Fireknife’s Future Dances, Dazzles and Dreams Big at PCC
– Dayton Solitamalii Daong, 11, Wins 6-11 Age-Group Division –
– Hale Motuapuaka, 14, Wins 12-17 Age-Group Division –
Laie, Hawaii – May 9, 2014 – The kids ruled over the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) on Thursday night (May 8), with a performance that wowed the audience and showed this fiery Samoan art has a strong future following.
A total of 31 competitors in two Junior Division age groups took to the stage at the PCC for the second night of the World Fireknife Championships and showed it’s only a matter of time before they grow into being among the best.
The 6-11 age-group division had 15 competitors, some about as tall as the fireknives they twirled, while the 12-17 age-group division had 16 competitors, including three women.
Proudly dressed in a traditional lavalava, buoyed by the cheers of a packed house, and dancing to the beat of Samoan drummers, the young fireknife dancers bounded about the stage and shared a common quality: absolutely no fear in twirling one and two flaming fireknives above their head, behind their back, and between their legs.
They also showed a remarkable spirit of creativity and a thought-out choreographed routine that combined strength with flair and personality with enthusiasm in paying tribute to this proud and difficult art form of the Samoan culture.
Winning the 6-11 age-group division was Dayton Solitamalii Daong, age 11, of Waipahu, HI, with Hale Motuapuaka, age 14, of Aiea, HI, winning the 12-17 age-group division. All the competitors received prize packages, with the top three being presented with special fireknife-themed trophies.
Results: 6-11 Age-Group Division
1ST Place: Dayton Solitamalii Daong, 11, Waipahu, HI
2ND Place: Vincent Galeai, 11, Laie, HI
3RD Place: Mose Lilo, 6, Ewa Beach, HI
Results: 12-17 Age-Group Division
1ST Place: Hale Motuapuaka, 14, Aiea, HI
2ND Place: Wallen Teo, 17, Waimanalo, HI
3RD Place: Hunter Nery, 13, Waialua, HI
Three teams of fireknife dancers took part in the always-entertaining Group Competition, including a team of women. The teams melded their individual fireknife dancing talents with a synchronized routine that thrilled the audience. Winning the Group Competition was Vaimatina Boys, comprised of members Alex Galeai, Quest Ava, Malik Ava, and KJ Ahloy.
Senior Division Semi-Finals
The nine semi-finalists who advanced from Wednesday (May 7) night’s opening round of 24 competitors in the elite Senior Division (18 years and older) took to the stage Thursday night to see which three would earn their way to the Finals.
All nine gave bold, commanding performances with the judges deciding that the three finalists who will compete for this year’s prestigious title of World Fireknife Champion are:
Malo Matau, Laie, HI
Falaniko Penesa, Samoa
Via Tiumalu, Orlando, FL
The finals take place Friday and Saturday night and are being held during intermission of the award-winning Ha: Breath of Life evening show in the Pacific Theater, which seats 2,700 guests. Both nights are nearly sold out. For more information or to make reservations, call the box office at (808) 293-3333 or visit www.polynesia.com.
Now in its 22nd year, the World Fireknife Championships is a highlight of PCC’s annual We Are Samoa Festival, Hawaii’s largest Samoan cultural celebration and a pre-eminent showcase of Samoa’s traditions.
Fireknife dancing originated from the traditional Samoan ailao, a warrior’s knife dance, performed before battle with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.” PCC established the World Fireknife Championships to showcase this treasured Samoan tradition and perpetuate it for future generations to embrace.
Each night of the World Fireknife Championships is being live streamed online at http://new.livestream.com/polynesia-live-event.
For more information on the World Fireknife Championships, please visit www.worldfireknife.com.
About the Polynesian Cultural Center
Located on Oahu’s beautiful North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is the only cultural tourist attraction of its kind in the world and a favorite of all visitors to Hawaii. An engaging, interactive celebration showcasing the people, culture, arts and crafts of Polynesia, the PCC has entertained more than 37 million visitors from around the world in its first 50 years (1963-2013). A non-profit organization, 100 percent of PCC’s revenue goes to daily operations and to support the education of its student-employees from neighboring Brigham Young University-Hawaii.