Our dancers perform a Tahitian Dance
For those who didn't know, I planned to surprise my half-Samoan husband with the Taualuga, a traditional Samoan dance at our reception. The last I told you about the Taualuga, I was stressing about the dance moves. I seriously only had 2 hours to really learn and practice the whole thing...not the ideal situation for a rhythmically challenged gal like me.
Performing a Tongan dance
For those who don't know, the Taualuga is a traditional Samoan dance which traditionally was reserved for the daughter of the chief, or someone of high importance. Nowadays, it's performed at Samoan gatherings, a grand finale where everyone gets up, dances around the dancer and throws money at her. Since we didn't have the usual money dance planned (nope, no time or patience to slow dance with folks for money), I thought this would be a fun alternative.
After our toasts, and the cutting of the cake, the Polynesian dancers came out and performed a few dances--one Tahitian dance, a Tongan dance and a Samoan dance. During their last number, I snuck out to the hallway (told the hubby I needed the ladies room) where I waited to make my entrance for my number.
While waiting, I was kinda nervous because the crowd was a little reserved. During a lot of Polynesian gatherings, the crowd usually makes noises and gets really into the performances. But our curious crowd was just politely watching, and not so much as a "Woo" from them. Turns out, most of my hubby's Samoan extended family couldn't make it to the wedding, and our guests were mostly non-Samoans except for my Father-in-law, my hubby's sisters and brother and of course, my husband. While our Polynesian dancers did an awesome job, our guests just didn't know they were supposed to be loud. Great, I thought. No one's gonna know what they're supposed to do during my dance!
While trying to recall all the moves I learned just the day before in my head, our wedding coordinator asked me if I had the CD with the song I'm dancing to.
I looked at her blankly. Uhhh, sure, let me pull it out from my dress....No, of course I don't have the CD! She told me that our DJ didn't have the song!
At this point, I started to panic. What do you mean he doesn't have it? I uploaded it to his public server. I even sent him the file by email. Turns out all the music files I sent him by email were dead files and he didn't see the song on his server.
What am I going to do???
Our coordinator headed back to the DJ to have him check his server again and I watched nervously as they talk. After a minute, and just when the dancers wrap up their final routine, our coordinator flashed me a thumbs up.
We're good to go.
Our MC, a good friend from college with a fun and boisterous attitude, introduced my number as a very special performance where everyone needs to get involved. And by involved, he meant get your bills ready!
The music started and I heard my cue. I bounded out and I did a little Samoan bow toward our families.
That's when I heard the cheers and the clapping, and I just smiled and let go.
Me performing the Taualuga.
I don't think I got the routine exactly right, but I recall my instructor telling me, when you lose track of where you are, just smile and wing it. That's really all you have to do. Well, I'm sure there are people who do it much better, but I did my best.
People came up and out of their seats and joined me. First, my SIL, then my FIL who seemed to be really enjoying it. Then a whole crowd of people surround me. The money was flying in all directions. I saw the smiles and laughter, and man, I was really enjoying myself!
Working hard for the money!
I kinda forgot what I was doing at one point, and that's when the DH came to join me. There's a part in the Taualuga where someone (usually a male) jumps onto the floor in front of the female dancer. I recall my instructor telling me if that happens, to step my foot lightly on that person and continue to dance gracefully. I don't know the exact meaning of that portion of the dance (apparently to signify the high status of the person dancing), but the hubby does exactly that and I do exactly as I was taught. People loved it!
The hubby joins me in the Taualuga.
Money, money, money!
In the end, I'm so happy to have shared that performance with our guests. People still tell me that the dance was their favorite part of the reception! Most of all, I think my hubby and his family really appreciated and enjoyed it. It was a gift, my husband told me later, that he will never forget.
And neither will I.
*All photos courtesy of Don Le from Bliss Imagery.