The Taualuga, a traditional Samoan money dance
For a few months before the wedding, I had been planning a surprise for my future husband and his family. As I blogged before, my husband is half Chinese and half Samoan. In honor of his Samoan roots, we booked a Samoan dance group to perform at our reception.The dance group was actually the daughters of my MOH's friend. We were really excited because professional Samoan dance groups run up to $1000 per performance. My MOH's friend agreed to have his daughters perform for a minimal fee as a favor to my MOH. On top of their performance, his daughters offered to teach me the Taualuga, a traditional money dance which Samoan brides usually perform at the end of the program. The dancer comes out and a group of people throw money at her and dance really raucously around her. Here's a Youtube example of the fun!
Now this was a really big deal for me because...well, everyone knows I don't dance. I'm not a dancer and I hate having the spotlight on me. At first I was hesitant, because of 1) my limited dance skills, and 2) the Taualuga is a very big traditional Samoan dance. Oh, and me not being Samoan, I would hate to really screw it up. The last thing I would want is for my rhythmically-challenged Filipino feet to mess up the Taualuga. But my MOH's friend insisted. It would be a surprise, a gift to my FH and his family. I thought, sure, why not? I thought they would really appreciate it and it would be a huge honor for me to perform it. Besides, usual money dances at other weddings tend to be long and boring. Why not put a little Samoan spin on it?
But a week before the wedding and before I had a chance to learn the dance, the dancers were hit with a family crisis. Their mom was diagnosed with cancer and needed emergency surgery in San Francisco the weekend of the wedding. My MOH's friend was so sorry they couldn't be there at the wedding (no money had been exchanged yet). Sure, I was disappointed...OK, I was bummed... not to be able to perform the Taualuga, but I told him to take care of his family first. His wife's health was much more important than a dance.
I had all but given up on the Taualuga at that point. How would we find another Samoan dance group in our budget a week before the wedding??? Then something amazing happened...
My MOH told me an old college friend (who also happened to be Samoan) contacted her out of the blue on Facebook just to say hi. My MOH messaged her and asked her if she by any chance knew anyone who could teach me the Taualuga. And wouldn't you know...she did! Her mom teaches Samoan dance and offered to give me a brief lesson. She also had cousins who could perform a few dances for us well within our budget!
What luck!!! So the Thursday morning before the wedding, I had a Taualuga 101 lesson. It was so much fun, but a little stressful. How was I going to find time to practice in 2 days among a zillion other things I had to do? After the Flower Mart venture on Friday morning, I snuck off to my sister's apartment where she let me practice for a couple of hours. By then, I was really stressing out thinking about how I didn't have a whole lot of time to practice. I just hoped I wouldn't look ridiculous, or worse, No One would get up and dance with me. Just a bunch of blank, bored eyes staring back at me!
I was getting a major headache running around trying to figure out my dance and do a bunch of last minute details before the wedding. This was not good because I still had our bouquets and flowers to worry about.
Coming up: A migraine forces me to give up on our flowers and our DJ loses the song for the Taualuga!!!