Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wealthy White Male Slaps 9 year old Samoan Dancer



Image result for american samoa culture From Ja’Booty Popo and I flew to the American Samoa in Oceania. That was all the instruction I gave to the pilot. He landed me in Apolima, the smallest inhabited island. 75 people live in the small settlement of Apolima Tai. The town rest on cliffs that were once the rim of a huge volcano. These three men, Malaki, Luapo, and Ofato, taught me some cultural dances and festivities. Dancing is too popular all over the world. It really is not a fun thing for me. Nonetheless, the Samoans love it so I cannot argue. In Apolima, they use my favorite form of currency, the American Dollar. It felt so good to buy a boat with US cash money, even if it was a canoe. The Samoans speak Samoan and English, so they could converse with me fully. However, I find it exceedingly difficult to trust a stranger speaking in a language I do not understand. They could be saying anything.
After the boys treated Popo and I to a traditional seafood feast, Luapo took me aside and insisted that I participate in the following evenings Fa’ataupati, or “Samoan Slap Dance”. Initially, I was skeptical, but gradually the idea intrigued me. I agreed to try and learn, but made no guarantee of my participation in the official performance.Image result for samoan apolima






Luapo was ecstatic and took me at once to see “The Slapster of Apolima”, a young boy named Petelo. He was a flabby young fellow, but quite nimble. His hair flowed like a truffula tree from the animated hit, The Lorax. Petelo began his teaching by sharing a proverb of sorts, “pe siva le tagata papaʻe gaʻo, o le taufusi lūlūina ma le mataʻu” Luapo told me later the English meaning, “when the fat white man dances, the swamp shakes with fear” Then came the slapping… and oh how we slapped. We slapped for a while before the 9 year old Slapster told me “sinasina tagata ua agavaa” or “White man has potential”. We slapped as the sun set and we slapped as the sun rose. Popo, Petelo, and Scott, the Clap’n’Slap Kings of Apolima, that’s how the show was marketed. One third of Apolimas population attended, 25 patrons. Tickets were sold for 50 cents each.
Popos performance lacked the same luster as Petelo and I’s. Popo had no chub to slap, making that nice loud smack sound difficult. I could see why they called the small boy, Slapster, he was wonderful. It didn’t feel like dancing, it felt like satisfying an animalistic urge to slap in a culturally traditional way. 7 hours of slap dancing and we were ready for the grand finale. We called it the Triangle of Truth. We screamed bloody murder whilst uncontrollably slapping the other men, one with one hand, one with the other. There was something absurdly beautiful about the Samoan Slap Dance. After all the slap clapping we hadn’t slept for 36 hours. After hibernating for 3 more days, it was time to go.

4 comments:

  1. very interesting post. i liked how you slapped danced for like 7 hours with flabby kid. A+

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  2. I like the video, you have great visuals. Hard to believe you danced like that for 7 hours, but Im not the one to judge. A+

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