What is the difference between the Hula and Tahitian Dance?
Hula and Tahitian dance, called Ori Tahiti, are alike in many ways. Hula comes from the islands of Hawai’i and Ori from the islands of Tahiti. Both types of dances are performed by women and men
Dancers tell a story using their hands and body movements. Both styles of dances are Polynesian but each style is unique.
Hula dance usually uses the arm movements for the symbolism while Tahitian dance involves more hip movements for the story-telling.
Kahiko Hula compared to Ori Tahiti (or Ote`a) are the ancient forms of dance native to these islands. Ote`a is characterized by fast drum beats, women’s fast moving hips and men’s aggressiveness. Kahiko Hula on the other hand encompasses the entire body (with the hands telling the story) and has sharp, brisk movements. Kahiko can be slow or fast, but never gets as fast as ote`a.
With the more modern dances of Hawai’i and Tahiti, for example the `Auana Hula compared to Aparima & Ahupuroto (Ahuroa) there are more similarities. Performers dance to vocals and string instruments instead of drums. `Auana is more soft and graceful compared to kahiko. Costuming in `auana varies depending on the dance and the demands of the hula instructor. Often, you’ll see ladies in mu`umu`u and men in slacks and Hawaiian style shirt.
With the aparima and ahupuroto dances of Tahiti, the emphasis is still on the hips, but are much slower than ote`a. Aparima dancers wear pareo (sarong), headresses and floral adornments. Ahupuroto or ahuroa, is very similar to `Auana hula and aparima; however, dancers wear a dress known as ahupuroto, which looks similar to a Hawaiian mu`umu`u. Ahupuroto dancers also wear headresses.