Last night I saw a performance. I am currently in Fiji during wet season and it doesn’t change the magnificent sense of beauty I get from this place. The country has beautiful people, beautiful land and incredible smells, tastes, textures and culture. This is what I experienced last night. Culture. I saw some traditional dance. What really intrigued me was not that they were all perfectly on pointe, or that their energy was incredibly high, or that they were perfectly in time with each other, because they weren’t. What was absolutely amazing was the sense of ensemble I got from them. The performance I saw was paid, just like any theatrical experience, and yet it looked like a close knit family just coming together for a party. And this was beautiful. It made me consider how there can be “divas” in the industry, how they can feel like they’re hard done by because they’re not the best, or in front, or they don’t have their solo moment, or they’re moment is taken away from them because a kid cries in the third row. These were just a close-knit community sharing their culture. They had traditional spear dances and fan dances, and I could see that they truly loved the movements they were making with their hands, feet, bodies. They were proud of their heritage, their group. It was not perfect, and yet it was perfect. When the young Fijian children started to join in, aware of most of the moves, but not all, I could see the grace and precision with which they made seemingly simple motions, and how the children were still learning, but would one day be every bit as precise, because they were learning for the love of it, for the love of the country and the people. You could see that this seven-year-old girl understood the reason for each of the hand gestures she made, or the reason her head bobbed from side to side. The timing may have been out, the harmonies “untidy”, but the senses were awoken in so many different ways that they added to the charm of the performance. The fantastic thing was that the dance was both heightened, and yet entirely naturalistic. The ideas being portrayed were explored using heightened movement, and yet it was a naturalistic view of the Fijian people as a whole.
It’s almost impossible to describe, and yet I’m sure you understand what I mean.
The traditional spear dance