Queen’s dance group will perform lakalaka at festival in Hawaiʻi

A Tongan dance group organised by Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau’u will perform next week at the  Pacific Dance Festival in Hawai’i.

The group comes from King Tupou VI’s home, Kanokupolu, and dancers will be in Hawaii on 1 August with the Queen.

The group will perform lakalaka, a dance with sung speeches and choreographed movements.

Lakalaka has been designated part of the heritage of humanity by UNESCO.

Performances are being held at the University of Hawai’i’s Manoa campus.

The costumes for the group were designed by Paia Siale, whoe husband Kotoni is a punake, a teacher of Tongan dance.

Tongan academic Adrienne Kaeppler, who is curator of Oceanic Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution, said dance in Tonga was a highly respected tradition practiced by everybody, including those of highest rank.

She told Hawai’ian Public Radio that Tongan dance was first recorded by Westerners during the second and third voyages of Captain James Cook.

Kaeppler said Christian missionaries tried unsuccessfully to abolish dancing.  Though Christianity was adopted widely, dancing remained a part of village life.

The main points

  • A Tongan dance group organised by Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau’u will perform next week at the Pacific Dance Festival in Hawai’i.
  • The group comes from King Tupou VI’s home, Kanokupolu.
  • The group will perform lakalaka, a dance with sung speeches and choreographed movements.

For more information 

The Queen of Tonga’s Dancers Take Honolulu

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