Fiji Firedance Meke
A Fijian meke is the name for the traditional dance of the indigenous people of Fiji Islands, and is pronounced ' meh-kay '. Men, women and children all participate in the meke, which is a combination of dance and repetitive rhythmic chanting telling the stories of everyday life, or of ancient gods or of battles won.
Some mekes are performed seated and some standing. Well-known meke types are fan dances performed by women, and spear or club dances performed by men. Accompanying music is often in the form of the steady beating of sticks.
Fire Walking – the ancient South Indian and traditional Fijian rite shared and kept alive by both cultures here in the multiethnic islands of Fiji. In both Indian and Fijian cultures, fire walking appears to be a predominantly male practice.
The Fijian practice of fire walking or vilavilarevo originated from and was exclusive to the Island of Beqa. According to Fijian mythology, the ability to walk barefooted on white-hot stones was granted by the leader of a group of little Gods* called Veli to Tui Qalita, a Beqan chief whose descendants now act as instructors of fire walking.
Poi is a form of dance, where balls on the ends of ropes are swung through rhythmical patterns. It is rooted in the History of the Maori people of Aotearoa (aka New Zealand). It began as a physical exercise, used by the women to develop grace and flexibility, and by the men to develop strength and coordination. Today it is mostly practiced by the women, who combine the poi movements with songs and physical actions in traditional performances such as the Kapa Haka.
Poi was popularized throughout the world largely by fire spinning, spawned when the ancient art of poi met modern day dance parties and performances. Most Fire Shows in Fiji now include some fire poi too!