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The hivinau is a dance from Tahiti where the dancers turn in pairs around the orchestra. It is often either the first or the last dance of a dance festival, or used as a transition between two dances.

Although an old dance, it is not traditional, the name hivinau probably derived from a yell by the officers of any passing European ship: "Heave now!", and the subsequent turning of the wheel with anchor chain by the crew.

Imagine 2 circles, one of men, another of women, turning around the centre axis where the orchestra sits, as whether the anchor is to be heaved. Every time a male and female dancer meet each other, they turn to each other, yell: "Hiri, haʻa, haʻa" and may perform some knee or hip shakes respectively.


P. O'Reilly; La danse a Tahiti