Monday, September 14, 2015

French Polynesia 2015
Dancing - Orero

Tahitian 'Orero is the art of oratory, where emphasis is laid both on the orator and his story. In ancient times ’Orero was performed only by the elite of society. 

Skills were passed down from generation to generation. This gave an aura of sacredness to the stories told but also to the orator himself, who became a witness to and a spokesman for a society and cultural heritage. 

The ’Orero’s life was guided by three key concepts: 
Mana: vital force of knowledge 
Pa’ari: ’Orero’s wisdom and intelligence 
Tapu: ’Orero’s code of conduct 

The ’Orero would usually perform 3 types of narratives: 
Fa’ateni, to praise the beauty of a place or of a person 
Fa’atara, to impress the other party 
‘A’ai, to tell a legend

For some years now, through the cultural revival visible especially during the Heiva i Tahiti Festival, that art, now widely open to the layman, ha been taught in schools. This is how that tradition, which was almost lost from Tahitian culture, is today being revived. Teaching focuses not only on carefully learning how to become proficient in the Polynesian language, but also on body expression, voice, preparation and staging of the ’ôrero. 

Costumes also play an important part, as music instruments sometimes do, such as the vivo (nasal flute) or the pahu (drum). As a master of this art, the orator takes us to a world of traditions, legends that form the various archipelagos of Polynesia. 

The audience may therefore discover, through young children, past stories about their islands, their mythologies, in a dialect of their own. That ancestral custom is now part of school curricula. It is taught at the Artistic Conservatory of French Polynesia and definitely can look forward to a prosperous future.