Give Polynesian Dance A Try!

Polynesian Dance Resources

  • To find classes in your area, visit (which also has loads of info about concerts and events), or do a Google search on Polynesian dance classes by area.
  • If you can't find or afford classes, check out video lessons from dance schools and troupes on The Expert Village channel on YouTube has some great, easy to follow instructional videos on Polynesian dance, including Hula and Tahitian dance, for beginning to advanced dancers. Search for lessons at
  • Golston also recommends these events for those looking to learn more about Polynesian dance and culture: The Merrie Monarch Festival in Hawaii (; Tahiti Fête Competitions (; and the Fireknife Competition at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii (

Polynesian Dance Glossary
•    Ami: Circular movement of the hip, a standard step in Polynesian dance
•    Fa'ataupati (Samoan Slap dance): Samoan dance used to train warriors
•    Halau Hula: Hula school
•    Hula Auana: Modern Hula
•    Hula Kahiko: Ancient Hula
•    Kailao: Tongan war dance
•    Kumu Hula: Hula teacher
•    Lakalaka: Tongan dance that uses only arm movements
•    Lau'ti: Skirt made from wrapped leaves
•    Ma'ulu'ulu: Tongan sitting dance
•    Meke: Traditional Fijian dances
•    Mele: Stylized speeches or songs, including name songs, love songs and lullabies
•    Mu'umu'u: Long floral dress
•    Ohana: Feeling of family in Polynesian dance class
•    Oteas: Fast, rhythmic hip isolations used in Tahitian dance
•    Pa'oti: Basic men's step in Tahitian dance
•    Pareo: Sarongs used for many Polynesian dances
•    Pa'u: Decorated hula skirt
•    Poi ball: A ball attached to braided fibers
•    Siva: Samoan term for dance
•    Siva Afi: Samoan "fireknife" dance
•    Tau'olunga: Tongan dance often performed by girls at weddings
•    Toere: Slit-log drum that often accompanies Tahitian

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.

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