Siva – Samoan Dance

Samoans love to dance, and watching a Samoan dance performance may be one of the highlights of your stay in Samoa.

"You lie on a mat in a cool Samoan hut and look out on the white sand under the high palms and gentle sea, and the black line of the reef a mile out and moonlight over everything. And then among it all are the loveliest people in the world, moving and dancing like gods and goddesses. It is sheer beauty, so pure it is difficult to breathe in it."

– English poet Rupert Brooke on a trip to Samoa in the 1800s.

Don’t just take Rupert’s word for it, make sure to book in for a Fiafia night during your visit to Samoa. Held at most resorts, and at some other accommodation providers, Fiafia nights include a feast that usually includes food cooked by umu, and a cultural performance that may include singing and definitely will involve lots of dancing.

Samoan dance today is a mixture of the old and the new, and they are very distinctive in their style and movements from their Polynesian cousins around the Pacific.

From the gentle and graceful storytelling of the siva performed by a young maiden, to the fast actions of the fa’ataupati or slap dance performed by the men, Samoans love to share their love of dance. The male performers will wear traditional lavalava,  and the women will wear puletasi, and all involved will be proud to share their traditional culture with guests to Samoa.

You'll be entranced by the slow, fluid movements of the Samoan siva, as the dancer tells a story with her hands, and glides across the floor, seemingly weightless.

The energy of the evening rises as the men perform the fa'ataupati, and heats up with the siva afi, or fire knife dance, which is performed by young boys or men twirlling a large knife with burning flames at both ends around their necks, through their legs, under their arms, and over their bodies, to the rhythmic beat of the wooden drum.

Guests may be asked to join in and learn some of the traditional movements in the last dance – remember that the best souvenirs to take home are memories like these!


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