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Dance of Whatipu Cave is a jazz waltz played by the trio. It begins with a harmonically ambiguous 8-bar intro (moving between A major & A minor, and F major & F minor), which is also an interlude between head and solo choruses. Further harmonic ambiguity occurs at bar 12 and 20 (min-maj). Vertical dissonances occur in bars 1, 7, 8, 24, 27 and 28. This composition relies heavily on constant structure, motif and 3-part melodic statements. Dance of Whatipu Cave concludes with an improvised vamp using sections of harmonic movement borrowed from the head.
In pre-European times, travellers used the caves as shelter. In the early 20th century, the largest cave was used for dances, but sand has since drifted into the cave and the dance floor is now covered by five metres of sand.