I stumbled upon this excellent 24-minute Tahitian dance tutorial video and knew I had to pass it along to anyone eager to pick up a new style. Instructor Laura Petersone’s teaching style immediately drew me in. Even though it is entirely in Spanish, don’t let the language barrier stop you from gleaning the fundamentals. Her bubbly teaching style shines through any linguistic divides. With vivid gestures and clear demonstrations of each move, it’s easy enough for beginners to follow along and pick up the basics.

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Laura eases us in, wisely advising we warm up first rather than jump into stretching cold muscles. Wouldn’t want any injuries now, would we? She leads us through a flowing warm up sequence, loosening up the neck, shoulders, back and hips with gentle rotations and pulses. I can feel the tension melting away as I roll through the movements.

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Okay, now that blood is flowing, we sink into our foundational stance: knees bent, spine elongated, shoulders back, core engaged. Laura reminds us of the symbolic significance of this grounded pose. The more bent our knees, the closer we draw energy from the earth mother, according to Polynesian belief. I peek down at my quivering quads and send them an apology in advance. We’re in this for the long haul, girls!

The first basic we tackle is the “otamo,” essentially an inward pelvic tilt that Laura compares to “scooping and carving” the inner core. She cues us to connect with our vaginal wall and pubic bone as we pulse the pelvis forward and back. An unexpected anatomically-focused tidbit, but hey, good to know! This tilt strengthens inner corset muscles for more complex moves ahead.

Onward to the “ami ami,” a flowing hip circle without any stops. Feet wide, knees soft, we circle the hips side to side and around, keeping the motion continuous. Laura reminds us to keep knees facing forward, not splaying open wonky. As we sway through the pulsing pattern, I feel my focus narrowing, the studio background blurring. It’s just me and the movement, caught in a trance of muscles.

Adding in arm postures amplifies the energy, taking the dance from insular to expressive. The “tarava” with arms stretched sideways makes me feel grounded yet powerful, rooted and ready to creatively bloom.

As we linker our hip circles into a gentle grapevine step, Laura encourages us to enjoy the sequence we’ve built thus far. I pause and smile. My limbs are awake and alive after following along through her captivating tutorial. This Tahitian dance primer has my inner rhythm humming happily for more. I’ll be rewatching and practicing these fundamentals until my otamos are oiled machines and my amis trace graceful infinity loops. Who’s with me? Hit replay!

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