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Sasa - Awakening Dance from Polynesia

Sasa

What is Sasa? 

Sasa is a traditional slap dance from Polynesian Islands. Its purpose is to make everyone awake from the dream. It is performed sitting cross-legged on the floor. The participants are performing a series of rhythmic and visual patterns to the accompaniment of a log drum. To be sitting cross-legged is to be connected to Earth. When we slap our bodies using various actions we are waking up our body and saying WAKE UP! Sasa is the celebration to invite all others watching to pay attention. The Sasa is an amazing experience of community in unity. All participants, sitting in rows, are synchronising their movements to perform a stunning show. Once the group have learned the calls and moves, they will be able to create their own. Sasa dance tells a story of life, interests and surroundings. The show begins with a Manaia coming and exciting the audience. Manaia is a trickster. Performers are on their feet moving around when Manaia calls, they respond accordingly. When the Manaia calls 'Sauni' everyone sits down in rows and make themselves ready for the dance.

 

Sasa with your community 

When we come to do the Sasa with your group, we'll teach all the basic calls and moves. In about an hour it is possible to get everyone to do the basic Sasa performance. Within 2 hours we can manage to practice the moves a bit more and your group will create their own awesome moves. With the regular practice, we can create a stunning show together. Any group can do it, whether it's a school or a family event, youth group or a festival. The bigger group the better. The process of learning Sasa is a lot of fun and can be a very creative experience. 

Acknowledgement of the tradition

I have learned Sasa from Chrys Blanchard in the UK, who have learned it from Mesepa, who's mother is a Samoan Matai (High Chief).