OPENING NIGHT OF WORLD FIREKNIFE CHAMPIONSHIPS HEATS UP POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER
Laie, Hawaii – May 8, 2015 – Nineteen of the world’s top fireknife dancers took to the stage Thursday night (May 7) at the Polynesian Cultural Center to compete in the opening round of the 2015 World Fireknife Championships.
Entered in the elite Senior Division (ages 18 and older), the 19 competitors came to Laie from Samoa, Tahiti, Orlando (FL), Pittsburgh (PA), Hong Kong, Japan, and Hawaii (Oahu and Hawaii Island) to determine the best-of-the-best.
Wearing a traditional lavalava and accompanied by the pulsating beat of five Polynesian drummers and a roaring crowd, the competitors performed amazing, spellbinding routines with one and two fireknives.
They combined speed, dexterity, strength, acrobatics, stamina, and fearlessness as they twirled and tossed high the fireknives, often grabbing the fiery ends and balancing them on the balls of their feet while lying on the ground.
Seven competitors, including four former World Fireknife Champions, advanced to the Senior Division semi-finals on Friday night (May 8):
Joseph Cadosteau, Tahiti (Former Champion)
Viceson Galeai, Laie, HI
Kuinise Leiataua, Honolulu, HI
Mikaele Oloa, Waialua, HI (Former Champion)
Andrew Umi Sexton III, Waianae, HI (Former Champion)
Via Tiumalu, Orlando, FL (Former Champion)
Matuni Vaiaoga, Orlando, FL
Also competing Friday night will be the future of fireknife dancing with the champions being determined in two Junior Divisions (ages 6-11, and 12-17).
The 2015 World Fireknife Champion in the Senior Division will be crowned on Saturday night (May 9).
Now in its 23rd year, the World Fireknife Championships is the featured event of the PCC’s annual We Are Samoa Festival, Hawaii’s largest Samoan cultural celebration. The festival also includes the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival taking place on Saturday (May 9, 9:00 a.m.) in which students compete in a series of traditional Samoan practices and life skills.
Fireknife dancing draws its roots from the Samoan ailao, a warrior’s knife dance, performed before battle with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.” The PCC established the World Fireknife Championships to showcase this treasured Samoan tradition and perpetuate it for future generations to embrace.
For more information, please visit www.worldfireknife.com.
The PCC is streaming the World Fireknife Championships live online at http://new.livestream.com/polynesia-live-event.
For more information or to make reservations, visit www.polynesia.com or call (800) 367-7060. In Hawaii, call 293-3333.