Danc­ing to beat of dif­fer­ent drum

Central Leader - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

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, have trained to­gether for two-and-ahalf months and will per­form two dances from their 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 per­form its full show at the fes­ti­val to­mor­row at West­ern Springs Re­serve.

The dancers will be in the Niue vil­lage in the morn­ing and then the Cook Is­lands vil­lage in the af­ter­noon.

Hawai­ian ukulele player Grant Muagutu­tia will ac­com­pany Pasi­fika Sway tonight, along with spe­cial 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.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Poly­ne­sian per­sua­sion: Louise Wil­liams, Feeonaa Wall and Aruna Po-Ching will bring their moves to Pasi­fika this week­end, start­ing tonight at West­ern Springs Sta­dium.

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