Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Raqasa goes to the Pacific (and Brixton)

Today I will be attending my first ever hula workshop with Hawaiian Hula UK, whom I met through the medium of blogging. How about that? (While I'm on it, check out her post on 'bellynesian': contrary to what the raqs purists would have you believe, the issues around fusing dance forms don't all run one way, y'know.)

And after the workshop, I'm heading to Brixton to a hafla, where a friend of a friend will perform her first ever solo. Naturally, I will be whooping and cheering until I'm croaking. What all this means is that tomorrow, if I have the energy, there will be a big ol' retrospective of Clare's Big Dance Day.

I'm very excited about the hula class - it will be my first real brush with Pasifika culture since leaving Aotearoa/New Zealand. Since Maori Language Week is just winding down there, here's a taste of some Kapa Haka:

If you're wondering what the reference to 'Poi-e' is all about, it was the biggest-selling kiwi-made single of my youth. The Patea Maori Club was formed in response to the closing of the freezing works (i.e. abattoir) in Patea in the 1980s as a result of the removal of government farming subsidies: a closure that knocked the stuffing out of the town, leaving almost every man unemployed and every family without an income. (Don't get me started on the economic 'reforms' of the 1980s. Even today, driving through Patea is like driving through a ghost town.) The club was supposed to help people rebuild their sense of community, but the song they recorded also happens to rock like a werepig:

According to urban legend, the breakdancing guy just showed up in the background of some shots trying to get noticed, hogged the limelight and then was never heard from again. What a legend.


  1. Have you seen this video?

    *wipes away drool*

    Sorry for being off-topic.

  2. Ooooh. Yeah. As I said on Saturday, mele ma'i are a great example of hula that ain't so subtle. Arf!
    This is the one with the red cloth under the skirts, from this year by Halau I Ka Wekiu who I love, even if they decided to keep their hair short this year, boo:
    Glad you enjoyed the workshop! It was a lot of fun and lovely to meet so many people interested in hula. Mail of links and things to follow, and here's to next time :)

  3. FamousFeline and Hula UK, you sweet things! You can stop by here and post links to eye-popping clips anytime you want (pokes eyes back into sockets).

    And Hula UK, I promise that next time I will be on time! Thanks for the follow up email and the lollipop.