Oceania Music and dance

Oceania Music and dance

Based on the few studies on dance in Oceania, three main traditions can be delineated, which correspond to the region’s cultural and geographical division. In Melanesia, dance is often an integral part of long ceremonial cycles of ten years or more. The dance takes place in groups, in a ring or in a line, under the movement of legs and body, while the arms are used to establish dance costume and mask. In Polynesia, dance is primarily a kind of extension of poetry, where arms and hands represent the interpretive movements. The dance is often stationary, and sitting dance is common in the area, as in the Samoa Islands’ sasa. The dances in Micronesia they resemble Polynesian in that they accompany poetry, but differ in that they adorn the texts rather than illustrate them. Stick dance is common in much of Micronesia.

Common to Oceanian music traditions is the dominance of vocal music over instrumental music, which is primarily associated with dance. Vocal music includes both solo and unison group singing as well as octave singing and polyphony. The body is used to create percussion effects, and idiophones predominate over other instrument types. The wear drum plays a prominent role, especially in Melanesia, from which rare xylophones have also been reported. Tribe, rattle and mongoose occur in all three areas. Most characteristic of Melanesia is otherwise the single-skinned hourglass drum. Among the wind instruments, the worm trumpet is the most widespread, pan flutes are played in large ensembles in the Solomon Islands, and today the famous nose flutes of Polynesia and Micronesia are mainly played in Tonga, Hawaii and Fiji. The guitar is the western instrument most easily adopted throughout the region.

Country Imports of goods (million US dollars) Exports of goods (million US dollars)
Australia 236 922 (2018) 257 759 (2018)
Fiji 2 362 (2018) 1,012 (2018)
Kiribati 114 (2017) 15 (2017)
Marshall Islands 104 (2016) 38 (2016)
Micronesia Federation 154 (2014) 88 (2014)
New Zealand 43 330 (2018) 39 804 (2018)
Palau 154 (2017) 10 (2017)
Papua New Guinea 2,977 (2017) 9 956 (2017)
Solomon Islands 530 (2018) 534 (2018)
Samoa 324 (2017) 38 (2017)
Tonga 218 (2018) 14 (2018)
Tuvalu 21 (2013) 16 (2013)
Vanuatu 308 (2015) 39 (2015)

Dance in Australia

Australia’s tradition in classical dance goes back to the early 1900s. Although the country was hosted by well-known European dancers and ensembles, it was not until the late 1930s that their own ballet companies were established in Melbourne and Sydney. Nevertheless, Australian dancers have been of great importance, especially for British ballet. Famous names such as the dancer and choreographer Sir Robert Helpman and Dame Peggy van Pragh, both long associated with the English Royal Ballet, have made the Australian Ballet one of the world’s leading classical ensembles. The company has toured both in Europe and the US, here in Norway it is first and foremost known from the ballet film Don Quixote with Rudolf Nurejev in the male lead. Other dance companies include the classically oriented West Australian Ballet in Perth and the modern Sydney Dance Company. An ensemble that makes more use of modernist dance forms is the Australian Dance Theater based in Adelaide. Australia also has a number of well-known ballet schools, which have played a major role in the development of dance in the country. Foremost among these is the Borovansky School in Sydney, which was the first beginning of the Australian Ballet, and also the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne.

When it comes to the ethnic Australian dance forms, there is a growing understanding of preserving these as an expression of the culture of the original Australian population. In recent years, this interest has led to the creation of the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theater (AIDT) and Bangarra Dance Theater, but with strong elements of modern dance technique. Leading choreographers in this field are Paul Saliba and Stephen Page.

Oceania Countries

The countries of Oceania make up the smallest continent in the world, Oceania. Together, they cover an area of approximately 8.9 million km2. This continent is made up of groups of islands, and its largest portion of land is Australia. As noted by Abbreviationfinder, the smallest country in Oceania is Nauru, with only 20 km2.

Also known as the New World, due to their “discovery” that occurred after the arrival of Europeans in America, called the New World, the countries of Oceania attract thousands of tourists for their stunning natural landscapes. These countries are located between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Oceania countries and their capitals

Altogether, Oceania has 14 countries and about 22 facilities managed by nations from other continents, with no land borders between these territories. In these 14 nations, approximately 40,117,432 inhabitants live, who speak several languages, such as Castilian, Fijian, French, Bisamma, Indonesian, English, Maori, among others.

Next, check our chart with the countries of Oceania and their respective capitals:

Countries Capital
Australia Canberra
Federated States of Micronesia Palikir
Fiji Suva
Marshall Islands Majuro
Solomon Islands Honiara
Kiribati Southern Tawara
Nauru Yaren
New Zealand Wellington
Palau Ngerulmud
Papua New Guinea Port Moresby
Samoa The washbasin
Tonga Nuku’alofa
Tuvalu Funafuti
Vanuatu Port Vila

Note: According to Countryaah, Oceania is the smallest continent in the world.

Is Indonesia part of Oceania?

Considered a transcontinental country, Indonesia is sometimes associated with Oceania. The country is between Southeast Asia and Australia.


Since ancient times, the islands have been inhabited by Polynesian peoples who have nourished themselves by fishing and subsistence farming. The first European to explore the islands was the Englishman John Byron in 1765. The lack of wealth made the islands quite unattractive to the British crown. It was therefore not until 1877 that they were made British Protectorate. They were formally annexed in 1916 and made part of the administration of the Gilbert & Ellice Islands (present-day Kiribati and Tuvalu). In 1925 the administration was transferred from the United Kingdomto New Zealand. In 1946 they were given their current name, Tokelau and in 1958 they were formally assigned to New Zealand’s supremacy. Like the Cook Islands, the United States claimed them, and this dispute continued until 1980. In December this year, the two countries signed an agreement, according to. which the United States abandoned its claims. in turn, New Zealand renounced the island of Swain, which the United States has administered since 1925.

The New Zealand administration has been directed not to change local customs, traditional institutions or community relations. The population lives quite isolated. In 1990, only ships came regularly from Apia (Samoa) every 2-3. month. The population catches fish and seafood in the sea and this is their main food. There are no tourist installations.

In the 1980s, agriculture underwent a critical phase due to a number of severe climatic phenomena. As a result, the number of residents leaving New Zealand or Samoa increased dramatically. The Government of New Zealand has tried to motivate the immigrants from Tokelau to return to their home country in various ways, but to no avail.

In 1976 and 81, the UN sent delegations to Tokelau, and on both occasions the broadcasts declared that the inhabitants did not want changes in their relations with New Zealand. Against this backdrop, the UN General Assembly in December 1984 raised the issue on the agenda and decided that New Zealand, as the executive power, should continue to regularly inform about its actions. Nevertheless, in a report to the UN Special Commission in 1987, Tokelau expressed a desire for greater political autonomy, while at the same time seeking to maintain relations with New Zealand.

In 1989, Tokelau received support from the South Pacific Forum to punish the states fishing in its territorial waters. In November of that year, New Zealand banned fishing within a 200 nautical mile zone, with the aim of preserving the area’s seafood resources, which is the most important resource of its inhabitants.

Since 1989, the country has been on the UN list of states that are likely to disappear in the 21st century if no specific steps are taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming.

In February 1990, the islands were razed by the cyclone Ofa, which destroyed the banana and coconut plantations as well as hospitals, schools, houses and bridges. The devastation intensified the emigration to New Zealand. The following year, New Zealand established the first regular flight connection between the three atolls.

By agreement with the government of Samoa, in 1993, the Tokelau administration office was transferred from Apia, Samoa to Tokelau itself. In May 1995, the New Zealand Parliament voted for an extension of local self-government, and in 1997 the islands were linked via satellite telephone.

Oceania Music and dance

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