Dancing in the Isles: Tahiti Gets Set to Party

Jeff Hornbaker / Water Rights / Corbis

Into the blue Canoes are keenly raced

When European sailors first arrived in Tahiti in the late 18th century, they were gobsmacked by the extravagant displays of song and dance. But the British missionaries that followed didn't approve and used their proxy King Pomare II to ban indigenous performance arts.

Thus things remained until 1881, when France's navy defeated the British and annexed French Polynesia. To win over the locals, they overturned Pomare's edict and launched a national day of celebration coinciding with Bastille Day on July 14.

Now in its 130th year, the Heiva i Tahiti...

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