Makau’s Interview (2017)

Introduction

Makau Foster showed her last “Heiva i Tahiti” as the leader of the group.
It is at the top of her glory, winning the price of “Madeleine Moua” that she quit the scene and the world of dance.
The next day, she gave this interview to the local press “Tahiti-Infos” of her career and future.

You have won the Heiva, is it the consecration of a career ?

Yes, the year 2017 has brought me much joy.
I won a lot of prices in my career without winning the Heiva i Tahiti, now it is done.
I am proud of that show.
It is all the work of 6 months of rehearsal.
It is most of all the reward of the hard work of dancers.
It worth the wait, this price is for them.

You have announced that it will be your last Heiva, is it your decision ?

It is my last heiva. The group will continue.
There is Kohai, Poerani and Frankie, there are already enough people to continue, It won’t be a problem for the future.
The real worry is more about financial and find out the good people that are willing to dance and understand what is important.
The succession is assured, they have found it this year.
Everyone has his role. I will be able to devote myself to what I want to do.
I will always be there to remind them the meaning of each step and gesture.

You take your retirement, but will you stop for ever the dance ?

I have the dance in me. Even if I will be in the Tuamotu islands, I will continue to dance, but not the way I used to.
I have danced every days of my life. I am inside my danceroom in the morning thru the night, I think that I’m getting exhausted.
I will turn 62 years old, I need to take care of my body so I can enjoy myself a bit more.
My knees, ankles, and my back are getting sore; if I decided to continue until 70 years old, I might become in a bad shape and won’t be able to move at all. Health and family are important.
I will really give up my place next year, but I have to stop right away the sacrifice (body).

What are your next projects ?

I will make a written on paper, tell everything that I have done.
I will be able to make it in peace when I will be in the Tuamotu Islands.
I want to relive everything I’ve experienced, all my up and down in life.
I want to leave a trace. I don’t want that people would just say “Do you remember that dancer ? what was her name again ?”.
I think that people know me better than myself.

Have you been thinking about stopping a long time ago ?

It has been 3 years that I though about it.
I wonder every day if I can stop. I have the Dance in my skin, under the skin and I sweat it.
Even now, it makes me feel bad to say that I will stop. It is a suffering to stop dancing.

Did you bring all that you could to the "Ori Tahiti" ?

I have so many things to add-up, but I think that it is the work of the new generation to make it happen.
They will continue the work and they will find out what lacks.
We learn constantly. I have taught all that I could, but there is still a lot to give.

For you, what is the fate of the "Ori Tahiti" ?

It is a good question. It has so much evolve. In my teaching, I bind tradition and modernity.
I prefer to live the tradition, it is where the beat of my heart is the strongest.
We can’t ignore modernity. Dance is not only a simple hips move. Dance is art !

What do you wish for the future of "Ori Tahiti" ?

“Ori Tahiti” goes well. It is to the next generation to decide how it will evolve.
Cards are in their hands. The young people has their own way to express themselves in dance.

Do you think the next generation are well invested in the dance and culture ?

Yes, they are waiting that we pass them the torch of passion.
We have to help them by giving what they need. They need that we share with them and that we support them.
We are too trendy to keep everything for us. I have to do my part, I decided that it is the good time for me to share my pride of belonging to the tradition and my rigor.
We have to respect and keep what our ancestors gave us. Next generation (young people) has to understand that they can make the Ori Tahiti evolve while preserving tradition and steps.

What lacks for this next generation is mastering the language (tahitian).
As long as they don’t know how to speak tahitian, they won’t be able to acknowledge what I came thru.
They will be stuck with what the french language will translate for them and they won’t be able to go beyond rehearsal what they have seen.
When they will master the tahitian language, the feeling, the depth and the power of the words won’t be the same.

The language is very important, words are meaningful. We can’t translate them in French.
When you know your culture, your pride of belonging is stronger.
When you dance, you dance with your heart because you are proud to be who you are.
Every gesture has a meaning, you have to understand them in order to make the audience travel and feel.
When young dancers dance Ori Tahiti, when they go to the Heiva, even if it is only once in their life, they speak for a good cause : The survival of our culture