Articulating Pacific Hip Hop in theory and practice

by Dr Roannie Ng Shiu, SSGM and CHL, ANU.

Photo: Dave Kuresa leading the group.

Dr April Henderson, program director of Va’aomanū Pasifika (Centre of Pacific and Samoan Studies) at Victoria University of Wellington, recently presented a dynamic, interactive and engaging public seminar on the Samoan diaspora and hip hop culture. Using four case studies of current Samoan choreographers who have influenced what is now commonly viewed as hip hop culture Dr Henderson illustrated the way in which these choreographers embody both Samoan and hip hop culture. As Dr Henderson states,  “The history of Samoan participation in popular dance emphasizes a creative genealogy of literal and figurative movement that stands in contrast to depictions of diasporic young people as immobilized or trapped between the cultures of their ancestral homelands and that of the societies in which they are raised.”

The seminar was complemented with an equally dynamic, interactive and engaging hip hop workshop with Dave Kuresa, a young up and coming Samoan choreographer from Brisbane. Local college students from ACT and Queanbeyan together with ANU academics and students were able to put into practice, embody and view the key aspects from Dr Henderson’s lecture with Dave Kuresa’s hip hop moves. The hip hop workshop was definitely a hit with the secondary students, ANU students and academics alike.

For more on this and other Pasifika Australia initiatives, visit April Henderson’s seminar and the Hip Hop session were hosted by Pacific Studies and Gender & Cultural Studies in CHL, and ANU’s Asia and Pacific Cultural Studies

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