Per Mahealani Uchiyama:
"In 1956, Madeleine Mou'a...formed Tahiti's first professional dance group, Heiva. This company restored Tahitian dance to a position of respect in the eyes of Tahitians... She paid close attention to the quality of costuming, drumming and dance technique. She produced grand spectacles based on legendary themes. Her group Heiva was soon placed under the patronage of ... the daughters of the late Queen Pomare. This prompted young girls from respectable families to join dancing groups in record numbers.... Prior to this time, there was not a mutually agreed upon repertoire of the dance technique. The practice of holding the heels together, of formalizing the difference between the various hip isolations, emphasizing the regal and dignified carriage of the torso now associated with ori Tahiti, all began with Madeleine Mou'a.
"A change in the dance began in 1979, with the opening of the Conservatoire Artistique Territorial. A state sponsored school of Tahitian dance, the Conservatoire is based on the Western model of formal dance lessons. At the end of a multi-year curriculum, students are awarded diplomas equivalent to those given to graduates of European music conservatories. Here, dancers are trained in specific dance techniques which stress the student's virtuosity and creativity as a performer. A result of this new system was the codification of the movement vocabulary providing instructors a unified language for teaching dance in the classroom.
"Additionally, the COnservatoire encouraged innovation and creativity in ori Tahiti. As a result, the steps, posture and technical aspects of the dance have shifted do the point where those of us who learned the technique prior to the 1990's have had to nearly relearn how to perform and talk about Tahitian dance."