Huraiti Mana made our first-ever appearance at Hura Tahiti 2019! It was a very, very long road, even in comparison to all the traveling we had done thus far for solo competitions! Landing back in California, we fought a that famous CA traffic, arriving to our hotel with barely any minutes to spare before heading to our Ori Tahiti workshops with master Hirohiti Tematahotoa (and sister Diva!!), ra'atira of Hanatika and director of Ecole de Danse de Tahitienn e Heiva in Papeete. After 11 total hours of travel, we showed up to our first workshop, the mehura, coming in hot off the freeway and spent the next amazing 5 hours learning, dancing, and having an amazing time. Our second workshop for Ote'a quickly changed and morphed into an amazing Ori Tahiti Solo competition workshop with both Hiro and Diva providing invaluable feedback for each dancer - from the young tamari'i in the class to each Huraiti who were soaking up every word. Hiro and Diva are so full of ite, so full of knowledge and strength and love and passion. Diva, we also learned, was crowned the best dancer at Heiva i Tahiti in the 80s and was the first ori Tahiti dancer to introduce the tifeni with a fa'arapu! My hero!
We hope to bring Hiro up to Seattle sometime soon to partake in an Ori Tahiti dance workshop in the Pacific Northwest! As Huraiti Mana continues to learn and grow here in Seattle, was also want to continue to find ways to contribute to this rich Polynesian, Tahitian dance community in the PNW.
Leaving the workshops around 11PM, we headed back to our hotels to begin working on our regalia pieces. My mother spent a sleepless night sewing every petal onto my tape'a titi (top) while I braided my hei upo'o (headpiece) and sewed song of India to my huraiti's hei upo'o. We recommend never to spend the entire night before a long competition creating your regalia - but with the beautiful workshops we attended and the amazing people we met, we wouldn't have it any other way. Traveling, we weren't able to bring tents to shade us in the outdoor changing areas - but we were lucky in finding shade beneath a staircase area next to an amazing and talented group of tamari'i from Pupu Ori Te Vaka Nui (who put on the Ori Fest we attended shortly before this competition!). We suited, we danced, and we thoroughly enjoyed. We didn't bring in a W this time, but it was a priceless opportunity to connect, to grow, and to be a part. Mahalo to everyone at Hura Tahiti 2019!
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