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Taualuga: the last dance / Shigeyuki Kihara

Moving image documentation of a solo dance performance by Artist Shigeyuki Kihara


The solo dance performance entitled Taualuga: The Last Dance (2006) by Samoan-born artist Shigeyuki Kihara is an attempt to communicate wih her ancestors in seeking solutions to today’s global issues that affect the small islands of the South Pacific region.

Within the indigenous cultures of the South Pacific, and specifically in the islands of Samoa, Taualuga is a dance of negotiation and celebration; with an emphasis on dance movements based on a combination of facial expression and elegant hand gestures to convey certain political ideas. Kihara uses the principles of Taualuga as a form of storytelling to reference history and mirror tensions currently taking place globally today.

The artist’s fictitious character, loosely based on Salome, dances in grief wearing a Victorian mourning dress – similar to the dress that was formally introduced to the people of Samoa by the German colonial administration of the early 1900s. The performance combines audio, historical costume and dance forming a tribute to the many leaders and people of Samoa for their resilience in the struggle against modernisation and globalisation.

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Written by

Yuki Kihara

24 Aug 2010

Interests A native of Samoa, Yuki Kihara is an interdisciplinary artist whose work engages in a variety of social, political and cultural issues. Often referencing Pacific history, her work explores the varying relationships between gender, race, culture and politics.