There’s no doubt about it.
When it comes to the Arts, it is definitely one of the strengths of our people. Whether it is an innate thing – a product of our own strong Samoan culture and language it’s hard to say although some recent research backs this theory.
A small sample study found participants’ brain scans revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery. The research published in NeuroImage suggested that an artist’s talent could be innate. But training and environmental upbringing also play crucial roles in their ability, the authors reported.
To name just a few, in literature – including poetry, novels and short stories, and epics, there is Albert Wendt, Sia Figiel, Selina Tusitala Marsh and Rev Ruperake Petaia ; performing arts – among them music, dance, and theatre, there is Seiuli Alan Alo, Fiona Collins, Nathaniel Lees and Igelese Ete; in visual arts including drawing, painting, ceramics, and sculpting there is Fatu Feu’u, Momoe Malietoa von Reiche, Michael Tuffery and Vanya Taulealo - the lists go on.
How many other undiscovered artists are out in our villages who have not had the opportunity to show their talents?
Which is why events such as TV 1’s annual Best Dance Crew competition is so important to showcase many of those who would not otherwise be seen by a large audience.
It is also an affirmation of the fact that the Arts are an important part of our lives whether we are participants or simply part of the audience. Lesli Walsh says, “The Arts in some form or another have existed as long as man. They are a part of our daily lives and present in cultures across the world. Most people have an appreciation for the Arts. They enjoy observing or creating, or may even support the Arts financially or by volunteering.
The Arts are an integral part of our culture because they provide us with a deeper understanding of emotions, self-awareness, and more.”
In other words life is not just about work, we need the Arts to discover, understand and be inspired.
A recent visit by Parris Goebel an award winning Samoan, New Zealand-born choreographer, dancer, singer, director and actress attracted a lot of attention during her low key visit.
With a string of credits including the 2016 Female Choreographer of the Year and Live Performance of the Year at the World Of Dance Awards and collaborations with world stars such as Little Mix, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj she has no doubt inspired many of our aspiring performers to go where she has gone, and is yet to go.
So to all the dancers who took part in the Best Dance Crew event, congratulations.
And to the overall winners, BlackieYes with that inspiring name they have given themselves, thank you for the enjoyment you have given all of us and especially the audience who watched you on the night you performed.