@ Heiva Nui
The Heiva i Tahiti, celebrated every year during the month of July is more than just a festival, it is the pinnacle of cultural effervescence in French Polynesia.
The Heiva drags us back to the roots of Polynesian tradition, where legends and myths were born, and, for a moment, the entire population is invited to celebrate the revival of our culture.
From ancient times...
The arrival of the first Europeans and missionaries in the 18th century marked the decline of Polynesian art forms from the carving of tiki, to tattooing and dancing. Indeed, the dances were perceived as erotic and labelled as debauchery and prohibited in the name of "teaching the untutored savage...and civilise and elevate him in the scale of humanity". Undeniable sign of two completely disparate cultures coming together but also the announcement of the colonial reign and domination.
"A Dance in Otaheite" (Tahiti, Captain Cook's voyage) engraved by Heath after a picture by Webber, published in The Geographical Magazine, 1793
At the beginning of the 20th century, tahitian dancing progressively makes it resurgence although the vahine are still prisoners of long missionary dresses and in 1881, the first Heiva i Tahiti takes place.
The resurgence of traditions marks the beginning of the Polynesian enlightenment, the resurgence of Polynesian arts with a contemporary twist. Two cultures had met, one trying to annihilate the other, but failing, and one culture was born which is a modern blend of both.
...to modern times.
2011, 129 years of celebrations, dances, singing, legends, spear throwing, stone lifting, canoe races, games and competitions will take place for the greatest pleasure of all. The Heiva and its palette of warm colors, the Heiva and its explosion of sounds... the meeting of creativity and tradition, passion and conviction, power and grace.
@ T. Salmon / Tahiti Tourisme
@ Grégoire Le Bacon / Tahiti Tourisme @ Florian Cherreard / Tahiti Tourisme
@ Florian Cherreard / Tahiti Tourisme
Bodies are submitted to the most demanding exercises, whether it is the gracious undulations of the dancers moving to the cadence of the music, the percussion musicians playing to a furious rhythm, the powerful bodies of the athletes, modern warriors showing their strength, ability and precision.
@ Raymond Sahuquet / Tahiti Tourisme @T. Zysman / Tahiti Tourisme
@ Gregory Boissy / Tahiti Tourisme
The Heiva tells a story and in the gestures of the dancers, legends are reborn. Between seduction and decadence, the ballets are spectacular; they tell the past and the present of the Polynesian soul, traditions on a live canvas of modernity.
An outburst of emotions, effervescence, enthusiasm, frenzy, pleasure, passion, excitement, the Heiva celebrates the beauty of life and the joy of living of an entire population.