Being a Hilo Dance Mom

Monday Musings from Melinda by Melinda M.

There are all kinds of dance moms in Hilo, many of whom are also all over the country and probably the world: ballet dance moms, jazz dance moms, salsa dance moms, etc. But the kind of “dance mom” experience I’ve been thrown into is that of a Tahitian dance mom.

From braided to bushy.

A parent of a Tahitian dancer needs to know how to braid hair. Just like in hula, Tahitian dancers need to have “bushy” hair for a performance which means braiding it at least 24 hours before a show. Tips and tricks are passed from mom to mom: keep the hair dirty, braid it wet, use mousse, use hot rollers, use newspaper at the ends, French braid it, braid it in corn rows.

Beautiful dancers who designed and made their own solo costumes!

A parent of a Tahitian dancer needs to know how to weave head and hip pieces with leaves and old bedsheets. Also similar to hula, Tahitian dance costumes rely heavily on fresh greenery except I think the weaving style of 4 braids, not 3,  is particular to Tahitian.

Costumes are so last minute that they are being sewn on the spot!

Finally, a parent of a Tahitian dancer often needs to know how to design and make a solo costume for competitions that includes a headpiece, bra top and pareo (skirt) that fits a competition’s guidelines, doesn’t interfere with the dancing and stands out enough to garner your dancer some extra points. These costumes rely heavily on a hot glue gun and/or sewing and on fresh greenery, which means they have to be made at the last minute.

This is the real dance mom of the halau!  Chee-hu to Aunty Jen!

Now in my daughter’s case, it is not her dance mom who does this for I am all thumbs, sloppy and not terribly creative.

This year’s solo costume, made by dad and daughter.

It is her dance dad. My husband is the master of the braid, the captain of the greenery weave and now, the king of costume: last weekend he took charge of sewing the top and skirt when I was freaking out that this detail had been left to the literal last minute.

The man who saves the day:  Dad.

My dancing daughter is taking on more and more of these responsibilities – she made her own solo headpiece and often weaves her hip pieces. She’s been practicing how to braid her hair and has to learn to sew. And when she does, I know her dad will be happy to use his hands only to applaud her artistry and performance.



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