Lakalaka, dances and sung speeches of Tonga

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The Tonga archipelago lies in the South Pacific approximately 2,000 kilometres north-east of New Zealand. It is the only constitutional monarchy in the Pacific region. Often considered Tonga’s national dance, Lakalaka is a blend of choreography, oratory, and vocal and instrumental polyphony. This cultural expression is practised by communities throughout the islands and features prominently at important celebrations such as the coronation of the monarch and anniversaries of the constitution.The term lakalaka means “to step briskly or carefully” in the Tongan language, and its origins can be traced to a dance known as the me’elaufola. The tradition developed in the nineteenth century and, thanks to the continuous transmission and the patronage of the royal family, it underwent a revival in the twentieth century.

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The Tonga archipelago lies in the South Pacific approximately 2,000 kilometres north-east of New Zealand. It is the only constitutional monarchy in the Pacific region. Often considered Tonga’s national dance, Lakalaka is a blend of choreography, oratory, and vocal and instrumental polyphony. This cultural expression is practised by communities...

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