Tahitian Dance and Culture

Tahitian Dance and Culture
Undergraduate ARTS course (advanced level, liberal).

Study ‘Ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance) as an expressive art form and global representation of Polynesian culture. This course will focus on the evolution of Tahitian dance from pre-European contact (ca. 1767) to contemporary global practices. Topics covered include Tahitian dance as a storytelling art form, the role of gesture, gender, music, technique, choreography, costumes, aesthetics, cultural values, conventions, mythology, and the history and culture of French Polynesia. We will also discuss indigeneity, identity, authority, appropriation and authenticity. Students will view digital performance videos from Tahiti and diaspora, and choose an area of focus for a culminating research or creative project.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Through written assignments and discussion, demonstrate a critical understanding of Tahitian dance as an expressive art form and global representation of Polynesian culture, and its historical and global contemporary contexts.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to describe, analyze and critique ‘Ori Tahiti by viewing Tahitian dance performances, with a focus on relating each dance to one or more of the course topics.
  3. Complete a research or creative project on a topic related to Tahitian Dance and Culture.

Prerequisites: Advanced level reading, research, and writing skills. An introductory level course on arts and culture such as: Humanities Through the Arts, Diversity in the American Arts, Exploring the World of Music, Music Across Cultures, Dance Across World Cultures, Art History or the equivalent.