At the end of May the two stakes in Tarawa celebrate the division of the first stake with a Dance Festival and all the wards participate. The West Stake had theirs last week and the East Stake was this weekend. These are some of the shots we took of the East Stake Festival. It was held outdoors on the Moroni High School sports court and at six pm. Therefore, the shots got progressively worse as the darkness prevailed and we competed with the big overhead lights. The evening was pleasant under starry skys and we had a wonderful night of feasting and entertainment. This is like road shows at home except ten times bigger and more important in this culture. They practice several hours every night for a solid month. The whole ward joins in.
This was a group from Bikenibeu 1st Ward. Special because right in the middle was Sis Nena, one of our sister missionaries, who had learned the dances so she could participate with her ward.
This group from the No. Tarawa Branch had to ride a boat in for an hour to join us. Theirs was a great contribution for such a small branch.
Moroni Ward is the ward of all the resident high school students, among others, and they usually dominate any activity they join. Theirs was more of a non-traditional dance with quite Western costuming and dance moves. What they lacked in tradition, they made up for in spirit and excitement.
I think the winner was Eita 2nd. The next few slides show how they wove in the different cultures of the Pacific Islands. They had four or five different sets including their whole ward. This one is typical of Tahiti
This one was kind of Maori. This is the stuff the Haka is made of. They were very agressive.
These sisters from left to right, Sis Cruz (Hispanic from Maryland), Sis Faupula (Tongan from Utah), Sis Jaik (Fiji), and Sis Nena (Micronesia) all went to the trouble of learning the traditional dances with their wards and proved themselves quite able in the festival.
These are a few of the other missionaries who were in attendance. Guess which one is from Utah.
We took a close-up to kind of show the fun dance bling, handmade and worn for this festival.
These next four are of Temwaiku Ward and the victors for the night. They showed up with about 120 participants and they were terrific!
Everyone had a chance to perform their dance sitting down. This is called Bino. They carry out a small mat and spread it over their lap and just do the dance with their upper body.
Note the bling--fingers, arms, etc. all adorned with the decorations made from vegetation.
They are carrying their mats out for the dance in this shot.
This is our friend Tioromaea with his wife and new child, Gloria. He held the baby while Utita danced with her ward, Eita 1st.
The baby loved me and allowed me to hold her through the whole dance. She cooed and smiled at me the whole time. I'm such a grampa.