​​​​​​​Tausala Pasefika joins worldwide 'Ori Tahiti Flashmob'

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, Tuatalatala.com (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.

  • ​​​​​​​ The dancers of Tausala Pasefika at the Town Clock Tower in Apia
    ​​​​​​​ The dancers of Tausala Pasefika at the Town Clock Tower in Apia

In a first for Samoa, Palisi-based dance group Tausala Pasefika has joined a global celebration of Tahitian culture that originated several years ago in France.

Tausala is the first group of dancers to represent Samoa in the worldwide Tahitian dance party, Dance Instructor Kehaolani Manoa-Slade told Newsline Samoa.

"We were having our Ori Tahiti Flashmob today and it was organized by Mareva Bouchaux who lives in France. Every year for the past couple of years she has organized an Ori Tahiti Flashmob celebrating the Tahitian culture and she opened it up to different countries, cities and whoever wants to join in she organizes the music," the dance instructor said.

"This is the first year Samoa has participated and we are happy to be the first. We plan to participate every year so every year we're just going to open it up to anyone who wants to join and hopefully next year we'll get some males to join. It's open to all ages and all dance levels."

Female performers ranging in age from five to 40 danced for the flashmob that was captured on video by a drone in front of the Apia Town Clock Tower yesterday morning.

Tausala Pasefika was founded in 2014 and has been in operation for five years.

"I teach girls ages two to 40, mostly Hawaiian, Samoan and Tahitian dances. I've got two different age groups, the Keiki Group ages two to 14 and I've got a 15 and up group, the Wahine or adult group," said Manoa-Slade.

"I've currently got a separate group running and this is our Elite group. We are working on a proper name but this will be our main performing group for when we are invited to big functions at the last minute. We are currently in the recruiting process so if you know you want to dance and you have a lot of experience, feel free to hit me up."

Tausala Pasefika does not have a set venue for practice but they've made do for the past two years. Recently Manoa-Slade was invited by Coffee Bean owner Andrew Pedrana to practice at his coffee shop in Tamaligi.

"We've been switching venues for the past two years because we could never secure a venue for lots of different reasons. Two months ago we decided that we'd just have practice out at Malaefatu Park across from the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel because it's free and you don't have to pay anything and it's open area and all our dancers fit," said Manoa-Slade.

"Then Andrew from Coffee Bean messaged me one day and he asked me if I'd be interested in shifting my classes to have them at the cafe so it was a blessing for us because we've actually got an indoor spot and we can have our classes rain or shine. So we're there Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and all our Saturday classes are at Malaefatu."

Newsline asked the dance instructor, who works for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) why she dances.

"I dance because it's something that I love. I am  not the sporty type. I am not athletically built or talented in any way or form so dance is my sport. It's something I love to do and I am good at it. Like how rugby is to some people: some people were born to play rugby but I was born to dance," said Manoa-Slade.

The group's Apia Town Clock performance will be uploaded to YouTube and added to a video compilation comprised of submissions from dancers around the globe.

A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place to perform.

Ori Tahiti means "Tahitian dance."