Tauolunga one of Tonga’s traditional dances perform by Tongan virgin girls only!

Tau’olunga, the traditional Tongan dance, much like hula and other traditional dances tells a story with every move of their body. Majority of the story is told by their graceful hands.  What’s unique about tau’olanga, and what I personally find cute (yes, I said cute) is the tilting of their heads to the side.

Nuku a’ Lofa

They do this charming, quick, subtle tilting of their heads—more like a small flick to the side. I know it doesn’t sound cute but trust me, it is. Especially when the boys do it. I’ve practiced it in front of the mirror a few times. Haha. I doubt I look half as graceful as they do whenever I do it. With that flick of their head to the side, their smile, and the gracefulness of the dance, it can get mesmerizing to watch… until the rest of the family starts putting money on the dancers and starts dancing behind them, then it can get distracting.

The tau’olunga is a dance performed by girls or younger women. Note that unmarried adult is still considered youth in Tonga so even 25 year-old women are considered youth. The tau’olunga is a dance for virgins, they especially dance this on their wedding day but it can be danced at any special occasion, especially at fundraisers. I’ve been to a lot of those. (I haven’t been to a big Tongan wedding just yet, that’s next on the agenda). Often it is performed by a small group of girls (the solos are my favourite). Married or older women never dance the tau’olunga.  They teach the younger girls, but they never dance it for an occasion. The assistance of older women is usually limited to handclaps on the rhythm of the music. This role is called the tuʻulafale. Usually, the girl(s) start the dance, then the parents and other family members, or friends come on to put money on their oiled skin. The money or fakapale is a reward for the girl(s) unless the dance is performed as part of a fundraiser, which is often the case.

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