The Dances of Tahiti | KCET
This exclusive web extra features members of Le Polynesia performing the story of a popular Tahitian legend.
The Legend of Pipirima
The Tahitian peoples have a long history of performing dances, stretching back to pre-colonial times when men and women traveled from village to village performing music in exchange for hospitality. Modern Tahitian percussion ensembles accompanying the drum dance (ote'a) like the one performed here with large double ended bass drum (pahu or tariparau), more single ended drums (to'ere), several slit gongs (tokere), and the fa'atete drum.
This series of dances tells the legend of Pipirima, which is a creation myth of the northern stars of Ursa Minor. The story follows twins, a brother and sister, who leave their home after they are neglected by their parents during a time of great famine in Tahiti.
When they flee, the parents call for them: "Pipirima, come home! Come back!" But they ignore their parents and set off to find their own food. They decide to go fishing by moonlight for the elusive flying fish of Tahiti. As they search, the twins encounter the call of Varua Ino, the evil spirits, who convince the twins to run away high into the mountains. High in the mountains the twins see a large vessel with a long tail in the sky. They grab the tail and are swept up in the bright night sky. There they become two bright stars that can still be seen to this day in Tahiti.
About Le Polynesia
Le Polynesia Cultural Performing Arts Center is a family oriented dance studio dedicated to the perpetuation of the Polynesian culture. For over 50 years, Le Polynesia has taught the beautiful dances of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and New Zealand to hundreds of students throughout Southern California. Started by Jr. and Ilima Montgomery in 1961, Le Polynesia continues today under the direction of the 2nd generation of Montgomery's, Guy and Lori Lei. Their studio is located in Lake Forest, CA in the heart of Orange County. For more information, visit their website.