In the French-speaking New Caledonia, Pilou Pilou is a round dance that tells a particular Kanak story. Each Pyjama Pilou pilou homme reflects a different event: a birth, marriage or great battle.

The Pilou-Pilou has a long and deep ancestral tradition and holds a powerful symbolic meaning. It is a trance-like dance involving many people moving together for hours at a time.

It’s a round dance with many people dancing around a central pole, making “sh-sh-sh-sh” sounds as they move from foot to foot. Sometimes, dancers hold straw which sways as they shift from side to side.

Traditionally, the Pilou-Pilou is danced to mark ceremonial occasions: births, weddings and funerals. Nowadays, the dance is mostly performed for tourists and to entertain them as they visit New Caledonia’s magnificent beaches.

The dance has been banned by the French authorities in the mid-20th century for its trance-like nature and fear that it could lead to sex abuse. In class, we love trances so let’s try it out!

I’ve never been to New Caledonia, but the French tourist information office has a great little document showing a group of Kanaks performing a Pilou-Pilou. The image is a bit disturbing, and it does show a war hammer, but I’m sure that was part of the evocative display in a French Colonial exhibition.

But the image is also a little sad as the colonial authorities feared that the Kanaks’ trance-like state would lead to sex abuse. The French censors probably thought they had the best intentions but their efforts didn’t stop the Pilou-Pilou from becoming an iconic part of New Caledonia’s culture and heritage.

The Pilou-Pilou is a traditional tribal dance from New Caledonia that has a long and deep ancestral tradition with a powerful symbolic significance. The dance is a round dance that involves many people dancing around a central pole, sometimes for hours at a time. It is a trance-like movement that is reminiscent of yoga and is performed to mark ceremonial occasions: births, marriages and funerals.

There are two versions of the Pilou-Pilou: one is a chant and the other is a trance dance. The chant version has a more spirited rhythm and is performed to commemorate special occasions like births and weddings. The trance dance version, however, is more popular and is performed for tourists sake as it’s much faster and requires fewer participants.

This version is not as scary as the original. But it still does make the sh-sh-sh-sh sound that the dancers make.

The dance is based on a trance-like state that is induced by the rhythm and sway of the bodies and the sound made by the dancers’ feet as they move from side to side, hopping and stamping. The dance is a form of expression, as it embodies a feeling of community and belonging. It’s a beautiful and powerful artform that has a strong cultural impact on the people of New Caledonia.

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