Columns & Stories
|Hale O Malo Polynesian Dance
Dances of the Pacific Islands (Hawaii,
Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, and New Zealand)
have meaning beyond words and are part of
these Islands' cultural legends. The dances
may mean: praise to the gods, respect for the
chiefs, call for war, celebrations, or simply
love of nature. These dances are termed
"polynesian," although the movement and
rhythms may vary from one island to another.
The dancers wear traditional costumes that
are both colorful and made for the tropics.
The Hale O Malo Polynesian dancers of
Milwaukee brough such tropical warmth to
Madison's cold weather last February 17 at
Olbrich Botanical Gardens, when they
performed several numbers, including the
"haka" male warrior dance and the "huki lau"
hula, as part of the Children of the Rainforest
The traditional conch shell was blown to
open the show, and the sound of the tuetti
drums and ukelele immediately raised the
enthusiasm and excitement of the huge
audience composed of families with chidren.
When a pretty dancer briskly threw the Poi
balls back and forth while she danced, it was
such a delightful sight. The impressive
Tahitian hula amazed the people too.
According to history, because there was no
written language in the Islands, the
Polynesian dance and its accompanying
music preserved various stories and rituals
of the indigenous people. It is, therefore, as
much a celebration of life as it is a proud
statement of cultural awareness.