Making a song and dance …

Thursday 28 May 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Entertainment


Making a song and dance …
Tumutevarovaro dancers from Rarotonga perform in the Te Ao Nei song. 20052703

The planes may be grounded, but dancers around the world have found their own way to come together to perform a new Cook Islands classic.

United Kukis musicians all around the Pacific had already worked together to sing Te Ao Nei – a Maori version of “We are the world” – and edit their parts together.

“It was great, a wonderful concept to include our artists in New Zealand and Australia,” said Jackie Tuara. “It showcased that pride of our culture, not just for us here, but for others everywhere.”

Now Tuara, a cultural artist, has put the song to dance – and brought together performers from Rarotonga, Melbourne and Auckland.

“It was fun, a feel good project.”

Unfortunately a dance troupe in Las Vegas was restricted by strict lockdown in that state, “so then it became even more important that we do this.”

“Linking up with other creative artists has been fantastic, it has opened up a whole new door of possibilities.”

Because of Covid-19, Tuara says, they are taking a new never-say-die approach: “Let’s just go and do these random things that we are passionate about, and we can use these other mediums to get our culture out there.”

Last week, Glenda Tuaine from MoTone Productions suggested the creative sector could play a big role in rebuilding a diverse Cook Islands economy.

Tuara agrees: she wants to see a new creative future for the Cook Islands. “We are creative, but our creativity is taken so much for granted,” she argues.

“We are seeing the bigger picture and the real possibilities, because we are doing it now.

“This project has been a huge motivation to seriously consider the very real possibilities of a new and more dynamic future for our performing arts and the creative industries.”

Black Rock, Betela beach and Taputapuatea beach were the selected locations to perform the items on Rarotonga.

Dancers were from teams of Tumutevarovaro Rarotonga, Island Roots Melbourne, Pacific Tamure Auckland, and Te Anuanua Auckland.

Videos on the island were filmed by Tokerau Jim, dancers overseas used their cell phones; the footage was compiled and edited by Thomas Peyroux in Auckland.

“Covid-19 has provided the amazing opportunity to link up and work with talented people who are just as passionate as we are here, about culture,” she said.

The song Te Ao Nei is the Maori version of the world famous “We are the World” by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie; the lyrics were translated into Maori by artist Enis George-Ngatokorua from Mangaia.