World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Te Pura O Te Rahuraʽa

DANCE ORIGIN: Tahiti, French Polynesia
DIRECTORS: Marilou Ubaldo Lafon, Randy Lafon
First appearance in SF EDF: 2018

Te Pura O Te Rahuraʽa Polynesian dance group was founded in 2006, and is directed by Marilou Ubaldo Lafon and Randy Lafon. Performing songs and dances from Hawaii and Tahiti, the group perpetuates Polynesian culture, developing dancers' talents and abilities, instilling self-esteem and appreciation for Polynesian culture, dance, and music. Awards include Best Overall Hura Tau Group, 2017, Tahiti Fete, San Jose; performance, Te Moana Nui, at 2014 Merrie Monarch Hoʽike; 1st place, Mehura category, Ori Tahiti Nui Competition 2014; World Champion Vahine Dancer Shanna Pineda, Ori Tahiti Nui Competition 2017.


GENRE: ’Ote’a and ’Aparima
TITLE: O Mo’emo’e (Curiosity)
CHOREOGRAPHERS: Adrian DeCastro, Marilou Ubaldo Lafon, Shanna Pineda
COSTUME DESIGN: Imogene O’Neill, Aaron Sencil
DANCERS: Jessica Acosta, Maria Isabella Arrobio, Marlon Ayala, Abby Ayong, Mylene Canosa, Tanya Cansanas, Kayla Carnecer, Nicole Castillo, Katie Cheung, Amy Chiu, Megan Chiu, Maka Criste, Adrian DeCastro, Lallaine Delos Santos, Kamiah Diccion, Mikka Dizon, Joanne Gallagher, Kayla Golub, Laney Goo, Danielle Hammond, Jeneiah Ignacio, Desiree Lagandaon, Sydnie Lau, Ashley Lauti, Nathalie Le Guay, Rayna Lew, Sydney Lew, Lily Lim, Kelly Lum, Marvin Luna, Christine Maog, Sabrina Martinez, Jackie Melgar, Miki Mercado, Julie Mallari, Regina Olay, Fiona O’Neill, Von Parsario, Shanna Pineda, Chickie Polanco, Jonah Resurreccion, Nicole Resurreccion, Samantha Resurreccion, Rebecca Rodriguez, Miles Seegmiller, Sharon Seegmiller, Maya Smith, Nicholas Soriano-Smith, Rhiannon Soriano-Smith, Gillian Taganas, Camille Valdez, Myrtle Ventura, Arielle Visperas, Jacob Visperas, Jaeden Young, Crystal Zapata
MUSICIANS: Alexa Almira (fa’akete, bamboo, ihara), Sam Almira (pahu tupai), Curtis Alumno (toere), Raymond Bambao (’ukulele, vivo, xylophone, vocals), Marilou Ubaldo Lafon (vocals), Randy Lafon (toere, tairi parau), Haunah Lee (tairi parau), Kaluna Pallar (guitar, vocals), Ricky Viray (toere), Armando Visperas (toere, Tahitian banjo), Kevin Yee (guitar)

To the steady heartbeat of Tahitian drums, 56 dancers present O MoʽemoʽeCuriosity. Traditional and contemporary dance forms—synchronized ʽōteʽa hip-shaking, and graceful ʽaparima hand-pantomime—merge with a sad and sorrowful song, telling a contemporary legend:

On an island, a sorcerer created a group of women. Outraged by the hubris, Oro, the primary Tahitian deity and god of war, curses the women to live as birds by day and to never touch a true human. A young man, Onoono, and his friends arrive. They watch birds transform into women, and Onoono falls in love with Maruao. She touches him and Oro's curse manifests. All the bird-women become hideous beasts; Maruao lunges at Onoono and the legend ends. Some say a banyan tree holds the lovers in eternal embrace. Sailors say they hear the women singing—

Mai Te oʽere hoi matou / E oraraa fau faa ore /
Aore e aroha aore e here...
Our life has no meaning / No love, no love / Oro
e, Oro e / Consider us to be human / Open the
doors of life!

The male dancers—tane—wear village attire of natural fibers: moré hibiscus bark, ti leaves, and shells. When in their human form, the women—vahine—wear black pareos to represent night sky and ti leaves: red for passion and green for the sorcerer's envy. As exotic birds they wear feathers the color of sunrise, green and orange seeds, and red kukui. As many-eyed beasts, they wear cats-eye shells, dark moré skirts, headpieces of moré and dried mushrooms, coconut bark, and grass horns.

Original music is by Marilou and Randy Lafon, and Raymond Bambao. The music merges contemporary sounds and xylophone with Tahitian drums—toʽere, tairi parau, faʽakete, ihara and pahu tupai. The group's Tahiti mentors include Moena Maiotui, Terau Piritua, Tuarii Tracqui, and Hirohiti Tematahotoa.

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