Dances of Easter Island

The islanders are good dancers, and it seems as though their great passion is music and dance. They are regionalists and only dance their own dances, like the popular Sau-Sau, the island tango, the Tari-Tarita and other dances from Tahiti. The chants are performed by groups or popular singers of the island, who gather around their own musical instruments. They dance and sing, clapping their hands, moving their waist and their heads at the same time.

Sau-Sau: It is the most important dance in every party. It comes from Samoa, and according to the locals, it was imported during the 40s. In the island, it adopted new characteristics. At night, gatherings take place where this dance is performed. The women show all their grace and elegance through rhythmic movements they accompany undulating their hands. In Sau-Sau, couples come together and apart with quick hip movements. In this dance, the islanders, especially the women, wear colorful feathers that modern groups are incorporating more and more.

Ula-Ula: A dance from Tahiti that, according to Doctor Ramón Campbell, is a reminiscence of the original. Generally, couples dance separated from each other to the rhythm of the lively corrido, undulating their hips softly from side to side, and resting their feet alternatively on the heel and the tip of the toes. The women make graceful arm movements, undulating them from one side to the other in a very harmonious manner, and imitating the act of combing their hair with one hand and looking themselves in an invisible mirror with the other. All of this is executed with a suggestive and captivating feminine grace. In this type of dance, there usually aren’t any provocative or indecent movements. The dancing is usually alternated with figures where the dancers bend their legs until the heels almost touch their backside in a crouching position, and then rise again, constantly undulating in a rhythmical manner.

Tamuré: A graceful Tahitian dance composed of two main aspects. On the one hand, the dancers perform real acrobatics with their legs, as well as extraordinary rapid movements and fairly violent pelvic swings. The men who have travelled to Tahiti are the ones who perform this dance well. In counted occasions, the women dare to execute the steps and figures of the Tahitian tamuré.

The current dances and songs are stylizations of Polynesian folklore. The more recent dances are the Tahitian waltz and the Rapa Nui tango.