Theare evidence of early European explorers of the eighteenth century describe dance costumes mostly made of tapa. This bark cloth beaten dressed dancers and musicians. The women, shirtless wore skirts of tapa decorated and adorned with woven plant fibers.

Very simply dressed, Polynesians danced until the arrival of missionaries.
These, horrified by the events they considered obscene gestures, banned from 1819 any representation of Tahitian dance.

It will take 1880, at the onset of the official celebrations 14 July, for dance, timidly, can be reborn. Costumes, far from the natural gestures accompany, had strict obligations : and ample robe for women, long pants topped with a shirt for men.
In 1928, le film Tabu, Bora Bora made by Murnau and Flaherty spends Costumes more. Gradually dresses assignments, pants and shirts fade, the more is the essential element of costume traditional dance. The busts are bare and dancers, after extensive bustiers Pareu, adopt tape'a titi, adjusted more.

In 1956, Madeleine Mou'a, created for his group Heiva beautiful costumes that enhance the choreography based on legendary themes and sets standards.

Dance then returns to the front of the stage.

Dance groups organize themselves and make themselves more. Men cut branches purau, while women peel the stems and remove the bark. These plants are long strips then soaked in water to soften the fiber. Once dry, the material is worked patiently, sewn, then decorated with the mamas and the young dancers.

Costumes therefore continue to evolve. Materials, assemblages, colors and shapes, always marry differently with more creativity under the command of a conductor, essential character of the company : the costumer.

Coco Tirao, leader of the dance group Ahutoru affected
Then, when I start a suit, it is already a little « tic » in my head, and then later, I draw. Sometimes I do something but I'm not sure what it will look like… And in fact, As the, ideas come from and it alone. I have a basic, and I'm trying to evolve over, while respecting the traditional side of course costumes. I often refer to encyclopedias, see how the costumes were made once… Otherwise, it really is a delirium. I completely delirious.

Matani Kainuku, leader of the dance group Nonahere
I run my ideas on paper and people around me to help me refine my performance costume. This is a difficult task because it is not the first stroke of a pen that is able, it takes several keys pencils really complete the costume.

We leave written, existing, writings of ancient, writings of those who wanted to keep, preserve the culture through the words and it is from these writings that everything happens. This is our interpretation of these writings, So you want from these writings to achieve something material, of which is touchable costume.

I really try to use all the words and this is my interpretation that allows me to make choices about the shape of the cap, the material that I choose, color… I think the purpose of the suit is mostly recreate an atmosphere, recreate a character and it's all that I think that as consistency in the choice.

This year for example I mostly decided to use materials fenua because many materials around us and perhaps ignorance of some people and…We are well aware that the means exist but must be sought. So this year I decided to use the reed and the reed is then visible on the cap, on the collar, back, Cape, but also for making the skirt. This reed has been assembled here by a fabric, the belt of boys, the pearl in along with coconut, mother of pearl for the representation of grief and night and coconut, to earth, the color of the earth, origins… The pearls and coconuts were sewn on the pandanus to meet the color tones between the reed and the media. On the collar we kept the same assembly principle, alternance between nacre, coconut, and reed. On the cap above we can see large pearl cut into rectangular shape with coconut on sides, keeping the alternating coconut and pearl. Everything is assembled on the pandanus and the whole is surrounded by reed and rear is also set pandanus. This form actually allows the character to grow and make it stronger normally.

Coco Tirao
Heiva for this year, the cover girls I made based on more. There are two colors : the more black and white more. I say that the head is very important, because for me, inspiration, and have something beautiful on your head gives a person's personality. And to emphasize that all, I put a black braid here. Then, neck always with more, and as the basis peore with some shells. I used peore because in all the costumes are already using this raw material for making any. In fact it is the basis of all the costumes. And then, support girls, always based peore and shellfish with a little more black here. Support is a normal placemat, we just cut to shape and support. It takes a lot of work and it would use a peue, it is a work that strikes you while placemat is already done and then it was for a price not exorbitant. Size girls, with bursts of pearl. The pearls are not worked. Just worked on both sides. The interior of the shell and the outside of the shell. I did not want this year to do something right too because a stone is not already worked. The stone is natural and I wanted to be the natural mother of pearl, they have the forms as soon as they break the. Then, the more, you can not have what we want really. Here, it's really complicated to have more timely, the time it takes to… This year, mes more, I've come to Hawaii, because the lady who was doing my more withdrew at the last minute.

Matani Kainuku
Last year, we also ordered materials. What was good, is that we could have, at least I could choose the color I wanted. You should know that Hawaii, is one of the only, perhaps the Philippines, to produce, to offer the application that you want : we need one more of one color, they provide us the more quickly. Here, this is not yet in the minds while in Hawaii is truly an island that lives it, I think that including that culture could serve the tourism whereas here it is not yet in the minds, then there is demand to move mountains. To fetch purau in rivers, to treat for one month… that the demand for labor, this request… a new spirit and this is in fact what we need to change, and it takes time, the process is slow. But it really bothered us to go and make more reed because we not only gained knowledge but at the same time into money. Then it is certain that we have the means necessary without necessarily having money for costumes for the Heiva. For me it is a proof that there is no need to go elsewhere, to make a beautiful Heiva with costumes from us.
This evening Heiva, Day for dance is the culmination of a long. Musical compositions, choreography, suits began to be born several months ago.

Matani Kainuku
There is a long period that I think is important, from design to suit the Day. I can not afford to go to Heiva with regrets. Not. So this is the long time that I use to make the best choices possible, in the final realization of the costume. And besides all the people around me a little angry because they expect me to tell them : « not in fact do not do it like that ». They worry a bit that I change overnight, because flashes can happen, best ideas can come and I consider it must catch the train when it is running, and I'm here to help. To me, I think it is a little unique art, this is something that is dynamic and not static. So I can not believe that I would have chosen suit, is the best, but at least, a precise point in my mind, I think this is the one that best meets.

Coco Tirao
As the, days arrive, I have ideas coming, I change… And in fact, the costume with which I began, sometimes is not the one I had at the beginning. It is really… There is a mutation, there is a change at this costume then. There is really not to the original state.

Matani Kainuku
A costume for me is a whole and it is not in becoming fragmented. So we decided this year to have four elements, elements or five girls, while boys, they do have three or four. This is especially a merger that would create one between the person, and that habit will.

This perfect marriage between body and garment union is not a solitary. The dancers, sometimes over a hundred on stage must themselves be in perfect harmony. The suit fits then a general representation of the theme.

Coco Tirao
When you make a suit, we worked the choreography. In fact the costume, this is the last thing on my mind. I ask because my movements already, my dance, I choreographed entries, outputs. The custom, it really is the third thing that I think and vis-à-vis the dancers, dancers, I adapt according to the suit I made choreography.

Matani Kainuku
I think the most important thing is to understand what you are doing. And for me, when I say that there is to consider the theme of a show, choreographing a show, the composition of a stage show, staging of all actors in a show, but also the achievement of a suit, I think we should break up more things, must ensure that there is a true correlation, real meaning in what is. And for me, taking into account the shape of the suit is important
I think everything has to be taken into account. And choreography, but also the relationship between choreography and movement vat be done with the costume.

If girls are stepping, must suit is also not the image of the. They can not take a step with a suit that will prevent them from doing, wrong to understand what happens.
All costumes are created according to the pitch of each, body movement, tailored to each dancer and dancer. The costume thus becomes a true master in the manufacture of costumes.

Matani Kainuku
There is a whole team behind taking care of the sewing, assembly materials and are able to tell me whether a particular material must be pasted before or after because they used knowledge, they have the expertise, and it is this committee that seeks to cut these materials, prepare them for the dancers and the dancers, when they are ready to make their costumes, to do with all materials ready. I do not send the dancers to look right and left searching for all these materials. Not at all. We try to have it all around us for the production and manufacture of these costumes done in a specific order, structured manner and for each finish time costumes.
Dancers involved thus making the costumes and everyone seems to have a clearly defined role.

Dancer
I'm weaving a « lie ». To make a « lie », using sheets auti. Before, we have removed the main groove is here. We pass on the fire. Is on fire, Either by using an iron so that the sheet is softened and more to keep the. Once that is done, we will divide the sheet into two auti the middle, So there will be two distinct piece. Braid is always in the same direction and we must ensure that both sides are well rolled because otherwise the whole braid which will take place.

Dancer
Braids, leaves are auti, braided cord, which have been sewn to a cap. And sewing on the cap, we try not to see the seam.

Dancer
I'm trying to sew a opui on my waist more. Here, it's braided three auti. First, we do our size peure. Then we sewed the rest of our more, then, we took a three braided auti, and at the end you put opui.

Seamstress
I fixed the pearl. It was my husband who made them for the group. There has been for thousands of little squares, small rectangles… chips for dancers, it took the polish, the cut. The coconuts we went to look at the market, by cons, nacres, they are friends who have given. There have been brought Gambier… So I make a necklace, this is a little boy of five years.

Matani Kainuku
I like making, I like to put my ideas flat, but I'm not costume. I am the leader of the dance troupe, I take care of everything. And I feel more like a guide for everyone that as someone who has a specialization in business. I think this is a job that must be done in more trust and support in this spirit alone because, I can not do.

Coco Tirao
Since I took the troupe Ahutoru harmed as a choreographer and costume, I've always worked my costumes alone. It is only this year and last year and 2001 I did call people to make my costumes. Otherwise, when I work with these people, I make them the model and they just follow.

Ahutoru hurt has this habit of not giving the dancers made their own costumes to, except that the plant. The grand costumes… We have seen in previous years, when we gave the dancers work, the dancer does not really respected the creation, that the costumer wanted… bring out the dancer in costume. In fact, the dancer always wanted to put his little grain of salt in to say « it is I who have done » or it does not meet the exact proportions of the materials used in the suit. In fact, the dancer will rave, but in its own way. And a costumer is always there to look if they have done their job. If there are things that have not been done well, the costumer must redo the whole outfit… It is a waste of time. This is why Ahutoru always has to hurt her costumes by a single person.

The costumes and set will proudly display the Heiva. The materials and shapes are then in perfect harmony with gestures. Some seem more original than others, but they respect all rules, guarantors of tout competition.

Matani Kainuku
The contest is. Competition exists in society. I worry for the competition it will always exist, I think especially in the evaluation, because the assessment, how things are evaluated depends only people who evaluate and settlement. I am for regulation because Heiva I participate in so I am committed to what is done but it is not an obstacle to the realization of my costume, the costume party, to the achievement of the performance. Evaluation and rules that are imposed allow me to have a framework but it does not prevent me to have some flexibility with my company and have some flexibility in the creation of the show. And I think it is important, I think anyone can create, since a contest, to say that it is not the competition that is going to create barriers to. The creation, it exists anyway, there is no competition in…

Coco Tirao
I say that there are many false because the only suit that is made in the traditional way, this is the one that is shown to jury. But for all dancers, dancers, costumes are made as one we must show the jury. The suit that you must show the jury must be done with local materials, without nylon, glueless… It should really showcase the costume with what you have on hand, sewn with peore, rafia to the limit is, raffia but is not a material by, it is a matter outside. It is rare, rare, rare, to see a traditional costume made 100% local.

Despite some obstacles to strict regulations, costumes dazzle. Costume designers are constantly creating, innovate, always visiting different stories of the past.

And these costumes, tirelessly, keep dancing.

Realization : Claire Schwob
Realization : Claire Schwob Production : Tahiti Nui Companies
Type : length documentaries on Polynesian traditions Theme : Traditions of French Polynesia Title : docks a log Synopsis : Polynesian traditions, ancestral references extremely present in the daily people Islands, is the channel on tradition hooneur, through length documentaries, made on the basis of interviews, testimonies, revelations. Unit length : 26 minutes Episodes: 3 Language : French Formats : 4/3 and 16 9th

Tahiti.tv, the webtv of Tahiti and her Islands : your virtual trip to French Polynesia through hundreds of video

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