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Dancing from the HeartMovement, Gender, and Sociality in the Cook Islands$
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Kalissa Alexeyeff

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832445

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832445.001.0001

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Dancing After Dark

(p.125) Chapter Five Outing
Dancing from the Heart

Kalissa Alexeyeff

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter considers how Western nightclubs, music, and dance have been transformed and incorporated into Cook Islands performative contexts. Again, these more informal dance contexts are linked to evaluations of femininity and the construction of gender relations more broadly. The chapter explores how tāmataora and tārekareka, the pleasurable, genial aspects of social life, are configured and constructed after dark. Parties and events at nightclubs the author had attended in the Cook Islands aimed to achieve heightened states of happiness through drinking, dancing, and socializing, and yet many ended with drunken arguments, accusations, and sometimes physical fights. While such conflict is not considered ideal, it is commonplace. The embodied contradiction between the convivial and adversarial nature of collective participation fills out the picture of the gendered and exploratory aspects of Cook Islands performance contexts.

Keywords:   gender, femininity, Cook Islands, tāmataora, tārekareka, nightclubs, collective participation

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