Arts + Culture

World's Sexiest Dances

by Beata Loyfman

The dance: O'TE'A

Where to see it: French Polynesia and Oahu, Hawaii

Sexy factor: Like a model from a Gauguin canvas

The moves: In the 1800s, British missionaries banned all native dance in Tahiti. Thankfully, the O'te'a made a comeback in the early 20th century. Think of it as Hawaiian hula on speed: fast-paced drumming, elaborate headdress, and the Polynesian tamure, or hula, performed by alluring vahines. And yes, those are two strategically positioned coconuts. The guys wear even less, as they jump, lunge, and show off the pa'oti, or scissor dance, jerking their knees back and forth to the drumbeat.

The stage: July's Heiva i Tahiti festival, with dance and singing competitions throughout the month. Also, don't miss the outrigger canoe races, fire walking, javelin throwing, and the rigorous Mr. and Ms. Tahiti competition. A bit closer to home, Oahu's Polynesian Cultural Center has a Tahitian village, where dancers do their thing year-round.

Do a little dance: Oahu's Polynesian center is also the place to lift up your (grass) skirt; free classes and demonstrations are held every afternoon. Take it easy the first time—it's tough to sit on a plane for 10 hours with a broken hip.

Heiva i Tahiti Festival
Tel: 310 414 8484
Festival dates: July 1 to July 22, 2007

Polynesian Cultural Center
Tel: 808 293 3333 or 800 367 7060

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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