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Jun

01

2016

Oct

31

2016


Master Fiji's Bula Dance

Published by Kristen Hulsey, Writer

Country: Fiji

The Experience

It's sunset just after dinner on the Korovou Eco Tour Resort in the beautiful Yasawa Islands of Fiji, and the local Fijian Bula dancers are ready to play. Most of the tourists reluctantly head to the centre, realizing they don't have a choice. I, on the other hand, giggle in anticipation of the fun we're about to have.

The Bula Dance, created by the more touristy resorts of Fiji, is in no way traditional. As opposed to the Meke, Fiji's cultural ceremonial dance involving voices and symbolic movements, the Bula Dance loosely follows the structure of the Macarena. It's performed in a single line with the Bula Boys: a group of three to five young, local men (usually the same ones taking you on various activities around the resort) leading the crowd in the front. Two steps left, two steps right, two steps left, two steps right; roll your hands up to the left, roll your hands down to the right; up to the left again, then down to the right again; hand on your shoulder, hand on your other shoulder, hand on your hip, and hand on your other hip; then a grand pelvic thrust along with a giant—“Bula!” from the whole crowd. Rotate counter-clockwise one-quarter circle, and repeat.

After a full circle comes the fish move: bend slightly over with one hand spread in front and one spread in the back like fins; then shake your bum and wiggle back and forth like a fish. All throughout the dance, the lead Bula Boy shrieks and claps to increase the energy. If anyone dares sit it out, he randomly runs up to them and screams in their face. After the full circle, the Bula Boys will ask you to perform a centipede, connecting your hands in between your legs with the people in front and behind you. Needless to say, you’d only be able to get away with this sort of public fondling in a place like Fiji. By the end, everyone seems to be cured of their hammock comas.

The Bula Dance is done at resorts all over Fiji, and is meant to be an icebreaker to welcome the newly arrived tourists. Fiji is known for its hospitable natives, and the Bula Dance serves as a way to bridge the gap between the tourists and the locals by merging modern-day booty shaking with Fijian traditions. Even the village children perform the Bula Dance for visiting tourists to raise money for their school. The art of hospitality is taught to the youngest of Fijians.

Perhaps the most captivating aspect of the Bula Dance is the way it gets you out of your shell. In a matter of minutes, you’ll go from sitting at a table chatting with your friends, to bumping booties with a giggling Fijian local and shouting “Bula!” so loud you’ll swear they heard you on the next island.

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Puzzle

When to Go to Bula Dance Fiji

The best time of year to visit Fiji is June to October because the weather will be the clearest. And let's face it, nobody likes to Bula Dance in the rain. Rainfall usually occurs between December and February, but the wet season is considered to be November through April. Fiji sometimes experiences tropical cyclones, but those are more likely to occur between November and April as well.

The advantage of visiting during the off-peak season is that you'll get better prices on flights and accommodation, especially between mid-January and the end of March. You'll also avoid the bulk of the tourist crowd. Keep in mind that there will be a higher chance of tropical cyclones, and the climate will be much more humid. Bula Dances will be less frequent then, and you might not get the full effect if there's a smaller crowd of tourists.

Odds n' Ends

While at the Korovou Eco Tour Resort, try local food cooked in the “lovo” underground earth oven, traditionally served on Sundays. The resort has many activities, including island boating trips, barrie reef snorkelling and manta ray snorkelling, trolling, handline fishing, touch rugby, trekking, coconut climbing and husking, and, of course, beach volley ball.

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