How to Do the Samoan Fa\’ataupati

Fa’ataupati means to forcefully clap or to slap your face and Samoan Fa’ataupati is one of the most interesting and energetic dances in the world. Although it is not clear about the origin of this dance, it is widely believed that this dance was invented in 1800s in Samoa. Traditionally, only men used to perform this dance but in recent years, women have also taken keen interest in this dance.

If you are looking to learn this dance, you don’t have to travel all the way to Samoa and you can learn it at home without much trouble.


  • 1

    Put on your lavalava

    Lavalava does sound funny but it is nothing more than a simple piece of cloth. Dancers wear this simple rectangular shaped cloth like a skirt or kilt and it has a lot of traditional values attached to it. You cannot expect to master this dance without wearing lavalava. It is very similar to a sarong.

  • 2

    Take off your shirt

    You cannot perform Fa'ataupati without taking off your shirt. Traditionally dancers used to perform this dance without their shirts and even today, the trend has remained intact. So before you do anything else, remove your shirt since it in usually performed by men. In case there are women dancers involved, they can keep on their shirts.

  • 3

    Get in position

    Since Fa'ataupati is performed by several at once, positioning is very important and you need to get in position before starting things. Usually dancers stand side-by-side but you need to follow the lead and act accordingly. Make sure that you place your feet wide and slightly bend your knees. Leader usually takes the centre position but you need to stand in rows and dance in synchronization.

  • 4

    Stay together

    Whatever you do, make sure that you stay together because this is the beauty of Fa'ataupati. Synchronization is a must or even a single error will result in your downfall.

  • 5

    Make your own rhythm

    despite the fact that it is more of a group dance, you need to dance in a manner that people can distinguish yourself. Make your own rhythm but stay in position nonetheless.

  • 6

    Slap yourself

    After getting into rhythm, slap both your thighs in a rhythm. You can even use chants to make it more tribal and traditional.

  • 7

    Follow the leader

    Even if you don’t know the routine, you can follow the lead of the leader to get things going.

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