Artists acknowledge traditional dancing

The need to maintain traditional Samoan dances was highlighted yesterday at a workshop between a local and overseas dance groups. 

Held at the University of the South Pacific, Alafua Campus the Le Tiumasalasala dance group from Samoa and Leleiga o Aiga group from Hawaii shared skills and knowledge based on Samoan traditional dances.

Leleiga o Aiga founder and director, Henry Sataraka said that their group is from a school of the Samoan language, arts, and culture.

“The vision is to preserve and perpetuate the Samoan culture for the Samoans born and raised abroad.”

“This the first trip to Samoa for our group to try and reconnect the students with their roots in reference to the land, culture, language in Samoa.”

“We are so fortunate to work together with a local dance group and will have the chance to perform for this year’s Teuila Festival,” he said. 

Henry added that the traditional Samoan dances are slowly becoming a lost art form as culture continues to evolve and change. 

A dancer from Le Tiumasalasala dance group from Samoa, Benjamin Lelevaga, said that their founder is Eterei Maiava.

“We are a newly established dance group of dancers that have danced for so long. The significance of the collaboration is to highlight the difference between a local and overseas dance group.”

“Kids from overseas are not rooted yet, they did not live and grow up in Samoa with all its cultural aspects. The kids from Hawaii are still learning about our culture and this get together will give both of us the opportunity to skills and knowledge with each other.”

“When kids from overseas come and do their own thing and we do ours but now it’s a first time experience to be united and be dance as one,” he said. 

Benjamin added that in their group there are 16 members with four girls and 12 boys, who are dancing with a passion and acknowledging that it is a God-given talent.

The two dance groups will be performing in week’s Teuila Festival on Thursday.

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