WORLD FIREKNIFE CHAMPIONSHIPS LIGHTS UP HAWAII’S HOTTEST WEEK AT POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER, MAY 7-9
Laie, Hawaii – May 4, 2015 – The world’s “hottest” international competition, the World Fireknife Championships, will light up the stage at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), May 7-9, to determine the best at this traditional Samoan art.
Now in its 23rd year, the World Fireknife Championships draws its roots from the Samoan ailao, a warrior’s knife dance, performed before battle with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.”
This year’s competition features 22 entrants in the senior or elite division, including defending champion Via Tiumalu, Jr. of Orlando, FL, 15 entrants in the older junior division (ages 12-17), and 13 entrants in the younger junior division (ages 6-11).
The competitors, especially those in the senior division, will dazzle the audience with spectacular displays of fireknife dancing, twirling one, two and, sometimes, three flaming fireknives to a choreographed routine, often while contorting their bodies or laying on their back. (See the competition schedule below.)
Logo Apelu, PCC Chief Operating Officer, said, “Fireknife dancing is the ultimate test of skill and athleticism in the Samoan culture. To be truly great at it, a competitor needs to master a combination of power, talent, bravery, and artistic flair in a performance that is both amazing and incredibly difficult. The World Fireknife Championships brings out the very best in a unique contest found nowhere else.”
The World Fireknife Championships is part of the PCC’s “We Are Samoa” Festival, the largest Samoan cultural festival in Hawaii and a showcase of Samoa’s traditions, arts, and heritage. Another featured event is the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival, in which hundreds of high school students from O‘ahu demonstrate their knowledge of Samoan culture. (See schedule below.)
Samoa is one of PCC’s six authentic island villages, the others being Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, and Aotearoa (New Zealand), that celebrate the native culture and people of its heritage amidst the Center’s 42 lushly landscaped acres. At each village, guests are immersed in fun and engaging presentations, exhibits, and hands-on activities.
The Samoa village has historically been one of PCC’s most popular daily attractions for visitors, who take great enjoyment in an entertainment program that’s both funny and exciting, including tree climbing, coconut husking, and fire-making demonstrations.
WORLD FIREKNIFE CHAMPIONSHIPS: COMPETITION SCHEDULE
Thursday, May 7, 7:45 p.m., Hale Aloha
Junior/Intermediate Divisions (ages 6–11 & 12–17): Preliminary Rounds
Senior Division (ages 18+): Preliminary Rounds
Friday, May 8, 7:45 p.m., Hale Aloha
Junior/Intermediate Divisions: Finals
Senior Division: Semi-Finals
Saturday, May 9, 7:30 p.m., Pacific Theater
Senior Division Finals and Crowning of Champion
The three finalists face off during intermission of the evening show, “Ha: Breath of Life,” with the winner announced at its conclusion.
For more information, please visit www.worldfireknife.com.
The PCC will live stream all three nights of the World Fireknife Championships online at http://new.livestream.com/polynesia-live-event.
HIGH SCHOOL SAMOAN CULTURAL ARTS FESTIVAL
Saturday, May 9, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Pacific Theater
Students compete in a series of traditional Samoan practices and life skills, including protocol and speech making, basket weaving, coconut husking and fire making, costuming, poise, dance movements, and interpretation.
For more information or to make reservations, visit www.polynesia.com or call (800) 367-7060. In Hawaii, call 293-3333.