FEEL the rhythm in your body with Polynesian performance or dive into Polynesian Dance for Fitness in Brisbane!

As a teenager in North Queensland, Heimana Tahiata’s weekends were filled with cultural performances for events and resorts, as roped in by his parents for the family business.

Fast forward 22 years and things have almost come full circle as Heimana now operates one of the country’s largest and most prolific cultural performance agencies.

Together with his wife, Lelani, their business Heilani Productions has been showcasing, promoting and connecting people to Polynesian arts in Australia since 2004. Prior to that though, they ran shop in Florida, Miami.

He’d love to see Polynesian dance, which Heimana says means different things in different parts of the world, as mainstream in the dance world as things like hiphop or ballet.

“Because we’ve lived in different countries, we’ve seen how ‘the pacific’ is different things depending on where you are.

“When we lived in Hawaii and they really only refer to Hawaii and Samoa. But when you’re in New Zealand (and Australia), it’s the countries that are closer to them.

“People still have this romantic idea of what Polynesian culture is. This really started when Captain Cook came and people have a romanticised idea of the pacific, in some parts its still true and that traditional lifestyle but we live in a world of technology on a lot of these islands, as well.

“Polynesian dance is growing and reaching larger audiences in Australia, but it’s still new in this area,” he says on speaker phone while on the road for an hour as we chat.

“It’s quite niche but it’s very beautiful and diverse …we have a lot of stories to share.

“I love this industry and I’m grateful that I can have a career out of it, Heimana said.

 

The reception on the road grew weak so we resumed the chat via email, with Heimana answering some questions for us…

Do you have a favourite performance?

“One of my favourite dances is ‘Ori Tahiti (Tahitian Dance). My father comes from Tahiti so it’s part of my own culture but I love ‘Ori Tahiti because of the vibrant drumming.

“You can feel the rhythm of drums throughout your entire body and you just can’t help feeling like you want to dance!!!”

What do you think makes Polynesian dance so dynamic for male performers?

Polynesian men actually love to dance. Whether it’s to show off their moves or their bodies!  I enjoy seeing the strength of their movements, when I watch male performers: the energy and excitement when they dance. 

“It’s that emotion that you feel especially when watching a Maori Haka….you can feel the “MANA” of Power of their performance!”

What aspects of Polynesian culture are represented in male performance, do you think?

“Most male dances have a cultural significance…. For example, dances can be done for many occasions or special events like a wedding, birthdays, family celebrations, graduations, funerals and also for the birth of child…..

“Polynesians love to celebrate all special events that occur in our lives!” 

Can you tell us about your Polynesian Dance for Fitness classes? 

“This is a fun class that my wife takes to help empower women from all walks of life!

“It’s more about having fun and moving your body, it doesn’t focus on dance technique.

“It’s more about health and wellbeing, a way for people to feel like the best versions’ of themselves! And it’s open for all ages and fitness levels...”

What makes it such great exercise?

“Well, it’s Polynesian inspired fitness, so it’s mainly about having fun, moving your body and getting healthy!!”

How can people join in with you guys?

“Follow us on Facebook: Heilani Productions

"Or join our Facebook Group: Heilani Steam Team

Ok, so best 5 artists for people to get their Island tunes going?

  1. Te Vaka
  2. Fji
  3. Kolohe Kai
  4. Stan Walker
  5. Katchafire

What does it mean to you to life a big life?

“To me a big life means, if you’re happy doing what you love, in terms of your career and your family life, spiritual, physical and emotional life, if all those are in tune and are happy, then you’re living a big life!” ~ Heimana Tahiata

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