Roiti Sylva

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Roiti Sylva

Catherine studied and worked closely with Auntie Roiti Sylva to expand and enrich our Pupu ‘Ori (dance group) programs in Tahitian ‘ori (dance), performance, and culture. Auntie Roiti is a direct link to the progenitor of the cultural renaissance in Tahiti.

In 1819, dance in Tahiti was prohibited by law, the Pomare Code. In the beginning of the 20th century, some dancing was allowed to celebrate the taking of the Bastille in France. Slowly, very slowly the restrictions on dance in Tahiti were relaxed. In 1956, Madeleine Moua created a dance group Heiva Tahiti composed of the prettiest girls of Tahiti, among them, Auntie Roiti Sylva. Madeleine began organizing the performances and establishing the rules still followed to this day. She knew how to express her creativity and reveal her sense of innovation in her magnificent costumes, her choreographies and the structure of her orchestra.

Auntie Roiti was integral in building Motu‘āina’s knowledge of Tahitian art.