Fire dancing competition promises spectacular event

For the 18th time, Samoa’s best fire dancers will compete for the top spot in the annual Siva Afi competition, held at Funway Park from the 27th till the 28th of June.

Siva Afi Entertainment Manager and Dance trainer, Leota Lene Leota, said while the competitors aren’t finalised yet, the event will be spectacular.

The senior fire dancers will compete on the Thursday night for one of five spots in the finals, where the winner can earn $3000 and a fire knife set worth $1000.

Second place is worth $2000, and third place $1000. Fourth and fifth won’t walk away empty handed, with a $500 prize each.

Junior fire dancers have the stage on Friday.

Leota said all the dancers have a story to tell. Some are the children of fire dancers, and others the children of street vendors. As performers across Samoa in fiafia shows, they can earn around $50 or more per night, so a chance to win $3000 is not taken lightly.

“This year’s will be tough. It’s hard to pick,” he said.

“You’ll see the best, and be a part of something promoting performing arts. And even better, it’s just a week before the Pacific Games.”

The competition will see two entries from New Zealand, and a judge who will travel all the way from Hawaii’s Polynesian Cultural Centre, Tipa Galeai.

Events like the Siva Afi competition take a mountain of funding and sponsorship to work, Leota said. The students themselves cannot contribute to the events running.

“The kids selling stuff on the street, street vendors can’t afford to do these events. So with sponsors and the support of our community, we can do it,” he said.

Tickets are $35 and can be used for any of the three competition nights. Corporate tables are $1200 for eight seats or $120 for a ticket and include dinner.

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