Dance moves are never set in stone and rather there exists an open classification that gives room for creation. There is no official classification. For educational purposes, teaches five basic steps for women: tamau, faarapu, ami, varu, and ruru. The origin of this classification remains unknown. These moves are operational and accompanied by precision. From these five original steps exist a multitude of variation steps that also have their own variations.
The Five Steps, or Group of Steps
- Tamau: The lateral movement of the hips that exists in four distinct patterns: tahiri tamau, tamau taere, tamau tahito, paoti tamau, also called haere tifene. In Tahitian language, tamau means “to tie”, or a “bond” and refers to a continuous link.
- Faarapu / Faarori: A fast movement involving a rotation of the pelvis. The main accent of the movement originates from the dancer’s belly. When the accent reaches the buttocks, the step is referred to as faarori. Faarapu/ faarori can be rolled in only one direction, right or left, depending on the dancer. The dancer’s natural strong foot determines the direction of the movement. This “natural strong foot” is what we call the “supporting foot” in athletics. In the Tahitian language, “faarapu” is a verb that describes the circular movement of a hand stirring soup in a saucepan.
- Ami, or Tumami: A wide and slow rotation of the hips and pelvis. Unlike faarapu, this move can be executed in either direction. Faarapu is unique due to its distinct foot supports. Tumami starts with the belly in a forward position, dependent upon the supporting foot. When the movement starts in the buttocks, it is sometimes called taipu. In the Tahitian language, “ami” is the word that describes this moevement. “Taipu” is a type of spoon.
- Ruru: A shaking movement of the dancer’s belly and buttocks. In the Tahitian language, “ruru” refers to a shaking motion. Ruru is a step meant to be utilized by soloists and is not often seen amongst dance groups.