Monday, July 27, 2009

Horizons sets for last time

This will be somewhat of a departure from the way I've reported in the past. A little more personal being that I danced at the Polynesian Cultural Center for 5 years, two evening shows - Mana! and Horizons, the Ali'i Luau and Ancient Legends of Polynesia canoe show.

It's kind of sad to think that the Polynesian Cultural Center's evening show Horizons is no more. The last show was Thursday, July 23, 2009. Countless students have taken part in the production over the past 14 years. It was the longest running evening show in the Center's history. As one of those who took part in the opening and production run of the new show, it is bitter sweet to say the least. Looking at the final shows and comparing them to the first few years, there are many, many differences.

Actually the last few years are completely different from the past. It's as if they were actually two different shows. Many numbers were cut or replaced and dance costumes changed. I think the Hawaii, Fiji and Maori probably saw the most changes. Remember the malo's for the men in Hawaii or the bow ties (did I just say bow ties)? How about the Kava ceremony in Fiji? And the Maori section just had a different feel all together. Not that either is better, just different.

Starting the Horizons show right after the last show of Mana! The Spirit of our People was a test and challenge for the Center. I can remember Newell Dayley (the original producer) working behind the scenes with the section dance instructors. He got the whole production rolling and mapped out what needed to be done to make the transition. Differences in opinion and a cool audience response led to a quick learning curve once the show finally opened, behind schedule (as Ha-The Breathe of Life has also proven and just about every other Center production) and including countless late night rehearsals. He was caught between management and culture. The original Horizons had a dramatic take similar to Polynesian Odyssey (the only IMAX production the Center has ever produced). Dramatic lighting, smoke and water effects enhanced the action on stage sometimes leading to overshadowing the culture. The unrealistic pressure to make a spectacularly better show than Mana! probably contributed to the problems that the show had in the beginning.

The $2 million dollar start up costs for the costumes, stage modifications, new lighting and rehearsal and development were looking to be a financial money pit. With a new producer came a whole new set of costumes, music and production numbers. A new opening sequence and the dropping of the approach to the theme also took place. It was an entirely new show. Enter Horizons - Where the Sea Meets the Sky 2.0

In any event, the heart and soul of any of the shows I was involved with was the section instructors, assistants and theater managers (Delsa Moe, Raymond Mariteragi, Eti Eves, Billy Tenney and David Tiave). I can't begin to let them know how much they made the show what it was and for teaching not only the dances, but the culture. Nikki Wallace (Maori), Keith Awai (Hawaii), Vai Fa'amaligi (Samoa), Regina Pasi (Tahiti), Fasi Tovo (Tonga), and Joe Tulele (Fiji). I have missed seeing these uncles and aunties and their influence, knowledge of the culture, encouragement and discipline. Auntie Nikki and Auntie Vai have sadly since passed away. Sometimes I have a chance to catch up with Regina and Keith but there are times I miss being backstage and being in that environment. It's an experience that if you have the opportunity, you should not miss.

Flash forward 6 months later. A new producer a new approach. Tommy Taurima, a New Zealand Maori dance group producer took the reigns. Known probably most for his song - Terina, Uncle Tommy was a larger than life character, both physically and figuratively. I do not know where he is, but I suspect he is back in New Zealand. He remade the show and let the instructors do what they do best - teach and choreograph. The Horizons 2.0 production even had his signature song - Terina in the Maori section.

Sadly, Horizons marked the change from relying on the instructors behind the scenes. After the changes, the instructors were moved back to the island villages. Even though we had the theater managers and section assistants, there was something definitely missing. I'll just leave it at that.

Flash forward to 2009 - Horizons 3.0+. Is it me or does it seem that there are less dancers? Budget cutbacks (probably because of the $3 million price tag for the new show), I assume. A new generation of dancers has taken the stage. Thinking that some of these dancers are my friends kids is kind of depressing. Am I that old? After countless performances, dancers, ushers, tech crews, seamstresses, and support staff, Horizons has finally set for the last time at the Polynesian Cultural Center. I can only hope that those involved in the new show will be able to enjoy their time there as much as I did.


I couldn't close without thinking and writing about some of the memorable moments I had.
  • Opening night (Horizons 1.0) I hit my eyebrow while swinging my patu. At least I think it was my patu and not the guy next to me. Came backstage after the number and couldn't see because the blood was coming down over my eye.
  • Eating fresh hot French bread and Samoan coco back stage on cold and rainy nights.
  • Cast meetings
  • Sitting on the top of the mountain waiting to light the torches and watching the stars and talking with the guys.
  • Haka farewells
  • Dancing in the rain
  • Termite nights (try not to sing or open your mouth)
  • Listening to Lamar (MC)
  • Taking a break in the (air conditioned) instructors office
  • Forgetting that the line up switched and I was supposed to be in the Hau'ula tunnel instead of the Kahuku tunnel.
  • Getting haircuts backstage
  • Getting fingers smashed with the kala'au sticks
  • Getting hit by errant titi torea sticks (from 2 girls over!)
  • The opening water curtain and the audience oooohing and aaaahing
  • Double shows (I hear they haven't had them for quite awhile, but we had them often when I was there)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Heiva i Tahiti 2009 results

This years Heiva i Tahiti event was extremely competitive with both new groups and award winning veterans returning to compete. In the end, it was one of the more younger groups that prevailed. Hei Tahiti, an innovative and award winning dance group led by Tiare Trompette was crowned Heiva Nui Grand Prize. Established in 2005, the group has not competed in the event since 2006 when it was awarded the Junior Grand Prize. In addition, Hei Tahiti also was awarded Best Costume, Best Music (Heritage) and Best Solo Tane (Daniel Faatauira).

Tamariki Oparo, led by Pierrot Faraire came in second and O Tahiti E, led by Marguerite Lai rounded out the top three. Both groups have been consistent award winners and are world renown for their dramatic and creative Tahitian dance performances.

The prestigious title of Best Solo Vahine went to Manihiki Poroi of Kei Tawhiti.

In the Junior or amateur division, Hitireva claimed 1st place.

Preliminary results of the 2009 Heiva i Tahiti:

Heiva Nui - Madeleine Moua - Division
1. Hei Tahiti
(Tiare Trompette)
2. Tamariki Oparo (
Pierrot Faraire)
3. O Tahiti E (
Marguerite Lai)

Heiva - Claire Leverd - Division
1. Hitireva (Kelaulani Chanquy)

Best Solo Tane
Daniel Faatauira of Hei Tahiti

Best Solo Vahine
Manihiki Poroi of Kei Tawhiti

Best Vegetal Costume
Tamariki Poerani (Makau Foster)

Best Costume
Hei Tahiti (Tiare Trompette)

Tarava Raromatai
Association Vaihoataua

Best Music - Heritage
Hei Tahiti (Tiare Trompette)

Best Music - Creation
Heikura Nui (Iriti Hoto)

Best Himene Ruau
Association Vaihoataua

Best Song Author
Tamarii Matai

Best Vahine Aparima
Tamariki Poerani (Makau Foster)

Best Tane Aparima
O Tahiti E (Marguerite Lai)

Best Vahine Otea
Tamariki Poerani (Makau Foster)

Best Tane Otea
Hitireva (Kelaulani Chanquy)

Best Paoa
Te Maeva (Coco Hotahota)

Best Hivinau
Kei Tawhiti (Maire Tuia)

Best Ute Arearea
Tamariki Poerani (Makau Foster)

More information and coverage at La Depeche de Tahiti

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More photos of Heiva i Tahiti 2009

Here are a few galleries from La Depeche de Tahiti of Heiva i Tahiti 2009

Group Gallery
Soloist Gallery

New Matahi Gallery

Results of the event will be available shortly.

Farereiraa 2009

Farereiraa 2009 took place this past weekend. Soloists performed with their respective dance groups and competed for top solo honors. The event was organized by Coco Hotahota and was held after the 127th annual Heiva i Tahiti events concluded. The US and Japanese dance groups performed and participated in cultural workshops and exchanges during their stay in Tahiti.

Partial results of the soloist competition:

Junior Tane
Dane Dejes of Otea Api

Junior Vahine

Senior Tane
Justin (Froggie) Atangan of Nemenzo

Senior Vahine
Katrina Dejesis of Otea Api

More information and gallery at La Depeche de Tahiti

Photos of the International Faarereiraa in Papeete

Here is a small gallery of photos from the recent Faarereiraa in Papeete by Tahiti Presse. This event featured close to 600 dancers from The US and Japan. Soloists and groups competed in the event. The dance groups also are participating in other exhibitions throughout the islands. Groups involved included Here Tama Nui (Honolulu) and Manutahi (Wahiawa), Nemenzo (Daly City), Otea Api (Fremont), Hitia O Te Ra (Garden Grove) and Mahana O Te Ra (Japan).

The event took place over this past weekend, July 18-20, 2009. And was held in following the Heiva i Tahiti competition where French Polynesia groups competed. Results of the Heiva i Tahiti will be announced this evening.

More information at Tahiti Presse

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Photo Gallery of 2009 Heiva i Tahiti

Here is a large photo gallery of the 2009 Heiva i Tahiti by Life is Love. Photos are divided into dates and groups. All photos are copyrighted by the photographer.

Also, here is a tentative schedule for the remaining dance group performances at Place To'ata. Chanting performances are placed in between major dance performances.

Thursday, July 16
7 pm - Pereaito
9 pm - Hei Tahiti (Tiare Trompette)

Friday, July 17
7 pm - Hura Apetahi
8:30 pm - Tamarii Teahupoo
9:30 pm - Temaeva (Fabien Dinard / Coco Hotahota)

Saturday, July 18
7 pm - Kei Tawhiti (Maire Tuia)
9:30 pm - Tamariki Oparo (Makau Foster)

Thursday, July 23
Awards Ceremonies

Friday, July 24
Closing Ceremonies

International Cultural Farereiraa

Five US Tahitian dance groups and 1 from Japan will compete in the International Cultural Farereiraa (gathering) in Papeete, Tahiti. The groups competing include Nemenzo (San Francisco), Ote'a Api (Freemont), Hitia O Te Ra (Los Angeles), Here Tama Nui and Manutahi (Hawaii). Mahana O Te Ra is coming from Japan. Events will take place July 18-20 at Place To'ata.

Te Fare Tauhiti Nui and Coco Hotahota organizated the event to share the passion of Tahitian dance with foreign groups. Both soloists and groups will compete. Approximately 600 dancers are reported to be participating.

More reporting at La Depeche de Tahiti

Ahutoru Nui and O Tahiti E perform at Heiva i Tahiti

Ahutoru Nui and O Tahiti E performed on the third day (July 13) of competition in the 127th Annual Heiva i Tahiti. Performances took place at Place To'ata at the Papeete waterfront. Both groups have been grande champions of the event in past years and both showed why they earned their titles.

Anthony Tirao, ra'atira of Ahutoru Nui and Marguerite Lai & Moanaura Teheiura of O Tahiti E created their performances based on themes and stories. The large groups sported extravagant costumes and exhibited some of the most creative and vivid dance numbers sure to make judging very difficult.

More information and photos at La Depeche de Tahiti

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heiva i Tahiti 2009 begins

Tahiti's most colorful event of the year, Heiva I Tahiti, has started. This Festival, which includes among other things traditional dance contest, javelin throwing, outrigger canoe races and stone-lifting, is now in full swing.

This year some of the most prestigious Tahitian dance groups will return for the dancing and singing contest.

More at Tahiti Presse

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ninth Annual Te Mahana Hiroa O Tahiti Festival

The Polynesian Cultural Center hosted their annual tamari'i dance competition, Te Mahana Hiroa O Tahiti this past weekend in Laie, Hawaii. Approximately 100 soloist dancers 18 years and younger competed in the solo event. Tamari'i (children) groups from Laie and Honolulu competed in aparima/ahuroa and otea events.

Overall soloist awards went to Amaya Joy Panajon of Pupu O Te Iti Ra and Nonosina Hawaii's Jordan Mariteragi took the top honors for the overall male dancer.

Additional reporting at the Honolulu Advertiser

Preliminary results are posted below:

Group Competition

Tamari'i Aparima/Ahupurotu
Age 3-11
1. Te Hamata

Age 12-18
1. Nonosina Hawaii
2. Te Hamata

Tamari'i Otea
Age 12-18
1. Nonosina Hawaii
2. Te Hamata
3. Marania Haoragi

Solo Competition

Overall Soloists
Amaya Joy Panajon of Pupu O Te Iti Ra

Jordan Mariteragi of Nonosina Hawaii

Age 3-4 Tane
1. Shaun Niu of Te Hamata

Age 5-6 Vahine
1. Jazzylyn Samuseva of Marania Haoragi
2. Hiriei Toilolo of Te Hamata
3. Azeriah Coleman of Marania Haoragi

Age 5-6 Tane
1. Jason Mariteragi of Nonosina Hawaii
2. Ifalemi Lauaki of Nonosina Hawaii

Age 7-8 Vahine
1. Amaya Joy Panajon of Pupu O Te Iti Ra
2. Brielle Leiataua of Nonosina Hawaii
3. Teeya Lei of Nonosina Hawaii

Age 7-8 Tane
1. Teahu Mariteragi of Nonosina Hawaii
2. Mykle Keni of Nonosina Hawaii
3. Micah Mariteragi of Nonosina Hawaii

Age 9-11 Vahine
1. Chloe Pojas of Manutahi Tahiti
2. Kelene Tapusoa of Te Hamata
3. Shelby Tominaga of Marania Haoragi

Age 9-11 Tane
1. Jordan Mariteragi of Nonosina Hawaii
2. Teancum Kaitoku of Nonosina Hawaii
3. Ethan Magalei of Nonosina Hawaii

Age 12-13 Taure'are'a Vahine
1. Macy Panajon of Pupu O Te Iti Ra
2. Tylo Thompson of Nonosina Hawai'i
3. Sara Liva of Pupu Ote Iti Ra

Age 14-15 Taure'are'a Vahine
1. Jazmine Emerson of Nonosina Hawai'i
2. Shanelle Ramelb of Pupu O Te Iti Ra
3. Ciera Dutro of Pupu O Te Iti Ra

Age 16-18 Taure'are'a Vahine
1. Chelsea Clement of Te E'a O Te Turama
2. Kawahineha'aheo Oliver of Urahutia Productions
3. Kalei Onzuka of Maohi Nui

Heiva i Kauai craft vendor space available

With less than a month left until Heiva i Kauai takes place, craft vendor space is limited but there are still a few booth spaces available. The event is taking place over the weekend of August 1-2, 2009 at the Kapa'a Beach Park in Kapa'a, Kauai. Admission is $5 a day at the door. Children age 6 and under are free.

Craft vendor booths are $150 for both festival days. The price includes 2 passes, a tent, table, and bench. For more information, call 808 652-8574. This is a great opportunity for Polynesian craftsman to show their wares at an affordable price to customers who share their interests.

Heiva i Kauai is produced by Tepairu and Sally Jo Manea.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

California-based Tahitian dance group will perform for Tahiti Festival

Californian dance group, "Tekurio Nui", led by ra'atira Mapuhi "Tuku" Tekurio and specializing in Tahitian dance is in French Polynesia for a few days.

The dance group plans to perform several times during its stay and has a special relation with the "Ahutoru Nui" dance group from Tahiti's east coast commune of Arue.

Both dance groups will perform together for the annual Tahiti Festival.

More at Tahiti Presse

Sunday, July 05, 2009

2009 Merced Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete results

The 2009 Merced Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete happened this past March but we just were able to update. Mauru'uru to Becky Mandanic and Eric Morales for the information and keeping us updated. Scheduled for next March will be the 31st Annual event happening from March 26-28, 2010. Watch for more information and updates as the date gets closer.

Soloist Awards

Miss Maeva
Sarah Niualiku of Tiare O Te Ao

Mr Maeva
Carlos Acosta of Te Mau Ta'ata Anuanua

Maeva Iti
Myshka Nichole Javier of Kawailehua Hula Ohana

Overall Junior Vahine
Lorie Anne Pamatmat of Da Island Way

Overall Senior Vahine
Colie Amen of Tamari'i Matairea

Overall Junior Tane
Trevor Tutera'I Manaois of Ote'a Api

Overall Senior Tane
Sonny Shwe of Nemenzo

Couples Tamure
Charlie Currameng and Crystal Nguyen of Ote'a Api

Age 10-12 Beginning Vahine
1. Toni Moreland of E Honu Iti E
2. Celine Moreland of Tamari'i Matairea
3. Kalina Ramos-Santiago of Makamae Melia O Polynesia
4. Isabel Flores of Tiare O Te Ao

Age 10-12 Beginning Tane
1. Harold Lopa of E Honu Iti E
2. Nikko Nunez of Makamae Melia O Polynesia
Alfonzo Nunez of Makamae Melia O Polynesia

Age 10-12 Advanced Vahine
1. Lorie Ann Pamartmat of Da Island Way
2. Jessica Briones of Te Pura O Te Rahura'a
3. Caramia Kricken - Independent

Age 10-12 Advanced Tane
1. Arnel Boquiren of Here Hau
2. Jeremiah Quilantang of Tamari'i Matairea
3. Jason Wong of Ote'a Api

Age 13-15 Beginning Vahine
1. Kylie Rufino of Te Ora Roa
2. Sherlyn Gallo of E Honu Iti E
3. Erica Punahele Petrowsky of LeiIsa
4. Rhiannon Smith of Te Pura O Te Rahura'a

Age 13-15 Beginning Tane
1. Lorenzo Nunez of Makamae Melia O Polynesia
2. Cory Jose of Na Hoku Mai Kanoelani
3. JP Corpuz of Kawailehua Hula Ohana

Age 13-15 Advanced Vahine
1. Katelyn Salvador of Te Ora Roa
2. Avangelina Balangit of Te Pura O Te Rahura'a
3. Melanee Tano of Makamae Melia O Polynesia
4. Aolani Etu of Na Hoku Mai Kanoelani

Age 13-15 Advanced Tane
1. Trevor Tutera'I Manaois of Ote'a Api
2. Jojo Nunez of Makamae Melia O Polynesia
3. Xavier Guerrero of Tamari'i Matairea

Age 16-18 Beginning Vahine
1. Chelsea Hill of Na Hoku Mai Kanoelani
2. Christina Wood of Nemenzo
3. Jacqueline Cortez of Te Ora Roa
4. Marianne Aumenlado of Te Poe O Patitifa

Age 16-18 Beginning Tane
1. Andrew Gallo of E Honu Iti E
2. Nick Figueira of E Honu Iti E
3. Julius Corpuz of Te Ora Roa

Age 16-18 Advanced Vahine
1. Heiti Schofield of Te Ora Roa
2. Juliette Manois of Ote'a Api
3. Kaleialohaonalani Tanaka of Te Ora Roa
4. Allyssa Hernandez of Ote'a Api

Age 16-18 Advanced Tane
1. Talton Pedregosa of Na Hoku Mai Kanoelani
2. Duane De Jesus of Ote'a Api
3. Jerrod Menenses of Manuia Polynesia

Age 19-24 Beginning Vahine
1. Danielle Poquis of Ehulani's Ote'a
2. Maryanne Mayo of Nemenzo
3. Mary Grace Slador of Na Hoku Mai Kanoelani
4. Geraldine Masters of LeiIsa

Age 19-24 Beginning Tane
1. Brandon Evangelista of Na Hoku Mai Kanoelani
2. Olin Petere Kaleo 'Okalani Caban of Te Ohipa Pa'ari O Haruru
3. Michale Devonia of Te Ora Roa

Age 19-24 Advanced Vahine
1. Michelle Tarleton of Kawailehua Hula Ohana
2. Natalie Flores of Te Ora Roa
3. Michelle Baker of Nemenzo
4. Abigail Ventura of Kawailehua Hula Ohana

Age 19-24 Advanced Tane
1. Sonny Shwe of Nemenzo
2. Glenn Salonga of Manuia Polynesia
3. Zack Reyas Del Sol of Makamae Melia O Polynesia

Age 25-34 Beginning Vahine
1. Courtney Krupa of Da Island Way
2. Joyce Dagurnbey of Kawailehua Hula Ohana
3. Saua Case of LeiIsa
4. Athena Herrera of Makamae Melia O Polynesia

Age 25-34 Advanced Vahine
1. Colie Amen of Tamari'i Matairea
2. Karen Alumno of Da Island Way
3. Shanna Pineda of Te Pura O Te Rahura'a

Age 25-34 Advanced Tane
1. Charlie Cumrameneng of Ote'a Api
2. Dean Sivenstre of LeiIsa

Beginners Masters Vahine
1. Rose Pamatmat - Independent
2. Marilu Pho of Da Island Way
3. Corinne Brown of Da Island Way

Beginners Masters Tane
1. Don C Iose of Na Hoku Mai Kanoelani
2. Jesse Coronado of Nani Ola Dance Co.

Advanced Masters Vahine
1. Katrina Hali'imaile DeJesus of Ote'a Api
2. Mia-Mae Salgado-Cummings of Te Tahi Here
3. Selby Vota-Hermales of Da Island Way

Advanced Masters Tane
1. Anthony Manaois of Ote'a Api

Group Awards

1. Ote'a Api of Fremont CA
2. Here Hau of Crockett CA
3. Te Tahi Here
4. Tiare O Te Ao of Hercules CA

Tamari'i Aparima
1. Ote'a Api of Fremont CA
2. Ehulani's Ote'a of Hayward CA
3. Tiare O Te Ao of Hercules CA

Tamari'i Ote'a
1. Ote'a Api of Fremont CA
2. Ehulani's Ote'a of Hayward CA
3. Te Tahi Here

Amateur Group - Ote'a
1. Ehulani's Ote'a of Hayward CA

Professional Group - Ote'a
1. Ote'a Api of Fremont CA

Novice Group - Ote'a
1. Nani Ola Dance Co.

Novice Group - Aparima
1. Nani Ola Dance Co.

Professional Group - Aparima
1. Ote'a Api of Fremont CA

Beginning Drumming
1. Tamari'i Matairea of Stockton CA
2. Tiare O Te Ao of Hercules CA

Advanced Drumming
1. Ote'a Api of Fremont CA
2. Te Ohipa Pa'ari O Haruru

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ori Tahiti Dance workshops with Hirohiti Tematahotoa - direct from Tahiti

Announcement letter from Fenty Kaliman,
director of marketing, Mahea Productions
and Ka Ua Tuahine

Ia orana,

Direct from Tahiti! THREE Tahitian dance workshops with Hirohiti Tematahotoa. Learn the vibrant and exciting dance of Tahiti with Master Choreographer and Dancer Hirohiti Tematahotoa.

Former director of choreography for the acclaimed Tahitian dance company Orihere Maohi, Hiro was named King of Heiva in 2002 and was featured in the award-winning documentary Black Pearl, by Hoku Uchiyama. He has also choreographed and composed material for KaUaTuahine Polynesian Dance Company. KaUaTuahine has performed Hiro's work in California, Tahiti, and Aotearoa (New Zealand). Hiro has also served as a judge for the 2005 San Jose Tahiti Fete.

Beginning Level - Thursday, July 2, 2009, 7:00 - 10:00PM.
Learn the basics of Tahitian dance and an 'aparima and 'ote'a.

Intermediate and Advanced Level - Thursday, July 9, 2009, 7:00 - 10:00PM.
Instruction in ahuroa and 'ote'a.

Workshop Fee $75. To register for these events, please go to

There is limited space available. Register early to reserve your place.

All workshops are held at 729 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710


Please bring a pareu or sarong. All levels of experience welcomed. Drinks and refreshments will be made available for sale.

PLEASE NO RECORDING DEVICES OF ANY KIND. CD of the music will be made availabel for sale.

:) Fenty Kaliman
for The Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance
Phone: 1.510.845.2605