On Rarotonga, every night is island night. There are many traditional dancing troupes, plus fire dancers, drum groups, and musical bands. At first blush, one assumes that, on an island of only 11,000 people, most of these performances must be small, phony, or both. Wrong. This island may depend on tourism for income, but they depend on dancing for camaradarie and release.
The guidebooks state that THIS is the island to see Polynesian dancing; they take it seriously here, yet nothing else brings them as much joy. That was clear in their faces—from the one-year-old that kept wandering on stage to shake her nappies to the grandpa who pounded the drum all evening. We saw a few shows—including one that highlighted the children’s troupes. We, too, were left shimmying our hips and knocking our knees.