Pasifika gets Hawaiian input
A contemporary Polynesian dance company is making all the right moves for this year’s Pasifika Festival, which opens at Western Springs Stadium tonight.
Pasifika Sway, a group of 11 dancers, has trained together for two-and-a-half months and will perform two dances from its show The Hula Project.
Ponsonby director and choreographer Aruna PoChing called for dancers last year to promote Hawaiian dance culture in Auckland specifically for Pasifika.
“I saw a hole in the Polynesian dance and art form here and decided to develop The Hula Project.
“For Pasifika’s opening night we will be doing an ancient Hawaiian dance that tells the story of Pele, the goddess of fire. She’s as big as Maui is here,” she says.
“There’s a lot of distinctive Hawaiian moves. If done well, people can’t help but be moved by it.”
Group member Feeonaa Wall agrees. The Grey Lynn resident and Auckland University performing arts graduate has been dancing for 10 years.
“The Hawaiian art form has been really amazing to delve into. The arms and the postures, you have to study it to know the differences.”
Louise Williams, a trained contemporary dancer and opera singer, manages to combine both her talents in a sub-group trio, the Sweet Sways.
Pasifika Sway will give its full show at the festival tomorrow at Western Springs Reserve in the Niue village in the morning and the Cook Islands village in the afternoon.
Hawaiian ukulele player Grant Muagututia will accompany Pasifika Sway tonight, along with guest singer Lapi Mariner from Jamoa Jam.
Tonight’s free show is organised by Pacific Island Board Auckland City and starts at 7pm.
The festival kicks off tomorrow at 10am and runs until 5pm.
Polynesian persuasion: Louise Williams, Feeonaa Wall and Aruna Po-Ching will bring their moves to Pasifika this weekend, starting tonight at Western Springs Stadium.