Words of Wisdom:

"The reward of suffering is experience." - Papyrus

Dance Essay

  • Date Submitted: 08/11/2010 11:28 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 65 
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The Haka is a historical dance, rich in tradition and legends that reflect the Maori heritage. New Zealand has grown up immersed in the Haka since the first encounters between Maori and early European explorers, missionaries and settlers. This essay will interpret and analyse the history of the Haka, movements, music and costumes used when performed.

The Haka originated in New Zealand in the 19th century and was written by Maori warrior chief of the Ngāti Toa Rangatira tribe, Te Rauparaha from his legend (see appendix 1). It is an ancient posture dance of the Maori people that was traditionally used to prepare a war party for battle. It was performed either on the battle field prior to engagement with the enemy, or as the war party was leaving their own village on route to a battle. The fierce nature of the Haka was important in creating a frenzy amoung the war party to mentally prepare them for the reality of war, and equally as crucial, readying the muscles for the impending conflict. The cultural significance of this dance is to intimate their opposition by their chant (see appendix 2) and their facial expressions but also their body language and movements have this effect.

The movements in the traditional Haka dance are very strong, powerful and intimidating as they puff out their chests, slap their thighs and stomp their feet as hard as they possibly can to the ground in the video sequence (see appendix 3).

The costumes worn in the traditional Haka dance were mainly the Piupiu skirts. Women have long Piupiu skirts and men have short ones which are made out of flax. The traditional costumes also include          

Aural (music)
The Haka is a composition played by many instruments. Hands, feet, legs, body, voice, tongue, and eyes all play their part in blending together to convey in their fullness of the challenge, exultation or defiance of the words. It is disciplined, yet emotional. More than any other aspect of Maori culture, this complex...


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