Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. A boy dressed as a dancer of the Cook Island around the Punanga Nui Markets. To the despair of many educated Cook Islanders the expression "culture" in the popular mind equates to traditional festivals, singing and dancing. There is some justification for this since the art of dance is taken very seriously in the Cooks. Each island has its own special dances and these are practised assiduously from early childhood. There are numerous competitions throughout the year on each island – Events – and these are hotly contested. The highly rhythmic drumming on the paté and the wild and sensuous movements of both men and women virtually guarantee that Cook Islands teams win all the major Pacific dance festivals.The Hawaiian hula and the Tahitian tamuré are probably better known because those islands have had wider publicity for the last 100 years but the Cook Islands hura is far more sensual and fierce. Every major hotel prides itself on the performance it puts on at least once a week on Island Night when guests, selected by the dancers, are led onto the floor to show what they can do. Cook Islands dancing. It there is one outstanding ability which appears to be shared by all Cook Islanders it is music and song. Close harmony singing is highly developed in church music and the power and emotional impact of chants and hymns at weddings and funerals is well known to visitors who attend. The range and talent of popular singing can be seen at the numerous festivals throughout the year (see Events). Each island also has its own songs and the various island groups compete fiercely. There are numerous Polynesian string bands who play at restaurants, hotels and concerts and they use combinations of modern electronics with traditional ukeleles fashioned from coconut shells.