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'Shake it, Ladies !'

By Jacqueline Neidig and Kim Morick 4 years ago
Categories Fiji Islands

Meke – a traditional Fijian dance which tells a story about building a boat and going fishing.

After seeing the boy’s meke we were so impressed that we definitely wanted to learn the women’s version. So we asked the eldest woman in the village for her permission to learn it and were excited to start practising.
Sitting cross legged on the floor of a comfortable little bure we had our first lesson, taught by 3 Fijian women. First we were quite shy and felt overwhelmed by the combination of Fijian singing and moving, but after a while many kids joined our session and we got more and more relaxed. But being a Fijian dancer means much more than knowing the choreography – you have to „shake it“ and „move it“ all the time,the women told us relentless. After losing all our worries we felt the rhythm of the Fijian music and every Meke training session together with our lovely teachers became an unique and amazing experience. Every evening we went home exhausted, but still looking forward to the next session. After one week of daily practice we knew the chorus and the four verses and continued the training on our own – „every evening after dinner in the dining room“. It must have been hilarious to pass the kitchen and hearing „nanananana – naanaaaaa nanananaaanaaaa – …“ sang in unison by the gvi volunteers…still do not know the text to this day.


After two weeks of fun training we felt confident enough to perform the meke in the community hall. Our lovely families prepared „Vesa“ (traditional leaf-jewellery) and put coconut oil and baby powder all over our faces to glam us up. Extremely good looking, but very nervous we entered the stage. Accompanied by a group of fantastic singers and bamboo-shakers we started our Meke. Although the „band“ decided to make some unexpected improvisations our performance went fairly well and we had a lot of fun. The audience enjoyed it as well – the faster we performed the livelier the atmosphere was. Cheered on by out crys of like ‘Vinaka Leva’ , ‘Move it’, ‘Shake it’, ‘Vinaka vaka levu’ our 15 minutes of dancing just flew by.


All in all doing the Meke was an awesome experience and we would love to say ‘Vinaka vaka levu’ to the ladies of Silana who enabled us to take part in their culture.
Checkout the photos on our facebook page….enjoy  !