FLAMES BURN BRIGHT FOR WINNERS IN THE JUNIOR AND GROUP DIVISIONS IN 2ND DAY OF WORLD FIREKNIFE CHAMPIONSHIPS AT THE POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER
Final Competition for Senior Division Continues Friday and Saturday Nights Live Stream Available at WorldFireknife.com “People’s Choice” Online Vote After Friday, May 11 Performances
Laie, Hawaii – May 11, 2012 – After four hours of heated competition at the 20th Annual World Fireknife Championships, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has anointed the winning competitors of the Junior and Group divisions, with two days of fiery competition remaining to determine this year’s World Fireknife Champion. Warriors as young as six took to the stage to showcase their fiery skills and bravery.
Thursday’s winners were:
Junior Pacific Division
1st. KJ Ahloy, Laie, HI
2nd. Kekoa Lagunte, Waialua, HI
3rd. Jonathon Fiu, Kahuku, HI
1st. Preston Weber, Fort Lauderdale, FL
2nd. Hale Motuapuaka, Aiea, HI
3rd. Achilles Tafiti, Laie, HI
Open Group Competition
1st. Joseph Cadousteau, Micah Naruo
2nd. KJ Ahloy, Quest Ava, Malik Ava, Alex Galeai
3rd. Chandae Ava, Aaliyah Ava, Jeralee Galeai
“The Polynesian Cultural Center is both honored and privileged to have hosted the World Fireknife Championship for the past two decades,” said PCC vice president of operations, Logo Apelu. “Each year the competition draws the most talented fireknife dancers from around the globe and I’m always blown away with every competitor’s passion and dedication to mastering and progressing this artful sport. Since its inception in 1993, the competition has grown immensely popular among both kamaaina (Hawaii residents) and visitors alike. To expand our scope and share fireknife with the world, we are excited to offer a live stream available on any computer or mobile device at WorldFireknife.com for the first time in the competition’s history.”
World Championship Finals Continue
The World Fireknife Championship concludes with a two-night final on Friday and Saturday in the 2,675-seat Pacific Theater, during the intermission of the Ha: Breath of Life evening show, providing added spectacle to an already visually and culturally dynamic experience.
Following the completion of Thursday’s semi-final competition, three finalists have emerged:
– Viavia (VJ) Tiumalu of Orlando, FL;
– Mikaele Oloa of Waialua, HI; and
– Joseph Cadousteau of Papeete, Tahiti.
Following the first night of finals on Friday, May 11, fans can vote online for their favorite competitor in the new “People’s Choice Award.” Voting opens at 9 p.m. (HST) on Friday night and closes at 8:45 p.m. (HST) Saturday evening. The winner will be announced at the victory ceremony that night. To view the live stream and to vote, visit WorldFireknife.com.
The champion and second and third place winners are judged on movements including the vili tasi (one hand spin) and vili lua (two hand spin), among others. Specific criteria included height of throws, speed, showmanship and more. A full list of routine requirements and judging criteria can be found in the “Judging” tab of WorldFireknife.com. The “People’s Choice Award” will not be based on the same criteria and is awarded purely on fan voting.
The modern fireknife dance stems from the Samoan ailao, a warrior’s knife dance performed with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.” This dance was displayed before battle to frighten the enemy and, afterwards, to celebrate victory. Today, the art of fireknife has become one of the most intense, skillful and beautiful of Samoan traditions. The modern version consists of spinning a sharp knife with both ends ablaze at high speeds, and requires acute precision and acrobatic finesse. The fire is very real, and dancers often, and sometimes intentionally, make contact with the flames.
In addition to the fireknife competitions, the Pacific Theater will also serve as a venue for the annual We Are Samoa, High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival, at which Hawaii high school students will demonstrate their own cultural knowledge of Samoan traditions with exhibitions in basket weaving, coconut husking and fire making, among other events. The festival will be held only on Saturday, May 12, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., prior to the World Fireknife Championships face-off that evening, and will also be streamed live online at WorldFireknife.com.
To join in on the final two nights of competition, May 11 and 12, guests must purchase a reserved seating ticket, starting at $45, to the Ha: Breath of Life evening show each night. Advanced reservations are highly recommended as the event sells out every year. Kamaaina Annual Pass holders and full-day ticket holders receive free admission to the Samoan Cultural High School Arts Festival on Saturday morning. Polynesian Cultural Center is offering kamaaina a 50 percent discount off of its Kamaaina Annual Pass, now through May 31, 2012. For more information or to make reservations, visit WorldFireknife.com, or call the PCC ticket office at 1-844-572-2347 or on Oahu, call (808) 293-3333.
Founded in 1963 as a non-profit organization, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has entertained more than 36 million visitors, while preserving and portraying the culture, arts and crafts of Polynesia to the rest of the world. In addition, the PCC has provided financial assistance to 17,000 young people from over 70 different countries while they attend Brigham Young University-Hawaii. As a non-profit organization, 100 percent of PCC’s revenue is used for daily operations and to support education.