As apart of the events of the weekend, we were invited to a district wide hulo hula (hulo hula- to dance in European style. Dance, ball) on Vava'u lahi (the main island). We had been to a hulo hula before, and although it did not meet my expectations (thanks to you Joey and Chiara!), I had high hopes as this was a district-wide dance.....
As we waited at the wharf for our ride (I could live a whole other life out of the wasted years worth of time I have spent at this particular wharf. I'm not exaggerating, not even a little) , we got a text from a fellow PCV asking if our dance was themed. As we sensed he was mocking us and the way in which we were choosing to spend our Friday night, we assured him it was not a themed dance.
When our ride (finally) arrived at 8:00 pm (my bed time here in Tonga), we discovered that it was, in fact, a themed dance. A pioneer themed dance.
We headed to the dance, which took place in a tennis court behind a Mormon church. I'm not sure the following picture accurately displays the dance floor, but it was enclosed in a square of folding chairs. Both Tongan music and the latest rap/hip hop music were played.
This was the emcee. He was an incredibly hilarious man, and we really wanted a picture of him in his overalls. It was clear that he had some experience with the idea of emceeing, in a western way, as he had a lot of American catch phrases that were almost, but not quite, correct. My favorite thing about the whole event was that after each song, the music was turned completely off, the dance floor was cleared, everyone sat down in the folding chairs surrounding the dance floor, and then the next song was turned on, and the people again invited to come to the dance floor. It made things so awkward.
The first dance was a slow dance, and Mark and I were urged by our Tongan friends to join them on the dance floor. Not wanting to disappoint our friends, and with every eye on us (yes...we were the only palangis. Where we're all those Mormon missionaries?!), we went out to the dance floor. Imagine my shock and horror when our friends quickly danced over to us and said, " this isn't a night club, you can not dance like that here!". As it turns out, while slow dancing the girl is to use the left hand to hold hands with her partner, and her right hand should be placed on her partner's forearm. Forearm. Not shoulder, and most definitely not neck, as we were dancing.
At that point in the night, the first song, mind you, I knew it would be a long night. I also no longer knew what was appropriate and inappropriate. Mostly I just clapped on the dance floor. It was awkward. It was a long night.
Where do you think this tradition comes from? Sooo hilarious!