Meeting up for a night to remember

By Sonya Bateson

Walking up the red carpet under bright lights and beautiful music drifting out the doors, the recent Tama Dance Revival was a nostalgic reminder of days past.

Held at the Tamatekapua meeting house on October 27, the dance was organised by Renee Mitchell who used to attend the original dance parties before they ended in the early 1960s.

About 180 people - aged from their 30s to their 80s - had a lot of fun enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

Mrs Mitchell said everyone was photographed walking up the red carpet to the accompaniment of music from the 1950s and 1960s.

"It was beautiful from the time they arrived. The band was playing, people stayed on the dance floor all night - even the guys with their walking frames were up there."

Mrs Mitchell said the nostalgic night brought back many memories as a lot of people had met their partners at the Tama dances.

She said some had lost their loved ones but came to enjoy the night and remember.

And they all became thoroughly immersedin the music, dancing and reminiscing.

"Everyone knew one another, they all said it was just beautiful."

An attendee, Ann Somerville, said the night had been "magic", a one-off, fantastic experience.

"It was a privilege to be there against the backdrop of this highly important meeting house," she said.

"It was like taking everyone back to the 1960s, except it was also very much 2012 with lights and trees. Down the back were the guys with all their instruments - it was lots of fun."

Ms Somerville said she was in Rotorua when the dance parties were in their heyday and being at the Tama Dance Revival was like a trip down memory lane.

"On some of the people's faces, there was a mixture of sadness, perhaps from remembering those who have gone, but also absolute joy at having a glimpse back at what it was like when we were young."

Music was provided by several artists, including Rim D Paul, the son of Tai Paul - one of the original performers from the early Tama dances - and Mina Mitai's big band.

Mrs Mitchell said the MC, Napi Waaka, did a great job of keeping everyone entertained.

She also wanted to thank all the sponsors who made the event happen as well as Riki Mitchell for co-ordinating the hospitality and entertainment and her cousins and helpers who helped with the organisation and the running of the night.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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