest traditional dance schools in Tahiti. Nevertheless, with her dancers, they often travel around the word to teach the Ori Tahiti to different countries like Japan, Mexico, the USA, etc.
She says: ‘’ Dancing is a passion. It’s something that I feel but that I can’t explain, that is deep, intimate. I go in a sort of trance with my person. It’s almost like an enjoyment: you can feel the suppleness of the body, the lightness and the strength… Teaching the dance to others is going in a trance with a personality that doesn’t belong to me. It’s going in the dance’s body. When I start dancing, I’m so concentrated that I don’t see anyone anymore, I’m all by myself, I don’t hear anything else but the music that rocks me. For me, dancing is vital.’’
‘’You have to feel the emotions. The hands tells a story, the eyes define the rest’’
Photo © AR